UK entrepreneurs launch new boutique Scottish rum company
John Paul Jones, a new independent boutique rum company from the Scottish Lowlands, has been launched by three young entrepreneurs following Covid-19 job losses. Ollie Blackett (26), Finnian Gill (25) and Jack Cuddigan (26) were three young London-based professionals climbing the career ladder when their paths were changed, finding themselves jobless… with but a pipedream.
Born out of sheer determination, a love of rum and the need for something to fill the time between a morning walk and an evening zoom quiz, the trio of twenty-somethings have reinvested furlough funds to create John Paul Jones ‘Lowland Rum.’ At a time when Rum is set to lead the spirits category, after becoming the drink of lockdown with over 1.3 million extra bottles sold between April and June 2020 (WSTA), they have chosen a category that is showing no signs of slowing.
Taking inspiration from John Paul Jones – the ever-adventurous naval hero, who was born a stone’s throw from where the company is based and thus gives his name to the new rum – the three enterprising pioneers were determined to condense the spirit of JPJ’s epic life story into a soul stirring brand.
A man renowned for bullish courage in the face of adversity and adventurous nature, there are few more relevant inspirations for a post-Covid society. As we all collectively reel from a year of unprecedented hardship, who better to celebrate than the man who famously exclaimed ‘Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight!’
Fast forward one year and the ambitious team have their first 400 bottles of rum. Having created the brand from scratch, produced a unique rum recipe themselves (via long nights of trial and error at the kitchen table) and lost countless hours of sleep to the sorting of a myriad of legal and commercial essentials, they are now ready to launch John Paul Jones ‘Lowland Rum.’
“To say it has been a rollercoaster of a year would be an understatement, but honestly we are all absolutely delighted with what we have produced,” admitted Finnian Gill, co-founder. “With no professional experience in the spirits business and no outside investment, we have made something really special. The dream for us is just that this can now be our lives forever!”
Raising spirits and putting some strong tailwinds into John Paul Jones’ billowing sails, the initial feedback has been universally positive. Country Life magazine enthused that Caribbean rum tastes delicious when steeped in Scottish seaweed while, writing for the Spectator, Jonathan Ray selected John Paul Jones among his top ten tipples for the forthcoming Father’s Day. Another well-respected industry insider lauded Lowland Rum as a “a bit of a crowd pleaser with enough spice, fruit and natural sweetness to keep the rum fans happy yet still accessible enough for a novice to enjoy, too. Well done – JPJ would be proud.”