Harrods set to stock rum favoured by James Blunt
Luxury retailer Harrods is set to stock a new Isle of Man rum favoured by celebrities such as James Blunt.
The product, which was originally created by former journalist Rick Dacey and winemaker Ian Warborn-Jones, will be available at the retailer from next week.
With a label designed by a local tattoo artist, Hoolie is named after the Manx word for ‘bloody windy’ and is a 41%ABV rum. The co-founders truly are ‘artisan’ as they claim to do everything in the process by hand, from firing up the furnace to labelling the bottles.
The friends set up the Outlier Distilling Company after transforming an old milking barn into a distillery, with a 160-litre wood-fired still fuelled by off-cuts from a local sawmill, and using water drawn from the well of Ballakelly Farm, which is UNESCO biosphere-accredited.
The distillers received celebrity endorsement from James Blunt by supplying him with a bottle while he was on tour in the Isle of Man last year.
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Ian Warborn-Jones said being based on the Isle of Man meant their hopes of widespread success had been made far easier.
He said: “It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, but we certainly would have had a harder job trying to get off the ground in the UK. Being in the Isle of Man has meant our ideas have quickly become a reality. We’ve had great government support as a business to get going, and there’s a real collaborative community here that helps get new businesses off the ground.”
Rick Dacey added: “We knew expansion into the UK market would be essential, and Harrods stocking our product is a stamp of quality that we are absolutely thrilled to receive.”
The distillery is part of a renaissance of spirits production in the Isle of Man, which is also home to gin distillery Fynoderee, as well as a number of other successful drinks producers, including the Seven Kingdom Distillery, winemakers Foraging Vintners, and the Kella Distillers.
The Island’s small government means businesses can have frequent, hands-on contact across all agencies, often getting to know officials personally. The government also provides grant assistance enabling new companies like Outlier to attend trade fairs, and, in the case of Outlier, helping to secure the Harrods listing, it said.
Tim Cowsill, head of Business Isle of Man, said: “Outlier are one of several Manx distillers who are combining exceptional produce with a distinctive and creative approach to branding. Our colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture recognised the business’s potential at an early stage and facilitated financial assistance through a grants scheme.
“Outlier have utilised this support extremely effectively, and are now one of numerous Manx food and drink companies rising to prominence in the UK and beyond.”