WHAT happens when a Scotsman, an Englishman and a Welshman with a shared passion for quality spirits get together? In the case of Gregor Shaw, Nick Dobie and Robin Bowen, a premium new spiced rum with a distinctively Welsh taste is born…
Established in October 2020 Devil’s Bridge Rum is an utterly unique creation, blending the finest Caribbean rums with Bara Brith, Glengettie Black Tea and Shirgar Butter. Gregor, Nick and Robin were inspired by the story of the Devil’s Bridge – a legendary tale of Welsh spirit, based in the Cambrian Mountains near Aberystwyth. They claim that the rum is as Welsh as the story of the Devil’s Bridge and as fiery as the woman who tricked the Devil!
“Rum is enjoying a revival, with spiced and flavoured rums flourishing…and attracting a high level of innovation” according to Mintel Dark Spirits and Liqueurs UK, September 2020.
Taking advantage of this new revival and passionate about Wales and the Welsh, the crew wanted to help showcase the country and its produce to the world, by creating a premium brand using Welsh flavours in new and exciting ways.
“We bring the best of Wales, the best of the Caribbean and the most stunning branding together to make a drink like no other”, said Gregor.
He continues “Despite our brand’s young age, we’re proud to have won two Gold awards in the World Rum Awards, in the Flavoured and Botanicals categories. We also won Gold in the London Spirits Competition and Bronze in the International Spirits Challenge 2021.”
The business has been supported by Cywain – a dedicated project supporting Welsh food and drink businesses to grow. Cywain Regional Development Manager for Mid Wales, Lowri Jones has kept the company updated on industry news and opportunities, and arranged a Meet the Buyer session with Blas ar Fwyd which led to Devil’s Bridge Rum’s first commercial distributor listing, within weeks of commencing trading.
“Lowri and Cywain have been invaluable in helping establish our initial customer base and in supporting us through our discussions with Blas ar Fwyd, which has been a game-changer for us”, said Nick.
Obtaining industry expertise was a challenge for the company and Cywain were able to bridge this gap in the form of one-to-one sessions and webinars on a variety of topics including Pitching to Distributors, Targeting Retailers, Getting Awards Ready, Sourcing Funding, Marketing Strategy and Selling on Amazon.
“It’s clear we are much, much further ahead than we would have been without the help of Lowri and the team at Cywain” said Nick.
He continues “Their ongoing support is an absolutely priceless asset for us. We cannot endorse Cywain highly enough – they have massively changed things for us and encouraged and assisted us to grow larger and more quickly than we planned in such a short period of time”.
Robin said “We hope to grow the team and we are keen to find Welsh-speakers to maintain a bi-lingual workplace. Cywain put us in touch with the relevant networkers and recruiters to source them, so we now have several other hugely talented people ready to join us as staff imminently”.
Lowri Jones praises the company for their hard work and dedication and says:
“Since registering with Cywain in November 2020, Devil’s Bridge Rum have been an active participant in the project. They’ve made the most of the support available to them in the form of one-to-one sessions and webinars on a variety of topics”.
The company sold out of their first batch much faster than expected which, they believe was down to the support from Cywain and the Selling on Amazon seminar. Subsequent work with Amazon has also been a big factor, helping speed up listing on the biggest e-commerce site in the world.
The company has huge ambitions. “We want our brand to become the biggest premium rum in the UK and are confident we can achieve this”, said Gregor.
He continues, “We are thrilled with our rapid growth and success, way beyond our forecasts and plans. The experience of working with Lowri has been a pleasure, and brought so many benefits. We are proud of Wales and proud to be part of the country’s rich heritage.”
Lowri says “For a young company launched in challenging circumstances (as a result of Covid restrictions), the team at Devil’s Bridge Rum have achieved an enormous amount in a short space of time. They have grabbed every opportunity that has come their way, and it has been a pleasure to support their growth.”
She continues “It’s been great to see their hard work rewarded in the form of their recent prestigious awards, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this ambitious company.”
In honour of the treasured dog featured in the Devil’s Bridge tale, the company have sponsored a kennel and its occupants at Animal Rescue Cymru. This partnership allows them to help rescue, take care of and ultimately rehome real life Welsh dogs, which become the Devil’s Bridge Rum dogs and live virtually in the Kennel page of their website, where they ask their followers to consider donating or even rehoming them. They have already rehomed one dog and their current pooch Cassie is on their site now!
Where to buy Devil’s Bridge Rum
Look for the product in your local shops. Also available online: