Matugga Distillers launches first crowdfunding campaign to become ‘cane to cask’ producer

Matugga Distillers has launched a £300,000 equity crowdfunding campaign to help it develop a sugarcrane plantation in Uganda and expand globally.

The black female-owned, rum distillery is seeking investment at a pre-money valuation of more than £1.2m to enable it to export worldwide, expand its team and purchase additional distillery kit, which will increase output eight-fold.

Co-founders Jacine Rutasikwa and Ugandan-born head distiller Paul Rutasikwa have experienced huge demand during lockdown for their rum brands Matugga and Liv, which blend distilling skills honed in Scotland with their proud African and Caribbean roots.

The couple hope to capitalise on the rising popularity of rum, which had a global market of £17.2bn in 2021.

“Hardly any major retailers stock locally made craft rum, but the appetite is there so we need to think big to be ready to meet that opportunity,” Jacine Rutasikwa said.

“We are producing New World rum and we’re rewriting the rulebook as we want to push the boundaries of what has gone before by producing exciting rums that offer surprising flavour and character in every bottle.”

Every bottle is distilled from scratch in Scotland, crafted with pure Scottish water and infused with Scottish, East African and Jamaican botanicals.

The rum is produced using a degree of wild fermentation and 100% copper pot distillation.

Most of the spirit from the distillery is matured in oak barrels with some products aged in high-quality casks previously used to store wine, cognac, bourbon, sherry or port.

Rutasikwa is also hoping the business can have a wider impact by providing a positive example to other black entrepreneurs who have ambitions to scale up through investment.

“It’s not very often that you see black-owned businesses on equity-based crowdfunding platforms, and we’re looking forward to launching our campaign to the general public,” she added.

“It’s an exciting time for our distillery and we’re inviting rum lovers to back our business and help us take Scottish rum worldwide.”

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