We say it every year but what a freaking year.
Some particular highlights; winning our second Double Gold at the prestigious San Fran World Spirits Competition, our Islay winning Best In Class World’s Best Islay Whisky at the same award effectively handing us Indie Bottler of the Year, we scored a 98/100 with the IWSC, a Gold Outstanding medal from the IWSC too along with a number of silvers and two Gold Medals from the London Spirits Competition.
Not bad eh?
2022 has had its challenges sure; from the continued omnishambles that is Brexit making UK – EU shipping awkward at best to finding out our bottles were produced in Ukraine to there being both a fuel crisis and a cost of living crisis impacting customer spend and our event day and online sales.
All of the above have lead to an, I’m going to say it, unprecedented rise in production costs – something that, unlike our much larger peers, we have not passed on to our customers as we didn’t think it was fair, but naturally this has impacted our business operations and we have had to change elements of our production to be leaner… although there was one incident where we used a new type of bottle that looked nearly exactly like our existing bottle shape apart from having no punt (that’s the think bit of glass at the base), all went really well until we found out, after doing a full bottling run, that whatever substrate they used in the glass compound for the bottle was, it would not allow labels to stick to it. Awkward. All needed to be opened up, decanted, refilled into other bottles, resealed and labelled.
Elsewhere we signed our first export contracts so our humble husband and wife indie bottler brand is now being exported to China and Japan. These deals took a phenomenal amount of time and effort but wow it’s already been worth it for the people we have met, the opportunities it has given us and the doubling of production volumes as a result of these business wins.
As we look back over the year it is clear to see how the world is opening up a lot more, and we love a stat so here’s a few to summarise our year…
12,600 samples of our awesome whisky dishes out
527 whiskies sampled and reviewed
105 in person all days events around the country
65 casks bought for our inventory
47 hours of flight delays
42 casks bought for our customers
32 flights for meetings and events
22 single cask bottlings
14 trains to meetings (would have been more but they were perpetually on strike, wrecking my schedule and client commitments)
6 countries for meetings and events
5 new consulting clients
3 branded hats bought
1 Max Verstappen race used tyre bought
1 clutch blow up on the M6 Toll Road
1 windscreen totalled by a pheasant
1 A-board left on the M6 whilst moving stock for an event into a hire car from a knackered one
And of course we have tried some amazing whiskies too… in date order, not preference order…
We thank you for such a wonderful year, your great chat, your custom, your enthusiasm for what we do, the amount of people who told us in person that our products were their all time favourite whiskies (so humbling), your feedback, your jokes, your banter, your chat and of course all the random questions.
We are signing off for 2022 now and heading to Lapland with the kids (no joke)… expect us back early Jan (or more accurately; when Greg remembers to write another newsletter, which is rarely a definitive).
Thanks again, have awesome Christmases and wishing you the best 2023 possible.
Greg & Kirsty
Founders of GreatDrams.com