African markets

Livingston rum distillery will target ‘neglected’ African markets

Livingston-based Matugga Distillery has exceeded its fundraising target of £300,000 with more than two weeks remaining in its crowdfunding campaign.

Owned by chief executive Jacine Rutasikwa and her Ugandan-born husband Paul, Matugga has recruited more than 200 new shareholders through its Crowdcube campaign. With only 15 days left to run, the pair hopes to raise even more liquidity by targeting “neglected” markets in Africa.

The funds will be used to purchase a new distillery kit and hire additional staff. Mr. Rutasikwa, Matugga’s chief distiller, is also starting work on a sugarcane plantation in Uganda that will make the company a ‘cane to cask’ producer.

“The African market is vibrant but craft drinks companies in the UK don’t see the opportunity,” he said.

“When it comes to exporting, UK businesses immediately think of Asia and North America – but they are missing out on demand, appetite and buying power enormous in African countries.

“We are fortunate to have the contacts, the cultural affinities, the family ties and the product market necessary to be a pioneer. We want to provide our unique, high-quality spirit to rum drinkers around the world and convert many new ones along the way.

When launching the company’s crowdfunding campaign, Ms Rutasikwa cited the “systemic inequalities” faced by black entrepreneurs as a “significant factor” in their decision to explore crowdfunding. She attributes Crowdcube’s success to one thing above all else.

“We make fantastic rum,” said the London-born doctor, whose grandparents were part of the post-war Windrush generation who emigrated from the Caribbean to the UK.


“We know our value and we are focused. We make a product worth supporting and we know it from all the amazing feedback we get from customers. I hope our fundraising success will inspire other entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds.”

Each bottle is distilled from scratch in Scotland and infused with Scottish, East African and Jamaican botanicals. The rum is produced using a degree of wild fermentation and 100% copper pot distillation, with the majority of the spirit aged in oak barrels and some aged in wine barrels, of high-quality cognac, bourbon, sherry or port.

“Our love, passion and attention to detail shines through in everything we do,” Ms Rutasikwa added.

“People are not only invested in our products, they are invested in our story. People think what we do is different, and there’s been incredible support and goodwill from our community. »