Animated by a love of all things America, Scot Callum Burt from Moonshine UK tells BeverageDaily.com he decided to call time on a 10-year career in commercial and corporate banking to pursue his business dream.
“Everyone thinks they know what moonshine is due to popular culture, films like Lawless. But Moonshine UK is going to actually bring a product that says ‘this is what is’ and stands out from everything else on the shelves,” he says.
With its distinctive 700ml mason jar, shiny ‘in-your-face’ labels with US flags for the UK market, Burt predicts Palmetto Moonshine from South Carolina – which his firm buys upfront for UK sale – will create a real stir.
“I’m not going to say we’ll replace vodka. That’s a dangerous thing to say – that ‘we’re the next big thing’. But it’s an alternative, and the UK is crying out for a new drink to be honest – no-one’s really tasted it, and we want to bring it to that kind of clientele,” he says.
Walking on moonshine…
At the end of 2012 Burt emailed the top five or six moonshine producers in the States angling for UK distribution rights and “promised them the earth”. Palmetto alone wrote back to ask, ‘When can you start?’
Together with former banking colleague and business partner Stephen Bremner, Burt set up Moonshine UK to distribute the Palmetto’s products in the UK.
He describes Palmetto, started by brothers Trey and Bryan Boggs after South Carolina legalized moonshine distilling and retail sales in 2009, as “one of the fastest-growing companies of their type just now – they’re gaining fantastic traction and awards”.
“What they do so well is bring the scale to make it commercial nationwide, but use the original copper stills – keep the traditional recipes,” he explains. The Boggs brothers use a traditional recipe taken from bootleggers.
Initially, Moonshine UK brought over Palmetto samples – American Shine is its original (52.5% ABV) moonshine, and there are Blackberry, Apple Pie and Peach varieties with natural fruit compote.