Iain McClune to take over Royal Mile Whiskies

Iain McClune to take over Royal Mile Whiskies

McClune, the entrepreneur behind Whisky Auctioneer, will purchase his former employer Royal Mile Whiskies through his investment company Vintage Saga

News | 07 Oct 2022

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Spirits entrepreneur Iain McClune has struck a deal to purchase independent whisky specialist Royal Mile Whiskies – a firm at which he was once an employee.

Royal Mile Whiskies sits under the Dormant Distillery Company (DDC) alongside Drinkmonger and The Cigar Box. They will all be retained, owned and operated in Scotland as part of the deal.

McClune, who worked at Royal Mile Whiskies for nearly a decade, becomes the second ex-employee to return as an owner of the business. The acquisition will be made through Vintage Saga, McClune’s investment company which includes Whisky Auctioneer, Wine Auctioneer, Rum Auctioneer and Bright Spirits.

Iain McClune

Keir Sword, founder of DDC, said: “I am delighted to pass the business over to Iain who as a former employee shares my affection for the business and understands the importance of our fantastic team of drinks enthusiasts. As a former employee who myself returned to buy Royal Mile Whiskies it is greatly satisfying to pass the baton on to one of our own, who shares my vision for the business and I trust to carry on our values.

“The fact the business retains its independent spirit but at the same time gains the backing and support of the equally enthusiastic and talented team at Vintage Saga makes it a very exciting time for DDC.

“They inherit not only the wonderful staff, but a very supportive bunch of suppliers and loyal customers to all of whom I send my huge thanks for their contribution over the past quarter century. I wish Iain, Arthur and all of the team my very best for a bright future, and shall continue to cheer you all on from the sidelines.”

As part of Vintage Saga, DDC will continue to operate independently, and also independently from other businesses within the group. Arthur Motley, who has worked alongside Keir Sword for more than 20 years, will become managing director of DDC.

Inside Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh

McClune said: “I echo Keir’s values and understand his vision for the future of the Dormant Distillery Company. The team at DDC is what makes it so unique and I am excited to be a part of it again.

“Vintage Saga and DDC are both independent Scottish companies with the same knowledge-centric approach and people-first culture, with committed and passionate employees who contribute hugely to the success of the businesses.

“Exciting times are ahead and I am particularly pleased to be inheriting such a great team as they will be crucial to the ongoing success and future growth of the DDC brands. Under Keir’s tenure, Royal Mile Whiskies has become recognised as one of the great independent UK whisky merchants and this reputation is exactly what we look forward to building with all at DDC.”

Dave Broom, award winning drinks writer, commented: “Over the past 25 years Royal Mile Whiskies has been an exemplar of a great drinks retail business. It has evolved over time, pioneering new avenues, but the secret to its success is it’s a business run by people who put the customer first. They have not just sold whisky, they have educated, entertained, and advised about it - and other spirits - because they care deeply about what they are selling.

“While this is the end of an era, I’m delighted the firm will remain independent and, importantly, with Iain as the new owner, that it is staying in Scottish hands. I wish Keir all the best in his future ventures, but know that with Arthur at the helm that continuing success will be guaranteed.”
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