Yesterday marked the close of the annual Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a heralded event that’s as synonymous with Scotland as the Highland Games. For the entire month of August, thespians, comedians, and lovers of both, flock to the Scottish capital to indulge in all things performance art. In honor of the Fringe, and the great nation which hosts it each year, we’re highlighting some rising Scottish brands with their own distinctive ideas and designs – a world away from the copycats and infringers who attach themselves to the hard work and success of others.
Scotland’s best heritage brands
It comes as no surprise that Scotland has produced many beloved and successful brands. Three of the (apparently thirsty) country’s biggest exports are beverage manufacturers. Unbeknownst to many, the globally-known tea brand, Lipton, was founded in 1871 by Glaswegian, Thomas Lipton. For consumers who prefer something fizzier than tea though, their drink of choice may well be one of Scotland’s most instantly recognizable brands, Barr’s Irn-Bru. The Bru, which is often described as “Scotland’s other national drink,” is so well loved that while the soft drinks market in the UK is expected to grow by only 3%, Barr projected their own 2019 sales to grow by 5%.
The country is also widely known for its supreme whiskies, a product so fundamentally tied to the country that it has received Protected Geographical Status under EU law. In 2018, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that Scotch generated a record-setting £4.7 billion worth of export value. Although certain brands are long-standing industry leaders, such as Glenfiddich who sold 1.22m cases in 2017 and The Glenlivet, which sold 1.07m cases the same year, the country is dotted with artisans and large-scale producers of remarkable variety.
Scotland’s entrepreneurial spirit is thriving at the moment, with plenty of young brands growing in their respective industries. Homegrown businesses across the nation devote their time and energy into developing unique products and brands for consumers looking for authentic Scottish goods. The following is a list of our top five Scottish brands to keep your eyes on.
Five rising Scottish stars
Isle of Skye Candle Company
Originally founded in 2006, this Scottish candle company has come a long way. James Robertson was only 18 years old when he began making candles in his uncle’s croft on the Isle of Skye. The company now boasts popular boutique shops in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, and St. Andrews, along with a following of happy customers. An independent brand with an eye on the environment too, their candles are scented with the flavors of the great outdoors and give their owners a sense (and scent) of the hallowed Scottish Highlands.
Looking to add a bit of Scottish flavor to the cola market, Alba Cola prides itself on its heritage, demonstrating loud and clear that its contents are “made with Scottish water & heather extract” by printing the phrase on every can. The young cola company was recently founded by former footballer Chris Ewing, and is already receiving some buzz in the news. The cola’s distinct branding relies wholly on their alliance with their native country, appealing to patriotic Glaswegians (where it’s currently exclusively available) and visitors eager for a taste of Scotland.
Named after the designer herself, Mairi Helena is an Edinburgh-based interior design and fashion producer with a growing following. Specializing in high-quality fabrics, wallpapers, and home accessories, Mairi Helena bases her designs on her large photographic portfolio of Scotland. The brand is imbued with the essence of Mairi Helena’s home, providing consumers with a textured piece of the Highlands.
If you’re looking for durable handmade bags, you’ve found your next purchase. The Glasgow-based bag and accessories company offers a variety of stylish canvas bags for all kinds of adventures. Trakke was founded in 2010 by Alec Farmer, an inventive student who wanted to create something new. He spent his weekends collecting different materials from the Glasgow trash bins and would bring them back to his home and sew them himself, eventually compiling a range of bags he went on to sell. This homegrown hobby has since bloomed into a business with over 50 employees.
This St. Andrews-based brewery expertly crafts a variety of small batch gin, whisky, and beer, with the aim of “reviving the lost art of distilling and brewing in St. Andrews.” The company became Scotland’s first combined brewery and distillery when it was formed in 2014, and has launched a number of exclusive products. With a clear vision, the young brand is anticipating even more growth as it recently announced its plans to move into a £3.1 million distillery by summer 2020.
Why do brands need a strong defense?
It doesn’t matter whether a product is as prestigious as whisky or as specialist as bagpipes, if an idea is both popular and distinctive then it will attract counterfeiters. It’s essential that all brands take the right actions to defend their intellectual property in order to curtail the damage done to their revenue as well as their reputations. That’s why we advise even young, independent business owners to take the necessary precautions to ensure their products and services are safe from online harm. If you’d like to take action and set up a brand protection strategy for your original intellectual property, don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com