Dundee entrepreneur launches Moonshine brand Highland Moon

A Dundee man has gone where no Taysider or Fifer has gone before by launching his own brand of moonshine.

Leaving behind a career in the tech recruitment industry, 27-year-old Harris Brown is on a mission to change the public’s perspective on “the illicit mind.”

The Dundonian which registered Highland Moon with Company’s House in November 2020 has spent the past year and a half introducing its brand of spirits to locals, while shutting down pubs and bars during the pandemic.

Harris Brown showing his products.

Harris was inspired by the Prohibition era of the 1920s and saw similarities to it and the pandemic shutdowns. As a result, he quit his recruitment career in Edinburgh in August 2020 to pursue his dream of owning a drinks brand.

Having worked in cocktail bars before, he knew there was nothing quite like his product Moonshine on the market and so started working on a series of recipes.

But what is moonlight?

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, moonshine is “an illegally manufactured spirit”.

While Harris’ products are certainly not illegally made, his type of white spirit has yet to be categorized because there are virtually no producers making it. For the moment, it is in the camp of the botanical spirit.

Highland Moon products.

It cannot be classified as a gin because it does not contain juniper, nor as a vodka because no potato skins or other base ingredients used to make vodka are used.

“It is recognized as a new type of spirits. We use Scottish honey as the main ingredient to make the alcohol, so we’re considered a botanic spirit,” Harris said.

“It’s a very difficult market to break into. I worked on the recipe for about a year before launching it.

Selling Highland Moon in easily reusable 70cl mason jars, Harris is playing on the 100-year prohibition gap and has also included a range of flavors in its lineup.

Highland Moon is a versatile spirit.

Working with Arbroath distiller Lewis Scothern of Distillations, Harris rents a pot still for the day and also bottles all of the distillery’s products.

With high start-up costs involved in creating spirits, Harris believes working with local experts has allowed her to invest in the production and marketing of the brand.

“All recipes are mine, and I thought working this way would save capital, rather than trying to start my own distillery,” he added.

Different flavors

Expected to sell 2,000 bottles by Christmas, Harris had set a goal of being on the shelves of 10 bars by October this year. It hit it in five months and Highland Moon can now be found at Kilted Kangaroo, The Caird 172 and 3 Session Street in Dundee to name a few.

The four expressions are original, which are 40% ABV, and apple pie, rawberry (strawberry and raspberry), and the new peach and blood orange, which are all 30% ABV.

Harris Brown is from Dundee.

“Not everyone wants a pure full strength spirit, many people now also want a fruit version.

“Rawberry is fine with flight – which often happened with moonlight back then. We don’t add excessive sugars in the fruit, so the sweetness really comes from the honey and the fruit,” he added.

Harris says the apple pie expression is a tribute to America where flavor is enjoyed during their key holidays.

The product works well in cocktails.

“We use British apples, caramel and spices in this one,” he said. “Spiced rum drinkers love it and it’s good in an Espresso Martini.”

The jars are also reusable and customers have used them to store jams and marmalades while some bars have used them to hold their homemade syrups.

Future plans?

With a focus on growing its online platforms and sales post-pandemic, Harris also wants to grow its portfolio across the UK.

He would like to see his products, which range in price from £27.99 to £29.99, in a bar in every city in the country.

“I wish people thought of us when they thought of moonlight.”

He dreams of one day having his own distillery where tours and tastings could be arranged to give customers an even deeper insight into the brand.

give back

However, for now, he is focused on building the brand and also focusing on his partnerships with mental health charities where a percentage of every sale of every product goes.

“For every jar we sell, we donate the proceeds to a mental health charity. We just donated £200 to Run Talk Run which operates in 103 different cities around the world.

“During my university studies and before starting the company, I had mental health problems. Many people have been impacted more by mental health during the pandemic and this has actually brought it to light.

Highland Moon products.

“There’s this perception of people with mental health leaning towards drinking and I don’t see any major companies campaigning against that. I would love to one day have a Highland Moon charity to help me, be it a support group or something. I wish that as my brand grows so does mental health awareness.

You can buy Highland Moon products online or at local events they attend. Visit their website for their full list of resellers.

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[Dundee entrepreneur launches moonshine brand Highland Moon]