The Eildon Hills could provide a backdrop for a new vermouth 'centre for excellence'

Two brothers are heading to the Eildon Hills in a bid to establish a centre for excellence to produce and promote the fortified wine they have lovingly developed.

Dominic Tait with the backdrop of the Eildons, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. (Photo: Kirsty Anderson)
Dominic Tait with the backdrop of the Eildons, near Melrose in the Scottish Borders. (Photo: Kirsty Anderson)

Dominic and David Tait, co-founders of the drink makers Tait Bros., launched the award-winning Valentian Vermouth late in 2019, just before the pandemic brought the licensed trade to its knees.

The ‘full-bodied and fruity’ tipple with ‘elements of citrus and herbs’ earned plaudits from critics and consumers alike and made its way onto the shelves in some of Scotland’s most stylish bars, restaurants and stockists in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, including The Balmoral, The Gannet and Valhalla’s Goat.

Now as the hospitality trade prepares to move out of lockdown Dominic and David predict their Valentian Vermouth will become the must-taste drink of the summer.

They have revealed plans for a centre for excellence, incorporating a tasting room and experimentation studio, with the preferred location in Melrose at the foot of the Eildon Hills, a location featured prominently on their vermouth bottle.

The firm acted quickly when the UK went into lockdown a year ago, pivoting towards direct-to-consumer sales and a focus on independent sellers still able to operate under tight restrictions.

It meant the business was able to maintain momentum during a challenging 2020, and gave co-founder Dominic, who runs Tait Bros day-to-day with brother David as a backer, time to plan the next exciting phase for the drinks maker – the crux of which is a crowdfunding campaign to finance the creation of a brand home and ‘centre for vermouth excellence’.

Proposals for the tasting room include a licensed Aperitivo bar, tasting room and retail space (for on and off sales) to allow consumers to sample and buy products, as well as co-working space and a private meeting room.

Dominic, 33, said: “The vermouth and aperitif market is growing in the UK and globally, but Scotland is being left behind, and we believe that by creating a centre of excellence for vermouth in the Scottish Borders, we will place Valentian Vermouth at the forefront of the sector, building provenance and a reputation for craft with consumers and the UK drinks industry.”