Helping our clients with their long-term goals

Category: Food & Drink - Posted On: Sep 10 2019

EQ Partner Steven Todd and Ian Cuthbert of Daftmill Distillery

There can be many reasons businesses look to diversify, whether to generate further income, use surplus assets, increase their portfolio or take advantage of a growing trend. Of course, any new enterprise requires careful consideration and advice in relation to finance, tax, business structure and strategy.

The Cuthbert family have been clients of EQ for the past 20 years, farming a mixture of arable and cattle on Daftmill Farm for six generations.

Our team at EQ meet regularly with the Cuthbert family, discussing issues such as income tax and corporation tax planning, capital allowances, remuneration planning, VAT and MTD advice. The family approached us many years ago with an idea to add value to their barley crop. They previously sold their barley to whisky producers for many years, and wondered if they could set up their own whisky distillery to make more better use of it.

Whisky, or as we say in Scotland ‘water of life’, is an increasingly popular trend and with the abundance of farming land and natural water reserves, it can be an obvious choice for farmers to open a distillery. However, many are put off as it can require significant upfront investment and can take three years, or more, before the whisky is ready for bottling and sale. After discussions with the family, it was clear they had surplus buildings on the farm that could be converted in to a distillery and the financial projections produced showed that the project could be successfully funded.

EQ Partner, Steven Todd, commented;

‘We have worked with the Cuthbert family for many years, supporting them with their farming business. When they first discussed making whisky, we knew we could help them with the structure of the new venture making the most of available tax reliefs.’

With the support from EQ, they were able to fund the distillery by using the existing trading business instead of setting up a separate business. This was extremely important especially due to the 14-year maturing phase to make the whisky. They could keep their overheads as low as possible and take advantage of Capital Allowances on the significant distillery capital expenditure.

Ian Cuthbert commented;

‘EQ have supported us for a number of years, and the advice given has allowed us to oversee this whole process, from building the distillery to when we could bottle the whisky, meaning it can be kept until ready and not needed to make instant profit. The whisky-making is really more of a passion project fitted around the farming year, but we wouldn’t have done it without seeking professional advice.’

Like whisky, the relationship between client and accountant can mature and be nurtured over time. We take pride in our client relationships, ensuring we can provide the advisory support to allow clients to meet their business and personal goals.

If you would like support to diversify your business, and want to seek advice about funding opportunities, please get in touch with our EQ Food & Drink specialists by emailing or contact one of our offices.

You can read more about Daftmill Distillery based on Daftmill Farm by Cupar, Fife via