Edinburgh pop-up shop winner #3 – Woven Whisky

Pete Allison, co-founder of blended whisky firm, Woven Whisky, talks to Small Business about their pop-up shop win

Small Business spoke to Pete Allison, co-founder of Woven Whisky, one of the three winning companies of the Sage x Small Business pop-up shop competition.

They were chosen by our expert panel to occupy a pop-up shop space in Edinburgh’s St James Quarter during the festive period last year.

The group of friends run the business out of their blending house in Leith, Edinburgh. They aim for whisky that is experimental and experiential, specialising in more creative blends. To achieve these optimal blends, Woven combine whiskies from around the world using forgotten traditions and techniques, and put them in casks to develop the flavours further.

Tell us more about you and your business

My name is Pete Allison, I’m one of the founders of Woven Whisky. We’re blending whiskies based in Leith, right here in Edinburgh. We’ve been going for almost three years, trading for about two and a half. What we do is that we make blended whiskies in a really contemporary and unique fashion, that hopefully speaks to a younger and more diverse audience of whisky drinkers.

Why did you enter the competition?

We actually entered because we came across it through a friend of a friend who sent it to us. They were really excited and said, ‘This will be perfect for you’. We were just really excited to be able to be in one of Edinburgh’s most busy shopping centres. And to be able to do something during the Christmas period, I think that was the main motivation.

But also, getting a little bit closer to other businesses. Because it’s a unique experience running a small business. But being able to connect with other people that are doing it as well is really great. So there was that element. And then also getting that little bit of support. Being able to speak to the guys at Sage and Small Business was quite important to us as well, so it was multi-layered. But ultimately, it was to be able to to be here and see how we cope in a retail environment.

What are the main takeaways you’re hoping for from this event?

The main thing that we’re hoping to take away from this is some exposure in our home market, where we’re available in lots of bars and specialist retail shops. I like whisky shops, but being able to be part of a hustling and bustling thoroughfare like here is really exciting for us. There’s that level of exposure to a wider demographic than we’re used to. It’s also coming up for Christmas, so we’re hoping for some sales. That’s quite important for us, so we’re able to get some volume and some money coming in. But I think from a wider perspective, I think what we’re really looking to do is to is to build connections with like-minded businesses and engage in conversation with people, that are going through the same journey as us. So that’s what we’re quite excited about.

What does it mean to your business?

Well, first of all, it was really exciting. It was a little bit daunting for a second though. We thought, ‘What have we got ourselves into?’ I think it was just general excitement of being able to to have an actual physical retail space in Edinburgh and in St James Quarter was something that that, as a small business, we just can’t afford to even look in to. That was just astonishing for us. We’re really grateful to the organisers. It’s been a real privilege.

More on the Sage pop-up shop competition

Sage pop-up shop winner #1 – Kirsty Fergusson, GET IT GRL – Kirsty Fergusson, founder of personalised gift and women’s wear brand, GET IT GRL, talks to Small Business about her pop-up shop win

Sage pop-up shop winner #2 – Ruby Friel, Still Life – Ruby Friel, founder of gifts and homewares brand, Still Life, talks to Small Business about her pop-up shop win

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.