Meet the Maker: William Woodburn

SLTN speaks to William Woodburn, director/owner of Blur 69 Vodka

Q: Name of the product you make?

A: Blur 69 Vodka. We produce four flavours: Original, Watermelon, Pineapple and Blue Raspberry, which are all 40% ABV. 

Q: How long have you worked for the company?

A: We have worked from this location long before starting in the drinks industry. We have just celebrated ten years working from here, and this is the latest business we have started from these offices and location. 

Q: Describe the production process

A: We outsource the distillation of the spirit to a small distillery up in the north of Scotland. We then bring this to our yard where the magic happens; we create the ultra-smooth premium product which is packaged within the bottles. We use concentrated liquids which were made by using fresh fruit to add the fresh flavours which our vodkas showcase. 

Q: What’s a typical working day like? 

A: Well it really varies from day to day. Only last week I was hosting some influencer guests at Trump Turnberry, who we partnered with to create an amazing three-day trip for some of social media’s biggest names, which included horse-riding, clay pigeon shooting and quad biking – and some golf lessons too. The days then finished with the most amazing dinners with a tasting menu which complements our bespoke cocktail lists and perfect serves that showcased our vodkas. Then we flip it with me out meeting new stockists, being on Zoom calls with potential wholesalers and dealing with the commercial side of the business, like ensuring that we have enough products to service our stockists and working hand in hand with the marketing team. 

Q: Please provide tasting notes 

A: Our tasting notes are very true to the products’ flavours. The Pineapple and Watermelon taste like a holiday in a glass, they are so refreshing with either a tonic or lemonade, which lets the fruit shine through and gives you that summer drink vibe. The Blue Raspberry taste like a blue slushie, which just gives me great memories of being a kid. The Original is extremely smooth and gives the big boys a run for their money with the taste. 

Q: What would you say sets your product apart from others? 

A: Being in a busy market place our USP above all else is that we are not just pumping out a basic product – a lot of time and money has been invested here to ensure we stand alone from the other vodkas made in Scotland or the UK. Just tasting our vodka you will be able to tell the difference in the quality. So I suppose the taste is where we stand out from the crowd. 

Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand? 

A: We are a Glasgow-based family company who pride ourselves on the quality and taste of our product. 

Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your product? 

A: My favourite way is with lemonade, however I have a sweet tooth! Some people may prefer it with tonic or soda water. 

 Q: What’s your favourite part of the job? 

A: I honestly enjoy every part of the job I’m doing. Every day or week is different – meeting the stockists and getting the feedback from industry veterans is great. I get a buzz from how pleasantly surprised they are having tasted our products. 

Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why? 

A: I have to say that the hard work and dedication from the on-trade bar owners is something I do admire. They have been through it all, from COVID to the cost of living rise. It’s not been easy for them, hats off to them for riding this out and keeping the bars open when it would have been an easy call for some of them to shut up shop. 

Q: How do you relax outside of work? 

A: Without sounding too clichéd I love walking my dog in the nearby country park. It gets me away from the desk and allows me to unwind.

 Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink? 

A: That’s a tough question I would probably say I would pick Calvin Harris and maybe Gordon Ramsay. We would go to Vegas to eat in Gordon’s restaurant and then watch a set by CH in Omina nightclub.