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Whisky expert Charles MacLean opens new Stirling glassmaking studio

A family firm has opened a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio in Stirling following a successful Crowdfunding appeal.

Published: August 2, 2017
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Whisky expert and author Charles MacLean cut the ribbon on the new facility at Bridge of Allan-based giftware company Angels’ Share Glass.

Picture: Angels' Share Glass

It will allow co-founders, Tom Young MBE and his daughter Karen Somerville, to increase production of their glass creations and train a new generation of glassblowers to continue their glassmaking legacy.

Mr MacLean said: “I’m so pleased to have been invited here today to open the studio - this is already a terrific company and the new venture will move it even further forward.

“The glass angels they make are very fun and appealing while the whisky water droppers are so elegant and useful - in my opinion every whisky connoisseur should have at least one of them.

“It’s wonderful to see a small Scottish company doing so well and selling their gifts all over the world.”

The firm, which specialises in glass gifts for whisky lovers, launched a crowdfunding campaign which raised £11,000 to help fund the studio.

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The co-founders also received extra funding from the Scottish Microfinance Fund allowing them to develop a well-equipped bespoke studio at their headquarters.

This will now be used instead of Mr Young’s home workshop which is too small to keep up with rising demand.

At the launch ceremony, guests – including local dignitaries, business clients and Crowdfund supporters – had the chance to watch the firm’s glassmaker Bee Hardy demonstrate her glassblowing skills in the new studio.

Talented glassmaker Bee Hardy demonstrates her skills in the new studio. Picture: Angels' Share Glass

Stirling Bailie Chris Kane, representing the Provost’s Office, said: “It was fascinating to see one of Tom’s legendary Angels being blown in the new studio, particularly by new glassblower Bee showing just how well Tom has taught her the secrets of the trade.

“It is testament to Tom – and his daughter Karen – that their creativity and business acumen has taken the journey from Tom’s garden shed to a purpose- built studio in just four years.

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“With their products held in such high regard by both the whisky industry and whisky drinkers all over the world, I can’t wait to see what’s next for this Stirling business success story.”

The firm’s Managing Director Karen Somerville was delighted to see the studio open and thanked everyone who has supported the firm since it was established in 2013.

She said: “The studio is badly needed thanks to increasing demand for our products and the phenomenal growth we’ve experienced since start-up.

“It will give our glassmaker Bee a fantastic base to work from and ensure the art of glassmaking continues to have a bright future in Stirling.”

Her father, Tom Young, has been making glass by hand using traditional methods for 60 years and recently received an MBE for his services to glassmaking.

He said: “Having a new studio with more space for staff to work in means a lot to me.

“It will be a great advantage when it comes to passing glassblowing skills onto a new generation of young glassmakers and making sure we keep the tradition alive.”

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• More information on Angels’ Share Glass can be found at www.angelsshareglass.com

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