Scottish producer Crafty Distillery intends to expand its spirits offering with the creation of a Lowland single malt Scotch whisky, called Billy & Co.Known for its gin and recently crowned Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year, Crafty Distillery is now preparing to expand into the world of Scotch whisky, starting with a bespoke founders' club. Many new Scotch distilleries offer a ‘founders’ club’, which sees members spending around £400-£500 (US$545-US$680) on their first bottlings, which they will receive in three to 10 years’ time. However, Crafty Distillery is taking a different approach, and inviting anyone to join the club to start nosing, tasting and sampling a range of unique aged new make spirit samples from next spring. The membership is capped to 695 people and costs £189 (US$257). This will include 16 50ml samples, which will be shipped in six separate boxes over the course of a few months. What’s more, members will be able to interact with the team at Crafty Distillery and offer their feedback on the samples tasted. Sample 17 will be a product made following hundreds of hours of research, analysis, distilling, nosing and tasting conducted by hundreds of people. Craig Ranklin, master distiller and distillery manager, said: “Prior to maturation, we all know that the unique tastes and aromas found in single malt Scotch whisky originate from the only three permitted ingredients; barley, yeast and water. “Our goal is to better understand the science and performance of varieties of barley, explore unique yeasts, the flavours they produce and the effects of all the processes and their influences. “What better way to do this than explore a range of unique new make spirit samples for our founders to feedback on.” Crafty Distillery will also work with Dublin University to analyse samples and create focus groups. The name of the brand, Billy & Co, was inspired by the founder’s late father, Billy, who was an avid single malt Scotch fan. Graham Taylor, managing director and founder, said: “We have a reputation for innovation and for inviting our customers along on the journey, as this gives us valuable insight. We used a similar approach for our Hills & Harbour Gin and have no doubt that this played a part in its continued success. “Similarly, our Founders Club members will help us uncover a formula for Lowland single malt Scotch whisky production that not only delivers on the traditions of what Scotch whisky deserves to be, but also takes it to another level of regionality, quality and taste.” To join the Billy & Co Founders Club, or for more information on the brand, visit www.craftydistillery.com/billyandco to find out more.