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Award-winning Scottish firm to shut down at end of this month

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The Bridge of Allan-based Angels’ Share Glass, which makes products for the whisky industry and giftware market, was established by Karen Somerville and her late father Tom Young in 2013.

It has since gone on to supply some of the biggest names in the distilling sector, as well as visitor centres and gift shops at home and abroad.

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Speaking to The Herald in September 2020, Somerville said she had long held ambitions to start her own company and came up with the idea while watching the Ken Loach film The Angels’ Share.

A crowdfunding appeal in 2016 helped to raise the funding for its Bridge of Allan studio where it trained its own glassmakers.

The company went on to win the International Growth Award at The Herald Family Business Awards in December 2022.

However, in a post shared on LinkedIn, Somerville confirmed the business would be closing down, stating that the passing of her father has “left a large hole in our lives and in the business”.

She wrote: “After 11 remarkable years, the angels at Angels Share Glass are folding their wings. I wanted you to be the first to know that Angels’ Share Glass Ltd will be closing on May 31st 2024.

“We’ve been so grateful for your unwavering support. We’ve loved sharing this amazing journey with you. The company has been more successful than we could ever have envisioned when my dad, master glassblower, Tom Young MBE, and myself sat down and dreamed up the concept of the original whisky angels.

“From our first tentative steps, we’ve really flown not only winning awards from the get-go but bringing employment to our small village and keeping those members of staff as friends. We’ve worked with some of the biggest names in whisky.

“Our whisky angels, water droppers & specialist whisky glassware have flown all over the world and been a global hit as gifts.”

The statement continued: “Tom’s pioneering work and expertise in glass-blowing and my knowledge of and passion for the world of whisky has led to me judging the prestigious Scottish Whisky Awards and co-founding the highly successful Fife Whisky Festival.

“As vice-chair of the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (Scotland) and an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland, I’ve also been able to share my business knowledge and expertise in e-commerce with other female entrepreneurs.

“My dad’s passing last year left a large hole in our lives and in the business. We all miss him dreadfully. With new, exciting opportunities on the horizon for me, it was the natural time to take stock.

“As a team, we have achieved so many of our goals and while the decision to close Angels’ Share Glass has not been taken lightly, I felt it was important to go out on a high.”

Mr Young served his apprenticeship as a glassblower in Glasgow with R&J Wood, which made medical and laboratory glassware, and was awarded master glassblower status in 1977. 

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Somerville said her father’s legacy had been secured by the University of Stirling, which now holds his archive and future exhibitions on his work are planned. 

She paid tribute to the staff at Angels’ Share Glass, saying: “Our fantastic team are not just employees, but friends and we are looking after their interests.

“I’d like to pay tribute to them publicly for all their support and hard work over the years and to our board of directors.

“Our transition is being managed smoothly and calmly. All pending orders and obligations will be fulfilled promptly. We are committed to ensuring that your experience with us remains positive until the end. Your satisfaction has always been our top priority, and we remain dedicated to supporting you during this time of change.”

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