Luxury gin distillery’s success with Boost

A Lancashire-based gin distillery has fulfilled its biggest order to date and forecasts turnover growth of more than 300 per cent after receiving support from Boost.

Batch Brew Limited, established in 2011 by Phil Whitwell, supplies the local, regional and international wholesale market, boasting customers like Booths and most recently the exclusive Craft Gin Club.

The Burnley-based business, who recently showcased at Taste Lancashire 2017, received help from the Boost Access to Finance team to successfully apply for a £20,000 Rosebud MICRO loan.

Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council, and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Claire Plowes, operations manager at Batch, said; “We pride ourselves on thinking out of the box. When we were approached by the Craft Gin Club to be in their Christmas subscription box we jumped at the chance. We had no idea how big the order would be and what opportunities it would provide.”

“We started off distilling gin in the basement of the family home back in 2015 and we have just grown from there. We moved into Habergham Mill at the end of 2016 when we started regularly shipping big orders to Milan and Vienna.”

Jonathan Nelson, a member of Boost’s Access to Finance team, met with Phil and Claire in April 2017. Jonathan is an experienced finance specialist assisting SMEs in raising finance to support future growth.

Jonathan, said: “I was fascinated by the rapid success of Batch when I first met the team. Batch products are very well known to all the locals in Burnley and it was clear to see the potential that they had for continued growth, including the export market.

“The Craft Gin Club order was almost 80 times bigger than any order Batch had done previously. It was a mammoth task for the team to take on and as with many orders, payment is received after delivery. Creating an order so much bigger than usual meant the team needed an injection of capital to fund ingredients, equipment and labour.”

Jonathan, who worked with the business over an eight-month period, assisted with an application for a Rosebud loan which included writing a credit report and supporting the directors with a business plan and cash flow forecasts.

In addition to finance support, Boost is helping the business in other areas. Claire, formally a teacher, is currently having mentoring sessions with Jaydee Davies, operations manager from Community and Business partners, who will be assisting her with skills in marketing, human resources and finance.

Head distiller at Batch, Ollie Sanderson, added: “Seeking Boost support has opened up so many doors for Batch and securing the loan has allowed us to share our message and our passion for flavours and innovation with the nation. The loan from Rosebud and the contract with Craft Gin Club has put us in a great position.

“We are heading into 2018 with lots of plans. We are launching our newest range ‘Batch innovations’ in January, which lets subscribers taste a different flavour of spirit each month. This is what we truly love doing, experimenting with spirits and flavours, offering our customers something that they won’t get anywhere else.

Claire added: “The Ethos at Batch is to be green wherever we can. Given the volume of this order we took the opportunity to design new bottles for our signature gin. The new bottles are easier to pack so we can fit more in a box and they are considerably lighter – all contributing to greener travelling.”

Following the national reach from being the December gin for The Craft Gin Club subscription package, the company has recently launched a new website and began the research and development of new spirits to add to their offering. Batch are also concentrating on moving into the spirit market in China over the next 12 months.

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