Turnover is brimming for craft gin business after mentoring

By Boost Business Lancashire

01 Oct 2019

A Fylde-based gin distillery has seen a twelve-fold growth in turnover in just 12 months after receiving help from Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme.

Award-winning small-batch gin distillery Sandgrown Spirits has increased revenue from £10,000 to £120,000 and has appointed an assistant distiller and events coordinator as well as a part-time sales executive.

Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme helped the firm’s founder Sara Dewhurst succeed in getting the craft gin into Booths Supermarket, along with a number of other reputable independent retailers.

Meanwhile, production continues to ramp up month on month, with the award-winning gin now available in more than 100 outlets across Lancashire. The business has now outgrown its current location and is moving into a larger industrial unit to facilitate further growth and enable the company to achieve bonded warehouse status..

Sara was introduced to Boost in 2018. After meeting with an Orvia advisor which delivers Boost’s Mentoring programme, she was assigned to mentor Louise Owen, who advised her on how to sustainably grow her business.

Sara said: “Louise offered advice on routes to market, how to target high-end retailers and get noticed by buyers, as well as managing cash flow and business growth. We’ve now won several awards and our gin is widely stocked by high-end retailers including Booths Supermarkets.”

Co-founded in 2018, Sandgrown Spirits produces small-batch craft gins under the brand name of Lytham Gin.  Each gin is inspired by Lytham and the Fylde coast and uses locally foraged botanicals. Sara is a chemistry graduate and former teacher and has a particular interest in organic molecules, which give gin its distinctive flavour.

Her husband and co-founder Paul has a background in manufacturing processes and systems after working for one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world.

Sara said: “Together we came up with the idea around Christmas 2017 and within four months we began producing gin which was soon stocked by local bars, restaurants and hotels. In June 2018, we secured orders from Royal Lytham Golf Club and by the autumn had created a bespoke gin named Royal Lytham Gin using botanical ingredients found on the golf course,” she added.

“The business grew faster than expected, recording a turnover of almost £10,000 in the first two months of trading. As a result, we needed support to help ensure the correct facilities, processes and structures were in place to cope rising demand and production requirements.”

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).

Sara’s assigned Boost mentor Louise Owen provided her with 12 hours of one-to-one mentoring. 

Louise was also involved in reviewing the firm’s growth plans, including cash flow, branding and marketing to help Sandgrown Ventures reach independent stores and supermarkets.

Sara added: “Louise has lots of experience in the food and drink industry and she really challenged me to think about what I wanted and how to go about achieving my goals. Lytham Gin now has five varieties of gin as well as two bespoke gins.”

 “With such rapid growth in demand and production, we are moving to a 2000 sq ft industrial unit where we can set up a larger distillery with office space, a factory shop and tasting room. We aim to move into the new premises and be established there in time for the Christmas rush.”

Louise said: “Sara has a huge amount of talent, energy, drive and enthusiasm. Like many small business owners, she was busy wearing all the business hats and therefore it was important to ensure growth was well managed to maintain consistency of product quality, service, and production levels.”

Louise added: “My mentoring with Sara covered all areas of the business and particularly accessing working capital funding to support the significant rate of business growth, managing the rate of growth and protecting Intellectual Property.”

Ann Lancaster, operations manager at Orvia, added: “It’s really great to see the rapid growth in Sara’s business and the launch of her products into our local prestigious supermarket. The fact that Sara sources her botanicals locally provides a unique aspect to the gin and her ability to produce specific flavours for her customers provides differentiation in the marketplace.”

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