Cornish distiller set to increase annual turnover by 50%

Food & Drink | Funding | Growth | South West

A family-owned spirits manufacturer has invested in new equipment that will see turnover increase by 50%, with the support of a funding package from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Colwith Farm Distillery is based on a family-owned fifth-generation potato farm in Lanlivery, Cornwall. It developed its plough to bottle distillery in 2018 to tap into consumer demand for craft spirits, which has seen sales of the spirit in the UK increase by 267 per cent over the last decade.

It now uses 200 tonnes of potatoes a year to make its own single estate vodka and gin, which is sold to retail outlets, pubs and restaurants throughout the West Country, and recently introduced gin-making masterclasses and distillery tours to its offering.

As a result of growing demand, the business secured a significant loan from Lloyds Bank, which forms part of the bank’s pledge to lend £1.5bn to South West firms this year to help Britain prosper. The loan is being used to purchase new distillation equipment, including a Genio stripping and polishing still and potato pump, and has also contributed to a steel portal frame building.

Colwith Farm Distillery is now set to launch four new products this year, including rhubarb gin, rose and hibiscus infused vodka, vanilla vodka and classic dry gin. These additions are expected to boost annual turnover by 50%. The business also plans to increase its headcount by a further 25% over the next 12 months.

Steve Dustow, director at Colwith Farm Distillery, said: “There has been a surge in demand for artisan spirits over the last five years. We saw an opportunity to make the most of this as the potatoes we grow are one of the key ingredients for distilling alcohol. Our gin has received a really positive reception since we started selling to the public last summer.

“Thanks to the financial backing from Lloyds Bank, we are able to continue to invest in our product portfolio to offer our customers new and exciting flavours.”

Jeremy Weekes, agricultural relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Colwith Farm Distillery is a prime example of a business that has spotted an opportunity to move into an adjacent sector, leveraging its current proposition. We are committed to being by the side of business, and with the funding in place we envisage great success for the business in the coming years as demand for its quality spirits continues to rise.”

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