Mawdesley-based distillery business Spitfire Heritage is eyeing European markets following a £70k loan from MSIF to help deliver the latest stage in their expansion plans.
Spitfire Heritage Gin was conceived by Managing Director, Ian Hewitt in May 2016. The idea for the brand was a result of Ian’s involvement with the Spitfire Heritage Trust, as both the co-founder and Vice Chairman. He wanted to create a bespoke and notable gin worthy of the iconic Spitfire name, with a 1930’s retrospective tone.
With over 29% of UK consumers voting gin as their favourite quintessential tipple, Ian called upon champion gin maker John Walters to help master a signature flavour that captured the essence of the Spitfire brand. A distinct botanical gin was created with notes of rosemary, blood orange and English rose. Ian prides himself on not only the unique and robust taste of Spitfire Gin but its high quality that is created in one of the only single-estate distillers in the UK.
Sarah Hewitt, Co-Director of Spitfire Gin, approached George Wright from the MSIF Finance Hub to acquire help for a Start-Up loan during the early growth of the business. The Finance Hub was able to co-ordinate a proposition for investment and submit the application for funding, resulting in a backing of £25k.
Since securing the funds, Sarah and Ian have grown their Lancashire-based business, increasing the demand for their botanical crafted gin. As well as distribution across bars, restaurants and hotels within the UK, Spitfire Heritage also supplies to a number of select retailers including Juniper Club and Harrods who classed the artisanal gin as “One of Britain’s best.”
To keep up with the growing demand, the Finance Hub worked with Sue Chambers, MSIF Investment Manager, to obtain a further £70K loan to help with the development and protection of the Spitfire Heritage brand. They plan to launch merchandise and apparel in the near future alongside their latest addition to the spirit market with, Supermarine Vodka.
Following the successes of international air show events and the 100th Anniversary of The RAF, the hope is to target more aviation enthusiasts and, satisfy the increased interest of the Spitfire Heritage brand with expansion into the European market.
Ian Hewitt of Spitfire Heritage said “Every small Start Up gets to a point where it needs to expand and grow. MSIF have allowed us to not only broaden our business to a wider market but to draw in the help needed to protect our luxury brand.”
“We have had an exciting year with some great opportunities and events. Providing Spitfire Gin as the choice of drink for the Queen’s Birthday at the Ambassador’s Residence in Paris, has to be a key highlight. None of this would have been possible without the help of George from the Finance Hub at the very beginning of our venture, and Sue’s continued support after that.”
George Wright, MSIF Finance Hub Facilitator said “It has been a delight working with Ian and Sarah. We spent over 16 hours working together and would be happy to work together in the future. The Spitfire brand is striking has some real strength and character. I’m eager to see what the next year brings.”
Sue Chambers, MSIF Investment Manager said “Ian is such a likable character with great passion for his brand. The credentials of the distiller are world class with a unique and creative bottle design. The growth of his client base is a direct result of the hard work and dedication that he has put into Spitfire Heritage. I’m looking forward to further exciting developments the very near future.”