Northampton-based Warner Edwards Distillery, a craft-gin producer, has secured a £150,000 prize after winning HSBC’s Elevator Pitch, a national competition for SMEs.
Warner Edwards will use the money to invest in new equipment and staff to increase production and fulfil larger orders. The business is also planning to build a botanical garden next to its distillery in the village of Harrington to grow herbs and spices to flavour its gin.
Tom Warner, founding partner of Warner Edwards, said: “This is a real game-changer for our business and will enable us to turbo-charge our growth plans. It means being able to invest in increasing our capacity much sooner than we’d planned so we can take advantage of the demand for gin globally. Our first task will be to strengthen our team and start to develop our markets overseas. This win gives us the confidence to move forward”.
More than 1,000 SMEs from across the UK entered the competition by submitting a 90-second video pitch outlining how they would use £150,000 to grow their business. Warner Edwards was one of 10 finalists from across the country to attend a two-day masterclass in London, where they received coaching and advice on how to improve their business, before finally re-pitching to an expert panel.
The judging panel were impressed with Warner Edwards’ final pitch, vision for growth and innovative approach to product development. The business has already begun to gain traction with major retailers and the judges felt that the prize money would fast-forward the company’s plans, giving the business the opportunity to make investments now that were planned two or three years down the line.
Martin Hanson, HSBC’s head of business banking in the Midlands region, added: “The UK gin market is projected to be worth an estimated £1.3bn1 by 2020 and Warner Edwards is one of many craft gin distillers fighting for a share of that burgeoning market. Our judges recognised Warner Edwards’ potential to succeed in the UK but were also impressed with the business’s overseas ambitions. The prize money will help the business put in place the resources it needs to take on the competition in existing and new markets”.