UK spirit producer Henstone Distillery has sold a 50% share to entrepreneur Mike Harris as it prepares to relocate to a larger site amid “enormous growth”.
The distillery will move to an undisclosed location by the end of 2023 after “outgrowing” its original site, its founders said.
Harris, chairman of Welsh Premier League club The New Saints FC and founder of investment company Ubuntu Holdings, said the distillery was moving into a “particularly exciting time”.
Founded in 2017, the Shropshire-based distillery produces gin, whisky, vodka, brandy and rum. It also makes white-label and joint-branded products which will continue to be produced following the acquisition.
Henstone Distillery spirits are available in the UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong through retail – with UK locations including London department store Harrods – and D2C.
Co-founder Chris Toller told Just Drinks increasing UK distribution and seeking export opportunities were “high on our priorities” following the investment. The distillery is “close” to clinching a distribution deal in Italy and has “discussions ongoing” in China, he said.
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In a statement on the investment today (25 August), Toller said: “We have seen enormous growth since establishing Henstone back in 2017.
“Having outgrown our current site, this deal will provide us with a new space that will help us achieve our expansion goals and continue to produce products of the highest standard.”
Harris added: “I have watched with interest as the company continues to grow on a national scale. Now, I’m looking forward to helping the brand achieve its growth ambitions as we move into a particularly exciting time for Henstone Distillery.”
The distillery produces between 5,000-10,000 70cl bottles a year, which Toller hopes to expand “significantly” at the new site.
He added: “We plan to become self-sufficient in whisky wash production and increase capacity to circa four washes a week – this will mean distilling whisky four times per week too.”
Henstone Distillery was founded in Oswestry, Shropshire, by Chris and Alexandra Toller, and Shane and Alison Parr. The Parrs left in August this year “to concentrate on their brewing and hospitality business”.
Chris and Alexandra’s son Chris joined in 2021 as sales manager and his sister Florence joined as distiller last year. This month they added a brand ambassador to the team.
Chris told Just Drinks the business had been returning a “small profit” for the last two years.