CEO and Co-founder Darren Rook had wanted to open his own distillery for some time. With over a decade’s experience working in the drinks industry he realised that London had no whisky of its own, despite such a rich heritage of distilleries dating back centuries, so he started the London Distillery Company to bring craft whisky and gin production back to the heart of the capital.
In 2011 the London Distillery Company became London’s first active whisky distillery since 1903, when it opened its site on the Thames at Battersea, before moving to their current home in Bermondsey.
“Our mission was to make The London Distillery Company the first true craft distilling business in London” says Darren. “There’s so much science and skill behind it, but this had been lost with the growth of the city.”
Having set out with a distinct focus on whisky, the gin production that The London Distillery Company is now famous for was merely a side-project.
“With a product like whisky, you have to sit on it for three years before it’s even legal, so we decided to produce some gin in the meantime.”
Their side-project, Dodd’s Gin, named after Ralph Dodd who attempted to open a distillery in the capital back in 1807, soon became the business’ main revenue driver with Fortnum and Mason selling it alongside their own brand gin, also produced by The London Distillery Company.
“We were selling 200 bottles a week” said Rook, “initially we only planned to produce 180 a month. Fortnum’s wanted more stock, so we had to keep up. We ended up having a great year, and the relationship with Fortnum’s has grown ever since.”
The cash flow challenges
It was at that point the company realised cash flow was going to be a challenge “We looked around at finance companies, but we didn’t want 12 month terms, we wanted a flexible option. MarketInvoice is great for a fast growing company like ours, it means we have that choice.”
In 2015 the company moved premises to Bermondsey, meaning they were out of production for a few months. Once again, cash flow was crucial during this time. Although the company had stock to sell, it needed to realise the cash from orders quickly to keep the operation going over the quieter time. Rook said “MarketInvoice was a real saving grace for us in terms of keeping the business ticking over, and has given us a great base to grow from.”
The company has big plans for 2017. “This year we’re opening a new distillery dedicated to gin production”, explained Rook “it will include a bar and tours, so represents the next phase of the company’s growth.”
“We’re also looking into a more retail-centric model, aiming to start selling through supermarkets rather than just to bars as we currently do, so MarketInvoice will be critical again when we’re dealing with long payment terms.”
The benefits of online finance
The London Distillery company uses online accounting software, Xero, to manage all of its accounts. Xero is one of the many accounting software packages that MarketInvoice integrates with to provide a smooth end-to-end experience.