Craft whisky startup triples revenue in three years
A craft whisky startup has tripled its revenue in the first three years of operation.
Young Spirits started its craft whisky and rum business in June 2019. Following their rapid growth, the Edinburgh-based company has gone from two employees to 42.
Young Spirits growth despite Covid
Unlike many businesses, the Covid pandemic was a blessing in disguise for John Ferguson and Alex Harrison. Before the pandemic hit Young Spirits expanded its workforce and premises, and then Covid threatened to close its doors. With the threat of closure looming they received a large order for hand sanitiser. This saved the business and allowed them to increase their exposure to the wider market.
Alex explains: “The hand sanitiser volumes from a distiller were so big we were working 24 hours a day trying to bottle it and get it out of the door. After that, we had a backlog of spirits which we got through. Most of the growth in the business was quite organic, through word of mouth with not much promotion, but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster.”
As well as increasing its workforce, Young Spirits have significantly increased its warehouse space with three moves in three years. Now, the warehouse is over 30,000 square feet from 2,000 square feet in 2019. The capacity of the business has also increased from 750 bottles a day to 4,000 bottles a day.
Rapid growth in the whisky industry
Young Spirits represents a rapidly growing whisky industry. The Edinburgh-based business’s growth, even with the Covid boost, is seriously impressive.
It is difficult to judge how far a small batch distillery can go, but Alex has big plans for the future: “The future for the business changes on a daily basis. We want to make it more carbon-neutral in the future, that’s a big thing for us. And then we want to open an online shop. We plan to increase our staff numbers to 55 by 2024.”
Similar to a number of other larger whisky distillers, Young Spirits hope to work towards a sustainable process from start to finish.
With climate change a huge threat to water, barley and yeast production, it is important that whisky distilleries work together toward a carbon-neutral goal.
One of the biggest whisky producers in the world, Beam Suntory have recently expanded its partnership with the RSPB and PWS to protect the peatlands of Ayrshire.
The success of Young Spirits is proof of the durability of the whisky industry. Consumers are looking for both the quality of the established whisky brands as well as the smaller craft brands. In fact, larger brands are always on the lookout for smaller distilleries to further invest and expand their range for consumers.
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