£20 million fund managed by Maven Capital Partners invests in craft distillery Durham Gin

Published by Alison Gittins

Durham-based distillery set for rapid growth aiming to become the North East’s ‘distiller of choice’

The Finance Durham fund, managed by DBC Members Maven Capital Partners, has completed its first deal, investing £250,000 in the region’s largest small-batch craft distillery, Durham Gin.

Founded in 2014 by former NHS chief Jon Chadwick, Durham Gin is a small-batch craft distillery that creates spirits using a 400 litre copper pot. The company, which is now one of the region’s leading craft distillers, produces gin, vodka and gin-based liqueurs sold under the Durham Gin and Durham Vodka brands.

While the exact recipe remains a closely guarded secret, Durham Gin contains fresh water from a natural spring in County Durham and 10 separate botanicals, including floral flavours such as juniper, elderflower and pink peppercorn.

The company moved into its current Langley Park distillery in January 2014, selling its first bottle of Gin just one month later. It quickly secured shelf space in flagship stores across the North East and now supplies national retailers such as Fenwick and Majestic Wines.

The spirit market has enjoyed stellar growth as consumer tastes have shifted towards craft alcohol, favouring smaller, independent producers. Last year, sales of gin in the UK increased by 16%, equating to 43 million bottles sold across the country. The UK Gin market is now worth over £1 billion and is expected to rise to £1.3 billion by 2020.

The investment will allow the business to relocate to central Durham to accommodate greater production capacity and storage facilities. The new site will also include a new visitor centre, which will provide guided distillery tours and host private and corporate events.

The investment into Durham Gin is the first deal from the £20 million Fund set up by Business Durham, part of Durham County Council. The Fund is managed by Maven Capital Partners, one of the UK’s most active private equity houses and SME finance providers, to support the growth of high potential businesses located in, or looking to relocate to the County. Maven provides flexible funding packages tailored to SMEs’ growth requirements, and has recently opened offices in both Newcastle and Durham to support regional businesses.

Alongside fulfilling its innovative expansion plans, the Finance Durham funding will also support the launch of Durham Whisky, the North East’s first ever Whisky, which will be produced by Head Distiller, Jessica Tomlinson.  The first bottles will be available for purchase in 2021, and customers can pre-order their bottles from the first batch distilled later this year.

Jon Chadwick, Founder of Durham Gin said: “It has been a fantastic process working with Maven’s local team, which has a long-standing experience in assisting start-ups like ourselves go from strength to strength. Maven took time to understand our business and our particular needs thoroughly, tailoring the investment to support our growth strategy.”