Against the grain… distiller's sales grow during lockdown



Distiller and brewer Eden Mill has gone against the grain in the drinks industry by increasing revenues during the Covid pandemic.

The St Andrews business reported the 9% year on year rise in sales for April to June as it announced Tony Kelly has taken over from co-founder Paul Miller as chief executive.

Miller will now focus on Eden Mill’s carbon neutral single malt whisky distillery, which is being built at Eden Campus at Guardbridge and is said to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

At a time when the drinks industry suffered from the worldwide closure of bars, restaurants and airport duty free shops, Eden Mill’s revenue grew to £2 million during the second quarter of the year, bringing a record £800,000 profit.

That was driven by a 600% increase in online sales. Eden Mill says its sent more than 1,000 batches per day from its new Glasgow Gateway distribution centre. The firm said export sales to Russia, Germany and Australia were among those to pick up as the UK remained in lockdown.

Kelly said: “While e-commerce has always been a fundamental pillar of our multi-channel distribution model, the unprecedented crisis we have found ourselves operating in has forced us to accelerate our strategic plans and adapt to the new environment.

“Changing consumer behaviour during the coronavirus crisis has been a catalyst for us to fast-track our plans while the flexibility and marketing nous of our team has delivered increased sales, market share and brand awareness.

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“The great set of financial results achieved in the last quarter will also now enable us to retain more of our team post furlough and to push on, unhindered by Covid-19, with our distillery development.”

During lockdown, Eden Mill has also hosted virtual gin tastings and cocktail masterclasses, with over 4,000 gin lovers paying to take part. It plans to further develop its “virtual experiences” as consumers emerge from lockdown.

Under the new management structure, Kelly will focus on day-to-day sales, operations and digital marketing.

The new distillery campus being steered by Miller will also house an Eden Mill visitor experience, with distilling under way by the end of 2021.

Eden Mill became the first spirits distiller in the St Andrews area for 150 years when it was founded in 2012 on the site of the old Seggie Distillery. It is moving its operations to the site of a former paper mill north of the town. The firm’s products include a range of craft beers, pre-mixed gin cocktails in cans as well as its whisky, core gin and gin liqueurs.

Kelly added: “We could not have achieved these results without the skill, imagination and resilience of our sales, marketing and operations team during these challenging times.

“Together with our new distribution centre and new distillery coming on stream in 2021 we are now in a strong position to provide greater capability to build our business, give us greater control, and most importantly satisfy future customer demand in a growing market.

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“I would like to thank all of our suppliers, customers and most importantly, my Eden Mill colleagues for their support, dedication, innovation and hard work during this historic period we have all been living through.”



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