Case Study: Scilly Spirit

Scilly Spirit is a gin distillery established and run by husband and wife team Arthur & Hilary Miller. Arthur has worked in the alcoholic drinks industry for over 20 years, whilst Hilary has nearly 30 years experience as managing director for a corporate hospitality service.

The start- up has benefitted from £100,000 of funding - the maximum amount available from the investment programme – which has created skilled employment for the owners, launched a new product to the market place and has provided exciting new activities on the island in the form of Distillery Tours and/or a Gin School experience. The funding has enabled investment into distillation equipment, bottling and labelling equipment, advertising, brand design and the renovation and refurb of an existing building.

Business owners Art & Hils Miller explain what the funding has enabled the business to do:

‘We certainly could not have set up this new business without the funding from the investment scheme, so it has been a tremendous help in enabling us to purchase the best equipment possible, which has absolutely proven its worth in the quality of our Island Gin. We wanted to be able to optimise our skill set, to develop a brand that would help to bring to life the beautiful and amazing spirit of Scilly, and in turn will be a vehicle to drive saliency for the Isles of Scilly, by engaging a significant new audience, in what is an ever increasing category, given the Gin category alone has more than doubled in size in the last 5 years.

The business has also had a brilliant start, winning four prestigious awards within months of our launch! In May we were awarded “Winner” of “Best Design & Packaging for the UK Spirits Category”, which was presented in the Grand Hall, Olympia, London, and in June we were awarded “Master” (this is better than Gold) in the “Global Gin Masters” competition, and we were one of only 14 to receive that award from the 320 Gins from around the World that were tasted! Then most recently on 30th July, we received two awards from the world famous IWSC (International Wine & Spirits Competition) – awarded bronze in the London Dry Gin category and Silver in the Gin & Tonic category. Additionally, we have been able to offer our “Gin School” as a new activity for visitors to this island, which is going strongly already, with brilliant feedback from all those who’ve attended to date. With many more bookings also in the calendar for the balance of this season, we feel this experience also serves to generate a good level of positive multi-level marketing for the Isles of Scilly, as Gin School attendees pour/discuss their gin bottles when back at their respective homes with friends and family.

Programme manager Milena Fallows said: “This project is a great fit for our investment because it creates two new specialist roles and with clear plans to export and take their product nationally it ticks all the boxes. We’re actively on the look-out for other innovative businesses like this that would like to export their goods away from the islands, can drive skilled job creation and create a step change in their business from our investment.”

IOS Voucher Scheme is delivered by the Council of the Isles of Scilly and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It aims to support 55 businesses across the Isles of Scilly with growth projects, and create 22 new jobs by 2021.

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