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Michael Saunders named director of Didsbury Gin

Michael Saunders, CEO of Bibendum, has been named non-executive director of premium English gin brand and Dragon’s Den success story, Didsbury Gin.

Saunders will work alongside the brand’s founders and board members to ensure high levels of corporate governance and boost its industry reputation.

He joined Bibendum in 1982 straight out of school and opened its first on-trade account in 1985, working his way up to become CEO of the company.

Today Bibendum is one of the UK’s leading drinks distributors, supplying wine and spirits to restaurants, pubs and hotels across the UK.

In addition to his day job, Saunders also chairs the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, and was chairman of The Drinks Trust charity from 2019 to 2021.

“Didsbury Gin is a very dynamic business with a unique proposition. Despite being told they were late to market, Liam and Mark proved that a commitment to quality and a focus on innovation is key to success in the drinks industry.

“I’m delighted to become a part of such a forward-thinking and exciting business, alongside the founders, who have such great energy and drive,” Saunders said.

The brand has also appointed Allan Beattie as its new finance director, who brings 40 years of industry experience to the table and arrives by way of Brockmans Gin, where he was also finance director.

Beattie will be responsible for working with the founders to oversee the company’s financial strategy and accounting operations, ensuring long term financial health and sustainability as the business embarks on period of rapid expansion.

Didsbury Gin co-founder, Liam Manton, said of the two appointments: “As we continue to be bold, daring and different, it’s crucial we tap into the top talent and expertise in the industry to allow us to do that.

“We’re delighted to welcome such talented individuals to the business and are excited to learn from the wealth of expertise and opportunities they bring with them.

“It’s an exciting time for the brand with huge opportunities for growth in the pipeline as a result of our new partnership with C&C group, so it’s fantastic to bring on two team members with such a wide breadth of industry experience to join us on this journey.”

Domestic sales of the Manchester-based brand have surpassed the £3 million mark.

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