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Berry Bros & Rudd buys minority stake in Cotswold Distillery

The UK’s oldest independent wine merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd (BBR), has bought a minority stake in premium English spirit producer, Cotswold Distillery, it has been annoucned, with BBR’s CEO Emma Fox joining the board of the Warwickshire distillery.

The investment, which has not been disclosed publicly, is part of a ‘Cotswolds 2.0’ funding round which includes some existing as well as new private investors. This is is aimed at ramping up production of the distillery’s single malt whisky, which launched in 2017, but which “came into its own” in 2021 Cotswolds Distillery founder Daniel Szor previously told db, helped by the brand recognition (and cashflow) generated by its gin brand.

In February last year the distillery announced a significant expansion in the production of its single malt whisky, which included a second dedicated whisky distillery at its 14-acre Shipston on Stour site in the North Cotswolds that became operational in November 2022. This helps boost production to around 500,000 litres of pure alcohol each year, making Cotswold Distillery the largest producer of English Whisky.

The whisky is now listed in Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tesco, Majestic, Amazon & Ocado among other retailers, and distributed in more than 35 international markets.

The new investment will also help fund the distillery’s plans to boost its sustainability plans, including the building of a bio-diverse wetlands ecological treatment system and related landscaping works at the site, which already attracts around 100,000 visitors to its visitor centre and two satellite shops.

BBR’s CEO Emma Fox said the fine wine merchant was delighted to have partnered with Cotswolds Distillery and was looking forward to supporting and accelerating their international expansion and helping them maximise the growing global opportunity in New World Whisky.

“Their impressive growth has seen them become the best-selling English Whisky and a leading light in the fast-growing premium single malt category,” she said. “We’re also delighted that our investment will help boost their sustainability plans as this is an important part of our role in the industry to ensure we’re building a resilient and sustainable future for generations to come.”

Former BBR managing director Jeremy Parsons, who took over from Szor as CEO in March last year, said he was delighted to be working with Fox as she joined the distillery’s board.

Szor, who stepped down as CEO last year to concentrate on building the distillery’s long-term strategy and developing its range of spirits, also applauded the latest funding round, in particular the new partnership with Berry Brothers “who, like us, stand for excellence in fine spirits, as we further build our brand through increased national and international distribution,” he said.

The volume of spirit produced by English distilleries was forecasted to grow 189% between 2019-2023, with the number of bottles expected to grow by around 418%, according to the English Whisky Guild, the fledgling English whisky marketing group that launched last May.


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