Ricky Gervais becomes distillery co-owner
Comedian Ricky Gervais has announced a major investment in and partnership with North Yorkshire’s Ellers Farm Distillery.
Known as the creator and star of hit British sitcom The Office, Ricky Gervais is now turning his hand to spirits, and will take creative leadership for Ellers Farm Distillery, lead global brand awareness and marketing efforts for the company.
The deal with Gervais sees him become co-owner of the business. The British comedian said of his new role: “The exciting part for me is that I’ve been promised that I can try to make it a global brand in my own way. Something I can’t help but think they will regret.”
He will initially focus on the company’s leading brand, Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka, but will also cover Ellers Farm’s gins, liqueurs, and English single malt whisky.
Gervais said: “I’d been looking to invest in eco-friendly businesses for a while and as soon as I found Dutch Barn – I wanted in. I love the planet and I love a drink so it was the perfect combination.”
“On a serious note Dutch Barn really is a quality product. I love the fact that it’s done differently and I can’t wait to let everyone know about it.”
Ellers Farm Distillery was launched in 2021, and announced its B Corp certification in September 2023.
Gervais took to the internet to announce his new position, posting a tongue-in-cheek video. “The best bit is, this could literally make me hundreds of millions,” the comedian said. “Sure, like any strong liquor it may damage your liver and your wellbeing, but think how happy it would make me,” he added.
Chris Fraser, founder and chairman of Ellers Farm Distillery, said the brand was please to have forged “an authentic partnership with Ricky involving both investment and creative leadership” in the face of “so many hollow celebrity cash-for-face brand endorsement deals out there”.
He added: “Ricky will be an integral part of the business going forward and will help shape how Dutch Barn is seen around the world and helping us make Dutch Barn a global success.”
AIG Holdings, a global insurance company, advised and invested in Ellers Farm as part of the transaction.
According to the company’s latest sustainability report, the firm has also offset 246 tonnes of CO2 to compensate for its employees’ personal emissions, as well as using 25,407kWh of 100% renewable electricity, which was purchased for its office and distillery.
Becoming a B Corp in September, it is a Living Wage employer and worked with ClimatePartner to calculate carbon footprints of its products, using a cradle-to-customer plus waste approach.
Emissions taken into account throughout the lifecycle stages included extraction and pre-processing of materials, ingredients and packaging, production in its facilities, distribution to customers’ factory gates, and the disposal of packaging.
Based on the B Impact assessment, Ellers Farm Distillery earned an overall score of 81.5, with a median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment currently at 50.9.
Also as part of its sustainability agenda, it partnered on off-setting schemes, including the planting of a million plants of native bamboo in eastern Nicaragua, covering 2, 361 hectares, and a biodiversity project in Columbia.
In addition, the farm operates a profit share scheme where 20% of its profits go to the employees of the business, and it operates fair pay ratios.