Conker Spirit

Conker Spirit wins Dorset Food & Drink Award

Congratulations to Conker Spirit, winners of this year’s Dorset Magazine Food, Drink and Farming Award 2015 for Best Drink Product of the Year. A triumphant mixture of an excellent locally sourced product, unremitting promotion, and unbounded enthusiasm and dedication from Rupert Holloway and his bijou team. We are proud to advise them on strategy and help with their accounting and tax.

Conker Spirit is the first independent craft gin distillery in Dorset. Using traditional techniques they distill British grain spirit with New Forest spring water and botanicals that embody the flavour and character of Dorset and the New Forest, including samphire, elderberries and hand-picked gorse flowers. The result is a unique gin defined as a Dorset Dry.

The story

Conker Spirit is a start-up which positions itself as having a national reach whilst using local ingredients and a craft ethos. It needs to scale rapidly to gain enough sales to be self-sustaining. To do that they need both traditional and equity funding. At the same time Conker also need to develop a following and create local interest in what they are trying to achieve.

The solution

A business plan was designed to help find traditional bank funding, some asset financing, and some equity investment. In the process of developing the plan together we enabled the voice and spirit of the offering to shine through. This won the company a £10,000 grant from Dorset Growth Hub. The plan also attracted equity investment to finance new equipment and to enable a move into bigger premises. More recently they have also been granted a £9,900 government start-up loan.

The elements of the business plan that were key to it’s success were that it showed a deep understanding of the market, sufficient and competent management and an enthusiasm which created excitement among investors.

The future

The next step is to help Conker Spirit construct a five-year strategy, for which government funding has already been secured, to enable the company to capitalise on this early success and to achieve national reach and the director’s aspirations.

Here’s what they said

“Nick adds real value to our business, beyond the accountant’s obligatory checklist. He specialises in small business issues that are important to us, with a particular emphasis on business improvement, strategic planning and complex taxation issues. 

Hixsons have encouraged, cajoled, edited and critiqued the plan and I’m looking forward to the strategy sessions. They do all the things that I don’t have the time to do or can’t do and show me how I can do it myself in the future.That’s the spirit !”

Rupert Holloway
Director Conker Spirit

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