Locked down drinkers provide boost for Fife gin and beer maker Eden Mill

Eden Mill, the Fife-based distiller and brewer, has cheered a lockdown sales lift and unveiled a new boss.

Tony Kelly has taken over as chief executive of Guardbridge-based Eden Mill, handling the day to day aspects of the business. Picture: Andrew Cawley
Tony Kelly has taken over as chief executive of Guardbridge-based Eden Mill, handling the day to day aspects of the business. Picture: Andrew Cawley

E-commerce and online revenue leapt 600 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019 as the firm, which is based just outside St Andrews, ramped up its virtual presence.

Against a backdrop of bar, hotel, restaurant, duty free and own-shop closures, the company grew revenue to £2 million, delivering a record £800,000 net profit for the April to June 12-week trading period.

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At the peak of the coronavirus lockdown period Eden Mill was despatching more than 1,000 parcels per day from its new Glasgow Gateway distribution centre as online fulfilment was brought back in-house just prior to lockdown in late March.

The firm also ran a series of virtual gin tastings and cocktail masterclasses with some 4,000 gin lovers paying for the Eden Mill “at home” experience.

Bolstered by strong partnerships with key multiples and an early return to export markets such as Russia, Germany and Australia the firm managed to counter-balance the lack of on-trade business to deliver the market-beating performance.

The business now plans to continue to develop its portfolio of “virtual experiences” as consumers emerge from lockdown with new social drinking behaviours forecast to remain in place.

Meanwhile, Eden Mill has re-structured the strategic management of the business. Co-founder Tony Kelly has taken over as chief executive who, with a focus on sales, operations and digital marketing, will be overseeing the day-to-day business.

His co-founder, Paul Miller, will be concentrating on the development and construction of “Scotland’s first carbon neutral single malt whisky distillery” which is being built at Guardbridge. The distillery campus will also house a new “visitor experience”. The new facility is on track to be distilling by end of 2021.

Kelly said: “While e-commerce has always been a fundamental pillar of our multi-channel distribution model, the unprecedented crisis we have found ourselves operating in has forced us to accelerate our strategic plans and adapt to the new environment.

“Changing consumer behaviour during the coronavirus crisis has been a catalyst for us to fast track our plans while the flexibility and marketing nous of our team has delivered increased sales, market share and brand awareness.

“The great set of financial results achieved in the last quarter will also now enable us to retain more of our team post furlough and to push on, unhindered by Covid 19, with our distillery development.

“We could not have achieved these results without the skill, imagination and resilience of our sales, marketing and operations team during these challenging times.

“Together with our new distribution centre and new distillery coming on stream in 2021 we are now in a strong position to provide greater capability to build our business, give us greater control, and most importantly satisfy future customer demand in a growing market.”

Eden is based on the historic original site of the Seggie Distillery, run by the Haig family.

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