Brighton Gin case study transcript

Kathy Caton, Founder and Managing Director

Ellie Dobing, Chief Gin Peddler

Kathy: Brighton Gin is not only Brighton’s first legal distillery but we’re a multi award winning, small batch, super premium gin made with organic wheat spirit, hand peeled fruit, juniper and a bit of milk thistle – to apologise to your liver! It’s great, great handmade gin.

Ellie: From peeling the fruit to waxing and labelling the bottles we do it all by hand and it’s the kind of stuff we want to have and drink so, you know, why not share that?

Kathy: It went from a moment of inspiration on Brighton’s seafront of wanting to create a gin for Brighton which led into years of experimentation and refining the process.

Ellie: We went from the kitchen table to the basement of a pub in Hove called Then Urchin and then we finally moved here which is fantastic. It’s bigger premises and we have the whole distillery here.

Like loads of small businesses starting out, cashflow is a major issue and can be the downfall of a lot of new businesses.

Kathy: And having bootstrapped ourselves for the first few years - and absolutely bootstrapping; mortgaged my flat, sold my car, that sort of thing – in order to take the next leap onwards, working with Close Brothers has really freed up our cashflow and let us do things like give people jobs, buy kit and really ramp up our production.

We’ve used invoice financing to help us get over our biggest hurdle which is to do with cashflow. As our customers have grown their terms get more onerous but we want to work with them as we really want to get this gin, that we absolutely love and make with such care and passion, out to the world. Yet, all of our costs our upfront so invoice finance has helped us to bridge that gap.

Ellie: On a day-to-day basis it’s fantastic. I can pick up the phone, find out what’s going on with a particular client or ask a question. There’s always somebody there to help. It’s been really, really useful and transformed how we can do business here.

Kathy: One of the things we have done with Close Brothers is actually a tasting session. Talk about Brighton Gin, get people having a few gin and tonics and a natter. That’s been a fantastic experience to directly engage people, so we have a team of people here who have all tried Brighton Gin and seem to like it. That’s a good thing!

Ellie: We’re just hoping to grow and grow in much the same way that we have been doing and it would be great if Close Brothers were alongside us while we were doing that. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be.