Distillery lands £3.5m loan to fund expansion plans

Lakes Distillery

A whisky maker has received a £3.5m asset-based lending facility to help it triple the number of litres of alcohol it produces every year.

Founded in 2011, The Lakes Distillery is housed in a renovated 1850’s Victorian farmstead.

Located on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake in the heart of the Lake District National Park, it has become a popular visitor attraction, welcoming more than 32,000 visitors on its tours in the last 12 months, and over 60,000 diners in the onsite restaurant.

The distillery has become known for its range of single malt and blended whiskies, but it has also won awards for its range of vodkas and gins.

As one of only 14 English whisky distilleries, The Lakes began distilling in 2014 and, as of the end of 2019, has produced over half a million litres of alcohol, which equates to 1.5 million bottles of whisky.

As the spirit must remain in an oak cask for three years and one day before it is classified as whisky, the company made its first whisky sale in 2018, and has since sold more than 15,000 bottles.

In September 2019, The Lakes released its first widely available single malt whisky, The Whiskymaker’s Reserve No.1, which sold out in just five weeks through their website and stockists such as Booths, Harvey Nichols, and Master of Malt.

The £3.5m provided by Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance will allow The Lakes to increase the quantity of single malt whisky stock it can produce each year by threefold, from its current capacity of 130,000 litres.

The facility is also able to grow over time, as the value of its current stock of whisky increases the older it becomes.

The deal was led by Paul Goodchild, director at Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance, with support from John Gribbon, regional managing director for Yorkshire and the North East.

Louise Duffy at Muckles advised The Lakes Distillery, whilst Ben Slack at Clarion Yorkshire and Christian Humphreys at Sanderson Weatherall advised Secure Trust Bank on the transaction.

David Robinson, chief financial officer at The Lakes Distillery, said: “In the past, it has been difficult for us to secure an asset-based facility due to the complexities of the whisky market.

“Secure Trust Bank took the time to understand our business model and was able to take a flexible and common sense approach to the lending criteria. They understood that the value of our whisky stock increases over time, meaning that the facility can grow as our business expands.”

John Gribbon at Secure Trust Bank Commercial Finance said: “The Lakes Distillery brand looks set to enjoy phenomenal growth over the next year, as it aims to increase production capacity, inventory age and holding.

“The quality of the company’s operations, management team and product range mean it has the potential to rival the very biggest and best alcohol brands, not only in the UK but across the world.

“We are excited to work with David and the team, and we’re pleased to be able to support them as The Lakes works towards becoming a household name.”

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