Devon distillery secures £100,000 funding for expansion plans

A Devon distillery that featured on the last ever Hairy Bikers episode, is set for major growth having secured a £100,000 funding facility from Time Finance.

The deal has been arranged to help fund the Two Drifters’ alcohol tax duty, enabling the business to bottle and distribute more of its sustainably produced rum.

Husband and wife duo, Russ and Gemma Wakeham, set up their rum business in their home county of Devon in 2019.

They had a vision of creating a distillery which was carbon negative and partnering with suppliers to ensure they deliver the best quality product with the least amount of environmental impact.

Their commitment to running an electric distillery on 100 per cent renewable energy, as well as considering the little details such as printing bottle labels close to their delivery location to avoid excess carbon footprint is what sets them apart as a carbon-negative small business.

Over the last 12 months the thriving SME has doubled its profits year-on-year, having recently secured contracts with a major airline, multiple restaurants, bars, and other stockists across the UK.

The new funding injection from Time Finance will now allow the business to expand its production capacity by easing the cashflow challenges of making and shipping alcohol.

The couple have also recently opened their distillery to the public for tours and required additional funding for an on-site bar to serve customers.

Russ Wakeham, said: “The deal set up with Time Finance was to manage one specific area of our business, and that’s the need for regular payment of tax duty. For every £35 bottle of rum we sell, £12 of that is tax, and that cost for our business is constant. It needs to be paid on the day our rum leaves the distillery, so while the business is thriving and profitable, we have taken on major new stockists which means payment and cashflow have become less predictable for the business.

”This year we were proud to feature on the very last Hairy Bikers episode and within two minutes of the programme airing we had thousands and thousands of website orders. With a business model typically centred around stockists of our rum, this influx of website orders from direct consumers was a great surprise for us. The business is growing at a fantastic rate, and we want to keep it that way, and with this facility from Time Finance we can continue to create the very best, carbon negative rum.”

Mike Freebury, business development manager at Time Finance, said: “Despite reluctance from traditional lenders to finance new and growing SMEs, this deal is a great example of where alternative lenders are the lifeline. We always take our time to get to know a business and understand how our funding supports their ambitions. We sat down with Russ and Gemma and worked out the pressure points and unique circumstances of their business’ operations. Two Drifters is a brilliant business and I’m pleased that we have the capability to provide speedy and effective financial solutions to help them grow.”

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