A look at London’s first whisky distillery
At the height of summer, a gin and tonic is a quintessential thirst quencher. With gin more popular with the British public than ever, and the London Distillery Company’s Dodd’s Gin a favourite of discerning gin drinkers across the nation, it may come as a surprise to learn that gin was simply a happy accident for them as London’s first whisky distillery.
Opening a distillery had been a dream of co-founder Darren Rook for years before the London Distillery Company was born. With a decade’s worth of experience in the drinks industry behind him he realised London had no whisky to call its own. Thus, London’s first active whisky distillery since 1903 was founded.
However, as whisky can take years to mature into its final product, the team decided to focus their efforts on a side project: gin. Dodd’s Gin is named after Ralph Dodd, the man who, two centuries prior, also looked to open a distillery within the capital. Although Dodd failed, his legacy lives on in TLDC’s most famous product today.
Success isn’t all a bed of roses (…and juniper berries)
Success was quick to follow TLDC’s initial launch of Dodd’s Gin. Despite their initial projections of producing 180 bottles a month, the team found themselves selling 200 bottles a week with Fortnum and Mason also tapping them to produce their in-house gin.
TLDC’s fast-paced rise to success in the spirits world wasn’t without its issues. With bottles flying out of the door, Darren knew they had to stay on top of their financial planning and inventory more than ever. Keeping an eye on their finances would be the lynchpin of their success, much like any other business.
The sky’s the limit – with cloud services at your back
Darren explains, “We knew we couldn’t let the enthusiasm for the product and initial success go to our heads. It was a balancing act between our excitement and cool, clear-headed practicality to keep our business in order. As a startup, the main challenge we faced was the incomings and outgoings as we raced to meet our targets. We needed a robust inventory system to help us to keep an eye on stock, invoices and manage our cash flow.”
After searching for an agile financial service that would suit their frenetic pace, TLDC found Xero. With its simple interface and wide range of partner integrations, the cloud accounting software has served them well for the past 5 years.
“Initially, we were limited to an accountant using desk based software. Now, Xero keeps our cash flow in check so we can plan for downtime and slow sales periods. Additionally, we use the financial control system on Xero as it’s perfect for collecting, storing, analysing and monitoring stock figures. It’s been an intuitive and indispensable tool for us.”
An added bonus? Xero helps the team meet their sustainability goals – the ability to go paperless fits right in with the distillery’s low carbon footprint initiatives, solar panels and organic ingredients.
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