MSIF £70k loan helps Spitfire reach new heights

From left: Sue Chambers, George Wright and Ian Hewitt

Liverpool-based investment agency MSIF has assisted Spitfire Heritage Distillers with a loan of £70,000, enabling them to expand their gin brand.

Spitfire Heritage Gin was conceived by managing director Ian Hewitt in May 2016.

The idea for the brand was a result of Ian’s involvement with the Spitfire Heritage Trust, as both the co-founder and vice chairman.

He wanted to create a bespoke and notable gin worthy of the iconic Spitfire name, with a 1930’s retrospective tone.

With more than 29% of UK consumers voting gin as their favourite quintessential tipple, Ian called upon champion gin maker John Walters to help master a signature flavour that captured the essence of the Spitfire brand.

A distinct botanical gin was created with notes of rosemary, blood orange and English rose. Ian prides himself on not only the unique and robust taste of Spitfire Gin, but its high quality that is created in one of the only single-estate distillers in the UK.

Sarah Hewitt, co-director of Spitfire Gin, approached George Wright from the MSIF Finance Hub for a start-up loan during the early growth of the business. The Finance Hub was able to co-ordinate a proposition for investment and submit the application for funding, resulting in backing of £25,000.

Since securing the funds Sarah and Ian have grown their Mawdesley-based business in Lancashire, increasing the demand for their botanical crafted gin.

As well as distribution across bars, restaurants and hotels within the UK, Spitfire Heritage also supplies to a number of select retailers including Juniper Club and Harrods who classed the artisanal gin as “One of Britain’s best.”

To keep up with the growing demand, the Finance Hub worked with Sue Chambers to obtain a further £70,000 loan to help with the development and protection of the Spitfire Heritage brand.

They plan to launch merchandise and apparel, alongside their latest addition to the spirit market with Supermarine Vodka.

Following the successes of international air show events and the 100th Anniversary of the RAF, the hope is to target more aviation enthusiasts and satisfy the increased interest of the Spitfire Heritage brand with expansion into the European market.

Ian Hewitt said: “Every small start-up gets to a point where it needs to expand and grow. MSIF have allowed us to not only broaden our business to a wider market, but to draw in the help needed to protect our luxury brand.”

“We have had an exciting year with some great opportunities and events. Providing Spitfire Gin as the choice of drink for the Queen’s Birthday at the Ambassador’s Residence in Paris has to be a key highlight.

“None of this would have been possible without the help of George from the Finance Hub at the very beginning of our venture, and Sue’s continued support after that.”

George Wright, MSIF Finance Hub facilitator, said: “It has been a delight working with Ian and Sarah. The Spitfire brand has some real strength and character. I’m eager to see what the next year brings.”

Sue Chambers said: “Ian is such a likable character with great passion for his brand.

“The credentials of the distiller are world class with a unique and creative bottle design. The growth of his client base is a direct result of the hard work and dedication that he has put into Spitfire Heritage.

“I’m looking forward to further exciting developments in the very near future.”

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