News

09th April 2021

The British Honey Company (BHC), the producer and distributor of premium British Honey, Keepr’s Honey-infused spirits, Dodds, English Heritage Spirits and alcohol sanitiser products, is delighted to announce the acquisition of Union Distillers Limited (“Union Distillers” or “Union”), the makers of the “Two Birds” range of spirits. The new partnership will give the group an estimated 4% share of the total UK ‘Craft’ spirits market.

The deal gives British Honey Company access to Union Distillers’ impressive manufacturing capabilities at Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where it has a well-invested infrastructure spanning nearly 70,000 square feet including a bonded warehouse with nine units, five stills and five production lines, two of which are fully automated. BHC is anticipating purchasing a new canning line and enhancing the production facilities even further. The planned capacity of the new group will enable three million bottles, seven million cans and five million miniatures (5cl) to be produced annually.

Continuing BHC’s growth strategy and global expansion at pace, BHC will through the acquisition, develop a multi-category brand portfolio across a number of geographies via both organic and acquisitive growth. This will be driven by increased marketing, new product development and significantly increased e-commerce sales, thereby expanding its combined range of established premium spirits brands, developing new brands and products and further penetrating existing UK and overseas markets.

Founded in 2012 by Mark Gamble and his partner, Union Distillers has, over the past eight years, grown to become an independent producer and distributor of proprietary and “own-label” spirits for established brands and an extensive and growing retail and wholesale customer base.

Union’s products include its premium, proprietary “Two Birds” range of spirits comprising 11 gins, seven vodkas, a spiced rum, an absinthe and a 29% ABV espresso vodka liqueur. The Leicestershire based company also distils and produces spirits on behalf of a range of supermarkets. Like BHC, Union is SALSA accredited in addition to earning Soil Association and SMETA accreditation recognising the distillery’s responsible and ethical business practices.  

Through the acquisition, Union Distillers will benefit from BHC’s own well-established platform, in particular its integrated production, IT and marketing systems and proprietary software infrastructure. Both BHC and Union are proud to provide customers with full traceability across their ranges but BHC’s software infrastructure will make the process far simpler and more efficient for Union’s production.

BHC will also afford Union a wealth of PR, marketing and sales experience and support that has continued to drive sales of its well-established spirits brands – each with strong brand recognition and retail footprint – including Keepr’s, Dodds and English Heritage.

Union’s CEO Mark Gamble will take a place on the BHC board as an Executive Director and together, BHC and Union will benefit from the expertise of the combined management team, as well as a new larger customer base and significantly broader access to the UK off trade market. BHC intends to complete the integration plan with Union by the end of 2021. It has raised more than £6 million from shareholders to help finance the acquisition, provide additional working capital and develop current and future relationships with BHC’s strategic partners. 

BHC CEO, Michael Williams announces: “Our acquisition of Union is a fantastic move for the British Honey Company, it not only strengthens our portfolio and market penetration, it also sets us up brilliantly to continue our growth and global expansion at pace. We are delighted that Mark Gamble will be joining our board as an Executive Director, he has been a valued peer of ours for several years and he’s always been very generous with his advice. We look forward to the success that our new union will bring.”  

Mark Gamble adds: “The future looks tremendously exciting for Union Distillers and The British Honey Company. I admire BHC’s business ethics, practices and vision and am delighted that we can together build an even stronger combined business distilling for customers around the globe.”