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The London Distillery Company: A tipple of gin and a measure of success

Posted 3 years ago in Small business by Emma Izatt
Posted by Emma Izatt

Every year, World Gin Day marks an opportunity to celebrate all things gin. Luckily for us in the northern hemisphere, the annual celebration falls on the second Saturday of June. What better time of year to raise a glass of the quintessential thirst quencher than the height of summer?

Ahead of the annual day of recognition, Xero recently sat down with Darren Rook, co-founder of the London Distillery Company. Distillers of what is now a favourite among discerning gin drinkers across the nation, Dodd’s Gin, we learned the product’s unlikely origin story.

Whisky business

With a decade’s worth of experience in the drinks industry behind him he realised London had no whisky to call its own. Opening a distillery had been a dream of co-founder Darren Rook for years before the London Distillery Company was born. 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 The London Distillery Company’s most famous product today.

London-Distillery-Company-Gin_WhiskySuccess isn’t all a bed of roses (…and juniper berries)

Success was quick to follow The London Distillery Company’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.

The London Distillery Company’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.

London-Distillery-Company-Gin-WhiskyThe 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,The London Distillery Company found Xero. The platform has served them well for the past five 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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