9. Craft Gin Club
With UK gin sales rising to £1.3bn, this start-up's taking a share of the market with gin subscription boxes that come with a Dragon's seal of approval
Founders: Jon Hulme and John Burke
Founded: January 2015
The UK has a renewed love for gin.
From mother’s ruin to modern tipple, we’ve seen UK gin sales soar to more than £1.3bn in the last year so it makes sense that a start-up delivering the most exclusive gins directly to your door would be a massive hit with consumers.
The creator of gin subscription boxes, the Craft Gin Club sends one of the world’s finest small-batch gins – often extremely rare or hard-to-find editions – to its members every month along with tonics, mixers, food treats and a copy of its club magazine Ginned!.
Launched in January 2015 by Jon Hulme and John Burke, the start-up has witnessed phenomenal growth over the past three years to become the UK’s largest subscription club for gin lovers.
It now has over 230,000 newsletter subscribers and more than 450,000 fans on social media. Serial entrepreneur Sarah Willingham is also a fan, having invested in Craft Gin Club when it appeared on Dragons’ Den.
However, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for this boozy business.
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In 2017, Hulme and Burke made the decision to close their other vertical Bubble Club; a champagne subscription box company.
The duo explain that, with Craft Gin Club growing “rapidly thanks to brand awareness [such as Dragons’ Den]”, they “needed to focus most of their cash and internal resource on growing the business. At its peak, Bubble Club – which traded from 2016 to 2017 – had 1,700 members and over 100,000 Facebook fans; healthy numbers but minute growth in comparison.
Ultimately, Hulme and Burke’s decision to shift the focus to Craft Gin Club has been the right one.
Jumping from 14th place in the Startups 100 2017, the business’ rising customer numbers are reflected in its revenue figures – it generated over £6.5m in revenues last year and expects to hit sales of £11.6m by year-end 2018. A big cheers all round!