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Whitby Distillery receive Growth Hub support

Published 23rd July 2019

Whitby Distillery was started in 2017 when Jess Slater and Luke Pentith came up with the idea on a trip to the Outer Hebrides. After coming up a business plan, they ordered a still, and began to distill an array of botanicals which they then used to create an extensive library of flavours. Forty-five trials later, they found the perfect recipe for their gin.



Whitby gin includes foraged ingredients and botanicals including raw honey, heather from the North York Moors, and sugar kelp from Robin Hood’s Bay. Jess and Luke do everything by hand, including labeling and numbering the bottles to create their artisan, high quality product, at the luxury end of the market.


After nine months of research and development, Whitby Distillery was launched from Luke’s parents’ tiny utility room. Quickly though, demand became so great that it was obvious to Jess and Luke that they needed the time, space and resources to allow them to keep up with their business growth. They both gave up their full time jobs in order to concentrate on the business and moved production out of the utility room and into a larger, albeit temporary, accommodation.


Whitby Distillery received help from the Growth Hub's Growth Managers who helped them access support to start to look more closely at the export market. They were also linked up with training in areas they felt they needed to develop, such as in sales. The distillery even received cash to buy vital pieces of equipment such as a labeling machine and bottle rinsing apparatus.


In the year since they launched, Whitby Gin has picked up five major awards including Best British London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards.


Jess and Luke are looking forward to a bright future with the company planning to take up residence in a new, permanent home very soon. They have plans to employ more people, and begin exporting their luxury product around the world.


Jess says: “When we started, it was as a hobby, but demand increased quickly and we were very aware that we needed to grow. We met the Growth Hub and went through all the different funding options available. For Luke and me going self-employed it’s been that safety net. I’ve always known that I could just pick up the phone and speak to the advisor at the Growth Hub.”

Jess Slater