Real English Drinks Distillery

Real English Drinks Distillery

The Journey

Real English Drinks is a premium English distillery creating superbly high quality alcoholic products for both our distinguished clients as well as our own brand. We pride ourselves on our speciality of creating Vodka, Gin and Rum in our own facilities in Liphook amongst a team of well trained professionals. Some of our clients we produce for are AU vodka and more recently Duppy Share Rum. Our professional service utilising high quality machinery and expertise has enabled clients such as AU to have undergone tremendous success due to a reliable increase in bottle production as well as our flexibility in flavours to allow them to freely innovate. We have also been creating our own range of delicious redh products that we sell on our E commerce platform Real English Drinks ( ) as well as our red.h restaurant in Midhurst. Our history of adaptability and progress in the English distilling market has been arguably unrivalled in the past 2 years and will continue to lead us from strength to strength that I will gladly continue to detail for you in this article.

Real English Drinks started in January 2019 with the passion, expertise and innovation of our 3 founders; who set out to build a business dedicated to creating premium, iconic products for clients and our own brands.

Douglas Howard:

With 28 years in retail and ecommerce at a major British supermarket and the co-founder of Real English Drinks Group, Douglas brings his depth of knowledge and business experiences to his role as Chief Executive Officer.

Neil Patterson:

Previously Cellar Master at Anthonij Rupert Wines in South Africa, and with an honours degree in Viticulture and Oenology, Neil has over 20 years’ experience and expertise in the international drinks world. As the Group’s master distiller, he produces original and unique flavour blends for a range of spirits and other drinks.

Robyn Patterson:

Robyn has over 15 years’ experience in the food and beverage industry. She ran a successful wine competition for 10 years in South Africa, giving her a wealth of knowledge in the ever-changing and growing industry. Robyn is a founding member of Real English Drinks Group and Director for both the Distillery and the Group.

Our 3 founders continued to amass a team of intelligent, friendly and dedicated professionals to develop the business into the impressive state it is now. From starting distilling in a small farm warehouse area during the pandemic helping make hand sanitizer to roll with the times alongside alcohol production, opening a restaurant / bar area in a post office in Haslemere 13 days before the start of the pandemic to hosting their first ever Oktoberfest in 2019. Redh has certainly had their fair share of ups and downs but have always rode the waves onwards and upwards. There is no greatness without adversity and in the English distilling market there is no shortage of challenges that we face.

The main challenge we face is one that nearly every household and business is facing in the UK at the moment which is rising costs for raw materials, such as the sugar used to make all our alcoholic beverages as well as rising energy costs. Additionally our customers feel the same pinch that we do and therefore have a reduced disposable income to spend on alcohol. These factors are out of our direct control and whilst we manoeuvre and try to make the appropriate cuts and changes to our business model where we can ( such as reducing our use of Air Conditioning when appropriate ) to overcome some of the weight of these problems we cannot mitigate them entirely. However problems that are out of our control are not ones we choose to complain or focus on and instead we pragmatically continue onwards.

A second significant challenge we deal with is that when other distilleries go out of business or when newer alcohol brands approach us it provides us with a range of new opportunities and options. This is a challenge because we have to make critical business decisions about which opportunities to take and which to disregard in a market where some brands can make rapid success and where some become dead in the water. An example of this is how we took on Duppy Share Rum’s business after their previous distillers were put out of business. Fortunately currently we are not operating at maximum capacity for our distillation and production and therefore we are still open to some new opportunities and expansion, however we may reach a point where we do reach capacity with our current facilities.

One last challenge I will raise is a lack of availability of waiters/ bartenders at our redh restaurant in Midhurst. For a while now there has been a lack of applications for these positions which has made staffing and allocating shifts at this restaurant more difficult. A key passion of our business is finding the appropriate people with enthusiasm and commitment who are correspondingly trained and paid well. Therefore enduring a struggle to find the appropriate people is a challenge that we are currently experiencing.

However amidst challenges, opportunities can always be found and this is certainly true in the English distilling market. Some such opportunities include the introduction of the possibility of international trade / selling as the business develops. Our clients AU and Duppy Share are popular amongst a range of international markets and despite our redh products not currently being sold abroad we are open and striding towards that possibility as the business develops and gets more fingers in more pies.

Another interesting opportunity we involve ourselves in as a business is events. The benefit of being a premium alcohol brand is being able to host exciting events to a range of people within our target market scope. Such an example is our redh Oktoberfest we held in October 2022. These types of events are terrific to encourage brand awareness, media opportunities, return customers and brand loyalty. And as we make our own alcohol we can offer premium drinks to customers at a comparatively low price whilst still retaining solid profit margins as well as offering other alcohol brands we cooperate with to provide a greater diversity of choice to customers.

One last opportunity I shall mention is that being our own distillery with ever increasing capabilities enables us to be more imaginative with our products. Our master distiller Neil alongside his colleagues can take different concepts to the drawing board and experiment. This style of blue sky thinking has allowed terrific lines of our products to be created such as PUD ( ) vodka liqueurs, a line of delectable dessert vodkas with tantalising flavours such as Chocolate Brownie and Apple Crumble. This freedom in our business and the promise of increasing flavours to our line of products as well as that of our clients is a huge strength of our business. It has enabled us to produce over 9 different flavours of AU vodka in a 3 year time frame enabling them to have sold millions of units both in the UK and abroad.

Our advice to other businesses would be across the board the greatest asset you can have is a terrific, motivated and well supported team of people. The skills different people can bring to the table is what really drives a business forward. As well as the humour, compassion and company colleagues and employees can provide is what makes working 8 -10 hours a day, 5 days a week bearable or even enjoyable. If you invest appropriately in your staff the dividends will more than pay off over time. Oh yeah and last piece of advice, next time you have a party, celebrations or birthday for / in your business… invest in some delicious, high quality redh booze, you wont regret it ;).

Max Lee

Barbara is a freelance writer and a sex and relationships adviser at Dimepiece LA and Peaches and Screams. Barbara is involved in various educational initiatives aimed at making sex advice more accessible to everyone and breaking stigmas around sex across various cultural communities. In her spare time, Barbara enjoys trawling through vintage markets in Brick Lane, exploring new places, painting and reading.

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