East London Liquor

Alex Wolpert founded East London Liquor Co in 2014

East London Liquor Company has turned to the crowd once again to raise £750,000 to ramp up growth as the hospitality industry begins to open following relaxation of lockdown.

The London-based distiller, which already has supermarket listings with Waitrose, Tesco and Co-op, aims to expand off-channel exposure for its range of spirits, ready-to-drink canned cocktails and hard seltzers.

Its latest crowdfunding round on Crowdcube – currently (at the time of writing) standing at £656k – is set to value the company at £26m.

East London plans to use the money to grow distribution in supermarkets in the UK and overseas, as well as to expand its DTC output, invest in the onsite bar, restaurant, bottle shop and distillery tours, and increase whisky production.

It forecast annual revenues would reach £11m by 2029, with expected bottled sales of more than £55m over the next eight years, based on average year-on-year growth of 18%.

Founded in 2014 by Alex Wolpert, East London previously raised £1.5m in a 2018 crowdfunding round, allowing the business to quadruple whisky production and also break into new international markets, including the US.

“It felt only right to launch our crowdfunding campaign on one of the most exciting days of the year for everyone: the day hospitality began to reopen and friends and family could finally be together again,” Wolpert said this week.

“Using the capital we secure from this next round, we will continue to invest in our key export markets and our home turf, lay down 250 casks of whisky each year by 2023, and launch exciting new products.”

East London was forced to adapt its business last year as the pandemic saw its hospitality sales disappear overnight as the UK went into lockdown. It launched a DTC website in March and secured supermarket listings to offset lost hospitality business, as well as entering the RTD market with the acquisition of Longflint Drinks in May.

Off-trade sales increased 600% to more than £200k as a result, and the ecommerce site registered growth of 125% in its third quarter compared with the prior three months.