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DJ British Honey Company PLC (The) Corporate Update

TIDMBHC

RNS Number : 9599H

British Honey Company PLC (The)

30 March 2020

30 03 2020

The British Honey Company plc

('British Honey', 'BHC' or the 'Company')

Corporate Update

Strategic Collaboration to provide BHC with access to GBP65 Billion US spirits market;

Operational focus moving to market-ready brands and production of Alcohol Sanitiser;

Termination of JV to develop new product

&

Multiple International Awards at 25(th) Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition

British Honey, the premium British Honey and Infused Spirits brand, is pleased to provide the following corporate update.

Collaboration with List Distillery of the US

The Company is pleased to announce a strategically important collaboration agreement with List Distillery LLC ("List"), based in Florida, USA. Under the new Agreement, BHC and List will collaborate to develop a broader market for each of the Company's existing products. BHC will supply List with high concentrate London Dry Gin, which will be bottled and marketed by List under the Keepr's brand in the US.

The Agreement gives BHC access to List's extensive distribution network which covers more than 12 States across the US, a highly cost-effective way of market entry given the fragmented nature of the retail spirits market there. BHC has already identified the US, which has an estimated spirits market by value of over GBP65 billion annually, as one of two key territories where it is looking to focus its overseas marketing efforts, the other being China.

BHC and List already have an established trading relationship, with BHC purchasing List's bourbon, American whiskey and rum which it bottles and sells in the UK under the Keepr's brand, while List's proprietary "Mr Tom's" Spirits Collection of premium vodka, gin, rum and whiskey, are renowned for their quality, using all-natural and locally sourced ingredients.

Both parties recognise the significant growth opportunities for premium craft distillers, with customer preferences increasingly favouring specialist artisan spirits over large global brands. List will use its expertise and experience of the US market to promote BHC's proprietary brands. BHC will use its master distiller to enhance List's imported Rum, American Whiskey and Bourbon to suit the UK market.

BHC and List have been working together to develop Alcohol Sanitiser and are now supplying medical services in both Florida and the United Kingdom. All spare production capacity at both distilleries has been turned over to the manufacture of this product.

As a result of its collaborative work with List Distillery, BHC is delighted to announce that, at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition held earlier this month, the following products were awarded medals:

   Keepr's Smoked Honey Bourbon                                              Gold 
   Keepr's Honey Spiced Rum                                                        Bronze 
   Keepr's Classic London Dry Gin with British Honey               Silver 

These new products will be sold in the United States and UK.

Alcohol Sanitiser

Following the announcement on 17 March 2020 that BHC had been granted HMRC authorisation to produce denatured 70% ABV Alcohol Sanitiser, BHC has successfully launched its "Drip+Drop" Alcohol Sanitiser product. Initial orders of the product have been particularly strong due to the shortage of sanitiser product in the UK caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Company is currently using spare capacity in the UK to manufacture alcohol sanitiser but is also exploring methods of producing an active alcohol sanitiser.

Distil Joint Venture

More generally, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused the Company to review its operational focus given its impact on the distribution channels available to the Company. As a result, the board has determined that the Company's main focus will now be on market-ready or near market-ready alcoholic beverages and sanitiser. Accordingly, the Company has considered that the development of untested alcoholic products is not an operational priority at the present time and has therefore served notice on Distil plc (AIM: DIS) to terminate its joint venture agreement to produce a new botanical vodka. No funds have yet been expended developing this new product under the joint venture. The Company remains committed to the development of further new products in the future.

Further International Awards

The Company is delighted to announce that, at the 2020 International Spirits Challenge, held earlier this month, the following product was awarded a medal:

 
 Keepr's British Sloe and British   Silver 
  Honey Gin 
 

Michael Williams, BHC CEO, commented:

"As part of our planned international sales drive and expansion I am delighted to announce this strategically important Collaboration Agreement with List, further developing our trading relationship. It will enable us to extend our global reach and take advantage of significant growth opportunities in the US. The team at List are renowned distillers with excellent knowledge of the infused spirits market in their home country. Meanwhile, both Distilleries are co-operating in the manufacture of alcohol sanitiser. Daily conference calls between the respective management teams are taking place, sharing experiences and product modification, demonstrating the already close affiliation we enjoy.

Whilst we are disappointed to have to put on hold the development of new drinks products, our energies must now be devoted entirely to market-ready or near market-ready products. This includes the production and supply of alcohol sanitiser as part of our programme to support the NHS and other institutions in need of immediate supply. BHC have enlisted the help of Dr George Tranter of Chiralabs Limited, Oxford, in exploring the development of new products that will help in this national emergency.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff and, particularly, Jamie Baggott, our Master Distiller, and Thomas List for the fantastic results at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition this year. This is further recognition of quality of our Keepr's and List Spirits"

Thomas List, President and owner of List Distillery added:

"We at List Distillery are very happy to have found a business partner like BHC which shares our passion and enthusiasm for the opportunities existing in the global spirits market. Besides our common business strategies, we also share similar values in wanting to give something back to our communities by jointly producing Alcohol Sanitiser, donating to the public and supplying the medical community.

We believe this Collaboration will allow us both to exponentially grow our respective businesses."

The Directors of the Company take responsibility for this announcement. This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.

Enquiries:

 
  BHC                                   Tel: +44 (0)7976 559243 
   Brooke Wiseman, Marketing Director    Email: brooke@britishhoney.com 
                                         Web: https://britishhoney.co.uk/ 
  Cairn Financial Advisers              Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 0885 
   Jo Turner / Mark Rogers 
  Stanford Capital Partners             Tel: +44 (0)20 3815 8880 
   Patrick Claridge / John Howes / 
   Bob Pountney 
  Trade Press Enquiries 
   Jellybean Creative Solutions           Tel: +44 (0)1372 220 814 
   Neil Brenson                           Email: neil@jellybeancreative.co.uk 
 

Notes to Editors

About British Honey Company

Launched in 2014, BHC is famed for its award-winning fruit and honey infused spirits, marketed under the Keepr ' s brand. Many of the Keepr ' s spirits are infused with BHC ' s proprietary British Honey from its fully traceable apiaries. The impressive spirits range with seasonal lines spans eight gins, four vodkas, two rums, two bourbons and a whiskey which is scheduled for release in 2022. All of BHC ' s spirits are distilled onsite in the company ' s specially customised Still under the watchful eye of international award-winning Master Distiller, Jamie Baggott.

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March 30, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)