We are delighted that one of the companies becoming an #ORBmember in 2019, and one of the most unusual to apply and attain membership, was The Cornish Spirits Drink Company Ltd.
We were, I must admit, a little surprised to see the application and did wonder on what basis the company felt they would fit our membership criterion, although admittedly the questionnaire results were good. But of course, we wanted to know more.
We did a little bit of research and clearly Mike has led an interesting life, which also included considerable involvement with charities and not-for-profit organisations over the years. A subsequent telephone conversation left no doubt as to Mike’s ethical intentions and his exciting new project.
Mike had applied for membership at an early stage of launching his new business. Indeed, originally the company had a different name. We were therefore pleased to keep in touch and follow the often frustrating and sometimes quite hilarious sequence of events Mike and Sue, his wife and fellow director, encountered on the road to launching their feature product.
At the end of October 2019, The Cornish Spirits Drink Company Ltd launched Land of Saints Organic Gin which is, Mike suggests, probably The World’s Greenest Gin.
This is Mike’s story:
I’m Mike Bearcroft. My wife Sue and I are co-owners of The Cornish Spirits Drink Company.
My background is perhaps a little unusual!
I spent many years in International Sales and Marketing as Chief Executive of a not-for-profit health Insurer, I sold the business and retired for the first time aged just fifty. Since then, I have been a director of The British Red Cross, Trustee of many charities, professional writer and actor, owned a Murder Mystery company and a stage show Back To Broadway.
Details can be found on my website Dangerous Score
Profits from my book go to Hope for Justice the anti-trafficking charity and I use the fees I earn from Public Speaking to support Penhaligons Friends, a Cornish charity supporting bereaved children, young people, parents and carers across the county.
In 2016, Sue and I moved to a small Cornish village near Truro. We embraced village life and were soon organising fundraising events. One event which included a gin bar proved to be so successful we were inspired to consider taking it a step further…
Why not launch our own gin?
Of course, we wanted to do things differently. There had to be ‘a purpose.’ Apart from being a great drink, we wanted the gin to be organic and the profits to support an environmental charity.
We decided to partner with Fauna and Flora International, the worlds oldest conservation charity, supported by Sir David Attenborough, with a minimum of 50 pence donation for every bottle sold.
In order to be classed as organic, our gin has had to pass the rigorous scrutiny of The Soil Association. It is the high level of approved organic ingredients that make this gin stand out.
Our social enterprise trading ethos is that after basic costs are covered, all surplus profit will be donated to Fauna & Flora International to assist them in the fight against climate change and to raise the profile of Cornwall.
Sales are running at over 800% above target. Thanks in part to having the USP of ORB membership, we have started to expand out of Cornwall and are now being considered by major companies UK wide.
I am proud to say we are the ONLY gin company in the world approved by ORB.
In an over-crowded market, it was important to be different and we are probably the greenest gin in the world, approved by the Soil Association and ORB.
So, we are an organic product, made in Cornwall for a social enterprise company, with no plastic packaging and a taste that’s as good for the palate as it is for the planet.
As climate change issues dominate the media and people become more aware of the problems humanity and our world face, now is the time for all of us and our companies to change, for all the right reasons, shout it from the rooftops and do what’s right for our world and our businesses!
Past experience has also taught me the commercial value of a close association with a charity which creates a Win-Win scenario. So, I would urge anyone and everyone to look at the benefits of forming a strategic partnership with a charity and membership of ORB
ORB membership gives any company, regardless of the sector they are in a real edge. We certainly use it.
And if I can be of any help to fellow members, please do get in touch.
Plans for the future
Our original intention was to develop and launch an organic, environmentally friendly gin that also supported environmental projects – as a hobby! But our incredible sales clearly indicate that people love the taste and the ethos behind Land of Saints Organic Cornish Gin. Our company is certainly going to be far more than a hobby. And so, there are two steps we are taking to aid development plans.
Step One is fairly standard practice: we are looking for distributors across the UK. So, if you, or someone you know, would like to be involved with what is probably the Worlds Greenest Gin, do get in touch.
But Step Two is a unique proposition which fits our ethos of supporting the local community and considering the future of young people:
With the support of the Cornwall Chambers of Commerce, we are now looking for young businesspeople who would like to initially be appointed as Non-Executive Directors with a view to, after 12 months, appointing the most successful of these young businesspeople as paid full-time executives and permanent NEDs as well as offering a new cohort of young people the opportunity to take over on the Board.
We’ll be posting an update about this exciting project on the ORB website in due course.
In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch: