How To Start A Small Distillery Business

by Tanya September 12, 2020

From the legal side of things, starting your own distillery business is like starting every other business.

You need to register your business as a limited company (read more about different business models you can choose from), buy some distillery equipment, and have some initial startup capital.

In this article, we’ll only discuss all things distillery, read more about standard business advice like creating a business plan etc by clicking the link above.

1. Get a distilling licence

You need a distilling licence for starting a business. This will mean that you become a licensed spirits producer, and you’ll have to submit production returns and make Spirits Duty payments on every bottle you produce.

You can apply for it on the Government website.

2. Define your brand

What makes you stand out from the rest? What’s your unique story?

What colours will you use to represent your brand?

What will your tone of voice be?

These are just some of the things you’ll need to think about.

It’s suggested that new companies allocate 12-20% of gross revenue on marketing in their initial years.

3. Buy the necessary equipment

There’s no set cost to start a distillery.

It depends on so many factors, from the type and size of equipment to the space you use for your business.


Proper gin stills from manufacturers like Holstein or Carl can cost anywhere between £50,000 and £250,000.

Many craft gin startups source finance through crowdfunding or private investors.

You also need to purchase things like a boiler, cooling system, double diaphragm pump, and fermentation tanks, and cover installation costs.

You can either purchase this equipment new or used from a reputable dealer. 

Renting the space

Where will your distillery be located? If you need to secure premises then you’ll need to factor in rental costs and overheads. These are guaranteed to account for a significant chunk of your monthly outgoings.


It’s important to note that you’ll have to pay an alcohol tax duty.

4. Start with a high-quality alcohol base

No matter what kind of spirits you’re making, the most important ingredient is alcohol.

That’s why it’s important to start with a high-quality alcohol base, like vodka or neutral grain spirit.

These liquors are distilled to a high proof, which means they contain a higher percentage of alcohol than other kinds of alcohol, like beer or wine.

The flavour of your spirits will come from the ingredients you use 😏

5. Experiment with unique flavours

The type of alcohol you use as a base is important, but it’s not the only factor that determines the flavour of your finished product.

The other ingredients you use, like fruits, spices, and herbs, will also have a significant impact on the taste of your spirits.

So, if you’re looking to create a unique flavour profile, be sure to experiment with different combinations of ingredients until you find something you love.

Final words

Just like fine wine, the flavour of your distilled spirits will improve with age.

If you can be patient, try ageing your spirits in oak barrels for at least two years.

This will give them a richer flavour and smoother texture that you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Starting your own distillery is a fun and rewarding experience. With a little bit of knowledge and a willingness to experiment, you can create some truly delicious spirits that people will enjoy.

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