2018 was huge for Anno Distillers, we had an overflowing calendar of events, meeting lots of new customers and taking Kent's first craft gin in over two centuries, all across the country. Did you see us at Junipalooza, The Gin to My Tonic, The Telegraph Gin Experience or Wealden Times Fairs? Last year, we also completed a round of crowdfunding, attracting a whole new source of revenue to make and sell even more of your favourite gins and spirits. On our tours and tastings, we welcomed hundreds of happy gin enthusiasts from all walks of life, including many businesses on staff outings, such as Waitrose, Elite Pubs and Shepherd Neame to name a few.
Closer to home, did you get a chance to visit our pop-up shop in Bluewater between October and December 2018? We had an amazing time, meeting all the Anno lovers who came specially to stock up on all our spirits for Christmas. We also welcomed hundreds of new customers who discovered us and tried Anno for the first time, having a free sample and buying for themselves or a gift-wrapped hamper for a loved one. The biggest success has to be our blending experience lab, where hundreds of happy Anno alchemists made their own gin or vodka, taking it home in a personalised bottle with a goodie bag. In fact, the experiences were so popular that we are introducing them at the distillery in Marden in the spring of 2019. As far as pop-up shops go, we were so proud of the way it looked and the reactions of the visitors, who thought it would be there permanently and the shopping centre have entered it for an award.
With Anno growing at such a rate, we've welcomed new brand ambassadors to the team, an event specialist, we're growing the design and marketing team and with extra staff in production, we're ready to start a busy, exciting year in 2019. This growing team also includes an export manager, who is overseeing exciting expansion to give the world a taste of Kent, waving off exports to China, Germany and Switzerland. In 2019 we are also export ready for Denmark, Thailand, Portugal and Italy. On top of all this, our new American bottles are nearly ready for the first export to the USA, starting in California in the summer.
Space to grow
We're nearly ready to overflow into the building next door, work is almost complete to add more storage for extra orders and new bottling space. We're also creating extra offices for the new team and we even have a shiny new sign for the building front. Coming soon is a visitor shop, new experiences and updates to the tour and tastings, making use of all the extra space.
Nano the Anno Distillers elf
December was so much fun in the Anno distillery, with everyone working hard to make, bottle and dispatch our beloved gin and spirits. We had dozens of tours and tastings, customers coming directly to us to buy their Christmas presents and mountains of gift vouchers for a lot of lucky people to open on Christmas morning. Most exciting, amongst the buzz, we welcomed a new member of staff in Nano the elf, who 'helped out' in every department - be it bottling, admin, distilling or even going on events to meet some adoring fans. You can scroll back and see his adventures on our social media pages, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
The year ahead
Exciting news! 2019 will be the year of Kent's first whisky, with the finishing touches being put on the bottle design and Anno whisky being ready for sale in the first quarter of 2019. Sign up to our newsletter and be first to know about the launch. You can drop by the distillery sometime if you want to buy some Anno gin or vodka in person and you might even get a chance to meet Patience, our 300-litre copper pot still. Have you ever thought about working at Anno? Keep up to date on new job vacancies, as we're expecting big things for 2019. Lastly, our upcoming events will be posted on Facebook soon, so you can find out where to visit and stock-up.