Brands of Tomorrow Flashback | Conker

Our focus on the Brands of Tomorrow Class of 2019 continues with Rupert Holloway, Head Distiller and Founder of Conker – a premium spirit brand – who was paired with Fortnum & Mason’s CEO Ewan Venters as a mentor during the programme. As a direct result of this relationship, this February see Fortnum’s stocking bottles of Conker’s Cold Brew Tea Liqueur – created using Fortnum’s Countess Grey Tea – in its three London stores in Piccadilly, The Royal Exchange and St Pancras.

Why did you apply to become a Walpole Brand of Tomorrow?

I had seen other brands go through the BoT programme over the last few years and what they had gone on to achieve. At Conker we have always chanted the mantra of ‘accessible premium’ – the obsessive focus on quality and provenance for the everyday G&T. We felt like the perfect fit for Walpole!

What has been your key takeaway from the programme?

The importance of building your network. You can have the best product in the world but if you aren’t expanding your network and distribution channels then you will always be in the back foot.

A note on our mentor: 

Being assigned Ewan Venters, CEO of Fortnums & Mason, as our Walpole Mentor was music to my ears! Sitting down regularly with Ewan has proven an invaluable experience; stepping outside of the day to day of the business gives you a great perspective on things. Ewan has assisted with me defining a strategy for growth as well as some key introductions to helpful contacts in the industry. To top it all off, our conversations led to me pitching to Ewan a Cold Brew Tea Liqueur using Fortnum’s Countess Grey Tea. Ewan and his team were so impressed by our creation that the product partnership launches across Fortnum’s three London stores this February. This is just the first of a range of spirits that will emerge from this creative partnership. Thank you, Walpole!

What’s next for you and your brand?

We will turn five years old in April, so we are now casting our eyes to markets overseas. This year we launch with the LCBO in Ontario, Canada which we are all very excited about. We will also be moving into the ‘Low & No’ alcohol sector with the launch of our 0% Distilled Spirit. We see this as an important and significant trend in a changing drinking culture in the UK.

www.conkerspirit.co.uk