Heroes Drinks founder Chris Gillan (right) has taken the brand to a national retail listing in just two years.
A social enterprise that supports the armed forces in the UK has secured ‘the largest ever listing of its kind’ with supermarket Asda.
Heroes Drinks Company will stock its premium wheat grain vodka in 350 Asda stores and donate at least 20% of its profits to armed forces personnel.
Chris Gillan, founder Heroes Drinks Company and a military veteran himself, said: “The opportunity afforded to Heroes Drinks by Asda is simply incredible and I am grateful for their overwhelming support. The scale of opportunity has enabled Heroes Drinks to launch a super-premium vodka at an incredible price and the significant increase in sales will not only fast-track our ambitions of employing disadvantaged veterans nationwide but also greatly increase our financial support to our partnering charities.”
Having established a relationship with Social Investment Scotland (SIS), Heroes Drinks participated in the first Asda Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy, which offers support to entrepreneurs and social enterprises.
Heroes Drinks also received access to a £100,000 loan from the Asda Community Capital scheme as well as a further £150,000 of finance from SIS, meaning that in just two years, Gillan has been able to take Heroes Vodka from creation to a national supermarket listing.
Asda buying manager Heather Turnbull said: “As one of the largest national listings of its kind, Heroes Drinks is a fantastic example of the benefits in working together with innovative social enterprises to make ethical and high-quality products more readily available to consumers.
“Our partnership with SIS is providing tangible results and continues to ensure that money generated by customers through the carrier bag charge is responsibly re-invested in charities such as those committed to supporting the UK armed forces’ community.”
And Alastair Davis, chief executive at Social Investment Scotland, commented: “By promoting social enterprise products as viable alternatives to their commercial counterparts, we have a fantastic opportunity to significantly increase the revenues raised by the sector and, in turn, create much more sustainable and long term income for good causes.
“Asda’s partnership with SIS to deliver the UK’s first Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy is helping provide access to organisations like Heroes Drinks Company to the support, advice and investment they need to grow and supply a large retailer. We are looking forward to the second Academy this summer, which will open for applications soon.”
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