When Bombay Sapphire decided to bring the distillation process in house after fire destroyed their contract distillers’ headquarters in Warrington, the search for new premises began. The team considered 30 locations around the country, but when they visited the disused Laverstoke paper mill, the search ended.
A long checklist
The relocation was a hugely important decision with an exhaustive specification. The team were looking for somewhere that offered redevelopment potential, archetypal English countryside, good transport links for international visitors as well as history and the potential for sustainability. ‘It was a long list,’ says Will Brix, Estate Manager, ‘but when we walked into the courtyard of the old mill, we knew we’d found the right place. It was a decision of the heart as much as the head.’
It was a decision of the heart as much as the head.
Rooted in the local community
The good talent pool in the borough meant the company could recruit locally. Nobody has a long commute and Basingstoke provides the local transport and shopping hub and route in for visitors. Quick access to airports and motorways makes the location easily accessible for corporate guests.
While Bombay Sapphire is a multinational organisation, it’s also local business that has created 40 jobs. The community were involved at every stage of the planning and development process. ‘I go to every parish council meeting, ‘ says Will, ‘and the council were essential in smoothing our potentially arduous planning and repurposing journey. They understood our ultimate goal and supported us in reaching it.’
Beautiful environment, sustainable development
Hampshire offers some of the most beautiful and quintessentially English countryside in the country and this is extremely important to Bombay Sapphire as a heritage brand, and a key factor in attracting a proposed 100,000 visitors per year. The area’s wildlife, the mix of old and new buildings, the huge outreach of the mill – all these elements feed into what the company wish to nurture.
‘This is a long-term relocation,’ says Will. ‘We wanted the distillery to be an imaginative interpretation of the existing history and ensure our operations here are thoroughly sustainable for centuries to come.’
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