Full-service drinks firm and science-led artisan spirits company unite to put Greater Manchester on the map for distillation

Employee-owned Kingsland Drinks Group has partnered with Manchester Still, a company of distillers with an innovative and scientific approach to their craft, to create and install a new fermentation and distillation facility adjacent to its site in Irlam, Salford.

Up and running this month, the new facility provides Kingsland Drinks Group and its sister company Ten Locks with the ability to produce artisan spirits and marks a major step forward in the firm’s momentum towards becoming a full-service drinks company.

The production facility is also home to the creation of Manchester Still’s premium brands – which include spiced, coconut and white rums.

Together, the companies are building an agile facility, focused on the development of premium, innovative spirits and non-alcoholic beverages that will appeal to mixologists, bartenders and consumers, alike. The investment enables both businesses to meet the growing demand for contract distilling and collaborate with partners across the on and off trade, to create bespoke craft spirits. Manchester Still and Kingsland are planning a pipeline of spirits NPD, with the first home-grown innovation from Ten Locks expected in summer 2022.

Andy Sagar, Chairman of Kingsland Drinks Group, commented: “The partnership is a well planned and executed next step in our growth strategy and sustained investment pipeline, which in part is focused on supporting diversification and extending our services in tandem with complementary partners.”

Manchester Still was founded by Dr Sam Rowley-Neale and Dr Michael Down who employ scientific methods to create delicious artisan spirits, respecting the traditions of the distiller’s craft whilst applying science to create hand-made, small batch, premium brands, in the north-west of England.

Dr Sam Rowley-Neale, co-founder and CEO of Manchester Still commented: “The partnership between the Manchester Still and Kingsland Drinks Group has the ambition of developing a truly game changing facility for the innovation, incubation, and development of Manchester/UK based spirits, that in time will garner a global reach. We look forward to engaging and working with the Kingland Drinks and Ten Locks family on our joint goals and aspirations.”

Sagar continues: “The partnership realises a desire we’ve had for some time – to create world class spirits on home turf and present a true full service offering to the industry. We’re proudly creating crafts spirits shoulder to shoulder with Manchester Still. This is the coming together of two northern companies ready to firmly cement Greater Manchester’s growing reputation as a hive of innovation in the drinks industry.”

In recent years Kingsland Drinks Group has installed new canning, bag in box and carbonation manufacturing lines and reinstated its onsite winery. Alongside this, it has introduced a new high-speed bottling line, expanded its NPD capabilities with a new laboratory focused on future-thinking and insights-driven product development, and upgraded its capacity to bottle spirits and package new and emerging formats.