In the Welsh Wind
Sitting in seven acres of wildflower meadows atop a hill in Tresaith and overlooking Cardigan Bay, 'In the Welsh Wind' is a small distillery set up by Alex Jungmayr and Ellen Wakelam. The business specialises in creating bespoke spirits in their copper pot still 'Meredith'. Having adopted a truly small batch approach, every spirit the business creates is unique and customisable allowing Alex and Ellen to control and supply bespoke premium spirits of exclusive quality.
'In the Welsh Wind' now create spirits for over 15 different companies from all over Wales, the UK and Europe.
What they did
“Sometimes taking the fork in the road provides the answers without asking the question. For us, this led to a long walk around Wales. To be precise, 1,047 miles which connect 870 miles of beautiful Welsh coastal path with Offa’s Dyke, the historic border that runs from Chepstow to Chester. We did this to alleviate the frustrations of work and stresses of life. This was most certainly the catalyst for the 'In the Welsh Wind Distillery'. Over the 3 months of our adventure, we found time to talk, dream and believe again. Wild nights camping on beaches and cliff tops joined together with hard miles, proved to quiet and simplify our existence enough for us to see where we might go next.
In September 2017, we found ourselves touring the North Coast 500 in Scotland. After visiting the very small distillery of Badachro, where we were able to meet and speak with the owners about their gin and distillery set-up, we came away enthused with the idea of doing it ourselves. After returning home, we did a lot of research around distilleries, spirits and their production and ended up contacting Business Wales about how to start our own business. We attended a setting up a business course and we now find ourselves a year into In the Welsh Wind, a successful and thriving business.” Ellen Wakelam, Co-founder.
Their proudest moment in business
“Within our first year of trading, we have successfully exported a bespoke batch of gin to a customer in Malta and developed a relationship to continue exporting to them.”
Do they use Welsh in their business? If so, how has this helped them
Ellen is a Welsh speaker and the business are beginning to add Welsh to their website and social media. “Using Welsh has allowed us to connect with our local community and develop relationships with customers.”
Describe the type of support (financial / non-financial) they’ve received from Business Wales / Welsh Government
Ellen and Alex approached the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service for help with setting up their distillery in West Wales. They were supported with a variety of issues by Business Wales’ advisers, including Mark James who helped with general start-up queries, business planning and financial forecasting, and Dai Nicholas, who assisted with marketing and business development. This enabled the couple to successfully launch their distillery.
'In the Welsh Wind' needed additional support following an enquiry from a potential customer in Malta. As Ellen and Alex hadn’t envisaged the possibility of supporting a customer overseas at such an early stage of their business journey, they were put in touch with Anthony Kirkbride, a Business Wales International Trade adviser, to provide advice and guidance on the potential export opportunity.
Anthony advised on the process of moving products, tariffs, VAT implications and the required paperwork to get the gin to the business’ customer abroad, before assisting Alex and Ellen with finalising the deal. Throughout the process, Business Wales supported 'In the Welsh Wind' at every stage and helped ensure a smooth and successful export of gin from a small distillery in South Wales to Malta, on time and without any issues. In the Welsh Wind have since developed a good relationship with the customer and are enjoying repeat orders from them.
Ellen commented: “We have had an overwhelmingly positive experience with Business Wales. From our first conversation to all our dealings with our adviser Mark James, [export specialist] Anthony Kirkbride and Dai Nicholas, who helped us with marketing and development, we have always had somebody at the end of the phone who can help with any query we have had. We have been on several Business Wales courses which have always been efficiently run and very helpful with any promptly dealt follow-ups. The support we have received from Business Wales has helped us establish our business from registering with Companies House, our business plan and cashflow forecasts (which enabled us to gain investment from a family member) to exporting our first product, book-keeping and so many more general enquiries.”
Here are 'In the Welsh Wind’s' top tips for anyone else looking to start or grow their own business:
- get in touch with Business Wales and develop a relationship with your adviser
- talk with those around you about your plans. Listen to their experience and use it to help you develop your own ideas
- be prepared to work hard and be passionate about what you want to do – your own business will only move forward if you drive it