Tarquin’s Gin – Getting into the spirit

Just over six years ago, Tarquin Leadbetter, a classically trained chef from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, found himself far from his passion for food and drink, stuck behind a desk in the city of London. Frustrated, he decided to strike out and head home to Cornwall on a new adventure; the world of gin. Using his skills as a chef, he experimented and distilled from a vast array of botanicals to discover which worked best. Learning along the way, he set his sights on establishing the first Cornish distillery in over 100 years.

Armed only with a 0.7 litre copper pot still, Tarquin taught himself, creating an extensive library of flavours, each offering a different profile from the last. After 100 trial gin batches, he struck on the perfect blend based on 12 botanicals – a concoction of roots, spices, nuts, fruits and flowers sourced from the far corners of the world, as well as his back garden.

With the help of his sister, Athene, the first batch came to market in 2013. By this point, Tarquin’s Gin was being distilled from a 250 litre Portuguese alembic copper still, named Tamara – Goddess of the river Tamar.

Since those early days, Tarquin’s Gin, has gone from producing its first bottle – sold to the Gurnard Head Hotel in St Ives – to becoming an internationally renowned, award-winning, artisan gin producer, identifiable by its distinctive waxedtop bottles.

In 2014, Tarquin’s Southwestern Distillery crafted its first ever Pastis, named ‘Cornish Pastis’, earning a Gold medal from the 2014 San Francisco World Spirits Awards. This was followed by Gold for Tarquin’s Gin at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Competition. In 2017, the distillery’s “The SeaDog” Navy Strength Gin became “World’s Best Gin” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

As the popularity of Tarquin’s Gin has grown, so too has the business, adding two new stills in 2014 followed by a fourth, state-of-the-art 500 litre copper still in 2017, which now stands side-by-side the three original still pots.

Today, you can find Tarquin’s Gin in shops and bars across the UK as well as in far flung locations such as Mexico and Japan. Coming soon is a new custom bottle and an exciting range of new gins.

Helping Tarquin’s Gin on its journey has been Simpkins Edwards, introduced to the business by a mutual friend. Jean-Paul Quertier, Partner at the firm, has been advising the business alongside his colleagues since May 2015.

“It’s been wonderful to work with such a fast-growing business”, says Jean-Paul. “They’ve gone from being a micro-company, to a business that aims to double its turnover each year.”
“We began helping them with the usual compliance services, such as payroll and year end accounts, which all start-ups require. We have since added a number of other services which have become necessary as the business grows, such as guidance on strategy for growth as well as advising to the directors on tax efficient remuneration packages.”

“Over the past 6-9 months, we have worked with Southwestern Distillery to update their internal accounting systems to provide a more robust and flexible management tool. We’ve also provided guidance on the implementation of a digital cloud-based accounting solution in readiness for Making Tax Digital for Business, which comes into force next April. Cloud accounting not only future-proofs their operation, but it also enhances the distillery’s management information, enabling Tarquin’s Gin to invest in its future growth based on accurate, current accounts.”

Athene Lippiett, Head of Finance and co-founder of Southwestern Distillery and Tarquin’s Gin, commented, “Jean-Paul’s team are a breath of fresh air. Our goal was to find a trusted, Southwest-based accountancy firm that had knowledge of our sector, experience of working with leading local drinks producers, and an understanding of the challenges faced by a small, yet rapidly growing business. Simpkins Edwards delivers exactly that.

“Their knowledge is second-to none, their service level is excellent, and no matter how complex or urgent our queries, they always find a solution or provide the advice that we need, when we need it. That really counts for a small business; having a trusted, friendly and professional advisor on your side, freeing you up to concentrate on running your business effectively.”