Brockmans, the fast-growing super-premium gin business, has appointed former Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh (pictured) to its Advisory Board, as it finalises a new five-year growth plan designed to double sales.
The drinks industry veteran will help shape the strategy for the next phase of the company's development.
This strategy will see Brockmans, which is already sold in 45 countries, extend its international footprint, particularly in the US.
Neil Everitt, Brockmans' co-founder and chief executive, said: "I am delighted that Paul has agreed to join us on the exciting next leg of our journey.
"His industry knowledge, experience and contacts will help us achieve our ambition of doubling sales and becoming the best super-premium gin business in the world.
"Paul's success in developing a multi-national business will be particularly relevant as we grow Brockmans' international presence. We still see huge potential in Europe but also in the US, where ultra-premium gin sales grew 25% in 2018. The US market is still in its infancy, several years behind established gin drinking countries in Europe such as Spain and the UK. This represents a great opportunity that Paul will help us capitalise on."
Brockmans entered the US market in 2014 extending its presence from New York, New Jersey and New England to states including Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Colorado, Michigan and Illinois this year.
The additional states, coupled with the appointment of Blue Ridge Spirits and Wine Marketing as a nationwide distributor in September last year, helped boost 2018 sales by 50% in North America, which also includes a small, but rapidly growing presence in Canada.
Paul Walsh was chief executive of Diageo, which owns brands such as Johnnie Walker whisky and Guinness, for 13 years, before stepping down in 2013.
He is credited with building the company into a global leader and the share price more than tripled under his tenure.
Mr Walsh said: "I have watched Brockmans' progress with admiration, over the past few years, and I look forward to playing a part in the next exciting phase of its growth."
Brockmans announced record results at the start of July, showing revenue grew 26% to £10.3m in 2018 driven by a surge in sales in the UK, which overtook Spain as the company's biggest market.
Total sales volumes increased 37% to almost 85,000 9-litre cases, enough for 30 million G&Ts, helped by new listings with supermarket giants Morrisons and Asda and the Co-op.
The business also entered seven new overseas markets, with Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Japan, Lebanon, Slovakia and South Africa all coming onstream in 2018.
Neil Everitt, who has worked in the spirits industry for over 25 years, said: "I started Brockmans a little over 10 years ago, with some friends.
"We wanted to create something exciting and a little bit daring and different to the traditional gins on the market.
"The first few years, like many start-ups, we were flying by the seat of our pants, working things out as we went along.
"The second five-year plan was a lot more strategic and saw us grow rapidly into the sixth-largest brand in the category worldwide and the second-biggest not owned by a multinational.
"The willingness of someone of Paul Walsh's stature in the industry to join the next phase of our growth is a testimony to just how far we have come."