L-R: Alastair Davis, chief executive at Social Investment Scotland, Heather Turnbull buying manager for Asda and Chris Gillan, military veteran and founder of Heroes Drinks Company
Ahead of this year’s Remembrance Sunday, a social enterprise which supports the armed forces is celebrating, after sales of its Heroes Vodka in Asda stores helped raise over £55,000 to help Britain’s military community.
Heroes Drinks Company, a spirit-producing social enterprise, launched its premium British wheat grain vodka exclusively in 350 Asda stores across the UK back in January 2017.
Since launching, customer sales of Heroes Vodka have helped support worthy causes, with Heroes Drinks Company donating a minimum of 20% of all profits to the UK Armed Forces’ charities.
Chris Gillan, a military veteran and founder of Heroes Drinks Company, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all the Asda customers who’ve bought Heroes Vodka over the last couple of years.
“The funds raised have helped change the lives of injured veterans and military spouses by giving them employment opportunities. It’s also allowed us to make donations to our charity partners The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, ABF The Soldiers' Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
“Proceeds from sales at Asda have also been used to support over 80 events across the UK, helping to raise more money for military charities.”
Back in 2015, Heroes Drinks became the first not-for-profit organisation in the alcohol sector, founded on the mission of supporting the UK armed forces family and providing work placement programmes for former servicemen and women who have struggled with the transition to civilian life.
It took Heroes Vodka just two years from creation to securing its first national supermarket listing, thanks to establishing a relationship with Social Investment Scotland (SIS) and a loan from the Asda Community Capital scheme, funded through proceeds from the supermarket's carrier bag charge.
Heather Turnbull, buying manager for Asda, said: “Heroes Vodka was the largest national listing of its kind when it launched in our stores back in 2017. We’re thrilled customer sales have managed to raise such a fantastic sum to help Britain’s military community.
“The success is a fantastic example of the benefits of working together with innovative social enterprises to make ethical and high-quality products more readily available to consumers.”
Sales of Heroes Vodka continue to grow, with sales almost doubling year-on-year. Since securing the listing with Asda, Heroes Drinks has produced 21,000 litres of vodka, which equates to 840,000 servings.
Chris continued: “The opportunity afforded to Heroes Drinks by Asda is simply incredible and I’m grateful for their overwhelming support. Asda really took the business model and helped us to grow and scale up.
“Feedback from customers has been fantastic; they love the fact they can enjoy a quality British product and help our military heroes at the same time - so much so that we’re already working on developing some delicious new flavoured variants.”
The UK Social Entrepreneur Index, sponsored by UBS, is a celebration of social entrepreneurship across the UK.
Open to social entrepreneurs tackling a social or environmental issue at any scale, entrants will act as beacons of inspiration for others to encompass positive social impact.
For more info visit www.socialentsindex.co.uk.
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