Kettering drinks firm behind Sir Ian Botham and Graham Norton looks to expand

Benchmark Drinks' MD Paul Schaafsma with Sir Ian and Lady Kath Botham.
Benchmark Drinks' MD Paul Schaafsma with Sir Ian and Lady Kath Botham.

A drinks company based in Kettering, which counts a number of celebrities among its clients, is poised to move into new overseas markets.

Benchmark Drinks, of Timsons Business Centre, in Bath Road, has just secured £750,000 from HSBC to drive its search for new export customers.

The funding is also expected to help the firm, which employs seven staff in Kettering, to recruit more workers for its town depot.

The one-year-old company, which developed Botham Wines for former cricket star Sir Ian Botham and distributes Graham Norton Wines, has just signed a five year distribution agreement with Australian retail giant, Woolworths Group.

Paul Schaafsma, managing director of Benchmark Drinks, said: “Having started exporting in our inaugural year, HSBC UK’s backing will further fuel our expansion plans.

“Our vision is to make our brands household names across the globe, so we’re excited to start this journey and be in a position to share our wines with the rest of the world.”

Former cricket star and TV pundit Sir Ian Botham - of Botham Wines.

Former cricket star and TV pundit Sir Ian Botham - of Botham Wines.

The company has used the new finance to support export plans to a number of priority countries.

It is now exporting to Australia, Ireland, Spain, the Caribbean and Bahrain, with further plans to distribute its wines to Dubai, India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

Benchmark’s wines are sold in 1,300 outlets across the country and the company has seen a 150 per cent increase in its turnover.

In addition Botham Wines are now being sold in two major UK supermarkets.

David Hamblin, South London Regional Director for HSBC UK’s Business Banking, said: “We’re glad to be a part of Benchmark Drinks’ ambitious growth plans.

“As the company continues to make its mark in the wine industry, we look forward to working with them further as they continue to expand their global footprint.”