£500,000 of growth funding for When in Rome wine business

Gloucestershire-based Italian wine importer When in Rome has won £500,000 of funding to expand its environmentally friendly business.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published

Five Valleys wine business, When in Rome, has won £375,000 of Midlands Engine Investment Fund cash and £125,000 of private equity funding to continue to grow a brand building on its strong reputation as a carbon conscious company.

The Chalford-headquartered firm has seen an increase in consumers taking note of its green packaging – which sees its Italian wines sold in a ‘bag-in-a-box’, cans or recycled polyethylene terephthalate bottles.

According to When In Rome, the packing can make for a 10-fold saving on a consumers’ carbon footprint over glass bottles – and Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) is convinced the Gloucestershire business is worth further investment.

Further investment has also come from and private equity firm 465 Holdings.

Rob Malin, chief executive officer of When in Rome, said: ‘This strategic investment from MEIF and investment partner 465 Holdings has come at exactly the right time for our business as we scale up to satisfy consumers’ growing thirst for our premium craft wines in eco-friendly packaging.

‘Thanks to this injection of cash and expertise, we have the opportunity to further grow our range, expand our distribution within the UK and overseas and amplify our marketing to enable our message of quality, value and sustainability to reach more conscious consumers.’

Sales almost doubled in 2020 and the company forecast the same growth for 2021.

The Stroud business currently employs eight staff and already has listings with Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon – and will use the MEIF funding to further expand distribution.

When in Rome said in 2020 it became the best selling ‘alternative format wine brand’ in Waitrose and on Amazon and was the best performing wine brand on Ocado, where it enjoyed 70 per cent sales growth.

Mr Malin said the business’s pre-certified designs would make it easier for the eco-friendly wine brand to continue to grow the market share of bag-in-box wines.

In Scandinavia, he said, boxed wine already made up 65 per cent of the market and in France, 40 per cent. In the UK the market share was estimated at three per cent pre-Covid and five per cent now.

The UK wine market is currently worth an estimated £500 million annually.

This article is part of SoGlos’s #BackToBusinessGlos campaign – supported by Hazlewoods, Aston Lark and BPE, to champion the positive efforts of Gloucestershire businesses as the county recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information, see soglos.com/backtobusinessglos

By Andrew Merrell

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