Social Enterprise Wins Asda Contract

Victory for Heroes Vodka winning major Asda Deal

Chris Gillan's Heroes Vodka has won the biggest contract of its kind with a mainstream supermaket, which will see it ensure jobs for ex-service people and raise funds for veterans charities. It comes after Chris, who was injured while training with the SAS in Afghanistan in 2008, worked with the supermarket and Social Investment Scotland (SIS) to upscale the Heroes drinks brand.  The contract will ensure jobs for ex-service people and raise funds for veterans charities.  Chris said: “The opportunity afforded to Heroes Drinks by Asda is simply incredible and I am grateful for their overwhelming support. The scale of opportunity has enabled Heroes Drinks to launch a super-premium vodka at an incredible price and the significant increase in sales will not only fast-track our ambitions of employing disadvantaged veterans nationwide but also greatly increase our financial support to our partnering charities.”

In 2015, Heroes Drinks Company became the first non-profit organisation in the alcohol sector and is 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 also donates at least 20% of its profits to veterans charities.

After leaving the military in 2008, Chris was unable to take a fitness test to join the police and his injuries led to a period of unemployment. His home was then flooded and he was left homeless.

“My financial position led me to turn to the armed forces’ charities for support,” he explains. “The support they gave helped to provide a foundation from which to rebuild my life outside the military.”

Determined to help other veterans facing a similar plight, Chris started working on Heroes Drinks Company in 2011.  Having established a relationship with SIS, Chris and his team participated in the first Asda Social Enterprise Supplier Development Academy. The academy was launched in 2016 with proceeds from the 5p plastic bag charge. It aims to offer guidance to entrepreneurs on working with large retailers, as well as increasing the availability of social enterprise products for ethically-minded consumers, all during a series of workshops across a four day period. Heroes Drinks has become the first academy participant to win a contract to sell its product in all Asda stores across the UK. It also received access to a £100,000 loan from the Asda Community Capital scheme as well as a further £150,000 of finance from SIS. It is also the 2nd social enterprise to be listed with the supermarket, following the introduction of Brewgooder in November 2016.

source third forcenews 28.02.17