It’s not exactly a straight line between honeybees and gin, but for British Honey CEO Michael Williams, it was a perfect duo. The matchmaker? Claris FileMaker.
Since 1987, Williams, a successful entrepreneur known for his merger and acquisition expertise, has incorporated Claris FileMaker as a key element of his Company IT operating systems.
“Claris FileMaker has been a very useful business tool over many years, dating back to 1987. It's an agile, low code platform that's user friendly and scalable, enabling it to grow with the business in any direction required.”
This coming from a businessman who thought he was easing his way into a well-earned retirement. That’s before honeybees changed his mind.
“This was an entirely new and somewhat unexpected business venture. We started with three hives, which then quickly grew to 15, and the whole venture started to go really well. What’s more, the honey tasted delicious. We were still a relatively small producer when one day, we received a very large order which we couldn’t possibly supply from our own honey. So we had to scale up, and scale up fast.”
British Honey's Secret Weapon
Williams knew he could do it with the help of Claris FileMaker.
British Honey Director of Operations, Alex Maurice, added, “It can adjust and move to do what we need it to do, even if it’s a complete business pivot. We have a platform that keeps up with us, no matter how quickly we’re adjusting our goals or needs. This was especially true when we decided to blend our honey (and all of our honey flavours) with gin.”
The decision to take British Honey into the world of spirits resulted in a tsunami of new paperwork, tax issues, and legal accounting required of United Kingdom spirit manufacturers.
“The paperwork alone for the manufacture of alcohol in the UK is enough to scare anyone out of the distillery business,” warns Maurice.
However, with Claris FileMaker, the Company was able to manage the mountain of legal paperwork demanded of distilleries, at every stage of the manufacturing process.
Williams credits the platform for allowing British Honey to scale quickly, and meet the demands of spirit distributors across the UK and now, internationally.
“We have stretched Claris FileMaker to its extremes without compromising the business. Our whole company runs on Claris FileMaker with links to Zero, Shopify, and, now Amazon and Ocado. The stretch is with the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HRMC) Bonded Warehouse returns, where we can reconcile our Alcohol stock (£1.2 million of suspended duty) each month in just one day. We do this using iPads and Claris FileMaker in the back office. Our beehives are barcoded and link to our databases for the Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) food standards here in the UK. We pride ourselves on being able to trace a product’s batch number in three minutes from the consumer outlet to all the constituent products.
When the Company went public via an IPO in March this year, we were required to undergo very stringent accounting scrutiny, and Claris FileMaker got us through that process with flying colours,” says Williams.”
Despite his youthful 77 years, Williams says he has no plans to slow down.
“We’re now working together on international expansion, including into the United States and China. With Claris FileMaker, we know we can continue to grow around the world.”
With flavors like Elderberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, or Lavender Honey Gin, we’ll toast to that.