Joe Tibbetts an owner-manager for 30 years is a marketing and business development "engineer" and has advised hundreds of SMEs and many local and national government departments on their digital marketing communications


The rise and rise of the artisan craft business. What is the business case for moving from growing lettuce to distilling gin?

From time to time the Owner Managers Network TV crew are asked to go above and beyond the call of duty. Filming at Warner Edwards gin distillery in Harrington, Northamptonshire (hot, hard, thirsty work) was one such occasion.

The increasing number of craft businesses is quite simply a sign of the times. The rude shocks and poor employment prospects that came with the 2008 global economic collapse and the dawning of a new understanding that “many of us will never be able to retire ”, and that life after “retirement” might well last longer than the “working” part of our life, is encouraging the more entrepreneurially-minded to start bakeries and furniture building and sausage making or tea-blending and beer brewing businesses, as we will see.

Craft businesses face the same problems as other micro-businesses. But a craft business will usually be “sustainable”, life affirming, socially and environmentally acceptable, out of the rat race (but still within sight of the other rats, naturally). Two people doing MOTs in a garage on a small industrial estate on the edge of town is a micro business. Two farmers in a barn in Northamptonshire distilling a range of premium gins, flavoured with locally sourced and homegrown aromatics, and pushing the corks into the bottles with their own hands, is a craft business. What makes a craft business tick? Watch the video above and marvel at the beauty of Old Curiosity