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Alderman’s Drinks founders receive BEM

The founders of Alderman’s Drinks, Liam Manton and Mark Smallwood, have been awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) in the King’s 2023 New Year’s Honours list.

Alderman's Drinks founders
L-R: Liam Manton and Mark Smallwood were recognised in the King’s first New Year’s Honours list

The pair have been recognised for services to the community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, during which they switched production to hand sanitiser, producing the equivalent of 2.8 million bottles for every public service in the region, including hospitals, police and transport services.

Manton said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to pick up this honour. Growing up in inner city Manchester you never dream of things like this.

“It’s imperative that businesses are a force for good and give back to the communities in which they operate. It was amazing to see the reaction of all the frontline workers when we rocked up and saved the day – they’re the real heroes here.”

Smallwood added: “Supporting our beloved NHS was a no-brainer and I’m just happy we could be of help. We were able to mobilise quickly and plug what could have been a catastrophic supply chain gap.”

The duo, who received £75,000 (US$88,952) of funding on BBC television series Dragons’ Den in 2018, also sourced and donated 15,000 face masks to care providers; donated a further 20,000 units of hand sanitiser to those caring for the regions most vulnerable people; and sent 1,000 cups of tea to those volunteering in the community at the time.

Alderman’s Drinks owns Didsbury Gin and Arlu Rum.

The Didsbury Gin range, which includes Didsbury Gin Original and Rapsberry & Elderflower, was created to “reflect the unique vibrancy of the [local Didsbury] area”.

The company launched Arlu Rum in 2020 to tap into the growing rum category in the UK.

Manton was named Young Achiever of the Year in The Spirits Business Awards 2021.

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