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Mark Harris headshot

Premium cocktail brand Lockdown Liquor has appointed Mark Harris as commercial director to help the startup continue to expand.

The business launched a five-strong range of small-batch, premium blended cocktails during the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic to tap booming demand for alcohol at home.

It also raised more than £300,000 in October in its first funding round to scale the brand, grow retail and hospitality distribution and hire more staff.

Harris has 20 years of experience in the drinks industry, including time with LVMH and Pernod Ricard, and most recently working as commercial director at distributor Cellar Trends.

Lockdown Liquor co-founder Natasha Thomas said: “Mark brings extensive sector experience, which will be paramount in helping us execute our three-year strategy and aggressive growth plans.”

Thomas launched the brand in April 2020 with co-founder and husband Jack Durling as an initiative to raise funds for NHS charities during the pandemic.

Demand for the range took off immediately as DTC businesses benefited from shoppers turning online for food and drink, with more than 10,000 bottles sold in the first six months and turnover climbing to about £250,000.

Harris added: “The market is most definitely ready for a quality, premium cocktail offering that is simple and easy to serve, and this is undoubtedly the best that I have tried.

“Natasha and Jack have had a hugely successful first 10 months and I look forward to seeing where we can take the brand, in terms of new on-trade and off-trade accounts and launching new product offerings. The opportunities are endless.”

Durling said: “We are thrilled to have Mark join our leadership team to help us grow the business as we enter into the next phase of growth.”

Initially trading direct to consumer, Lockdown Liquor has collaborated with the likes of Spotify, Facebook, Twitter, Nasty Gal, Arsenal FC, Asos, Virgin, Warner Music, Revlon and Johnson & Johnson.

The business also supplies a number of the hospitality and retail outlets, including Liberty and The Conran Shop.

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