British Honey

UK Spirit Makers Scale Internationally with Low Code Solution


Food and Beverage


Scaling & Pivoting to new products


Ability to adapt and grow their business online without increasing headcount.

It’s not exactly a straight line between honeybees and gin, but for The British Honey Company 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’s information technology (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 our business to grow 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.

“Honey was an entirely new and somewhat unexpected business venture,” says Williams. “We started with 3 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. We had to scale up, and scale up fast.”

British Honey discovers its secret weapon — low-code custom apps.

The rapid need to scale led Williams to implement the Claris Platform to help automate key processes. Then, low code came to the rescue again when he decided to start a new endeavor: taking British Honey into the world of spirits.

According to British Honey Director of Operations, Alex Maurice, “The Claris Platform 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 adjust our goals or needs. This was especially true when we decided to blend our honey — and all of our honey flavours — with gin.”

The company’s new initiative resulted in a tsunami of new paperwork, tax issues, and legal accounting required of United Kingdom (UK) spirit manufacturers.

“The paperwork alone for the manufacture of alcohol in the UK is enough to scare anyone out of the distillery business,” notes Maurice.

However, with Claris FileMaker, the company managed 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.

With Claris FileMaker, British Honey continues to grow.

British Honey takes Claris’ “low code without limits” philosophy to heart. “We stretch our apps to the extremes without compromising the business,” notes Williams. “Our whole company runs on Claris FileMaker with links to Zero, Shopify, and now Amazon and Ocado.”

The company continues to solve its business challenges with FileMaker, such as managing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) bonded warehouse returns. “Each month, we can reconcile our Alcohol stock (£1.2 million of suspended duty) in just one day, utilizing iPad devices and FileMaker in the back office,” says Williams. “We also barcode our beehives 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 3 minutes from the consumer outlet to all the constituent products.”

In March 2020, Williams turned to FileMaker again when British Honey went public via an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Williams states, “We were required to undergo very stringent accounting scrutiny, and Claris FileMaker got us through that process with flying colours."

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.

Wondering how to innovate your business with FileMaker? Download the Claris FileMaker Solution Guide to learn more about the platform’s low-code capabilities.