A POPULAR alcohol company that started in a Hampshire man's kitchen has revealed plans for expansion after gaining international interest.

Winchester Distillery will now offer business equity through UK crowdfunding platform, CrowdCube, in hope to build on its current production facility in Alresford.

Founder, Paul Bowler, revealed his ambitions at a launch event in the company's Middle Brook Street building, The Blend Academy, on March 4.

He said: "We intend to upgrade the current space amongst the watercress beds so we can host more visitors for tours and tastings, and open a gift shop.

"We've made more and more profits each year, which have been invested back into the business to help it grow. It could contently carry on the way it is, but to progress we need more investment.

He added: "It's got to the point that the products are wanted abroad, and I'm hoping to introduce new product lines, like rum and whisky, because although the gin boom keeps expanding each year, one day that will plateau - it's all about growth."

Paul traded his London-based IT career of 20 years to make and sell his own gin in 2014.

His first product, Twisted Nose dry gin, was snapped up in less than six months by well-known high street names, including Hotel du Vin and The Green Man.

Paul said: "I was travelling on the train to work one day and read an article about a gin distillery in London. I thought "I like gin" - so I set myself a goal of nine months to get everything in place.

"I made some terrible batches at first, but I kept at it and haven't looked back since."

The company now plan to install larger stills.

Currently, those in place can hold up to 500 litres, but Paul is looking at new machinery with twice the capacity.

He said: "I used to make around 50 bottles a week, but now over a thousand are labelled and sent off.

"Our products will still have the same authentic, craft feeling to them. We are all about Hampshire honesty and will continue to look out for local businesses.

He joked: "The aim is to get tourists into Winchester for our Blend Academy, too, and show there is more to the city than just the Cathedral!"

Movement into new product lines such as rum and whisky, both of which have been in development over the last year, will also commence once a brew house is created onsite.