MANAGING DIRECTOR, UK
“Be bold, be brave and never let anyone tell you it can’t be done!”
Gareth was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire but was very quickly whisked away to the Red Rose of Lancashire where he enjoyed a very happy childhood growing up in the countryside.
From encouraging his friends to start a neighbourhood gardening service at the age of 10 to convincing his Business Studies teacher at secondary school to let him open a stationary shop at the age of 13, his entrepreneurial spirit shone through from an early age!
Together with best friend from university, Kieron Barton and his brother Christian Barton, Gareth co-founded Chilli Marketing in 2004, focused on building premium drinks brands.
Although his role has developed somewhat in the last 9 years, it all started with very humble beginnings; namely unloading containers of Cusqueña beer, paid for on credit cards and hand delivering it to the bars of Manchester and Leeds situated in the North of England. His efforts paid off as today, Cusqueña is a well-established and highly successful brand in the UK and has enabled the trio go on and build their business globally.
Lightening struck in 2008 when the three owners discovered discovered the Swedish cider, Rekorderlig. Immediately drawn to the simple yet stylish bottle, they arranged a meeting with the owners and built an alliance to position the premium fruit cider as a refreshing alternative to pub-goers in the UK and beyond. Gareth has then since lead the team who have driven it to be number 4 packaged cider in the world’s biggest cider market, with ambitions for even greater success.
Today, less than ten years after Chilli started and five years into Rekorderlig’s rebirth, Rekorderlig is available on five continents and Chilli has a team of 60 people working around the world.
With a global retail sales value of over £250 million, Rekorderlig Cider is one of the fastest growing ciders in the world. In fact, the “Beautifully Swedish” cider has achieved the best year-on-year growth of any premium cider in the UK, New Zealand and Australia (2010, 2011, 2012).
As co-founder and Managing Director of Chilli’s European operation, Gareth’s role today is focused on championing the company’s desire for sustainable, international growth.
On Chilli’s global success Whittle comments; “For me, success comes from a few basic principles; Firstly, be bold in your ambitions. Dare to believe you can succeed and never give up. Secondly, find and hire people better than you! Attracting great people to your company, inspiring them to strive to be the best they can be by giving them the respect, autonomy and trust they need helps drive an entrepreneurial spirit and a successful business.”
Of the three owners, Whittle is the rudder that ensures that the team remains on course to achieve their ambitious objectives whilst ensuring the business remains true to its strong foundations; namely, people, passion, fun and the absolute determination to succeed in all they do.
This determination can be found in Whittle’s endeavours outside of work where his dedication has lead him to achieving success in various martial arts. Gareth lives in Lancashire with his wife Barbra and when he is not traveling the world he can be found either in the company of lifelong friends, the gym or on the slopes of whatever resort he can drag his snowboard to!
Favourite place you have ever been in the world and why?
Tough question! Kicking Horse in Canada for snowboarding or New York for unbeatable banter!
Who would you like to take to a desert island & why?
Russell Brand – a bonkers character who would be sure to keep me entertained!
Best night out you've ever had?!
Vinny Day. No explanation required.
What makes you angry?
How quickly time passes by…and also how people point out that time is a constant and passes neither quicker or slower in any given moment. I’m not stupid, I know that. All I’m saying is that it just seems to fly by. Just agree with me and stop being so pedantic…
If you could have a superheroes superpower what would it be & why?
Although technically not a superpower as such I’d like to be Tony Stark / Ironman…he has a great life! By the way, as a 36 years old is it weird that I’ve thought about this quite a lot?!
The best gig you’ve been to and why?
Foo Fighters, Milton Keynes. They played for hours and Dave Grohl was on top form!
Have you ever won a trophy? What for?
Yeah – a few business awards, some martial arts awards and, most importantly, one for ‘Best Patrol Leader’ at Scouts. A proud day.
What’s your favourite song to sing in the shower?!
For the good of mankind I have made a pact to never sing in public…I’m still waiting for my thanks from you all.
What’s your first childhood memory?
Eating English mustard and bawling my eyes out afterwards!
What is your favourite drink?
A Bourbon Old Fashioned.