“You have to have believe in yourself to achieve your goals and vision.
Having this gives you the courage to follow your heart, chase those dreams and really achieve anything you want to.”
Kieron hails from Huddersfield in Yorkshire (affectionately known by Yorkshire-men as ‘God’s own county’) where he enjoyed a great childhood growing up in the countryside of the Holme Valley situated on the edge of the Peak District national park.
Kieron now heads up marketing and ideation for Chilli who he launched in 2004 with best friend, Gareth Whittle, and brother, Christian Barton.
A business that was funded on credit cards and involved the three unloading containers, filling warehouses, selling into bars and bottle stores and then delivering to them and collecting cash themselves has now grown into a global multi-award winning, multi-million dollar company with an impressive track record of curating and developing a strong portfolio of premium brands and a business that is attracting some of the very best people inside and out of the liquor industry.
Leveraging his previous career experience in sales and marketing for companies including Coca-Cola, and in magazines with the BBC & Emap, Barton’s first success with Chilli came to fruition while launching Cusqueña lager in the UK.
To maximize efforts, they devised a careful seeding strategy to introduce the Peruvian beer in his country. Further demonstrating their gumption and hustle, their first sales “junket” was selling the beer from the back of a Fiat Punto to bars in Manchester, the music and soccer capital of the UK. Their hard work and efforts paid off; today, Cusqueña is a well-established, a favourite beer of leading bartenders and the most successful premium South American beer brand to hit the UK.
Lightening struck again in 2008, when Barton and his team discovered the Swedish cider, Rekorderlig. Immediately drawn to the simple, yet stylish bottle, they set out a meet with the owners and built an alliance to position the premium fruit cider as a refreshing alternative to pub-goers in the UK and then beyond. Barton’s role was centered around the brands positioning and his approach on building brands on their truths lead to it’s ‘Beautifully Swedish’ mantra.
According to Barton, “The UK cider market was so developed and saturated that people advised us against it. But seeing Rekorderlig, we totally knew it was such a good product, and that it was something that could flip cider on its head.”
It did, and today --less than 10 years from Chilli’s start and five years into Rekorderlig’s rebirth-- Rekorderlig Cider is perfectly poised now to become one of the top premium cider brands in the world. In fact, the “Beautifully Swedish” cider has now achieved the best year-on-year growth of any premium cider in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia (2010, 2011, 2012).
Chilli today employs a team of 60 people working around the world, turnover $130 million and are on track within five years to increase that to over $1 Billion.
On their recent expansion to the U.S. market, Kieron says, “There is energy on every single street and you cannot fail to be inspired by it! With the excitement and buzz around cider in general, the reaction Rekorderlig has received thus far, and our incredible U.S. team, we’re confident that our Swedish cider will be very successful here and, in turn, help further ignite this growing category.”
Barton and the Chilli team launched Rekorderlig in the U.S. in fall 2013, with initial markets including New York, New Jersey and Florida.
A guy whose mantra is ‘life is for living’ plays as hard as he works and as a result pretty much never sleeps -- which is handy now having a business operating on five continents!
He lives in Sydney with wife Louise and three children, daughters Gracie and Meadow, and newborn son, Jude. When he’s not traveling the world or hanging out with his family, Barton is quite active – boxing, running, swimming and surfing at Sydney’s truly incredible Northern beaches. As well, he’s a passionate fan of soccer, food and travel.
Who would you like to take to a desert island & why?
My wife. I never get the time I need with her....plus she is a fox.
What makes you angry?
The best gig you’ve been to and why?
Oasis, Roundhouse, invite only...special!
Who is your favourite band and why?
The Beatles....they were...The Beatles.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Minus 10 years and no kids and I’d be in New York...
Have you ever won a trophy? What for?
A few for work - well done us - and a few footy ones when I was a kid...oh and Junior Putting Champion 1990 at Meltham Golf Club...put that in yer pipe and smoke it!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Naval pilot - weirdly this was around the time top gun came out!
I always had loads of money schemes as a kid and I guess I always knew I wanted to work for myself and earn my own money.
What is your favourite time of the day?
Morning - it has to be I’m up at 4!
What’s your first childhood memory?
On a bus in Huddersfield and someone fell down the stairs! Happy times!
What is your favourite drink?
Right now - Saint Beer / Vodka and Grapefruit!