Alex Robson - CEO/Founder - West End Drinks

Judge for The Lloyds Bank Exporter of the Year Award

Alex Robson, is co-founder and CEO of West End Drinks. Originally from the North East of England, she comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and her upbringing instilled commerce and business knowledge from an early age. An active supporter of talent in industry and in the creatives, this year saw her sponsor the inaugural Comedy Women In Print Award, Published Prize.

Alex graduated in Economic and Social History at Bristol University and after a brief flirtation with the City, at Goldman Sachs, decided that a more adventurous and less conventional route was for her. This decision took her on a diverse and international career path which has included shipping in Russia, supply chain management in Holland and working on space projects for David Scott, Commander of Apollo 15.

Around about 8 years ago Alex’s entrepreneurial eye led to her spotting the potential for a renewed appetite for gin and a gap in the market for a high-quality and beautifully designed spirit. The decision to start her own premium gin brand was sparked by an epiphany over a classic gin martini with co-founder of West End Drinks and business partner Howard Raymond. Out of this ‘The King of Soho’ was born.

The King of Soho brand is a celebration of the life and legacy of the famous property and entertainment mogul Paul Raymond, the original ‘King of Soho’ and father of Howard Raymond.

With this inspiration in mind, Alex and Howard got to work to create in an exquisite Super Premium Distilled London Dry Gin, which came to market in October 2013. Working with the best in the business they created a spirit for the senses in a bottle for the imagination.

The summer of 2018 saw a pink berry edition, the King of Soho Variorum Gin, added to the line-up. Alex was very much the driving force behind the new line, reflecting the modernity and innovation of the brand and the ever-changing spirit that is Soho. Since its launch, the brand has gone international, gone into profit and seen yearly double and triple digit growth.

“I am thrilled to be judging the awards this year; the awards give due recognition to the talents, ingenuity and entrepreneurial journey of a diverse group of businesses. I have experienced first-hand the challenges faced on the entrepreneurs’ journey and look forward to meeting the shortlist of companies.”