An Oxfordshire gin distillery is celebrating after being given accreditation as a living wage employer.

Staff working at Sky Wave Gin, based at Bicester Heritage, will receive a minimum hourly wage of £10.90, which is higher than the government minimum for over 23s – currently £10.42 per hour.

The real living wage is the only rate calculated according to the costs of living. It provides a voluntary benchmark for employers that wish to ensure their staff earn a wage they can live on, not just the government minimum.

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Since 2011 the living wage movement has delivered a pay rise to over 450,000 people and put over £2 billion extra into the pockets of low paid workers.

Rachel Hicks, Co-Founder, Sky Wave Gin said: “We are proud to be a Living Wage accredited employer. We believe in paying our wonderful team a fair wage for a fair day’s work.

“We deeply value all the skills and personality which everyone who works for us brings to Sky Wave Gin, and with the cost of living crisis still biting hard we want to help our team as much as possible.”

“I’ve worked two jobs simultaneously in the past and so being able to support myself with one job, which I enjoy, is really great,” said 22-year-old Zac Lacey–Rousou, Distillery Experience Host at Sky Wave Gin. Director of the Living Wage Foundation Katherine Chapman, said: “We’re delighted that Sky Wave Gin has joined the movement of over 12,000 responsible employers across the UK who voluntarily commit to go further than the government minimum to make sure all their staff earn enough to live on.

“They join thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Everton Football Club and many more.

“These businesses recognise that paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer and they, like Sky Wave Gin believe that a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

In March this year Sky Wave Gin launched its new bar located at North tanker Sheds within the heritage site.

The bar opens every Friday and Saturday night from 6pm to 11pm and sells a range of drinks from the distillery.

As well as this, the distillery’s Navy Strength Gin won one of only two Master medals in the world at the Spirits Business competition 2022.

The distillery's London Dry Gin and Orange and Madagascan Vanilla Gin were also awarded a Great Taste 2-star and 1-star respectively in 2022.

Additionally, this year the site was recognised by Tripadvisor as a 2023 Travellers’ Choice award winner.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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