Ben Franks is a passionate wine and spirits enthusiast who leads a team of professionals specialising in introducing new drinks to the UK market. He is best known for co-founding the multi-award-winning retailer Novel Wines in 2016 and for being an early investor in Canned Wine Co. in 2019.
Described by Decanter Magazine as “one of the UK’s leading wine buyers”, Ben was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) for his contributions to entrepreneurship in wine in 2020.
How it all started
Ben grew up aspiring to write for a living and launched a student online magazine in 2010, which he continued to run throughout his studies in sixth form and University. Before graduating with a degree in creative writing and English literature, Ben had already passed the WSET Level 2 Award with Distinction in 2015.
After leaving University, Ben founded Ben Franks Wine as a consultancy and tasting events business. He continued to write articles for a breadth of print and digital press, specialising in features on the English wine trade. The following year, Ben passed the WSET Level 3 and in 2018 started the Level 4 Diploma.
Ben came up with an idea in 2016 for a business that celebrated wines from lesser known regions and grape varieties. He had discovered the huge potential and value in central and eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and English wines.
Partnering with Hungarian wine importer Gyorgy Zsiga, Ben set up Novel Wines in April 2016 and the company has since been named Decanter‘s ‘Best Specialist Retailer for Central & Eastern Europe’ in 2019 & 2020 consecutively. The Novel Wines list now has over 250 truly unique wines, spirits, ciders and beers sourced from all corners of the globe, including Asia.
In 2020, Ben was named one of the city of Bath’s most powerful people in Somerset Live’s Power 100 list. Ben, along with his business partner Gyorgy, were voted into the top 10 by the public and finished at no. 8 on the list.
A passion for new brands
Ben is passionate about new food and drink brands. In 2019, Ben Franks Wine went through a change and pulled together some of Ben’s top contacts from the trade to specialise in introducing new products to the UK market.
The team brings together a plethora of talent, matched by Ben’s enviable book of trade contacts, to give exciting brands the opportunity to make their mark in the UK.
If you have a brand you think Ben and the team will love, let’s have a chat!