Judging by the amount of time it’s been since our last blog, and that this one has had to be written on a Sunday, you can probably tell things have been quite busy!
Last Saturday marked the beginning of our third year trading as Sibling Distillery; a pretty mad thought as it feels like a few months ago that we were having our launch party at Lily Gins. We have come a long way since the early days of delivering one or two bottles to a few bars and restaurants around Cheltenham!
In many ways though we haven’t changed much at all, we still produce our gin in the same way, with the same team in the same place. When we started we were doing one batch a month, we now do around one batch a week which is our capacity for the time being and we’ll soon be upping our production with the addition of some new equipment and a potential move of facility in the very near future which is extremely exciting. Those of you who have visited us will know how our current distillery is bursting at the seams!
Running a distillery isn’t easy, there are some incredibly testing times. You have to learn to cope with the lows as well as the highs, which is easier said than done. When we started working on the distillery I was 21 years old and the oldest of the team, so it goes without saying that we have learnt an incredible amount, but the one thing that has been a starker lesson than anything else is the amount of time needed to get a business up and running. There is a phrase in the alcohol industry, that an overnight success takes 5 years – so with that in mind we are still a baby in the distilling world!
However, we have had some great highs over the last two years, we are finally getting used to seeing ourselves in press, but the novelty of seeing our gin around the world on social media still hasn’t worn off yet, we are still chuffed when we receive messages from people who have been drinking it in Australia or Canada or central Europe.
The thing that I am most proud about though, is that even with all of the progress we have made, the listings, the awards and reviews and the sales, we have never changed our approach or our ethos. In the distilling world there are a lot ofpeople who start businesses with a plan of getting rich quick by doing the least work possible; this shortcut oriented style of running a business is something which we have never even considered – in fact we often end up adding stages to our processes and production that makes our life even tougher! Every decision that we have made in the last two years has been to sustain or improve the quality of our product and not been financially driven, we have so much pride in what we do that sometimes we even forget that this is a business! This mentality is partly the reason we are able to work 7 days a week and retain all of our enthusiasm – to us it isn’t work, it’s just our life.
People are always asking us what the next stage is for us, when we will be releasing some new flavours, or when we’ll be adding to the range and it’s a very fair question. However, the honest answer is that we don’t know. At the moment we haven’t got time to be experimenting with new mixes or flavours because we are producing as much of our Triple Distilled Gin as we can – so be patient with us, the new stuff will come as soon as we find a spare minute!
Soon we will be heading to Imbibe Live (the UKs biggest drinks show) for a second year in a row, and this time with a slightly bigger stand, things must be moving in the right direction! Next weekend we will be at 3 events, a street market in Tewkesbury, a country fair in Naunton and then running a Sibling Gin bar at the Oxford University end of year ball which is a new but very exciting part of our business – you can see what I mean when I say that we don’t have time for experimenting though!
If I was to recount all of the highs and lows from the past two years this would be a very long blog, so instead I’m just going to say thank you to everybody who has supported us; let’s not stop this roller coaster ride yet!