We are Sibling Distillery, one of only a few places in the UK to distill gin from start to finish. The distillery was founded by and is run by me (Felix), my sisters (Clarice and Cicely) and our younger brother (Digby). We grew up watching, and helping, our parents run a micro-brewery in our hometown of Cheltenham, so when my youngest sister left school we were sure that the time was right to set up a business ourselves, doing what we know best.
We set ourselves the goal of creating a super-premium gin which not only offers seasoned gin drinkers something new, but also appeals to people who are not traditionally big gin fans. Our background of manufacturing alcohol from scratch meant that we didn’t want to take the same shortcut that almost every gin distillery in the UK does by buying a pre-made neutral alcohol – to us that wasn’t even an option! Instead we set our sights on gaining a full distilling license and on creating a base alcohol that eclipses the quality of what can be bought. Once we had mastered this, we got to work on flavouring our gin. We were determined to ensure that the flavour was guided by the people and not just our personal taste. For this reason we ran a huge number of tests on over 100 people to determine what it was that people wanted to experience – the results were quite surprising! We have included rare botanicals like Madagascan Vanilla and fresh blueberries, as well as fresh orange and lemon zests to create an exotic and refreshing gin that ticks the boxes that were flagged up to us in the development. We also vapour infuse the botanicals to ensure to ensure a delicate and balanced taste.
In the process we became the youngest distilling team in the world (all aged 22 or under), as well as one of the highest rated gins in the UK, gaining the full 3 stars at the 2015 Great Taste Awards amongst a whole host of other great awards.
Our decision to launch the distillery was one that was made fairly quickly, whilst on holiday together, and took about five minutes to settle on. I think that we had all had the same idea, but it was in that moment that it went from being an idea to a plan – in our family we act on things quite quickly so before the year was out we were arranging our launch party.
Why are we Crowdfunding?
We were fortunate when launching that we were able to use a makeshift, converted area of our family brewery to house the distilling equipment that we needed, and at first that was perfect for us. However, since launching, our production has increased threefold, meaning that we have rapidly run out of space for growth and we can no longer match the demand for the gin, which is both a big compliment and a massive frustration in equal portions. We have gone from selling just at local farmers markets to selling our gin to big retailers across the UK and now even across the world – it’s time for us to take a big step up in production!
My siblings and I currently have an office that has only space for one computer, and have to bottle our gin in the same room that our ‘Still is – in the summer this room can reach over 40 degrees Celsius – not ideal for a full day of bottling!
But neither of those things are the biggest problem. Our biggest issue is that we are unable to house any more fermenting tanks. Because we create our gin from the raw materials onwards, we use huge tanks to turn our raw materials into an alcoholic liquid. This process takes about two weeks and is a big part of what makes our gin so unique. Currently we have two of these tanks, which allow us to make a batch of gin every ten days. For us to grow, we need to have at least four of these, as well as a new boiler and an additional ‘Still.
For this to happen we need more space, and this is where you come in!
We have found the perfect location for this expansion, around a mile from our current location, which means we won’t have to leave our hometown, but out of town centre into the countryside – the perfect setting for making amazing spirits. However, although we are fiercely ambitious, we are a very young company, so don’t have the cash reserves to fund this entirely ourselves.
If we reach our target, we will be able to buy the additional kit that we need to increase our output threefold, as well as create a bottling area, an office area which has enough space for all of us, a tasting room (a vital part of every distillery) and also set up a proper retail space for ourselves. The unit that we are planning to move into has a skeleton that will work perfectly for us, but it is in desperate need of renovation. We know that the addition of a proper retail space, and also the ability to run tours, visits and private parties will make a huge difference to our business, but for it to become a reality for us we need your help!
If we were to exceed our target, we would be able to put the extra money into developing a bespoke bottle for Sibling, so that our appearance can be as individual as our flavour! This is something which we would really love to do
Sibling has been our life for almost three years now and this move is the big step which will help the business flourish, but we can’t do it without your help. Follow our progress on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and become part of our journey.
Twitter - @SiblingGin
Instagram - siblingdistillery