[Indie Interview] Sibling Distillery
With Sibling Distillery set to open a new cocktail and wine bar in Gloucester this summer, we talk to co-founder Cicely Elliott-Berry, to find out more about the business, the brand and the introduction of smart labels.
When was the business founded?
The business was founded in 2014 and is run by myself, my sister and my two brothers; a real family, independent business. We are the children of the husband-and-wife team behind Battledown Brewery.
When we were coming up with the branding for our new business, we wanted something that gave a nod to the four of us. We looked up the word “sibling” and it was represented by 2 dots. We decided on Sibling Distillery and use the 4 dots on the logo to represent each of us. It’s unique and symbolic and even represents an outline timeline of each of our birth dates.
What do each of you do in the business?
We all do a bit of everything. Clarice looks after the financial aspects of the business, while Digby, who is the youngest and newest to the business, manages the production and bottling elements of Sibling. And then there is me and Felix who manage Sales and Marketing. Felix specialises on the retail side and work we do for other brands and I largely take care of marketing, events and hospitality. And then between Felix, Digby and I, we do the distilling!
Can you tell us a bit about what the Distillery does?
The distillery produces seven premium, triple-distilled gins. The range includes; the Original, the four Seasonals, the Negroni, and the latest product; the French 75 which has just launched exclusively with the Craft Gin Club. We also have shop sales, ecommerce and the distillery tours and private events.
Retail is a big part of our business. We work with large, well-known retailers like Morrisons locally, and lots and lots of independent retailers across in the UK and overseas.
During lockdown, like many businesses, we evolved. We produced ethanol for hand sanitiser, boosted our ecommerce presence and ran virtual events.
At the end of lockdown, we were approached about taking a unit on at the Gloucester Food Dock. It was something we had always thought about, but the timing hadn’t been quite right. During lockdown, I completed my WSET courses, so we loved the idea of putting together a wine and spirits’ bar. Across our family businesses, we’ve never taken on wine before and now feels like the perfect time for this venture.
We will be expanding and opening ‘Our House’, a cocktail and wine bar, at the Gloucester Food Dock when it launches in the docks this summer.
What is the story behind the name ‘Our House’?
Yes, the cocktail and wine bar will be called Our House and the idea behind the name is that as a family run business, one thing we hear all the time is ‘I bet you have good parties at your house’. Growing up, there were always lots of people around, with teenagers, family and friends in and out all the time. We all remember our house as being a fun, friendly and warm place to be. The name Our House captures the spirit of what we hope the bar to be.
What can you tell us about the new Smart Label you are using?
We have teamed up with content marketing agency PinPoint Media to enhance the brand’s customer journey and increase understanding of our products with the use of Smart Labels. We have so much to say about our products and only a few seconds to grab a customer’s attention, for example, our Negroni is a quirky product and takes a little more explaining. The idea of using an interactive augmented experience is that we can tell the story in a more entertaining way.
A neck tag with a QR code on it goes around the top of the bottle. The technology allows users to interact with the visuals, buttons and noises by moving their phone 360 degrees around the bottle, so customers can learn things about the drink, including which tonic and garnish goes best with the gin and even a flavour wheel.
What are some of the challenges for your business?
Quality and cost are the big challenges in this space.
For us, there is no compromise on quality. We set out to make something unique and genuinely brilliant. In a crowded market, there is no space for an ‘ok’ gin. We go above and beyond on packaging and the ingredients in all of our products.
The next challenge is cost. Costs are huge and ever increasing right now with; the cost-of-living crisis, shortages from Brexit and lockdowns, transport limitations, fuel price increases … it’s something as a growing business we need to be incredibly mindful of.
Find out more about the Distillery here.
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