Felix Elliott-Berry and his siblings were making gin entirely from scratch well before the recent gin boom. Thanks to a strong customer base and innovative new products, their gin is still the talk of the Cotswolds...
HOW AND WHEN DID SIBLING GIN COME ABOUT?
The idea of Sibling was actually born on a rare family holiday back in 2013. Myself and my three siblings (who founded the company) were discussing plans for the future, as my youngest sister, Cicely, was just leaving school. None of us had gone to university (I was the oldest, 21 at the time), but we had grown up with our parents running a micro-brewery. We had this vision of being the only distillery in the area to make gin entirely from scratch so we had to apply for a full distilling licence. When we did apply, we were the first for over 150 years in the area and it was to our surprise that we were approved so quickly! This led us into almost a year of development until we were ready to launch in June 2014.
DID YOU EVER ANTICIPATE THE BOOM IN GIN WHEN YOU STARTED?
We grew up watching the Real Ale movement through the eyes of our parents, but even we can't believe the rise in popularity in gin. We had an idea that it might start to get a bit more popular when we started but never on the scale that it is – it was just fortuitous timing for us that we launched early in the boom and were able to establish a customer base early on.
HOW HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS/ PRODUCTS?
It has been really positive in a lot of ways. As one of the few distilleries to make gin completely from scratch we have a lot to talk about and it really helps now that people are interested! We have also periodically developed new gin products (the most recent being a brand new Negroni inspired botanical gin) to keep our creativity flowing and to keep our customers excited.
HOW HAVE YOU KEPT UP WITH THE TREND IN GIN-RELATED PRODUCTS?
We try to not go with the flow on trends, so we just develop new products that we love and think our customers will love.
HOW IS YOUR GIN MADE?
As mentioned previously we have gone against the grain and not used a mass produced grain spirit as the base for our gin or send any of the production out on contract. We start by using pure cane sugar, water and yeast to make a base wash and then turn this into a very pure neutral spirit, a completely blank slate on which to put our botanical flavours. We then use a traditional method of vapour infusing our botanicals, including things like whole Madagascan vanilla pods and fresh blueberries amongst others. We change our botanicals over every 17.5 litres worth of gin for maximum freshness before diluting it down from 96%ABV for bottling. For our seasonal gins we use only fresh and whole ingredients for a completely natural colour and flavour and the premium finish that we strive for. We achieved the full 3* in the Great Taste Awards and Gold Medal at the Taste of the West last year, so something we are doing must be working!
WHAT IS YOUR MOST POPULAR GIN?
Currently our sales show the original gin is our most popular, but throughout the year each of the different seasonals comes into their own and we have high hopes for the Negroni-inspired gin.
WHAT SPECIAL SEASONAL PRODUCT HAVE YOU BROUGHT OUT THIS SUMMER?
Our current seasonal gins are Spring: Lemon and Rosemary and Summer: Strawberry and Black Pepper.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO ENJOY YOUR GINS?
Each of the seasonal gins or specials have their own serving suggestions which is on the bottle, but our original gin is best served with loads of ice, Fever-Tree Mediterranean and a twist of orange peel or slice of orange.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR SIBLING GIN?
We have just moved into a brand new purpose-built distillery on Coxhorne Farm in Charlton Kings which has been a huge project, so we can't wait to welcome people in to our new shop and onto one of our tours!
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