Brief background on you and your business journey, what has your pathway been.
I studied Medical Laboratory Science at Otago University, New Zealand, with the intention to undertake a Masters in the same field. However, as an intern in my placement year I realized that it wasn’t the direction I wanted to continue with.
At the same time my father, Simon, had left his job and started to study for his IBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling) post graduate diploma in Distilling, because he wanted to open a distillery. At that time, he suggested that I apply to Heriot-Watt to their Master’s program of Brewing and Distilling.
I was accepted the morning of my undergrad graduation ceremony, and just over three years and hundreds of pages of raw data later, I had my MSc in Brewing and Distilling, 4 gin recipes, a distillery and bar all up and running.
How did the idea for your business name come about?
The name evolved over time, we actually had another name registered, but as we started working on the recipe development it made sense to change it.
What science sits behind your business and why has this be important?
Both Simon and myself are qualified scientists, and approach tasks with the basis of scientific processes. It is a natural way for the both of us to approach problems, we are pretty methodical. This meant it has become a big part of our brand and runs through our daily work.
What research have you embarked on before you began or as part of this venture?
My main focus was on recipe development and production processes, most of my research was done as a part of my Masters. However, we also visited more then 30 distilleries around the world tasting their products, seeing how they set up, and learning how they all did things. It really helped us when designing our own distillery.
What advice would you give others on developing product?
Start with a clear detailed idea of what you want the product to be, and what you don’t want it to be; then work backwards. It takes a lot of iterations, don’t be discouraged, test each version with the market, and get as much feedback as you can all the time.
What motivates you?
No one thing motivates me, I like getting things done and achieving what I set out to do.
What do you love most about your business?
Coming up with new spirits and ideas for new products.
In one word, characterize your life as a start-up/ business owner?
How is running a successful business different to what you may have thought it would be?
There is an enormous amount of personal responsibility, and promotion work, which I was not anticipating or really ready for. I am naturally far more comfortable being behind the scenes, so I am currently on a very steep and challenging learning curve as I learn all the other aspects.
The entire distilling community, both local and abroad, have all provided immense amounts of knowledge, encouragement, and support. I was not expecting to become a part of such a welcoming and supportive community of distillers and I am truly grateful to each and every one of the distillers we have met and for being so generous with their time.
What do you struggle with most as a business owner?
Not having enough time to get everything done, and the weight of being the face of the business.
What are you most proud of with your biz journey so far?
Opening the doors of the distillery in September last year, and working with my father.
What’s next in store for you and your business?
- Designing and developing more products while increasing process efficiencies and improving our sustainability.
- Growing our footprint into retail outlets in other states and perhaps one day export.
Given your experience, what pieces of advice do you have for women starting or running a business?
I don’t have any gender specific advise as such. Yes, this industry in particular is very male dominated, it is a labor-intensive job which requires both a great deal physical and mental strength.
So, in respect to women looking to get into this industry, I would say you don’t need to rely on brute strength if you don’t have it, really think carefully about each task and how you can achieve it.
Continuous research to improve production processes.
Pay it forward where you can, now that we are past the first hurdle, we are trying to pass on the kindness and generosity that the distilling community has given us when we first started out almost 4 years ago.
What are the 5 fav’s of your life? Book, Movie, Place, song and possession
Gin, Beer, Arlo (distillery dog), Family, Cooking