SUCCESS IS IN THE MIND PODCAST: Listen to Felix Elliott-Berry – Sibling Distillery Interview

Felix Elliott-Berry_SIITM Wall Post

What does it take to grow a gin brand with no distilling license in a market flooded with competition and very little knowledge? Felix and his 3 siblings founded Sibling Gin before most of them could legally drink alcohol. Having never run a business, been to University or worked in the food and beverage industry before, all 4 of them took the plunge in 2013 and formed family owned brand Sibling Distillery.

Founder and Entrepreneur Oliver Bruce speaks with owner operator entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders about their failures, barriers, mistakes, passion and persistence to achieve their vision

Having enjoyed the boom of the gin market as it became ‘cool’ in the early years, the recent pandemic saw Felix and his team have to pivot their business from the supply of gin into the supply of hand sanitiser and pure alcohol for use within the NHS. Facing tough times like so many business Felix looks back on what have been an exciting few years and a turbulent few months.

You can listen to the latest podcast with Felix Elliott-Berry Co-founder of Sibling Distillery here via your preferred provider either Apple or Spotify

Apple – E2: Success Is In The Mind: Felix Elliott-Berry – Sibling Distillery Interview

Spotify – E2: Success Is In The Mind: Felix Elliott-Berry – Sibling Distillery Interview

Oliver Bruce:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Success Is In The Mind with me, Oliver Bruce. If you’re new to the show, we’ll be discussing with current owner entrepreneurs their failures, mistakes, passion, and continued persistence in the face of business adversity. Not all entrepreneurs have completed their vision just yet, some are just starting out. I want to give you a sense of business reality in a world full of idealism. What does it take to become successful, to grow a brand, or to start a business? Join me to find out from those that are currently doing just that.

Felix Elliott-Berry:

We started with no savings. All of our money went into it and we lived for the first 18 months on £40 a week each.

Oliver Bruce:

Success Is In The Mind is proud to have partnered with and be supported by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and community, a programme that recognises celebrates, supports, encourages and champions entrepreneurs in Great Britain. Today, I’m joined by one of the four founders of gin company Siblings Gin, Felix Elliott-Berry. The oldest of his four siblings, he was 22 years old when launching their now award-winning gin brand. His brothers and sisters, one of which was so much younger than Felix when he launched that he was legally not able to drink, didn’t stop him however from joining Felix and his brothers and sisters on the journey, which ultimately led them to supplying supermarkets, bars, and restaurants up and down the country. Siblings based in Cheltenham was founded in 2014 and claims to be deliciously weird and wonderful. The gin is unafraid to tread new paths, an attitude that owes a lot to the youthful innocence of its makers and founders. Welcome Felix to Success Is In The Mind.

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Hi Oli, how are you doing?

Oliver Bruce:

Very very well, thank you. So Felix gin, alcohol, early twenties, it seems like what dreams are made of. How was it?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Well, that’s what we thought when we started, I’d say we were blissfully naïve to how difficult it was actually going to be when we started. We’d always kind of fancied running a business ourselves and we grew up with our parents running a microbrewery. None of us kind of went the traditional route through universities and things like that, we all left school, got jobs, kind of went in various different directions. I moved into the branding world, working on film shoots, designs, things like that, and after a few years of that, my youngest sister was leaving school and we thought, well, now’s the time to have a crack at doing something ourselves. The only thing we’d ever done before was making and selling sloe gin on a farmer’s market, which when we look back now is an extremely low key version of what we still do really. We did that, one Christmas, we borrowed a little bit of our parents’ farmer’s market stand and sold out by lunchtime and thought this is an easy game; we could do this for a business easily for a year. And it kind of started out as just being a little bit of a project, something that we were going to do while we all decided what else we would do with our lives. But obviously, like these things do, the idea kind of got ahold of us and turned from like a little project into a business. And before knew it, we were applying for a full distilling licence and sort of working out where our premises would be. And we actually got granted the first full distilling licence in Gloucestershire or Oxfordshire for around 150 years, which at the time, again naively, we didn’t realise what a big deal it was, but kind of as we’ve gone on, we’ve found out that doing everything from start to finish, like we do, is actually quite a big deal. So went from that little idea of making sloe gin for a farmer’s market to quite quickly becoming fully functional gin distillery, where we now actually create brands for other people and put things to market and have diversified in all sorts of directions recently.

Oliver Bruce:

So when you went to your parents and you said, you want to obviously take your brothers, take your sisters almost out of school and take them to produce gin for the rest of their life. And I alluded earlier to the fact that your brother is, was so young that actually he couldn’t drink alcohol. He wasn’t even allowed to be in the marketing, was he?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Correct. Well, actually none of us were allowed to be in the marketing until we were 25. So this was a weird one. When we started out, again the theme here is naivety, probably if we’d known all these things before we’d started, we wouldn’t have ended up doing it, but most of us being over 18 thought, we’d be fine to appear on our own website, appear in our marketing, obviously being a brand called Sibling, the four of us were a key part of the marketing to start with. One of our nameless competitors complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that because we were under 25, you’re not allowed to use models under the age of 25 or that appear under the age of 25 in any marketing for alcohol. So it meant we were no longer allowed an About Us page on our websit, any kind of reference to us in any marketing or media. So for quite a few years, until I turned 25, we were almost silent on the founders and kind of background of the company, which was quite annoying because obviously that was one of the key parts of our branding, but it did make us focus on, quality of products instead. And just be a bit more clever about how we did our marketing, not just take the easy route, which was, you know, selling the whole kind of family business thing. We weren’t even actually allowed to reference our names in the marketing for quite a while because we’d put a piece online, a blog that had said about our experience in the industry and I’d referenced in it that I’d been working, making real ale since I was 12, which obviously the ASA weren’t too keen on. They then checked every blog we put online and every piece of social media marketing for about a year to make sure that there was no reference or pictures of us on there, which, again, it was just a challenge that we had to kind of work our way around.

Oliver Bruce:

So when you got to 25, was it freedom? Were you just like plastering social media with your face?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Yeah, pretty much. So my youngest brother is still not 25, but the majority of us are now so it’s a lot easier. And also we just kind of decided that as the ASA rulings come, we’ll take down offending pieces.

Oliver Bruce:

Do first, apologise later.

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Yeah, exactly. So pretty much that’s what we found is that’s the only real way to move forward. If you wait for approval on everything, you’re going to be waiting forever.

Oliver Bruce:

You say obviously when you went into the market, that there was an element of competition, obviously that’s expected. It’s a very diluted market, the gin world, there’s big players out there. There’s Hendricks, there’s Bombay, there’s British Polo. How did you feel when you came up against these people with minimal marketing budgets, how did you kind of get your product to the forefront of people’s minds?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Our approach was so simplistic when we look back it’s almost embarrassing, actually, we had literally such a simple marketing plan and that was: we started on farmer’s markets, and we grew our customer base face-to-face with customers. So, for the first year or so, we literally rocked up every farmer’s market, every food and drink show that we could, got in front of our end consumers and then approached shops within the areas where those markets were. So say we did, for example, Witney food and drink festival, and we got a good reception, when people were buying it off us and saying “where can I buy it now?”, before we’d gone there, we’d done a bit of research and found out what the local shops were, whether there was a Majestic Wines there, whether there was a farm shop and we would tell them they could buy it at that shop, after the show. By this point, we’d actually not contacted the shop, but we knew that we were going to, and so we would then post show, go to the shop and be like, right, we’ve got a load of potential customers for you, this is how many bottles we’ve sold here, we’ve told them that you’re going to stock it, so I hope you’re going to take us up on our offer and stock our gin for us. And basically that’s how we started to grow our customer base. So even now you’ll notice if you look at a heat map of our customers, they are clustered around places where we, in the early days, did lots of markets and lots of food and drink fairs and things like that, because we didn’t have a marketing budget, so all of our marketing had to be paying as well. So that way we’re making money when we’re selling the gin, but we’re also growing our customer base, we’re covering our costs. All of the money that we’re making is going back into the business to grow it. Instead of starting out, taking an investment, spending £40k on print marketing or whatever, and then hoping for the best, we needed every pound that we spent to be kind of recoupable. We started with no savings. All of our money went into it. And we lived for the first 18 months on £40 a week each. So every penny counted. So all of those marketing opportunities had to be made to pay as well. That was our initial strategy. Obviously over the years, that’s kind of grown a little, as we’ve got slightly kind of deeper reserves, we can take a few more risks and things, but to get it into the market, it was that, and then literally Facebook messaging buyers from places like Harvey Nichols, tweeting people, just calling up shops and saying who is your buyer? So that was kinda how we did with the bigger ones, but to get our customer base to start with, obviously when you start you, you have no way of getting it to market bar actually putting it into people’s hands and telling them to try it.

Oliver Bruce:

Do you think if you’d had investments, had seed capital upfront, that you would have been almost more relaxed in how you marketed the brand? You did it quite disruptively. You contacted those at Harvey Nicks, you got into their inbox, built those relationships up. If you’d just put, as you said, £40,000 on the marketing campaign, or on a marketing campaign, would that’ve changed the outcome?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Certainly would have changed the outcome, whether that would have changed it positively or negatively, I don’t know. From a personal point of view, I’m glad we did it the way that we did it because I learned the ropes of running and managing a business while we grew very organically. So I was able to limit the amount of catastrophic mistakes I made to just a handful, whilst we were growing it. Had we grown faster? I don’t know. We probably would have had to bring in more staff. It would have become a much bigger logistical operation quicker, whether we would have managed that better or worse, I don’t know, but the way that we did it meant that it took us five years before we took on any sort of debt. And we were profitable from year one, which is relatively rare, but it meant that none of us had to take out personal loans or credit cards or anything like that. So although we were living very frugally, there was never a huge financial stress on us. It was financially stressful in the sense that we had to make sure every penny counted, but none of us were under debt and having to make repayments or beholden to investors. So we were able to make sensible kind of long-term decisions instead of looking for quick returns for investors.

Oliver Bruce:

You alluded to me before we went on air with regards to your relationship with, I suppose, the Superdry founder, Julian Dunkerton. Now, obviously back in the day, you just said that obviously you don’t have investors, you don’t have shareholders. Did that ever cross your mind, obviously with the relationship with the locality of where your now brewery is or your location is, to ever get Julian on and why didn’t he join?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

So we’re an interesting setup because we’re a family business, there’s a number of shareholders which makes it actually a slightly less appealing proposition for investment, especially, for, you know, buying shares. Anyway, in the early days, we very much wanted to keep it all family owned. We knew that, you know, we were trying to build a business that was going to be long-term support for our family. We weren’t looking to sell it within two years or three years, so keeping that complete control within our directors and shareholders, at least in the early days, it was really important to us. We didn’t want to have to compromise quality to make margin, to please investors. We didn’t want to compromise our brand or customer base in order to make that one hundred percent return for the investor straight away. So it never was a serious kind of proposition. Although we were on one occasion offered a reasonable investment. It was actually- it’s quite an interesting story this one. So we were asked a while ago to be part of a university course, which is quite ironic, as none of us have a degree. So since not going to university, I’ve been part of two university courses. I’m actually – this is an aside – but I helped put together a module for a new entrepreneurship degree, which, like I say, is funny because I have like no qualifications in anything but-

Oliver Bruce:

Qualification of life, Felix.

Felix Elliott-Berry:

We were asked to go up to Sheffield, to the Crucible, where they were hosting a, what was supposed be like a mock Dragon’s Den sort of thing, for the students to come and observe and see how business pitches kind of go in real life. So we agreed to do it because we, in those days we agreed to do everything because you didn’t know what was going to work and what was worth doing and what wasn’t. And we put together this mock pitch, and, like I say, this was in I think around the end of year one. And our mock pitch offered 5% of our business for £50,000. And we did our pitch, we did a fairly reasonable job of it, and about six other companies did their pitch as well. And as we were having a drink in the bar afterwards, there was five pretend dragons on there, but these are all good business people and they all had the money theoretically to put up front. And of the five, three of them individually came and found us and said, I know this is supposed to be a mock thing, but would you consider that deal because we’d happily take it. And we were so taken aback by it that we just said no at the time, which when we look back at it is pretty wild because 5% for 50 grand of a one-year-old business that is making a very modest profit was an unbelievable deal. But we were so focused on keeping it family owned, that we were actually blinded to this massive opportunity. So whilst we weren’t actively looking for investment, I do sometimes look back and wonder how things would have looked, had we taken on board, someone at, you know, a very small shareholding, but for a reasonable chunk of it.

Oliver Bruce:

Do you think your naivety and inexperience has assisted you in the growth of Siblings? Do you think if you knew all of this, you knew how difficult it was to get a distilling licence, you knew how to bring a product to market, you would have almost done it differently and it may have actually failed because you were doing it in the same way that everyone else was doing?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

It certainly assisted our launch, whether it’s assisted our growth, I would probably dispute. I think it assisted our launch because had we known how difficult the industry was, and how competitive it was going to be, and the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork and licences and everything that you need to get, when we had that discussion when we were on holiday in the early days, we’d have probably scrapped it there and gone for an easier option like doing a branded t-shirt company or something. But-

Oliver Bruce:

Do you know much about branded t-shirts?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

[laughs] Probably as much as I knew about making gin when we started.

Oliver Bruce:

[laughs] So it was a legitimate option then!

Felix Elliott-Berry:

So it certainly assisted us in getting going because we kind of went headlong into it without giving it masses of thought. And I think sometimes in business you can certainly overthink. So we kind of have this motto of less thinking, more doing on things like that. Has it assisted our growth though? I would say probably not. I think had we been less naïve on pricing and margins and how the industry works in the early days, we would have made less mistakes and we would have grown our sort of bigger wholesale side of the business a lot more quickly than we did. So we were very reliant for a long time on a few key customers, and they were decent sized customers, people like Majestic Wines and things, but we could never break into the bigger kind of on-trade wholesale because we hadn’t got our pricing margins right. So I think our naivety there kind of harmed us a little bit, but then, you know, swings and roundabouts, maybe we wouldn’t have been able to manage the company had it grown quicker than it did. Our naivety probably hurt us when it came to wholesale, we hadn’t quite appreciated how the margins needed to work. And that is obviously the quickest way to grow your volume. Now it’s not the way you make the most money, but it’s certainly the way you make the biggest impact, and I think in the early days of starting a business, especially a brand business, that’s kind of publicly recognisable, is you need that volume and you need people to be seeing it frequently. So whereas we would have sacrificed a little bit of our margin and it might’ve meant we had to hold a few more distillery tours or a few more markets to pay ourselves, we would have been in many more bars and restaurants early on. Would that have been good for the long-term health of the company? I don’t know, because it would have made it more difficult to be profitable. And as I mentioned earlier, we’ve been profitable since year one. So, you know, in that way it’s been a success, but we may have grown to be bigger than we are now more quickly had we kind of cracked that wholesale a little earlier.

Oliver Bruce:

Obviously with regards to failure and making mistakes, for me, there is no such thing as actually failure. It’s just feedback. Do you think the mistakes that you’ve made, and I’m sure you’re still making mistakes, but do you think the mistakes you’ve made have crafted and have educated you in terms of what not to do or have you gone actually that mistake was a mistake which has paid off, I’m going to do that again, ironically?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

There are two types of mistake, really. There are ones that are kind of out of your control that are just kind of gambles that don’t work out. So an example of this would be in the early days, we were quite focused on export. We thought that that was the way forward. We could see how crowded the gin market was in the UK, and we were looking to markets like Sweden and Belgium, and we had a little bit of success in those. We gambled on that success being long-term and put quite a lot of money into it. And it turned out that their trend was just a little bit behind ours and suddenly a load of kind of craft gins in those countries started popping up and it became just as competitive overseas. So we lost quite a lot of time and money focusing on that, but whilst doing it learnt loads about the export trade so that when we ventured into it again later on, which we are sort of starting to do again now, we learned those lessons with mistakes that we managed to survive in the early days. And then there’s mistakes where you fully sort of blame yourself afterwards. And these are things like hiring too many staff too early on. You know, I think almost everyone who’s run a business can sort of relate to this. We took on a sales director to essentially do my job about three years in because I suddenly had a lack of belief in myself that I was doing the job particularly well and hired someone at quite a high rate to basically do my job for me while I sat around managing him doing my job. And when you look back, it’s ridiculous, but we spent tens of thousands of pounds paying the sales director for a sum total of way, way less sales than I was getting when I was doing it.

Oliver Bruce:

And is that because you’ve got the passion in the business? I mean, your parents quite literally said to you when you started, if you want something doing properly, do it yourself. You hired your sales director, but at what point is the right point to actually delegate?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

We started delegating for completely the wrong reasons. I personally started delegating through kind of lack of belief in myself that I could take the business to the next level, instead of delegating when we got to the point where we couldn’t handle the workload anymore, which would be the correct time to delegate. I delegated because I believed someone else would probably do it better than I could, as it happens that was completely wrong. And actually the person that we brought in to do my job, we ended up having to get rid of about nine months in because they were doing a terrible job of it. And we went back to being a much more simple business. But the right time to delegate is when you get to the point where you believe there is no possible way that with the team you have, you could get any bigger. For ages, it was just myself, my two sisters and my brother and my mum helping out as well. But we got to a point around the end of year two, where it was Christmas time and between Christmas and New Year’s, the only time we all really have off, and I sat down with the guys, and I said, I don’t think there’s any possible way that we could have made and sold more bottles of gin in that period, which means now we need to bring people in to help us because you know, we’re not being lazy by bringing people in here, we’re doing it because there’s no way to grow without extra pairs of hands and extra minds working on this. So from experience, that was the right time to start bringing people in; the wrong time is when you either a) can’t be bothered to do a job anymore, which is definitely not reason to bring someone in to do it for you, or b) to do it because of a lack of self belief. And those are things that you kind of grow through, and learn from, but you kind of need to do it, and you also need to put your money where your mouth is to learn the lesson properly. The only way you actually learn a lesson or believe it is when it costs you physical money within the business.

Oliver Bruce:

Yeah, and those are mistakes, which one will always remember. But with regards, I suppose to you alluding to the fact you’ve not been through any degrees, any courses in terms of running a business, nor actually have I, and indeed a lot of people that are on this podcast haven’t either, how do you learn to manage?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Well in my experience, you learn by getting it wrong loads of times and seeing how people react to it and then changing it. The key to management is striking a balance between empathy, but also ensuring that someone is pulling their weight. So that’s actually a much more difficult balance to strike than probably anyone who’s listening to this that hasn’t tried managing people would appreciate. But part of you wants to be that cool boss that is just chilled out, lets people get on with what they want. But then you look at the end of a week of what people have achieved and you go Christ. This isn’t just like a social club. We need to be achieving more than this. And then you probably go too far the other way and you become a little bit autocratic, and you end up losing staff because they’re not enjoying working for you. And then eventually you settle somewhere in the middle where you’re a nice person to be around, but also demanding on workload. The other key thing that I’ve found is that if you want people to do something, they need to see you doing it first. I never, when we bring new staff in, I’ll always kind of spend the first day with them, showing them how everything is done. I don’t say, right, here’s some bottles; label them. I’ll sit with them, get to know them. Do the job with them for a day and make sure they understand that whatever they’re doing, I’ve done years of it as well. That way they’ll actually respect you when you’re talking to them and not feel like you’re just giving them the jobs that you don’t want to do.

Oliver Bruce:

So Felix, obviously we can’t finish the interview without obviously talking about the current pandemic and COVID that the whole world seems to have been going through. A lot of people have struggled. A lot of people have faced a lot of challenges during this pandemic. However, the alcohol industry seem to have pivoted quite swiftly into hand sanitizer. How did your business get affected? How did you pivot and what were the concerns when it first hit the news?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

The concerns when it first hit the news were huge; actually probably one of the most frightening times of running a business. Nobody knew a) whether the government was going to step in and do anything to help and b) what the outlook was for retail and on trade. Obviously we’re a consumer product, so retail and on-trade are a massive part of what we do. Straight away, we were looking for alternatives because, you know, my first concern is can I pay my staff? Can I pay my rent? We were one of the few places in the country that didn’t have an alcohol shortage because we make it from scratch. So we had yeast, we had sugar, we were able to produce alcohol. So swiftly, we were having requests, 20 a day, for pure alcohol. And we decided to park gin production for a while, because I was anticipating we were going to sell no gin for months and we undertook a large ethanol production contract, which on its own I knew was going to sustain the business for six months. So immediately, although it wasn’t particularly profitable, it meant that I could pay the rent for at least that long and pay the staff for that long. So it immediately put my mind at ease. And then the unexpected happened, which was actually our web sales, and some of our biggest web based customers just went berserk for luxury gin because one of the by-products of people not being able to go to pubs and go to restaurants was they’re prepared to spend a little more at home. So brands like ours actually kind of came to the forefront of people’s thinking because they were thinking, well, we’ve got a weekend in, why don’t we buy something nice to share? Some of our biggest customers are online anyway, so the demand for that went crazy. So then we were in the position where we were trying to fulfil this huge ethanol contract, but also make some gin on the side. So for a good four to six weeks, our distillery was operating 24 hours a day. Being a family, we were able to kind of rotate shifts so that we were socially distanced, but also not shutting the factory down at any point. So again, we were fortunate in that sense because we were able to limit our contact with people, but keep everything operating to fulfil all of these. So albeit our turnover will be down this year, we’ve managed to kind of make it work without having too much of a major panic and also, as a by-product, been able to help out some good causes as well. We’ve been supplying people like the Gloucestershire police with hand sanitizer, care homes, hospices, hospitals, which is a nice change, after six years of doing the same thing, day in, day out having that little bit of variety was actually quite fun for a few months. I mean, fun is not the way you should describe a pandemic, obviously for most people it hasn’t been fun at all. But for us it’s been a bit of variety, a bit of kind of a welcome break. But I’ll be more than happy for everything to go back to normal. ].

Oliver Bruce:

A lot of people have been able to refresh and sort of take stock as to what they’re doing, both from a business and a personal point of view. Personally, have you changed your outlook on life?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Yes. I have actually. Whilst the pandemic was on, obviously you had time to slow down a little bit. There was less options and less things to do. And I had a lot of time to think about what success looks like for me. And whether success really, truly is just bank balance based or whether it’s life and bank balance based and came to the realisation that actually a couple of years ago, I looked back at the year and I’d had 11 days where I hadn’t worked and that included weekends, bank holidays and everything. So I had 11 days where I hadn’t worked and I don’t think any amount of money is worth that sort of lifestyle for me. So for us it’s been about, okay, we re-look at things like how we do distillery tours. We re-look at how we sell to people. Let’s make life easier for ourselves instead of constantly making it more difficult. You know, let’s simplify our business down, whilst not kind of, not sort of ruining our margins and things. And so it’s been a good time to kind of reflect on how we operate the business with a break in kind of normal trading.

Oliver Bruce:

That makes a lot of sense. I kind of concur in that in terms of, you know, having that time to step back and having that time to look. Was that the reason that you actually went into investing in this new business, on the Battledown Brewery estate?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

So yeah, this has been an interesting one. I mentioned at the start that my parents have run a microbrewery, since I was a young lad and I’ve kind of been in and out of helping them out. And they decided at the start of this year that they were actually going to sell the brewery and they found buyers who wanted to invest and turn it into a slightly more modern kind of craft brewery. So at the sort of 11th hour I decided, or we decided, that actually we don’t want to lose out on that completely. So Sibling, which is our company, bought a 25% share back in the brewery. And so we’re going to now part-own that and part sort of direct that as well, which is just kind of extends our arm a little bit into some new territories, allows us to kind of put our creativity into something else and try some things that we haven’t kind of had the opportunity to with Sibling. And just, yeah, give ourselves a little bit more variety whilst kind of maintaining our hand holding that sort of family business as well.

Oliver Bruce:

And now you’ve invested essentially in a business, you’re now an entrepreneur and an investor. This brings me on perfectly to our new game, which I have called “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor (Probably)”.

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Okay.

Oliver Bruce:

What we do here is I’m going to fire it to you, multiple different flavours of gin, some of which are on your website. You are like a dragon from Dragon’s Den going to say “I’m gin” or “I’m out”. “I’m gin” meaning it’s a-

Felix Elliott-Berry:

[laughs] I get it.

Oliver Bruce:

You get it, you get it.. Okay, so obviously the former meaning that it’s true with the latter meaning that it’s false. So Felix, are you ready to play “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor (Probably)”?.

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Yes.

Oliver Bruce:

So, mint and lemon, is this on your website?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m out.

New Speaker:

Is the right answer. Is the right answer. That’s a hundred percent hit ratio, so far. Lemon zest and rosemary, on your website or not?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m gin.

Oliver Bruce:

Yes. It’s the Siblings spring edition, I’ll have you know. Cucumber and apple?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m out.

Oliver Bruce:

Correct. God look at this. You know your products. Elderflower and ginger?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m out.

New Speaker:

Although there are two gingers sat here, is the right answer. Strawberries and black pepper?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m gin definitely.

Oliver Bruce:

That is what edition?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

That is summer edition.

Oliver Bruce:

Oh my God. You’re correct. Cranberries and clementine?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m gin.

Oliver Bruce:

Is what edition?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

That’s our winter edition. Originally going to be our Christmas edition, until I bottled it and was worried we weren’t going to sell it all by Christmas, so it became out first seasonal, which was winter.

Oliver Bruce:

Extra points there. Apple, blackberry, and cardamom syrup?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

I’m gin.

Oliver Bruce:

Is the which edition?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Autumn.

Oliver Bruce:

Is the right answer. What about lime and coconut?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

Definitely out.

Oliver Bruce:

Definitely out. Although I thought when I came up with that it sounded quite nice, but no that you’re a hundred percent hit ratio. If you want, obviously to go and buy the gins, you can go to the Siblings website and have a look on there. Felix, with all our guests, we want to look ahead over the next six to 12 months, really so that in six or 12 months time, if we haven’t had any other guests on the show, we can bring you back and we can look back at your forecast. So tell us a little bit about what it looks like for you and for the business over the next six to 12 months?

Felix Elliott-Berry:

So the next six to 12 months will be pretty exciting for us actually. We’ve just worked in partnership with a big wine company called Off-Piste Wines to launch a new gin for them. So we’ve developed and launched it in partnership with them. It’s going to be really fun because they have exactly what we didn’t when we started. They have the links to the big retailers, they have the structure to support high growth and we’re a part of that journey with them. So we developed a really, really good recipe for them. They’ve got great branding and we have the sort of contract to make all of their gin and also represent them at times on that. So that’s something new and something fun, and it will be a nice kind of way of looking at a business that starts the opposite way around the way that we did. We’ve also obviously bought a 25% share in a brewery. So that’s going to be a lot of fun, getting stuck into that, working closely with them to create new beers and crossover beers even, and go into a whole new market of sort of canned craft beer and kegged lagers and things like that. So that’ll be exciting. And then with the kind of traditional distillery stuff, I’m looking forward to stuff just returning to normal, to be honest, working with the independence that we’ve got such a good relationship, who’ve been shut for sort of four months now. Getting back out in the on trade, growing that part of the business. Every year that gets easier because people trust us, people believe in our products, so instead of hammering on the door, trying to get in places, we’re now kind of fielding requests for the gin, which is so much nicer kind of atmosphere to work in. So hopefully more of the same on the traditional Sibling front, but those two growth areas will be kind of really exciting to follow.

Oliver Bruce:

That makes a lot of sense. That sounds like you’ve got quite a lot on your plates over the next six to 12 months, but Felix, thank you very much for joining us this week to check out the Siblings online store, head to siblingdistillery.com where you can obviously buy all the flavours from our fantastic “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor (Probably)” game. In fact, you should do a flavour probably named lime and coconut in the next six to 12 months as well. Join me next week, we’ll be discussing more about failures, mistakes and passion with another inspiring owner entrepreneur who is currently in business. Thank you very much for listening. Take care. Thanks for listening. If you’ve enjoyed this programme, then please show your support by subscribing via Apple Podcasts and all other major podcast streaming services. Why not share it with at least three friends and of course, make sure you tune in next week. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show. Contact me via Twitter @OliverBruce_biz or via LinkedIn @OliverBruceOnline. Thank you. Success Is In The Mind is proud to have partnered with and be supported by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and community. A programme that recognises, celebrates, supports, encourages and champions entrepreneurs in Great Britain.