Creating a successful craft spirits brand: the distiller’s view


Image of Sibling Gin. Part of a guest post by craft gin distiller Sibling on the craft spirits market. Part of a series by social media agency Birmingham Clarity Comms

The craft sprits market is hot. From artisan gins to flavoured vodkas and Welsh whisky, there’s no shortage of innovation or new entrants. Visitor’s to July’s Imbibe Live 2015 were spoilt for choice with dozens of spirits on offer. Is this a passing fad? Or is our love of craft spirits a long-term trend? What does it take to succeed in such as competitive market?

We wanted to find out what people in the trade think of the opportunities for craft spirits, how to increase the chances of success and which brands the trade is paying attention to.

So we’ve asked a distiller, a designer and a retailer for their views on the craft spirits sector. In this post Cicely Elliott-Berry co-founder of Sibling Distillery shares her thoughts.

What’s your involvement in the craft spirits sector?

I am a distiller and co-founder of Sibling Distillery. We are a Cheltenham-based gin distillery, run by my three siblings and I. We were born into the industry with parents running a craft real ale brewery. We learnt the ropes from them, then decided to take it in our own direction.

We always loved the idea of running our own business (it was all we knew). The drinks industry was not only the most obvious choice but the one that captivated and excited us the most.

What do you think is driving the growth in craft spirits? 

The same thing that’s driving growth in artisan food producers, farm shops, hand-made furnishings and boutique fashion brands. People are bored of faceless brands and mass-produced items. They’re craving something different, that’s made well and they can be proud of owning.

We’re now saving on ‘essentials’ and treating ourselves to the finer things. It’s a great shift and means that for craft spirits producers, people are keen to learn about you, what you make and how you make it.

What are the top three things you think craft spirit brands need to do to stay on top in this competitive market?

  1. Spirit (pun not intended). When you truly love what you’re doing and want to share it with people, it excites others about your drinks. It’s immediately obvious how someone feels about their product when they start to talk to someone about it. It’s not something that you can ‘put on’, but in a competitive industry like this, loving your product and what you do is key.
  2. People won’t be fooled for long if the quality is not there. Cutting corners never makes sense in the long-run.
  3. The same point as before: that people want something that’s authentically different.

What’s your top prediction for the craft spirits market in 2016?

British vodkas.

Which craft distilleries do you most admire?

Kyro Distillery, Finland. They’re working hard to do things in their own way and explore new ideas. And they’re great guys.

* With thanks to Sibling Distillery for the image.

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