The Elliott-Berry siblings (Cicely, Felix, Clarice and Digby), all under 25, set up the premium gin distillery, Sibling, in 2014 – securing a deal with Harvey Nichols in their first year. More success and accolades have followed with three Great Taste stars and a Gold award under their belts. Not surprisingly Sibling were selected as ‘Ones to Watch’ in the National Family Business Awards in July.
“We decided to join forces and start Sibling because it was the first idea that any of us had had that felt ‘real’,” Cicely explains. “Being young and having very little financial responsibility, the idea of working together felt less scary and an industry that we loved and felt familiar with was exciting enough to keep us interested. It all came together very quickly.”
The four siblings first worked out of a spare room in their parents’ microbrewery and in January moved into their own distillery in Cheltenham with offices, a tasting room and a much bigger still house. “We had always wanted to run our own businesses but I think we probably imagined starting a little smaller,” says Cicely.
Gin made 100% in-house
Producing a Triple Distilled Gin along with four seasonal limited editions, Sibling is one of the only distilleries in the UK to make spirits from start to finish on site, with no bought in neutral spirit.
“The fact that we make our own base alcohol means that our gin is made 100% in-house and by us,” explains Cicely. “That’s hugely important to us. We are control freaks but I think that’s good for the customer because we know exactly what goes into the bottle and don’t leave anyone to freestyle with our products.”
Sibling’s gin is totally vegan which is surprisingly rare in the industry where mass-produced alcohol contains animal products to make it clear. Their gin is also gluten free as their alcohol is sugar based rather than grain and they use vinegar and lemon juice in the cleaning and bottling process, avoiding chemicals.
Development & tastings
“All development is done in house,” Cicely continues. “I have been the one who works on our seasonal gins so far because I love that sort of thing. Then it’s just trying and trying until you get something that you think works, then fine tune from there.
“We do a lot of tasting sessions and blind tastings when we are developing something new and always drag in friends and family. Whoever comes knocking has to give us their honest opinion of whatever we are working on at the time.
“Sibling is most definitely a long-term thing for us and we have put so much into it that we would like to grow it and really enjoy finding new pockets of interest and opportunity in a business that you think you know inside and out. We love what we do and can’t wait to explore more.”
You can buy Sibling at Cheltenham and Stroud Farmers’ Market every month, Harvey Nichols, wine shops, farm shops and delis across the country, Majestic Wines – if you’re in London – and on the Sibling website.