For the Elliott-Berry clan, drinks are a family affair. Last year the two sisters and two brothers followed in the footsteps of their parents – who run a microbrewery in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire – by creating Sibling Distillery and its award-winning gin.
Cicely Elliot-Berry, 20, her sister, Clarice, 22, and brothers, Felix, 23, and Digby, 16, decided on the venture two years ago. ‘I had just done my A-levels and had no idea what to do,’ Cicely says. ‘Felix and Clarice had jobs but felt the same, so we began talking about starting a business.’
Thanks to their upbringing, the siblings had an understanding of the drinks market and a respect for the chemistry involved. They decided on the product almost immediately. ‘We didn’t just want any distillery, we wanted a gin distillery,’ Cicely says. ‘There’s so much more possible experimentation with flavours.’
With start-up money from summer jobs boosted by a parental loan, the four learnt all they could about gin-making from YouTube tutorials, before buying the requisite equipment, and began production in June 2014 in a spare industrial unit at the family brewery, from where they still work.
Aside from all mucking in with production, Cicely says there are loose roles within the company. ‘I do a lot of the operations stuff, Clarice does the accounts, Felix takes care of marketing and Digby – who’s still at school – is chief box-carrier.’
As for mum and dad, apart from looking over a bit of paperwork, they take a back seat. ‘I think they’re just proud we’ve gone and done it,’ Cicely says.