In 2009 two childhood friends set up the first traditional copper distillery in London since 1820. Their mission was simple: to bring London Dry Gin of truly uncompromising quality and character, back to the city where it first earned its name.
We’ve been lucky enough to talk to one of the distillers. Might I be permitted to introduce you to Kit! Normally found tending to one of the copper ladies at Sipsmith Gin Distillery, she’s a glass half full (of gin) person…
Name: Kit Clancy
Company: Sipsmith London
How did you get to the position you are currently holding?
I came into the spirits industry the long way around, starting off working with wine where I trained my palate and gained experience in production. After becoming inspired by Sam, Fairfax and Jared’s mission to bring the distilling of gin back to London, I joined as a trainee under the mentorship of our Head Distiller Oliver Kitson.
Would you change anything on this career journey?
Absolutely not! I’ve met some incredible people along the way and my previous experiences provide me with constant inspiration for pioneering new flavours.
How long have you held this position?
It’s very nearly my two year anniversary at Sipsmith and I’ll be sure to celebrate it with a martini or two!
Describe a typical day? (if there is such a thing!)
I’m responsible for the daily running of the distillery and ensuring that only gin of uncompromising quality makes it into our bottles. A typical day beginning by getting our three copper stills (Prudence, Patience and Constance) up and running, with the distillation process taking around 9 hours per batch, plus maceration time. The way we make our gin is very hands on and so we have built up a strong team of distillers to ensure someone is always on hand to tweak something during the process, if required. I also assist Oliver in creating new products and liaising with suppliers, for example discussing harvest reports for the next juniper crop.
What are your average hours?
On average I work a 9 hour day but the time always flies! I’m certainly not a clock watcher.
What is the favourite part of your job?
This a hard one… The team at Sipsmith is very strong and I’m feel very lucky to work with such an amazing group of people. I love to work creatively with my senses and distilling is the perfect balancing act of where science meets art.
Being part of crafting the first gin to be distilled in London in nearly 200 years is also a great source of pride for me. There truly is never a dull moment!
When is your busiest time of year?
Summer and the lead up to Christmas are the busiest times for the company and require all hands to be on deck. In the distillery we try to work one step ahead and are currently developing our gins for the Christmas edition of our gin subscription service, The Sipsmith Sipping Society, which feels quite odd when it’s 30+ degrees outside!
Tell me something about your company that few people may know.
You can come and visit us and sample our gin in the very building in which it’s made!
What is the next exciting instalment?
There are always new and exciting gins being created in our Distillery Lab which people can get their hands on through our Sipsmith Sipping Society. Each quarter we bottle and release our favourite four recent experimental creations. A few of my favourites have included Bonfire Gin and Beekeeper Gin; the former is smoked with cherry wood, and the latter distilled with sage, orange blossom and infused with Bell Heather Honey from our friends at The London Honey Company.
What do you do to relax in London?
In my free time I love to visit local farmers markets and cook with quality ingredients, an ethos which runs through from my background in wine making and distilling. I also love to get out and sip our gin in London’s bars and restaurants.