In Good Spirits

Sipsmith Co-founders Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall talk about kickstarting the gin revolution.

When Sam Gallsworthy and Fairfax Hall set out to open a gin distillery in London, little did they know that it would take a massive change in 200 year-old laws and kickstart a gin revolution. Sipsmith was born out of a love for this wondrous liquid and the traditional principles of the craft. Sam answers a few of our questions..

You kick started the gin revolution. Why gin and how did you make it cool again?
To be honest, the answers is, I have always loved gin. LOVED IT. I love what it stands for, its versatility, its (almost) universality (it transcends generations in a way that no other spirit does), it’s global and it’s a drink that binds people together. I’m not sure we made gin cool – that was certainly never our ambition – but we did transmogrify it somewhat. We actually set out to make people see this wonderous liquid in a new light; have them experience it in a new, more relevant and memorable way.

How did you meet – and what makes the dynamic between you two successful?
Fairfax and I grew up together as young kids. We were schooled together but went our separate ways only to meet up again in the USA where we witnessed this seismic arrival of the world of craft and how this phenomenon enabled challenger brands to rival goliath. But before we influenced a change in the law, we were fortunate to have met Jared Brown – our master distiller and general liquid wizard. He set us on our path to success by making sure we distilled with principles and equally in an uncompromising way. “Afterall” said Jared, “we must craft gin the way gin used be made, the way it should be made”.

What, in your view, makes a craft gin?
I see craft less about scale and volume; moreover the philosophy with which you set about crafting your wares with. Typically this would mean that there is a limitation as to the size a brand can get but it is also a matter of patience – the more time you give yourself, the more likely you are to get there and without compromise.

When it comes to the botanicals – what’s the inspiration, is it the ingredients, the combinations, the mixers?
For us it was never really about using botanicals to differentiate ourselves – it was far more about making it the way it should be made, and crafting a gin that would have pleased an 18th century gin distiller if they came back from the dead. We wanted a classic style of gin that was going to stand up to the tests of time and, ordinarily, classicism always endures.

We’re delighted to also be showcasing your Sipping Vodka at Yurtel this summer. Tell us how that came about and what you think makes a good vodka.

One of our most under celebrated offerings; our Sipping Vodka. Always outshadowed by the gin and our other innovations. It’s stunning, smooth and joyful. It has been around as long as our gin has been and I dare say will always be here. It’s a wonderful compliment to our gins.

What does luxury mean to you?
Coco Chanel I think said it best: “Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends”

What’s next for Sipsmith? What excites you now?
We have always had a restless enthusiasm for creativity and making memorable moments for people, so I believe we can all look forward to more of that!

Quick Fire Questions with Fairfax

Favourite cocktail? Martini with our classic LDG
Favourite bar? Dukes
Favourite restaurant? Medlar
Where you’d most like to drink a Sipsmith cocktail.. on the cliffs in Cornwall looking out towards Godrevy Lighthouse
Place you find most inspiration? On a long bike ride through the Somerset hills