Sam has been making alcohol for her friends for many years. She began by experimenting with sloe gin and vodka, and then moved on to other concoctions. It quickly grew to the point where she had nearly a hundred Kilner jars in the cupboard under her stairs.
It was at this point that Sam started to think about how she could turn her drink-making hobby into a serious business. Which is where Phil Gillies comes in…
Phil and Sam have known each other for a decade, and worked together from 2012-2014 when Sam did PR for Phil’s VFX post production company in Soho, London. They became good friends, and after Phil sold her business, she came to visit Sam in Bristol. They talked long into the night about how both of them needed a change, and Sam told Phil all about her booze, and her hopes of turning it into something that she could make a living from. And of course they had this conversation over a couple of Sam’s lovely drinks.
Phil drove back to London the next day, thinking all the way about the discussion they had had. She rang Sam as soon as she got home, and said simply “I think I have one more business in me, and I think it’s yours.” Six months later, the business was formed and they began what has been a far longer, more arduous and often painful road to launching the business than either expected it to be. But like all good adventures, the light at the end of the tunnel is that Espensen Spirit finally launched! And Sam and Phil’s working relationship has gone from strength to strength, giving trust, honesty and support to each other.
Sam had a difficult upbringing, which resulted in her being diagnosed last year with CPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) and TBI’s (traumatic brain injuries). The embodiment of her experience and a key part of her recovery, Sam is using Espensen Spirit as a platform to raise awareness of mental health issues, especially in the workplace.
A reflection of this is our ethos at Bristol Spirit and Espensen Spirit, of putting staff welfare first and looking after each other above all else.