Sam has been making alcohol for over 20 years. She began by experimenting with sloe gin and vodka (what she calls 'the entry drug' of compounding), and soon moved on to many different recipes. It quickly grew to the point where she had nearly a 100 Kilner jars in the cupboard under her stairs in Bristol.
It was at this point in 2014 that Sam started to think about how she could turn her drink-making hobby into a serious business. Which is where her business partner and investor Phil Gillies comes in…
Phil and Sam have known each other for 15 years, and worked together from 2012-2014 when Sam did PR for Phil’s VFX post production company in Soho, London. They became great friends, and soon 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 spirits.
Phil drove back to London, 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, in 2015, the business was formed.
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 in 2016 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 Espensen Spirit, of putting staff welfare (including our own) first and looking after each other above all else.