In this new series, we will introduce you to the innovation pioneers of Ealing – small businesses with big dreams of doing new or better things to benefit our area and beyond.
In November last year, Ealing Council launched its pioneers’ fund, a scheme that provides grants to small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, develop new products or expand their workforce while stimulating the local economy. The £1million pot was shared out among 12 selected businesses based in the borough, that were each able to demonstrate how the funding would help accelerate growth and create new jobs.
Meet the pioneers
In the third part of the series, you can meet Amanda and Simon from Ealing Distillery and find out more about their business.
Launched in 2019, Ealing Distillery produces and sells hand-crafted gin locally in the borough. Distilled in a traditional copper still named Felicity, the gin is in the super premium category which means it uses the finest botanicals as well as the London dry gin distilling process.
Since its launch just a couple of years ago, Ealing Gin has won two highly prestigious international gold medal awards – International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and The Gin Masters.
“We noticed that lots of places we visited had their own gin – Edinburgh, Durham, Salcombe, etc.”, Amanda comments.
“We thought if anywhere deserves a gin, then Ealing does! We love Ealing, Simon’s family have lived here for five generations, we’ve lived here all our married life and brought up our kids here. Not only is Ealing the greenest borough in London, it has a wonderful cultural heritage, great diversity, incredibly strong community spirit and a vibrant social scene.”
We wanted to celebrate everything about Ealing with the product and make it the best in every aspect. You will notice that the bottle and gift box designs are inspired by the wonderful Art Deco buildings in the borough such as the iconic Hoover Building which is famous across London. And, of course, the Ealing Film Studios which are famous across the world!
How is gin made?
If you have ever wondered how gin comes to life, Amanda shines a light on the process: “We hand weigh all our beautiful botanicals to very precise measurements and our own recipe. We then carefully place them into Felicity our still along with neutral grain spirit (pure alcohol made from wheat here in the UK) and pure filtered water from our own filtration system. The ingredients steep for a minimum of 24 hours before it is switched on. It takes around six hours to distil one batch. As a small handmade batch maker, we produce a couple of hundred bottles with each batch.
“By gin standards, that’s tiny, but it means that every batch is guaranteed to be super-high quality.”
How it started
Amanda had been working at a public relations consultancy in Soho for 25 years, helping it grow to 140 members of staff. Simon started his career in marketing. Whilst taking care of their young twins, he taught himself to do computer programming and set up a software business from home, building websites for small to medium sized businesses.
Amanda says: “Simon and I have always absolutely loved gin. We’ve also always wanted to run a business together and decided that creating Ealing Gin would be it. We decided to take the leap and go for it and are now both working full time at Ealing Distillery.”
“Everything you see with the gin and business – from e-commerce and website to Instagram, content, accounting and promotion – is done by the two of us. As well as making the gin itself with love and care every time!
“We have a part-time member of staff helping with sales and marketing but we very much want to create jobs and employ more people once we’ve grown the business. .We also want to give something back as we grow and have pledged 20% of our profits to good causes addressing loneliness and social isolation.”
Looking to the future Amanda and Simon share a bigger ambition: “Ultimately we aim to build a bigger distillery in the heart of Ealing, where people can visit, experience this wonderful borough and see how the gin process works.”
“The pioneers’ grant will accelerate our ability to get to that point. We will use it to build the brand and business up, raising awareness in Ealing and beyond Ealing’s borders.”
Amanda continues: “We will also use part of the grant to reduce our carbon footprint and make the business more sustainable.“
Where to find Ealing Gin?
“We are stocked in some wonderful independent Ealing stockists – Riding Wine Co, Pulp,, TST Wines, Navarro Wine, Vindinista and The Good Wine Shop ” explain Amanda and Simon.
Amanda adds: “We are also stocked in Harrods, part of their small, curated gin collection.”
You can follow Ealing’s Distillery innovation projects on Instagram.