Family gin business hoping to expand

A COUPLE who met as youngsters while working Saturday jobs at a West Byfleet supermarket have set up their own gin distillery named after their three sons.

Sherlock & Sons is the brand name of three gins produced in Ripley by Simon Sherlock with administrative help from his wife Lianne.

FAMILY MAN – Simon with Hamish, Charlie and Monty, in whose honour Sherlock & Sons was named

Simon is from Pyrford and Lianne from West Byfleet, where they met during their part-time work.

They moved to Ripley nearly 10 years ago and Simon, who had served in the Metropolitan Police and in the Army, joined Silent Pool Gin in Shere five years ago.

He became head distiller and in 2018 decided to set up Distillers of Surrey from his home.

With help from Lianne, who works in data intelligence with a background in management consultancy, Simon built up the business selling at farmers’ markets and events, and moving the work from their home to three premises in the village.

They chose the brand name in honour of their sons Hamish, 8, Charlie, 6, and Monty, 4, and won awards for their Aromatic Edition, which is made with rosemary and bay leaves from Surrey, olives from Sussex and tea from Cornwall.

The range also includes Solstice Edition and Nautical Edition, which packs a mighty 57% ABV.

Lianne said a successful legal challenge to a ban on smaller distilleries about 10 years ago had led to the growth of artisan gins such as Sherlock & Sons.

When the coronavirus lockdown shut their usual outlets, the Sherlocks increased their online sales, offering discount and free hand sanitisers.

“We had a call from Surrey Police about hand sanitisers and so were able to provide them and we also give them to our children’s school,” Lianne said.

Distillers of Surrey is hoping to acquire a fourth site in Ripley, which could be open to the public and allow an expansion of the drinks range to include vodka and rum.

All the work is done by hand and the new premises could allow for some automation and further growth.

Simon said: “While it has been massively difficult establishing a family business, contending with multiple external factors, I would not change it for the world.

“As the saying goes, behind the success of every small business, there is a family.”

For more information, visit www.distillersofsurrey.co.uk.

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