Episode show notes

Sometimes it’s adversity that can most effectively generate the determination and drive to really succeed. Such is the case with award-winning Henley Distillery.

Jacob and Alan Wilson are a formidable father-son duo who have Co-Founded and grown their brand over the last 18 months, a torrid time for most businesses to say the least.

So how have they upheld the resilience to push through and create a gin with world acclaim? We hear from the Co-Founders themselves on this week’s episode of It Runs In The Family.

This episode covers:

  • Jacob overcoming M.E in his youth, and the unlikely lessons he took from those struggles
  • The business’ rapid race to recognition with several award wins in their first 18 months
  • How Alan’s fatherhood makes him the proudest and most effective salesman
  • Henley Distillery’s biggest challenges in the wider market
  • The need to keep their family feel throughout their growing team
A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

Episode highlights

“I decided to take a break in the middle of my course. I actually set up a little pop up cocktail bar business for weddings, events, and parties. During that year, it was a lightning strike moment – my passion for drinks, mixing flavours, and maths, mechanics and building with my hands, those two passions just perfectly aligned in the making of spirits.” – 5:50 – Jacob Wilson 

“My struggle with M.E. and pushing through that has given me life skills that would have taken longer to sink in- it gave me a really good idea of time and energy management.” – 10:55 – Jacob Wilson 

“I was confident that Jacob was going to make something good, but when our Classic Dry wins Best London Dry Gin in England within five months, that’s amazing.” – 20:15 – Alan Wilson

“The other big obstacle that we’ve come across since opening 18 months ago has simply been price increases on pretty much everything that goes into making a bottle of gin. The cost of producing a bottle of our gin has gone up by at least 40% since we opened.” – 30:30 – Jacob Wilson 

“It’s very satisfying to go out and promote something of such quality. If we had a mediocre brand, and the product was okay, and it was really all about the bottom line and not about the quality, then it wouldn’t enthuse me as much as it does.” – 36:15 – Alan Wilson

“We could never have imagined everything going as well as it has. So hitting the reset button, I’d probably be panicking trying to make sure that we did everything exactly the same way. We’ve learned things along the way. There have been, I wouldn’t say mistakes, just things that we didn’t realise when it comes to sales and marketing.” – 48:25 – Jacob Wilson 

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