Chemical reactions form the basis for a few key aspects of Two Drifters Distillery: their carbon negative operations, deliciously crafted rum, and the love shared between its Co-Founders.

Gemma and Russ Wakeham are the husband-wife duo whose belief that the world shouldn’t suffer as a result of their business has been central since before day one.

The pair join us on It Runs In The Family to share their heartwarming story, how they’ve overcome challenges together, and why it’s paramount to set your end goal.

This episode covers:

  • Russ & Gemma’s passion for sustainability, demonstrated by their carbon-negative B Corp business
  • Moments of pride between married business partners
  • How Two Drifters has found its path through Covid
  • The importance of defining your end goal above all

Episode Highlights

“On our first date, we met in a bar in Bristol, and it just happened to be rum tasting that night, which I didn’t know about. I wasn’t overly enamoured by the idea of doing repeated rum tasting, but it totally changed my mind on the rum world. It’s such an amazing space to be in, I can’t imagine doing anything else.” – 4:30 – Gemma Wakeham

“In organic chemistry, you spend all your time distilling, but obviously with lethal liquids! But I’d say it lends itself to each other, so there’s a lot of understanding that comes from the chemistry side of it. If you understand those bits of the process, you can influence it in those ways.” – 7:35 – Russ Wakeham

“Coronavirus has massively changed us – not the vision for Two Drifters, but the path. For instance, we had to do homeschooling at a rum distillery, and our eight year old girl was helping bottle hand sanitizer that we were making. She liked putting the stickers on. I, never in my wildest dreams, thought we’d be doing that two years into our journey.” – 15:50 – Gemma Wakeham

“Being together makes us clear up arguments very quickly. We haven’t got time at the business, to then take it home to then have our eight year old daughter aware of the atmosphere. We are very much a storm in a teacup, we argue loudly and quickly. Within five minutes, we’ve got things resolved.” – 19:00 – Gemma Wakeham

“It’s really hard to reconcile with yourself if you know that something’s doing damage when you know there’s a way to stop it. Still doing it really does make you a very bad person, and being ignorant to it or not thinking about something is almost more forgivable.” – 27:30 – Russ Wakeham

“Gemma has an amazing ability to sell anything to anyone, but I think having a great product like our rum makes her job a little bit easier, I hope!” – 34:00 – Russ Wakeham

“Have a goal. How you get there can vary and you can appreciate that you may take a different route to me and it might have its benefits, but make sure you know the end goal exactly. Have clear visions for that and then I think it’ll be fine.” – 46:35 – Gemma Wakeham


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