Cover Story Food Retail

Four blueprints for starting a spirits company

How four independent distilleries with very different formats launched. There are easy ways to set up an urban spirits startup, and then there’s East London Liquor Company, an ambitious vodka, gin and whisky distillery established in 2014. Its site also hosts a bar and the company runs a small distribution business, too. Founder Alex Wolpert brought years of experience in …

Courier Life

Urban beekeeping with Bermondsey Street Bees

Former stockbroker Dale Gibson (pictured) came up with the idea of putting hives on the roof of his Bermondsey Street building a decade ago. Today, he and wife Sarah now have half a million bees in six hives living above them. The pure raw honey the pair filter and jar in their basement has earned national recognition, with the honey …

Tech

Spirit pioneer Sipsmith

Sipsmith’s journey from garage to global domination. Ask anyone in spirits circles about the origins of the UK’s gin boom in the past decade and they will inevitably mention Sipsmith, the distillery that first began producing spirits in a garage in London’s Hammersmith in 2009. It’s come a long way since then and has been instrumental in breaking open the …

Food Retail Workshop

Timing the supermarket sweep

Pasta sauce maker Mr Organic is part of a wave of startup food and drink brands biding their time before they agree on a supermarket deal. ‘The plan is to make organic food more accessible,’ says Kostas Papakostas, co-founder of grocery brand Mr Organic. He says supermarkets are an inevitable step towards reaching that goal. The only question for Papakostas …

Cover Story Featured Stories Food Retail

Distilling the details

The tactics small-scale producers used to change the landscape of the spirits industry.  It takes some guts to enter an industry dominated by global players with very strong brands, in a category that was decidedly uncool, and with an obstructive and seemingly impenetrable licensing regime in place. It’s remarkable that a handful of entrepreneurs were able to make their mark …

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Courier Life Design

Talking discarded furniture and Afropop with Yinka Ilori

Courier talks Afropop and hunting for discarded furniture with the artist-designer. Yinka Ilori spends a lot of his spare time wandering around London, looking for abandoned chairs. Two or three finds provide the raw materials for one new creation, which is painted in vivid colours and re-upholstered. The fabrics, sourced from London or Lagos, are inspired by the bold patterns …