When lockdown began Bond Street distillery Ltd in Hinckley, Leicestershire had been open less than five months and the signs for the hospitality industry seemed ominous. Owner Sally Faulkner decided that to get through the crisis innovation was needed.
Surviving Lockdown: The Bond Street Distillery Way
Initially like everyone we were shocked, with the enforced closure my team and I quickly pooled our ideas and decided that we should keep going and support our local community.
The distillery diversified to produce hand sanitiser using the WHO (World Health Organisation) formula. Initially for nurses, carers, key workers, and then available for those most vulnerable and lastly the whole community. With demand high and availability poor, the distillery played a vital role in ensuring that a supply line for hand sanitiser was available across Leicestershire. They were delivered to care homes, hospitals, blood bikes, fire service, local councils and the most vulnerable people. The company had to adapt to the obstacles and guidance as they went along so they were constantly thinking on their feet and that versatility impressed the community. Looking at the social media messages from nurses, doctors, air ambulance pilots all saying ‘thank you,’ it was definitely the right way to do business.
As they got further into the crisis the team decided to keep people’s spirits up and bring Bond Street back to the public. They began delivering Crisis Cocktails to people’s homes and on average were making 300 cocktails a day on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This complemented their socially distanced online music nights with local musicians playing from an empty distillery. Some nights over 2500 people joined them online, drinking cocktails and gin from home.
The company has had lovely messages: two that stand out are from a lady, who was isolated, saying ‘You are the little distillery with a big heart,’ the other from a cocktail customer ‘Thanks for keeping us sane, giving us reassurance and most of all for making fantastic cocktails to get us through the worst weekends’. The team are very gracious about what they achieved but admit that they were jealous of the furloughed workers with the sun out, drinking crisis cocktails in their gardens.
In April, Bond Street was awarded the Gin Guides award for Best London Dry 2020. This was an amazing achievement to produce an award-winning gin by a new distillery. Gin sales continue to be good and the distillery has had amazing interest from all around the world. Locally this has also meant a lot to the community and encouraged them to support the company further.
Bond Street is now getting ready for re-opening the bar and gin school in early August and can’t wait to see their fabulous customers again.
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