Our/Vodka is a super interesting case study. It's a global vodka, owned by Pernod Ricard Company and found in ten cities worldwide. The recipe stays the same, but locally sourced ingredients ensure that each city's drink is a collaborative product; interwoven with local characteristics and partnerships. The good news is that it's finally here in the UK, after finding sucess in cities including Berlin, Detroit, Seattle and Amsterdam. So we caught up with Neil Chivers - one half of the Our/London partnership - to hear more about the Our/London story.
Meet the Our/London partners: Neil Chivers and Clive Watson
How did you and Clive become Our/Vodka partners?
Clive and I met at university and have lived in London for over 20 years, working in music, hospitality and business. When Our/Vodka approached us looking for local entrepreneurs, we were a bit unsure about what it would all involve. But we travelled to Berlin with the team, met global partners, tried the product and learned more about the team's back story. From that moment we were hooked. We’re now part of a global family, working together at a local level.
What inspired you most about this way of working?
The guys from Pernod Ricard have always been very transparent about the origins of the product; originally this was a side project for them and it took them years to find the right city, space and people to launch with. Our/Berlin was a huge hit and it's grown from there. When we met all the brilliant worldwide partners and saw what they were doing, we were very inspired to do the same in London.
Given neither of you had worked in the spirits business before, this must have been a big decision for you. What was the biggest attraction?
Primarily; that the product was so good, and the business concept so unusual. But also, there was so much trust from day one. The team trusted us, and wanted us to deliver their product for them - despite our lack of experience. It’s a very honest and open way of working.
What’s the journey been like since signing up?
Well, finding a commercial space to house a distillery within in London was an interesting challenge. But we're very happy in our home underneath the railway arches in Hackney Downs. Once we'd located a site, the German team came in and built a distillery from scratch. That was amazing to watch, and we produced our first batch of vodka from it last week.
Courtesy of Christian Banfield @schmicktv
Amazing, and what’s the plan now?
Well, we launch on November 25th, and our distillery will be open from November 30th. It's the production house as well as an event and music space, from which we'll be able to run tastings etc. We’re taking our time, growing the brand and seeking out partner stores, shops, bars and restaurants to work with. This is all about growing organically for us now.
So what can we expect from Our/London, how is it different to the other Our/Vodka products?
Our/London is produced using wheat-based ethanol, it's different in every city, in LA they use grape-based ethanol for example. It would take an expert to notice the flavour differences, but then, for everything else we’re using quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Our/London is local collaboration with its own story.
The Our/London process area : Christian Banfield
How big is your team?
Tiny! There’s five of us working on it here in London but we've got global help and support. It’s an amazing team to be a part of.
Our/London's on-site event space : Christian Banfield
What are you most excited about over the coming months?
We can’t wait to find local collaborations and partnerships. That’s what it’s all about now; working with London to deliver a stunning premium product. We can’t wait.
See behind the scenes at Our/London, and try it for yourself at their on-site distillery. Myself and the team at Creativepool cant wait to get our hands on one of those first London bottles. Perfect to help us unwind after these manic Pre-Christmas weeks ahead.