It’s a funny story really, one of COVID confusion and start-up nerves. We decided to enter the London Spirits Competiton, our first-ever spirit competition and I have to say as one of the world’s smallest distillery’s and Australia’s first non-alcoholic distillery, we were more than a little nervous. How could we compete with the Diageo’s, the Pernod Ricard’s and other major corporate brands in the spirits world?
Anyway, we entered but thanks to COVID impacting the global postage system and our lack of experience at ticking the right boxes on customs declarations for international couriers, somewhere between here and Heathrow, our Seadrift shipment had gone astray.
So when an email arrived in my inbox announcing the winners, well I didn’t even open it. I thought it couldn’t possibly be us so I’d look at it another time
The next day I was checking my emails between cooking the kid’s dinner and helping with homework when another email arrived saying “Congratulations on Your Win”. Between yelling at the kids to quiet down, and shouting to Ali “Ali, did you ever hear what happened to that product we sent to the awards?” I opened it purely out of curiosity, then quickly scanned the list of winners, simultaneously serving bowls of steaming, fresh pasta, I didn’t see our name so closed it saying they have sent this email to the wrong people… and thinking that I hope the winners get it, I’ll have to email the awards later tonight.
I served the pasta to the daily chaos of kids dancing, footballing and singing around the kitchen, with the dog barking and the general excitement that is Friday night after a long week at school and work. And thought to myself… that’s strange for the London Spirits Competition to send it to the wrong email address, I’ll just check my account.
And there it was a Silver Award for Seadrift Distillery Sydney Cut. I kept staring at the email, trying to make out its meaning. Could it be true, could it really be true? As it sunk in, there were no tears of joy, just tears of sheer relief. Big, fat, emotion-laden tears that I had no idea were inside me. Tears that must have been welling up over nearly three years of effort, tears for all the pain and sacrifices we have made to get this far. Tears of hope, a tiny bit of hope and relief, against what had seemed like an unending mountain that we had been climbing bare feet. It was as if someone had stopped me and offered a glass of cold water and a pair of comfortable hiking boots to start the next step.
I’m not one for awards, I have never really sought the approval of others. But I can tell you this. This award was maybe the difference between going on and giving up, between believing in our vision and capitulating to the naysayers. So thank you to the nameless DHL courier for the small act of kindness that resulted in you delivering our product and not destroying it.
But most of all thank you to the London Spirits Competition for giving small distillers like us the confidence and belief to keep going. You can’t imagine the difference it has made to our distilleries future and how much we really appreciate it.