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The Team

Drawn by a common passion for the precision and innovation of craft distilling, a group of individuals came together to create artisan spirits in a historic location in the Surrey Hills.

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Ian McCulloch

Founding Partner

Ian has tried to work silently and behind the scenes, but failed spectacularly. An ex-city dweller, he makes the most of his new countryside location by wearing shorts every single day to show off his never-ending supply of white socks. You can find him surrounded by paperwork, peering out of his window side desk facing the courtyard, micromanaging every part of the operation. Despite his tough manly exterior, deep (deep, deep) down, he is very soft and caring, just like a lobster.

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James Shelbourne

Founding Partner

With oversight of International Sales, James is fluent in 4 languages: English, American, Canadian, and Australian. The harsh realities of James’ responsibilities mean that he has to spend a lot of time away, drinking his way across Ibiza, St Tropez, New York… the list goes on. The invention of Skype has revolutionised James’ life. In this golden age of computing, he can conduct business meetings wearing no underwear, which he thinks nobody else has figured out.

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Steven Kavanagh

Founding Partner

Aussie Steve is our favourite (and only) South African – or was it the other way round..? Intelligent, efficient and pragmatic, Steve is everything you’d hope for in an accountant. A leading expert on Health & Safety, if you ever spot Steve on a tour, be sure to ask him about barriers to entry – his second favourite topic (a close runner-up to talking about how our fabulous gin is made).

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Tom Hutchings

Distillery Operations Manager

Tom slaves away at the hands of The Major (our traditional wood-powered boiler) at all hours of the day. He is responsible for the continued flow of delectable gin emanating from the still. As you’d expect, he is also a fantastic cook, which we take advantage of at every available opportunity. When on a rare day’s holiday, you are most likely to find him stranded on a country road in Wales, trying to find motorcycle emergency replacement components using his edgy Android phone, on his last 4% of battery remaining.

Simon Sherlock

Head Distiller

Rumour has it, he used to be a stunt double for ZZ Top. Despite having the physique of a bouncer, Simon was all too comfortable in a pink tutu when shooting the SPD calendar. This is probably because it’s nice and airy underneath the taffeta tutu – he is a human thermostat, and refuses to work in the boiler room above 34.1 oC. He is often irritated by the choice of music in the bottling plant (*cough* Joe…) as Simon is faaaar too indie for Coldplay.

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John Keeling

Brand Ambassador

JK, as he is more commonly known, is your quintessential English gentleman.  Rumour has it we headhunted him from Debretts, where he was the definitive authority on good manners and etiquette.  His sense of fair play is an invaluable asset at Board Meetings, where he is often called upon to placate boardroom brawls between fellow Directors (and he’s far too discreet to mention which ones!). He has a great sense of humour (just ask his son who is called Luke Skywalker!) and is well known for his brilliantly sarcastic Whatsapp posts.  Being witty is the only time he allows his high standards to slip, preferring instead to live by the motto – Never let good taste stand in the way of a good joke. When not managing the impressive array of content on our social media, he can be found making polite conversation while enjoying a G&T (or two!).

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Sophie Best

Finance

Those who believe beauty and brains can’t coexist have yet to encounter Sophie. Originally from t’north (‘the north’ in Northernish), she is an award winning CIMA accountant, and is well equipped to look after all our money (clothed in dungarees and drinking Yorkshire tea). Presumably this is related to her northern upbringing. Sophie recently relocated to the comparatively tropical Surrey hills where can commute t’werk (to work) on a John Deere tractor. She is the Torvill to Ian McCulloch’s Dean, except a great deal less graceful on ice.

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Keith Lee

Area Sales Manager

As the leading member of the sales team, Keith’s friendly face often shows up in the local area. A little-known fact about Keith is that he’s a supreme water-skier and fly-fisher. His previous haircut, luscious beard, and cargo pants would have you believe that his true calling is a crocodile hunter. His eagle eye for detail means he doesn’t miss a thing – another reason that Keith’s expertise is invaluable!

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Steve Markwell

Events Manager

Steve Markwell is our legendary Events Manager. Together with his wife Liz, who is often by his side at markets, they form an indomitable team known as the Marvellous Markwells. To deal with the ever increasing number of markets, Steve finds solace in organising everything into boxes – something he is probably quite used to having moved his family all over the world throughout his remarkable career. On his day off, or when not plotting how to overthrow Theresa May, you’ll usually find him at the distillery trying to find his mobile phone.

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THE MAJOR

WOOD FIRED BOILER

We like to say that sunshine is one of the ingredients of our gin because the sunlight that falls on the Duke of Northumberland’s estate, where we’re based, grows the trees which we feed The Major. The Major powers the steam jacket of the still, which would make it possible for us to make gin in the event of a National Grid outage or apocalypse (ever the optimists here at SPD).

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India Blanch

Brand Ambassador

Chief Brand Ambassador India was thrust into the world of bartending as a baby; her parents were in the business of running bars. Having worked front of house and behind the bar for many years, she knows where all the best bars and clubs are, and has a charming knack for getting our gin into prime position on their busy shelves. When not planning awesome Silent Pool themed parties, India likes to live the high life and find fun places to eat and drink with her friends.

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Joe Van den Berg

Bottling Headmaster

Joe runs the show in the bottling and packaging section. An accomplished musician, he conducts his string of bottlers to the beat of the music of his choosing. This often annoys Simon, as Joe’s love of the UK Top 40 Chart is not shared between them. Easily distinguishable by his salmon coloured chino shorts, you’ll see Joe at our distillery or sometimes on the market stalls.

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Alex Powell

Team Player

‘AP’ is a multi-talented team player – he often finds himself organising markets, running markets, or driving the Silent Pool van on deliveries. His pet hate is people who don’t indicate when turning off on roundabouts. Heroically protective of the Silent Pool van, Alex recently acquired a dashboard camera, which apparently now allows him to sleep soundly at night (something which didn’t appear to be a problem in the first place).

Our Spirits

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SILENT POOL DISTILLERS IS BASED IN SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM