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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

MANAGING DIRECTOR

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.

 

JAMES SHELBOURNE

SALES DIRECTOR

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.

 

STEVEN KAVANAGH

COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR

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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JOHN KEELING

DIRECTOR

John is only involved in Silent Pool Distillers from afar, turning up every now and then to referee a Board Meeting and to load his car boot up with a variety of products. Like Ian McCulloch, who John ran into at Harvard Business School in 2004, John is an ex-city dweller. Unlike Ian McCulloch, John rarely wears shorts and has never knowingly been seen in white socks. John currently holds the record amongst the Directors for personal orders of Silent Pool Gin. He also executed a superb head-first dismount from a taxi in Barcelona during the first company offsite meeting in 2018.

 

SOPHIE BEST

HEAD OF FINANCE & COMMERCIAL

The most dedicated member of the company personal training class and distillery prankster. Sophie, originally from t’north (‘the north’ in Northernish), is an award winning CIMA accountant, and is well equipped to look after all our money (clothed in a bazillion layers and drinking Yorkshire tea). Presumably this is related to her northern upbringing. Sophie recently relocated to the comparatively tropical Surrey hills where she can commute t’werk (to work) on a John Deere tractor. She is the Gromit to Ian McCulloch’s Wallace i.e. the brains of the operation.

 

TOM HUTCHINGS

HEAD OF DISTILLERY OPERATIONS

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.

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LAUREN TARRY

FIELD SALES EXECUTIVE

Lauren works within a 20 mile radius of the distillery, expertly meeting the needs of our trade clients at local pubs, restaurants and independent stores. She lists the laughter and the way everyone chips in to help each other out as being the best things about working here. If a film was made of her life Lauren would choose Animal from Sesame Street to star as she says they share similar levels of enthusiasm and energy. However having witnessed Lauren’s spectacular dance floor takeover at our distillery Christmas party we suspect Animal may not quite be up to the job. 

 

JANE CLEMENT

EVENTS MANAGER

One of the newest members of our team, Jane is our ex trolley dolly, on-the-spot deliverer of babies, dating advice guru and ringmaster of Markets and Events. As well as being a very welcome addition to the girls camp at Silent Pool Distillers, she makes running twenty-four events in a weekend look like a cake walk. Be sure to check out our Markets and Events Diary so you can see her team in action, and (most importantly) sample our products!

 

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

PACKAGING MANAGER

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 Tom, 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.

 

MELISSA THORN

MARKETING CAMPAIGN MANAGER

Working alongside Darren, Melissa is relishing the world of gin having previously worked in the slightly less glamorous world of plumbing supplies. Having turned her back on ballcocks and cisterns, she describes life at the distillery as busy, exciting, varied and creative but still has enough time - just - to indulge her habit of buying too many handbags.  She dreams of drinking G&Ts under a palm tree in the Caribbean, which is where she would like to live one day. Is she hinting about becoming an international brand ambassador? We suspect so. Nice try, Melissa. 

 

ALEX POWELL

DISTILLERY SALES & STOCK SUPERVISOR

‘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).

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TODD ZILLWOOD-HUNT

DISTILLER

In-house distillery DJ Todd is not only crucial for motivating our bottling team (his thesaurus-like musical knowledge is unparalleled) but he’s also king of the ‘on the spot’ tour. With his flowing locks, easy smile and collection of beer-related t-shirts, you’d never believe our resident surfing enthusiast arrived with us somewhat preppy looking! We look forward to seeing the dreadlocks that we imagine will come with his full transformation into a Silent Pool distiller.

 

DARREN MACASKILL

HEAD OF MARKETING

Darren is our newly-minted Marketing Man. After reluctantly giving up a prolific music career (highlights of which include a support slot with Paulo Nutini and a single charting at 197), Darren extricated himself from his spray-on leather jacket and swapped the half-full hipster bars of East London for the leafy Surrey hills.  Darren’s had an interesting and varied career; one minute helping technology titans to flog flatscreen TVs and the next filming black horses on beaches. When not directing the marketing operations here at Silent Pool, Darren can either be found attending to his finely-coiffured barnet or planning his greatest hits album and ‘Coming of Age’ Tour.

 

CHLOE SHEPPARD

PACKAGING SUPERVISOR

Chloe takes packaging very seriously: indeed before becoming our packaging supervisor she was, she tells us, number one wrapper at a burrito restaurant. Now she spends her days overseeing the bottling, labelling and packing of our gins whilst also winning at being the the most stylish woolly hat wearer in the distillery. Chloe has a strong interest in food, citing the arrival of The Sandwich Lady before 12.30 as the highlight of her day (she’s not the only one, as anyone who has witnessed the lunchtime staff stampede will testify). Not one to be pigeon holed, outside work she likes collecting vintage fire fighting equipment.

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ALEX HALL

DISTILLER

Alex has a masters degree in Biochemistry and a MSc in Brewing and Distilling, but most importantly he is our go-to when we fancy a drink: for as well as being one of our super star distillers, Alex is also our resident cocktail aficionado. He’s as happy to whip up a batch of Rose & Cardamom Sours for 45 customers as he is to perfectly position a garnish on the edge of a frosted coupette glass for a cocktail image on our Instagram page. Fascinating fact: Alex and fellow distiller Jason share a surname but are not related.  

 

LUCY QUILTER

BRAND AMBASSADOR AND SALES SUPPORT

Lucy is a key member of our International Sales and Marketing Team working on on-site visits, tastings and training. When she isn’t jetting round the world on international missions, she’s a great allrounder who also helps out with packaging and events ‘or whoever else needs me’. Lucy brings a quite unique set of skills to the distillery having previously worked both as a wedding stylist and a dumper truck driver. So if we need someone to artfully arrange 180 cupcakes before clearing them away in one scoop, we know who to call.

 

JASON HALL

DISTILLER

Jason has a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering and the opportunity to put his degree to good use in a creative environment is top of his list of why he likes working here. As well as distilling, blend and compounding gins he is also a dab hand at fruit peeling, fixing the occasional steam leak, and endlessly cleaning the distillery. He describes himself as ‘the people’s favourite’ at work, something which he may come to regret once everyone else reads this. Fascinating fact: Jason and fellow distiller Alex share a surname but are not related.

Did we mention that already?

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JIM THOMPSON

STOCK CO-ORDINATOR

If you’ve received a mail order parcel from us, then chances are Jim has expertly packaged it for you. He describes his job as ‘seasonally intense’, probably because we asked him as he was about to tackle a mountain of Christmas orders. He also helps out in the shop and says the best thing about working here is the stream of happy, contented customers. In a movie about his life, Jim - who has an MA in Printmaking and loves music - would choose Cate Blanchett to star because ‘if she can play Bob Dylan then she can play Jim Thompson’.

 

SYLVIE KENT

RETAIL MANAGER

Sylvie’s previous job was all about encouraging everyone to drink more water - now she’s encouraging everyone to drink more gin. She lovingly tends our distillery shop where her mission is to invent enticing in store promotions, manage our fantastic team of retail assistants and make the shop a lovely place to visit for our local customers and tour visitors. Sylvie appears to float on a cloud of serenity, perhaps due to the fact that when she’s not at work she enjoys gardening, baking and running (followed by a homemade cake, of course). 

 

CHRISTIAN STREATFIELD

EVENTS TEAM CO-ORDINATOR and TOUR GUIDE

Christian works with Jane on our very busy schedule of off-site events including local markets and At Your Event private parties. He also runs distillery tours, charming everyone he meets with his dazzling knowledge of all things gin. Being something of a gin connoisseur, he’s usually first in line when the distillers have a new spirit to taste. As a student Christian worked for the British Cycling Team, hanging out with world class riders at the velodrome. Now he gets to hang out with world class gin instead. 

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CHARLIE CHATFIELD

DISTILLERY EVENTS MANAGER

Charlie is the whirlwind who oversees all the events that take place at the distillery, from tours to dining experiences and private parties. Not surprisingly, this is a role that is dynamic, busy, and very creative: much like Charlie herself. From rustling up Silent Pool Gin Christmas decorations to sourcing vintage tea pots or organising lunch for tour guests, there is no challenge that is too much for her skills and imagination. She sits alongside Lian and Sophie, forming our unofficial office triumvirate. Charlie believes everything can be improved with a hug and/or Thai food.

 

LIAN STACEY

OFFICE MANAGER

Queen of lists and getting stuff done, loved and relied on by everyone who works here: Lian doesn’t just manage the office but also looks after orders, customer services and tour bookings. Whilst not intentionally pursuing the title of ‘office mum’ she has become highly skilled at washing up other people’s cups and lunch plates and remembering birthdays (there’s always cake). But don’t be fooled by her friendly demenaour: Lian doesn’t suffer fools nor take prisoners - although she did in her previous job as a Police Force Detention Officer. 

 

TORIE ROSS

TOUR GUIDE

Originally from California, Torie now lives down the road from the distillery and thus has the honour of being ‘member of staff with the shortest commute’. As a travel writer she has previously travelled solo in more than 15 countries but is now focussed on our tours, helping our guests to enjoy our distillery and gain an appreciation of the artistry behind our gin. She also leads our walking tours so its no surprise to learn that her favourite hobby is hiking, especially in the beautiful local countryside that she now calls home.

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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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