Aus Biz: Three Business Mums Killing It In Australia Right Now
VANESSA WILTON – MANLY SPIRITS CO
The story of Manly Spirits Co came to life in late 2015, when Vanessa was holidaying with her husband David in Tasmania. “While driving through the hills of Tasmania on a foodie weekend, we had a light bulb moment,” she says. “I had reached the chapter in my life where the ability to build a scalable business had arrived. I saw the craft beer explosion and the rise of craft spirits globally and decided that we needed more Aussie spirits to grace back bars and bottle shops.”
The business planning stage took the couple six months. Then it took another six months to secure buildings, design the brewhouse, stills, bottles, packaging and cocktail tasting bar. “Our distilling philosophy is that we take the best of tradition and then innovate with the use of native Australian and marine botanicals producing complex modern spirits,” Vanessa explains. “Authenticity and passion are instilled into all our products and brand.”
Although she doesn’t have one favourite product, Vanessa can name a few that customers keep coming back to. There’s Lilly Pilly Pink Gin with its fruity notes, and the internationally awarded Australian Dry Gin made with locally foraged sea lettuce. The bespoke bottles are decorated with the company’s signature Fibonacci pattern. “It represents perfection and balance in nature,” Vanessa explains.
The kids (who ranged from ages 13 to 18 when Vanessa and David launched the distillery) have all been involved, too. “They have all worked in the business, as cocktail bartenders, IT support staff, sales reps, event staff, bottlers and packers. And some have been fired and rehired from the business,” Vanessa laughs. “They get some pretty good perks, too… mainly being able to have parties at the distillery and cocktail bar.”
The older two of the four, Harrison and Bella, also like to come along to yoga. “I believe in work-life, balance so I launched the Gin Yoga concept in 2018 as a bit of fun at the distillery,” says Vanessa. “There’s nothing like adding the extra challenge of perfecting your ‘crow pose’ whilst sipping your gin with your wheat straw.”