Creating the UK’s First Dedicated Aquavit Distillery with Sasha Cohen
Episode show notes
Last year there were 820+ gin distilleries in the UK, and only 4 who produced aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit. Sasha Cohen is CEO of the only one whose sole focus is aquavit.
To find and enter such a remarkable gap in the market takes a true trailblazer like Sasha, who committed fully to running Vintersol Distillery in 2019. We hear from Sasha on The First Wealth Podcast as he details the fascinating journey to creating such a prolific, industry-leading family business.
What we cover
The process of creating Scandinavia’s answer to gin: Aquavit
Overcoming the hurdle of bringing an unknown spirit to a new country
Pushing comfort zones through drive and ‘bloody-mindedness’
How Sasha develops a product range that shows off aquavit’s versatility
The unique challenges and opportunities working in a family business
Sasha Cohen is a former corporate intelligence analyst with bartending experience and a longstanding interest in the spirits industry.
He first began distilling on a small copper still in southern France. It didn’t take long for the hobby to evolve into a potential business venture, and in 2019 he dedicated himself to establishing and running Vintersol Distillery full time.
Vintersol Distillery stands as one of only four distillers of aquavit, and the only one for whom aquavit is their primary product, cementing their role as leaders in a niche but growing market.
“With most bad jobs, eventually it grinds you down to the point you start actively looking for something else. But for the transition to distilling as what I wanted to do, I took a step back and kind of asked myself, ‘What do I actually enjoy?’”
9:30 - Sasha Cohen
“Making connections is mostly based on ease of access, and whether they like the spirit - if you can get hold of the bar manager and give them the opportunity to sit and taste it and talk about it. The personal connection element of it is very, very important, as much as what's in the glass.”
16:10 - Sasha Cohen
“Don't do it if you're not willing to be relentless. Don't do it if you're not willing to be absolutely stubborn and bloody minded in your approach, because there will be any number of hurdles that come across.”
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