Alongside my writing work, I’ve always had an interest in alcohol. I know a lot of writers say that, but I had a professional interest. It was called Shaken.
My parents started running a pub when I was four years old and I spent most of my youth behind the scenes of a public house. When I moved to London, I freelanced for the London Bar Guide and learned more about the art of bartending than I ever could have discovered pulling pints in my parents’ place.
In 2013, a couple of friends asked if I’d be interested in starting a mail order cocktail club. It began as an experiment, then turned into a hobby, and eventually a real-life company, helping you mix the best drinks you’ve ever made.
Early in 2015, we opened up for crowd-investment and gathered enough funding to enable three people to work full-time (with me part-time) in our East London office. We eventually grew to a team of seven.
After a couple of years of breathless operation, which included seeing our cocktail boxes stocked in Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, we had to call it a day.
We built a respected brand, helped thousands of people to drink better not more, and were integral to at least one wedding proposal. A formative experience for all involved.