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Performance metrics compare Jan. 1 – Dec. 30, 2019 to Jan. 1 – Dec. 30, 2020.
Just because a person retires doesn’t mean they stop working. This was the case for Ian McCulloch who had big plans for his life after retirement. An avid gin drinker, Ian dreamed of owning his own distillery. He devised a plan, started looking for partners and a conversation at the local pub with James Shelbourne set the wheels in motion to what is known today as Silent Pool Distillers.
The two searched for some time to find the right location. They wanted it to be close to a natural water source and eventually they came upon Silent Pool, a spring-fed, chalk-filtered body of water in the Surrey Hills of the UK. On the banks of the pool were a number of old farm buildings which Ian and James believed could be converted for their venture.
There was one catch though. The farm buildings, land and pool were part of the Duke of Northumberland’s Albury Estate. Fortunately for Ian and James the Duke of Northumberland is a gin lover too. They were able to meet with the Duke and he agreed to let them use the land and rebuild all the farm buildings for the distilleries.
So, Silent Pool Distillers opened its doors in 2014 and has been growing its business ever since.
Trying to Swim in Shallow Waters
In the beginning, ecommerce was not a big channel for Silent Pool Distillers. They actually started off with a small scale hosting package on WooCommerce that, unfortunately, came with problems. They lost business because of outages and incurred resource costs to resolve the issues. As traffic volume increased, server capacity repeatedly needed to be upgraded.
“The operational management and reporting capabilities of the platform was limited and could no longer meet our growing business needs,” said Darren Macaskill, Head of Brand and Marketing at Silent Pool Distillers. “However, since moving to BigCommerce and navigating our way through COVID in 2020, it's become an integral part of our business.”
Selecting a Platform with Depth
As Silent Pool Distillers began to assess ecommerce providers, they looked for a solution that would simplify operations and be easy to use.
“We wanted to be relieved of the burden of the technical management of our website including capacity, security and update issues. We knew a software as a solution (SaaS) platform would address this for us,” said Macaskill.
Silent Pool Distillers looked at a number of providers, including Magento and Shopify and chose BigCommerce.
“In addition to SaaS, we also needed the flexibility of a cohesive ecosystem with apps and tools that would work as our business grew and as our requirements became more complex. We felt we could achieve this with BigCommerce,” said Macaskill.
“We wanted to be relieved of the burden of the technical management of our website including capacity, security and update issues. We knew a software as a solution (SaaS) platform would address this for us.”
“In addition to SaaS, we also needed the flexibility of a cohesive ecosystem with apps and tools that would work as our business grew and as our requirements became more complex. We felt we could achieve this with BigCommerce.”
Building a Diverse and Healthy Ecosystem
Without concern for server capacity, continuity of service or having to risk major technology investment, Silent Pool Distillers has been able to manage the significant growth in online traffic and sales that came from the COVID lockdowns.
The flexibility and openness of BigCommerce enabled Silent Pool Distillers to develop its online store using multiple apps and integrations to create a connected and interactive ecosystem. These apps and integrations include, but are not limited to:
A New Channel of Income Feeds into Silent Pool Distillers
New challenges can bring new opportunities if you’re proactive and seize them. With the lockdown causing pubs and restaurants to close, Silent Pool Distillers ramped up its efforts to generate income by selling direct to customer (DTC) on BigCommerce.
“Selling directly to customers is a profitable channel because there’s no middleman,” said Macaskill. “For 2020, we increased online sales 5-fold (YoY).”
“Selling directly to customers is a profitable channel because there’s no middleman. For 2020, we increased online sales 5-fold (YoY).”
Taking the Plunge in 2021
In 2021, Silent Pool Distillers is looking to take the plunge by expanding its spirits production beyond gin. These products will be sold under different brand names, supported by multi-store capabilities on BigCommerce.
Silent Pool Distillers also has plans to expand its international market reach. In the near future distilled spirits connoisseurs in the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy, Australia and parts of Asia Pacific may all soon be enjoying a fine beverage made from the cool, crisp waters of the Duke of Northumberland’s Silent Pool.