Expert Market meets with Melanie Goldsmith, Co- Founder of our “London's coolest product” winner, Smith & Sinclair's alcoholic pastilles. Launched in January 2014 with Smith & Sinclair Limited, founders Melanie and Emile quickly realised that their small, alcoholic sweets had caught everyone’s attention. In a little over 12-months, Smith & Sinclair pastilles have shaken up the alcohol industry and now retail in some of London’s premier stores including Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. They call themselves “the original cocktail confectioners.”
The original idea was to run a series of dating nights; they were hosted on the floor, with board games everywhere. These events were all about adult plain escapism, but what Melanie found was that there wasn’t a product relatable to serve at any of these events. Emile came up with the idea to create edible pastilles made out of gin, originally to impress a drinks company they were looking to work with. They presented a range of deconstructed cocktails for eating in their own version of a “Candy Bar”. The unadulterated indulgence of these edible deconstructed cocktails received so much attention that they wanted to explore their appeal outside of the events.
Recipe for Success
As the first people to solidify alcohol at an ambient temperature – and ensure a shelf life of 12 months – Smith & Sinclair’s unique, patent-pending processes have made them the innovators of intoxication. They have gone on to create edible cocktails for more than 30 alcoholic brands; their range currently includes whiskey, vodka, rum and gin varieties.
They have adapted certain aspects of foods you wouldn’t have associated with either alcohol or confectionary and used those methods to create their alcoholic pastilles. They are well on their way to redefining drinking rituals that they claim have “stagnated” over the last century. Melanie believes, “whereas people will always create more and more liquids no one has really looked at the context of drinking rituals.”
Collaboration and Challenges
Smith & Sinclair have taken something classic, a cocktail, and flipped it on its head. They own all the intellectual property around the product, the process and the final product itself, so you won't find this anywhere else. It seems only apt that the perfect first brand partner for them was Secret Cinema, whose concept is an immersive movie experience.
By placing the viewer in an environment mirroring the scene, our reality and the set constantly shift and interweave, thus removing the boundaries between audience and performer. Both brands have taken something we all engaged with and made it magical by flipping the idea of ‘engagement’ around. In recognition of this notonthehighstreet.com awarded Smith & Sinclair Food and Drink Product of the Year in its 2015 “Make awards”, for their box of 12 cocktail pastilles. Nevertheless, it hasn’t been all product testing and awards, neither Melanie nor Emile had any retail experience before, so it has been a steep learning curve; Melanie herself attributes Google to basically help launch their business.
Last year the priority for Smith & Sinclair was to grow brand and identity. They have achieved this through their website which not only allows customers to shop the pastilles, in a variety of selections and flavours, but to purchase the newly developed chocolate grinders, edible perfume and alcoholic dip-dabs. Their brand has grown from strength to strength offering experiences suitable for all events and parties. These include a bespoke cocktail bar, a sherbet wall, personalised gin experience, edible vapour orbs and edible bubbles.
Smith & Sinclair definitely have the coolest product around with their sweet and delicious, alcoholic cocktail pastilles. These cocktail confectioners are trying to establish a new way for people to enjoy and consume alcohol, instead of drinking your drink you can eat it! Melanie sees a positive future for the company: “What we’re doing is pretty ground breaking and we plan that all of our products continue to go that way.” If you want to see more creations from this innovative duo, they have even starred in Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube, and have set up “The Flavour Rooms” at Sanderson Hotel and Bluewater Shopping centre.