We first met Smith and Sinclair when they were starting out with their confectionery business. We fell in love with their edible cocktails (sweets filled with half a shot of booze) and served them to guests at our Wonderland Showcase where they intrigued and delighted guests.
Since then Smith and Sinclair have expanded rapidly and have been turning their hands to experiential events with pop-up outlets and workshops appearing around London, whilst their edible cocktail sweet selections are now stocked in the likes of John Lewis. We caught up with co-founder Melanie Goldsmith to find out more.
How did you and Emile meet and what’s your background?
I met Emile when I was studying in Cardiff 8 years ago; he was a chef in a local pub and a good friend with my house-mate at the time. We have very different backgrounds and skills which has helped us to cover all bases of our creativity. I have a history of Arts Events Management which I did a Masters on at The Royal Welsh and after that I worked in more events, PR and constancy. Before we started Smith & Sinclair, Emile spent his whole adult life working as a chef; he left school and stepped into the catering industry and worked in as many kitchens as he could, soaking up as much knowledge as possible.
Where did the idea of edible cocktails come from?
The Edibles were born from another project that I thought up after we both quite our jobs. We were running a series of dating nights where we made everyone play board games whilst they mingled with each other. This was all about exploring the concept of adult play and the edible cocktails were born from that idea and introduced as an icebreaker at the event and to replace a liquid cocktail as they tended to spill a lot when everyone was sat on the floor playing board games. Before long people were coming to the night for the edibles and then Smith & Sinclair was born.
In a short time you’ve gone from experimenting in the kitchen to being stocked in the likes of John Lewis and hosting sellout pop events. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
We’ve had many obstacles in our growing so quickly; cash flow is always a huge struggle when you grow at such a pace and I’m sure any start-up will agree this is always tricky. Last summer we had to ramp up production a huge amount (2000%) pretty much overnight with a totally new rebranding and team of production staff and equipment. This was a huge undertaking which involved 22 hour days and napping at desks without going home, it was tough, but we managed it.
Alongside the flavours you offer in your edible cocktails, such as whisky sour, mixed berry daiquiri and violet-infused G & T, how can brands work with to create bespoke products to help bring brands to life?
It’s extremely easy to work with spirit brands these days just because of how fun and innovative the industry is now. Take gin for example; every gin has their own botanicals or signature cocktails. We would use this info and create an edible cocktail to either mimic their signature serve or use flavours that will complement their gins flavour profile. If it’s not our edible cocktails, we’ve done anything from curating immersive cocktail master classes to educating guests on the history of a drinks brand to making edible bubbles to greet guests at an event.
You’ve created some amazing pop-ups such as The Flavour Rooms, a collaboration with Tanqueray London Dry Gin, that play with the senses. Why do you think an experiential environment is so appealing?
Audiences today are craving something more – they want something that isn’t just an instagram moment, they want something that embeds deeper in the memory and creates a longer term level of engagement with brands that is authentic.
Boozy lollipops, edible perfumes and alcoholic candy floss are just some of the amazing new products you offer. How do you develop your new ideas and what are you inspired by?
When we’re developing a new product or idea, we always like to invert what people may think it should be, not many people are expecting there to be a deconstructed cocktail when they open a dip dap packet. We just always make sure we keep people guessing and that anything we put out there, it’s genuinely something we would love to either go to or purchase ourselves if we were a customer.
What trends do you see impacting on food & drink in the future?
There are so many emerging food and drink trends from fermentation to hyper localism, but we feel that education of a product will play a big part. People are beginning to want to know exactly what’s in a product, where it was made and even how to make it. So, we feel that taking the quality of what people experience in a bar or restaurant and putting into the home so they have a better understanding of it is going to be a big thing, which is what we have been going with our products to stay ahead of the game.
At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.
To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email email@example.com
For more information about Smith and Sinclair visit their website here.