By James Atkinson

Little Creatures founders Howard Cearns, Nic Trimboli and David Martin have set up a new spirits and wine distribution company.

Cearns, Trimboli and Martin, who are all on the WA-based brewer's board of directors, have established Hippocampus Memorable Drinks to act as distributor for their Margaret River wine label, Stormflower.

Hippocampus has also locked in a distribution deal with UK boutique distillery, Sipsmith Independent Spirits, and is now looking to expand its spirits offering, Cearns told TheShout.

"The idea is to come up with a portfolio that you just don't see everywhere," he said.

Cearns said he was attracted to the unique story of Sipsmith, which was established in London in June 2009 – the first copper distillery to open in the city for almost 200 years.

Sipsmith's London Dry Gin – which is handcrafted in batches of only a few hundred bottles at a time – is now available on-premise at upwards of 40 eastern states venues, including Sydney's Baxter Inn and Porteno and Melbourne's Gin Palace, along with about 35 Perth venues.

"It's got a lovely soft finish to it – incredibly smooth," Cearns said.

"I like a gin and tonic and when I tried Sipsmith it was as good as it gets, and you can drink it neat too."

Sipsmith also has a Barley Vodka, and is formulating a new product to rival Pimms No.1 Cup, the iconic English aperitif owned by Diageo.

Hippocampus is headed up by Sarah Blomkamp, formerly of international advertising agency TBWA. Cearns said the company is now looking to add a unique whisky to its stable, and a tequila could possibly follow.

With a core portfolio of products in place, Cearns said he hopes Hippocampus will be able to give access to products "that may come and go", which will appeal to small bars that are looking to change their drinks offering regularly.

"It's hard for them to develop relationships all the time where they see [distributors] who've been there and shown them the same thing time and time again."

Howard Cearns, centre, with David Martin and Sarah Blomkamp

Cearns said Hippocampus would also like to sign a good Pinot Noir out of Tasmania or New Zealand for distribution to the Western Australian market, as well as finding new outlets for Stormflower.

"Our vineyard's not massive volume – the idea is targeting on-premise with slightly funkier versions of what Margaret River's done, in terms of wine styles," he said.

Cearns said Stormflower had recently appointed Winestock to handle distribution of its wines in the eastern states.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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