When it comes to one of the most consumed spirits in Hong Kong, it’s safe to say that we’re all familiar with gin. But no matter how enthusiastic you are about it, you will probably not be as dedicated as Dimple Yuen and Ivan Chang, the co-founders of local micro distillery, Two Moons Distillery. The first of its kind in Hong Kong, the duo craft their own artisanal spirit right here, quickly earning a name for itself as one of the most creative premium gins there are. Think crisp and citrusy aromas from dried tangerine peels, fresh lemon peel and pink peppercorn, along with a sweet, and nutty flavour on the palate from Madagascan vanilla pods and tonka beans. Taking top quality botanicals from around the world to pay homage to the cultural melting pot of this city, Dimple and Ivan have mastered the true spirit of Hong Kong. We speak to the gin connoisseurs to learn more about their craft and how they got to where they are today.
Name: Dimple Yuen and Ivan Chang
Profession: Co-founders of Two Moons Distillery
Industry: Gin Distillery
Start up since: 2019
Company size: 4
Tell us about your business.
DY: Two Moons is the first licensed microdistillery producing premium craft gin in Hong Kong. As we are both born and bred here and are avid gin lovers, we wanted to create a classic dry gin that proudly boasts an Asian flair to represent our roots.
IC: By establishing a distillery in the city that can accommodate [both] customers and visitors, we hope to inspire and share the beautiful craft of distilling with the people of Hong Kong.
Tell us about your best and worst day at work?
DY: My best days are the days I get to distill. It’s a chance for me to tune out from the outside world and it’s just me and our copper still, Luna. I get to be completely immersed in the distillation process without any distractions and I really love that. The worst days would be the ones when accidents inevitably happen and our gin ends up on the floor!
IC: My best day was when I saw the first drop of gin produced from our still, Luna, for the very first time. As it took us two years to get there, it was an incredibly touching and unforgettable moment.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
IC: I love to hike and connect with nature to refresh my body and soul.
Looking back now, what would you have done differently?
DY: I wish I learnt distilling much earlier. I had no idea it was such a fascinating craft until I started to learn and appreciate gin.
What is a normal work day like for you?
DY: My mornings start with some admin and prep work before I start distilling around noon. From there, I perform regular quality control checks and monitor the entire distilling process from start to finish.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start up?
IC: Stay curious, be open to constructive criticism and don’t be afraid to share the knowledge.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing what you do now?
DY: I’d probably be a digital nomad or a scuba instructor.
IC: I’d be continuing my passion in the hospitality industry.
As a child, what did you aspire to be?
DY: I had no idea to be honest!
IC: I wanted to be the best gamer in the world.
What has been your biggest hurdle?
DY: I’m an introvert, so I’m not always comfortable being in front of the camera.
How did you overcome it?
DY: I’m not sure if I have yet, but I try my best. As a female entrepreneur in a traditionally male-dominated industry, I feel it’s important to represent Asian women and that is what drives me to be more out there.
Why is Hong Kong an important market for you?
IC: As we are both born and raised in Hong Kong, we feel it’s important to represent our hometown. Though gin is traditionally perceived as an English spirit, we wanted to show people that we too can make a premium gin by including Asian botanicals.
If you were to invest in another start up, what would it be?
DY: As I used to be a programmer before becoming a distiller, I’d invest in something tech-related for sure.
What are your goals for 2020?
IC: We’ve got a lot of creative ideas brewing for 2020! Since we are constantly experimenting at the distillery, you can expect some new flavours and distillery workshops in the coming year from us.
How hands-on are you?
IC: Distilling, bottling, labelling and sealing – everything’s all done by hand at the distillery so we are about as hands-on as it gets!
How do you define success? And do you consider yourself being successful?
DY: I’d define success as happiness and constantly achieving new personal goals, whatever they may be.
IC: I’d consider myself successful if I am able to be a positive influence to the people around me and spread a bit of joy and happiness.