Meet the Maker: Wesley Pickering

WHAT IS INKORPORATE?

Inkorporate is a product design and production agency that creates, develops and manufactures glassware and equipment for the premium drinks sector. We're a collective of drinks industry experts, creative and industrial designers and a network of specialist manufacturing facilities. Together we produce some of the most recognised and well received products used by bartenders and drinks brands.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WHAT YOU DO?

Just over eight years.

WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR EUREKA MOMENT?

I’ve always wished I could lay claim to a eureka moment, but in truth it was more of gradual dawning.

WHY DID YOU SET IT UP?

Because I wanted be in the industry - but without working nights! Seriously though, it all came about ten years ago when I was still working as a bartender. There were lots of new bar openings, new spirit launches and the beginnings of real customer engagement with better drinking. The quality of bar-tending was on an upward curve, but the equipment to make and serve drinks hadn’t kept pace. So I started Inkorporate because I felt there was a need for high-quality, design-led products to aid bartenders, support brands and improve people’s experience of drinking.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T RUNNING INKORPORATE?

I’d probably be running my own bar as I can’t imagine not working in the drinks industry.

BIG UP SOMEONE THAT YOU’VE MET ALONG THE WAY?

Alex Kratena. He gets a huge amount of recognition, but no more than he deserves. Not only does he posses one of the most creative and inquisitive minds, but he couples it with technical ability and an amazing work ethic. The experience he delivers at the Artesian really is second-to-none: The drinks are inspired and innovative without resorting to gimmicks or tricks; there is luxury and attention to detail, but also a sense of fun and playfulness; and a bar team who all work for one another and to make each customer feel special - whoever they are and whatever they order.

ADVICE FOR OTHER PEOPLE LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN THING?

You need a positive outlook, because there will be times in the early years when things can look bleak - so you need to believe in what you’re doing. Also, hone your decision making skills. There are lots of occasions when you’ll need to make good decisions fast to get things done and make the most of opportunities. There are other times when it’s important to sleep on something before rushing in. Knowing which approach to take for any given situation is crucial to establishing and growing a business.

IF YOU HAD A SUPER POWER WHAT WOULD IT BE?

To stop time, or at least slow it down, so that I have chance to get more done.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?

To grow the business from a position where we were pitching to make a handful of bar-blades and not having my calls returned, to now making equipment for some of the most respected bars in the world, and vessels that showcase the biggest brands.

WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?

Jessica Hyde

FAVOURITE CREATION?

That’s like picking your favourite child. Each one has something special but also brought it’s own challenges along.

TELL US SOMETHING AMAZING ABOUT THE DRINKS INDUSTRY?

It doesn’t have the barriers that other industries have, and so takes everyone on merit. If you’ve got good ideas and apply yourself there is no limit to where it can take you. That and the fact that it's like a big family - you can walk into bars all over the world and if you don’t actually know the guys working there, you’ll almost certainly have friends in common. I know that's a cliche - but it's a cliche because it's true!

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUIRKY / OCD RITUALS?

Too many to list.

OTHER BRANDS YOU RESPECT?

Grant MacDonald Silversmiths. The designs are beautiful and the execution is amazing, but obviously it’s out of reach for most people. We try to bring the same design principles and same care over the manufacturing process to bear on our products - but at a more accessible level.

WORST DAY AT INKORPORATE?

Anyone that’s involved in actually manufacturing will confirm that there are always serious challenges in bringing beautiful designs to life. One situation that always sticks in my mind was opening a box to find that a factory had mixed up their measurements and made a one tenth scale glass. Literally the worlds smallest martini glass. Fortunately it was only a sample, but I’ve measured every component twice ever since!

BEST DAY / ACHIEVEMENT AT INKORPORATE?

Lots of days don’t go quite the way I want them too, but there is never one where I wish I was doing something else.