FROM THE MILITARY TO THE DISTILLERY
Welcome to My Journey
Born in rural England, my story starts in a picture-perfect English village that was part of a vibrant farming community. My hard working and hugely supportive parents gave me the encouragement and freedom within this tight-knit environment that laid the foundation of my formative years.
I found early on that my energy seemed limitless. At 12, I started a business refurbishing push-bikes, ran a paper round, and worked as a gamekeepers assistant until I joined the military at 18. These experiences taught me the value of hard work, initiative, and time management. Between that, long-distance cycling with my local group, kayaking, and staying physically active, I was in pursuit of adventure.
The military seemed to be a natural progression – endless challenges and adventure. It gave me a chance to channel my enthusiasm and energy into serving something greater. I loved the ever-changing, demanding nature of it. From serving in the Royal Navy to the Royal Australian Air Force, my military journey was diverse and dynamic.
During my service, I held six command positions, flew on multiple types of aircraft, deployed on multiple operations, received medals, and as a mountaineer, climbed and skied in multiple countries. I was fortunate to have work for and with some incredible people – watching people grow and prosper in particular was, and still is, an incredibly rewarding experience. But the military was not just about accolades and achievements. It tested my mettle and taught me invaluable life lessons: commitment, loyalty, humility, dedication, and tenacity. I feel humbled to have seen these qualities in spades in the people I worked with so many times.
However, everything has to come to an end – after 35 years in the military what next. What else do I love? How can I spend the next chapter of my career, going to work in a job I love each day? In fact, what can I actually do?
Well, I am creative. I have built a house; I have built the furniture for the house and I love making my own beer. On this navel gazing reflection, I realised that I love doing things with my hands because I am practical, and I enjoy being busy. And so, my journey started. Creating gin and spirits – the greatest adventure and challenge yet!
For me Twelve and a Half Acres is a venture that combines my love for nature and the outdoors with the need of a challenge. I brought the same dedication, commitment, and strategic thinking from my military life to this venture. My aim was to create a quality product that people would genuinely desire, and my family became my loyal taste-testers, supporters, and even marketers in this journey.
My land, the Twelve and a Half Acres, is a sanctuary to me. I wake up to incredible sunrises and end my day witnessing spectacular sunsets. I feel a deep connection to this land, and I am committed to making it even better. This commitment extends to my involvement in local initiatives like 'Care for Wildlife', where I help clear invasive species and plant native trees and enhance the koala habitat on the property.
Looking ahead, my dreams are simple but fulfilling. I want to grow my own food, support my community - like my childhood community supported me - continue my adventures, and keep myself challenged. And as I build towards this future, I am reminded of the mantra that has guided me all these years: "You don't get something for nothing in life – dedication, commitment and tenacity is required." So, every day, I strive to live by these words, knowing that it's this very drive and passion that has shaped my journey so far.
I am genuinely humbled by the road that led me here. The journey hasn't always been easy, but every step, every challenge faced and conquered, has made me who I am today. From a boy in rural England, who use to pick potatoes as a farmer labourer, to a man who commands respect on his own land.
It gives me great pleasure to invite you all to become a part of my journey. Welcome to Twelve and a Half Acres – it's more than a business; it's my heart and soul.
- Andrew Lancaster
From Twelve and a Half Acres