How to launch your own distillery

(CNN)Many people dream of having a gin distillery in their living room, but for Ian Hart that dream is a reality.

The Londoner owns the Sacred Spirits gin brand which he makes out of his home. Before embarking on his gin-distilling adventure, Hart worked in financial services, but lost his job in the wake of the global financial crisis. After attempting several other ventures, he decided to start experimenting with distilling various drinks, and finally settled on gin.

Today, Hart's product is available in sixteen countries across the world, as well as high-end hotels and department stores in London. He shares his tips on how to start your own distillery with CNN.

Try different liquor

Hart experimented with other types of liquor before settling on gin. He started with vintage Bordeaux wine and played with making gin after receiving a shipment of neutral spirits and botanicals. Hart pitched the product to his local drinking hole, which started including it in their drink offerings. From that point, the sales started to come in.

Keep it legal

    Hart stresses that when you are in the business of booze, it's crucial to obtain all the relevant permits and pay the appropriate duties.
    "Make sure your alcohol is top quality, properly tested and certified by an accredited laboratory," he says.

    Have money to make money

    As the old adage goes, if you want to start a business you need to have enough capital to get it off the ground, and sustain periods when there will be no profit. Hart says that you should plan to have extra money to pay taxes, duties and all the other substantial costs of running a drinks business even during quiet times, when you may not sell that many bottles.

    Don't be tempted to bulk buy

    The entrepreneur says one of the biggest mistakes he made while building his business was printing too many logo stickers because price discounts offered in buying in bulk seemed attractive.
    "Then a year later when the label is redesigned, you are throwing thousands of pounds worth of overproduced old labels away," he says.

    Advertise smart

    In Hart's view, paid advertising doesn't give a return to start with as you end up spending much more than you get back as profit, but that it's worth it if you want to raise customer awareness in the long haul.
    "Marketing through trade fairs, direct sales and cold calling is more productive in the short run -- and the short run is important if you are capital constrained," he says, adding that a catchy, memorable name for the product is also quite important.