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Meet our Brand's Beloved Patriarchs

Sidney James Swann

A Legacy of Style and Community

The story of Siwani Spirits is one steeped in rich history and a deep-rooted love for community. Instrumental to the legacy of our brand is the founder's maternal great-grandfather, Sidney James Swann—a barber by trade, but a spirit maker at heart.

Sidney was not just an ordinary barber, he held a secret within the confines of his home on E St. in Washington, DC. Around the corner from the bustle of haircuts and close shaves, his basement brimmed with the sweet, heady aroma of his own still, where he crafted spirits that were as much a testament to his creativity as they were to his dedication to quality.


But the spirit-making tradition didn't start with Sidney. It traced back to his mother, Emma, a proud matriarch residing in the Pomonkey region of southern Maryland, now known as La Plata and its surrounding areas. She ran her own biergarten/speakeasy, serving not just food and drinks, but also a sense of community and camaraderie. Her establishment was more than a place to enjoy a meal or a drink; it was a gathering spot, a hub of shared stories and laughter, fostering a sense of unity that echoes through generations.

The name 'Siwani', meaning 'swan' in Yoruba, pays homage to the Swann side of our founder's family. It's more than just a moniker—it's a symbol of our commitment to honoring our roots.

Our aesthetic, inspired by the Swann family legacy, exudes a timeless elegance captured in this photograph of Mr. Swann from the 1920s. This image, reflecting the refined style and grace of Black people during that era, resonates deeply with us. Every detail, from the sophistication of the attire to the confident poise in his demeanor, is mirrored in our brand. The warm, inviting ambiance of the spaces we hope to create and the meticulously crafted spirits we produce are all a celebration of this vibrant heritage and strong sense of community that Sidney and Emma embodied.

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Thomas "Clue" Gregory

A Pillar of Strength and Vision

Every great story has its heroes, and at Siwani Spirits, one such hero is our founder's paternal grandfather, Thomas "Clue" Gregory. A man of many talents and boundless determination, Clue's legacy shapes the heart and soul of our brand.

Clue was a hustler in the truest sense. He was a wine and spirits maker, crafting his beverages in his home with an unwavering commitment to quality and taste. (We're told mulberry wine was one of his best sellers!). As a man who knew how to dress, he was known for his signature suits and hat, cocked to the side in a display of true swagger.

But his talents didn't stop there. Clue was also a skilled carpenter, a testament to his innate ability to create. With his own hands, he built his house—a home that not only provided shelter but also space to raise hogs and sugar cane. His dedication to hard work was evident in everything he did, from the drinks he crafted to the home he built.

Despite his industrious nature, Clue never lost sight of the importance of personal growth and development. Recognizing the potential of computers long before they became commonplace, he gifted his granddaughter—our founder—her first computer in the early 1990s. This gesture, at a time when owning a personal computer was rare, underscored his foresight and his unwavering commitment to her success.

A World War II veteran, Clue served in the U.S. Army, further exemplifying his courage and resilience. His service, like every other aspect of his life, was marked by dedication and a sense of duty.

The roots of our founder's Geechee heritage trace back to Clue and beyond. He moved to St. Augustine, FL, with his mother, Estelle, as part of a great migration south from Georgia and South Carolina for work on the railroads and sugar plantations. Great-grandma Estelle and her family originated from the low country—Ridgeland and Hardeeville, SC, just across the Savannah River from Georgia.

At Siwani Spirits, we honor Clue's legacy in every bottle we craft. His spirit of hard work, innovation, and cultural preservation is a vital part of our brand's DNA. We invite you to join us in celebrating this rich heritage—a toast to the past, present, and future.

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