Sobriety has negative connotations for many. People automatically assume you must be a stiff, boring, fun sponge. Ever been at a party, where your reluctance to imbibe prompted an obnoxious guest to point an imaginary gun to their head? We have.
Thankfully the world is changing thanks to brands like Seedlip – the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit designed to solve the what to drink when you’re not drinking dilemma.
DOSE talks to Seedlip’s spirited founder, Ben Branson, about appealing to a new generation that doesn’t drink, where we’ll be partying in the future and how to tap into the hedonism in health…
What inspired you to create an alcohol free product?
Seedlip didn’t actually begin as a business idea at all! I was looking into different herbs and spices to grow at home and came across a book written in 1651 that documented distilled herbal remedies that happened to be non-alcoholic. Out of sheer curiosity I bought a little copper still, went to see King George III’s original copy in the British library and began experimenting in my kitchen.
It was only after I learnt of the paradigm shift in attitudes towards drinking, that my mission to solve the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking began. I set out to create the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits combining my family’s 300 year legacy of working with the land.
What are the main drivers behind people going alcohol free?
I think we are increasingly aware of our health and therefore the role that alcohol plays in our lives. Alcohol seems to be transitioning away from the cultural norm. People seem to be drinking less and looking for new ways to drink better.
Generation Z are a sober generation, most interested in their health and wellbeing. Why do you think this is?
Underage drinking is on the decline, which is great news, as is the binge drinking reputation among young people which is also hugely encouraging. I imagine this is influenced by documenting our lives more publicly through social media, but I can’t pretend to know what it’s like for a teenager living in today’s world… Email was hardly even a thing when I was 16!
How many ways can you mix a Seedlip…
Seedlip is very flexible… Whether it’s a simple Seedlip & Tonic at home after work with a nice citrus garnish or a Seedlip Cocktail at a great bar, we have only just scratched the surface of possibilities. My current favourite is the Seedlip Spice with homemade Black Cardamom and Vanilla Soda – a great balance of smoke, sweetness and spice!
Are there more products in the pipeline?
We have a limited edition that we are launching in the Spring… all I can say is we have been working on it for a long time and that it’s another world first!
You recently partnered with Daybreaker. Are there plans to collaborate with any more fitness brands?
We sailed 350 people down the Thames drinking Seedlip Cocktails at 6am on a paddle steamer with Daybreaker this summer, which was an amazing way to start the day. I would love to do more with them especially in the US where we have recently launched. We have worked closely this year with the likes of Natasha Corrett, Press, Lululemon and KX Club and it’s certainly an area we would like to do more work in. All I can say is watch this space!
Where do you think we’ll be socialising in the future?
This is such an interesting question. Traditional pubs and clubs are in decline, the casual dining market is booming and 90’s activities like crazy golf, bowling and table tennis (even The Crystal Maze) have all grown up and come back. We are increasingly looking to socialise around “doing something” as opposed to just “drinking something”. I think we’ll see venues like darts halls, indoor clays and things like laser quests come to the fore…
We’ll see a revival of community centres as people stop moving around so much and start working more with their local areas. We’ll spend more time at home, in restaurants, in gyms, markets and 24 hour coffee shops! The next ten years are going to be fascinating!
What’s your interpretation of the word hedonism. Do you think it can be applied to the topic of health?
I absolutely do! I had to look up the meaning of hedonism which is ‘the pursuit of pleasure’ – how great is that when you apply it to health!!! Personally I find being out in the fields with my dogs, in the cold, in quiet, peaceful surroundings a real indulgence. It’s a rewarding healthy thing to do that keeps me sane! I love that these days going to a spa for a day, switching the phone off, or escaping to the countryside are things we can do in pursuit of feeling great. That’s hedonistic for sure!
Where can we buy Seedlip?
Where can we find it in cocktails at the bar?
Seedlip is available in about 300 bars, hotels and restaurants in England, mainly in London and we have a nice selection of them featured on our website. But! If there is somewhere you would like to be drinking Seedlip we’re always keen to hear.
What does 2017 hold for Seedlip?
2017 will be our second year as a company and we have such an exciting and slightly terrifying year ahead starting with a huge January… Takeovers, pop ups, limited editions, our garden at Chelsea Flower Show, new customers, exciting partnerships, new drinks ideas and some extra special things happening later in the year. It’s going to be another whirlwind and hopefully solving the ‘what to drink when you’re not drinking’ dilemma for more and more people!