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Non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip set to quadruple production

Seedlip Drinks, a new non-alcoholic distilled spirit, is quadrupling production after seeing demand outstrip supply within its first month on the market.

Founder Ben Branson said the company’s growth plans had been accelerated by around six months, following the launch of its first product in November. Seedlip Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirit launched in Selfridges on 3 November and is now stocked at The Clove Club, Dandelion, M Restaurant and Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square. Further big-name stockists include The Hix Group, The Ledbury and The Savoy, who Branson said are expected to come on board shortly.

The start-up is scaling up the operation after its first batch sold out in three weeks, increasing production from 1,000 – 2,000 bottles per batch to 10,000 and moving to a third party bottler in the UK. It is also looking for an operations controller to control the supply chain.

The company uses a distillery in Germany to individually distill five out of the six botanicals (lemon peel is distilled separately to avoid the copper still tinting the flavour) before they are shipped to the UK for blending and bottling by hand.

We found a bespoke base which is unique to us and where we can play around with the pressure and temperature,” Branson told the drinks business. “We are not creating a spirit and stripping the alcohol out, it’s a clever process whereby we use the minimum amount of alcohol to strip out the flavour, and we did lots of work to find the optimum pressure and temperatures to extract the purest flavour. It was a real trial and error process.”

The spirit includes oak bark, allspice, cardamom, and lemon but there was a deliberate move to “steer clear of juniper”, Branson said.

“The closest category is gin – we have a lot of touch points in terms of botanicals, which has helped us as people know how to use it and serve it – but we didn’t want to replicate gin by taking all the same botanicals and creating a non-alcoholic version,” he said. “We’re not trying to mimic anything – we’re trying to create a new category of non-alcoholic spirits.”

Branson said there is a big opportunity for the lunch-time market in up-market restaurants, as part of the challenge with non-alcoholic drinks was food-pairing. “Sweet and fruity doesn’t fit with a grown-up dish. But this is totally unsweet and unfruity, and has great depth of flavour, with cloves (even though they aren’t included) and lemon as big hitting flavours.”

He is planning to launch two further products next year, and eventually wants to install its own craft distillery on the family’s arable farm in North Lincolnshire, where it could grow crops for its drinks.

“There are exciting things you can do. It’s important not just to add another flavour,” he said.

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