Launched in 2015, Seedlip is now served in over 26 international cities and 250 Michelin star restaurants and is the fashionable and delicious solution to ‘What do drink when you’re Not drinking’®.
Founder, Ben Branson tells us how it all began…
Tell us about your heritage and how it shaped your career path?
Seedlip is definitely a product of my upbringing! My mother’s side of the family are in farming and my father is in design. Creating a distilled non-alcoholic spirit was the perfect opportunity to bring together my mother’s farming heritage and my father’s brand design expertise to rid the world of poor, fruity and sweet mocktails and offer something grown-up!
What was the lightbulb moment behind Seedlip?
In 2013, whilst researching interesting herbs I could grow at home, I came across a book written in 1651 called ‘The Art of Distillation’ that documented distilled herbal remedies – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Ever the tinkerer, I was so curious, I bought a copper still and began experimenting in my kitchen. Three months later I was out for dinner at a nice restaurant in London, not drinking and got offered this pink, fruity, sweet, childish mocktail. Surely there must be a better way!
Who has motivated you the most?
I keep very much in mind and his name tattooed on my arm, my great-grandfather. Knighted for his services to agriculture and philanthropy, he was a true entrepreneurial character.
Did your school days influence your career path?
I loved being outside. Was happiest on the sports field and learnt a lot about leadership, competition, winning, teamwork and resilience.
What advice can you give to the next generation looking to get into the drinks business?
If you genuinely solve a need that people have, stay single-mindedly true to solving it amidst all the distractions and bring your company to life in a meaningful and desirable way.
What is your favourite Seedlip cocktail?
Right now…. It’s the NOgroni. Our take on the classic Negroni that uses both our brands. Seedlip Spice, Æcorn Bitter and Æcorn Aromatic. Really simple to make and is short, bold and strong!
Who is the typical Seedlip customer?
Today there are lots of different reasons someone might not want to drink alcohol. We call them the aren’ts, can’ts and don’ts. There are also the “shouldn’ts” ha! Seedlip is for those who can’t drink: [pregnancy, medication, the designated driver for example] those who aren’t: [having a night or week off, lunch time, perhaps an early start the next day], to those who just don’t drink.
How do you decide which herbs and spices blend well together and what combinations work best?
It took two years to develop a bespoke maceration, distillation and filtration process for each individual plant we work. Lots of trial, error, research and testing and many discussions with botanists, distillers and historians to develop Seedlip Spice, Seedlip Garden and Seedlip Grove.
Where do you see the drink industry heading?
Trend wise, there is definitely a growing acceptance that better NA options need to be considered and offered but it’s still such early days! Globally we are at the beginning of a paradigm shift in the role drinks play in people’s lives with a number of bigger cultural forces at work that mean the timing and need for quality, adult NA options has certainly never been more relevant.
What’s next for Seedlip?
To continue to lead and expand the non-alcoholic category – we are still just scratching the surface of its potential, and with the launch of Æcorn Aperitifs, this will take us a step closer to our aim of changing the way the world drinks by offering more choice for those who wish not to drink, for whatever reason. We’re just getting started!
Do you find you drink less alcohol yourself now?
Definitely, I’m always keen to try people’s non- alcoholic Seedlip cocktails!
What do you do to relax?
With Seedlip now available in over 25 countries in just three years, I spend a lot of time travelling, so coming home to the countryside, the woods, fields, my dogs, family and fresh air are definitely luxuries in my life and a great way to switch off.
Captures the essence of the English countryside with sophisticated top notes of the handpicked peas and hay from the founder’s family farm with a complex herbal base character of spearmint, rosemary and thyme.
is a celebration of the Orange; an adult, citrus blend of copper-pot distillates including Bitter Orange, Mandarin, Blood Orange, Lemongrass, Ginger & Lemon.
is aromatic with strong spice (All Spice Berries & Cardamom) and citrus (lemon & grapefruit peel) top notes & a long bitter from the highest quality barks (Oak and Cascarilla).
“At this time of year we’re looking for some warmth and depth of flavour. Here are three favourites.”
From the Field
Chilled cocktail glass
60ml Seedlip Garden
15ml Apple & Plum cordial
30ml sparkling Water
Garnish with a pea pod
Chilled champagne flute
50ml Seedlip Grove 42
25ml Organic marmalade cordial
Stir and strain
Top with cold sparkling water. Garnish with orange zest
Spice & Black
Highball full of ice
50ml Seedlip spice 94
Top with 25ml organic blackcurrant cordial
Cawston fizzy apple
Combine and garnish with large lemon zest