Our new blog series #tenwithtom explores how some of our favourite brands, artisans, makers and shakers of the interior design industry are influenced and inspired by nature. First up: Ben Branson CEO of Seedlip Drinks.
Solving the dilemma of ‘what to drink when you're not drinking', the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2015. Inspired by his farming heritage, a book of forgotten distillery recipes and having been subjected to one too many sickly, sugary mocktails, Ben Branson came up with a plan to revolutionise the worldwide market for non-alcoholic drinks.
Today, with two gold medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the creation of the NOgroni® and a recipe book with Penguin publishers under its belt, (to name but a few achievements) Seedlip can be found in twenty international cities and in pretty much all major supermarket aisles.
As a brand with nature embedded at its core and a humbling, inspiring story, Seedlip seemed like a perfect place to kick off our brand new blog series: Ten with Tom.
We've caught up with Seedlip Founder, Ben Branson, to find out more about what makes the Seedlip story so special...
TR: The natural world has evidently had a huge impact on what you create as a business – have you always been a nature lover?
BB: I was fortunate to spend so much of my childhood outside. Be that on the farm, in the woods or in the fields, it’s only recently that I’ve realised just how much of an impact that has had on me. I’m happiest outside and just fascinated by nature. From my own vegetable patch to our changing climate, birds of prey to my pin up of David Attenborough and biomimicry to history books on nature - I just love all aspects.
TR: What’s the best thing about surrounding yourself and working with nature daily?
BB: For us, having nature at the heart of our business is the single most powerful common ground for all our team. It unites our audience. Whether it's showing bartenders rare local ingredients in China or working with honey farms in California, it really is amazing that as a team we share this love of the natural world and that we're able to share this passion with our Seedlip customers.
Nature is fascinating, fierce and full of wonder. Having the chance to learn about this by sharing Seedlip with the world, well, I think that’s pretty cool...
"Seedlip is a nature company - we're working with the natural world to change the way the world drinks"
- Ben Branson, CEO and Founder of Seedlip Drinks.
TR: Is sustainability important to you and your growing brand?
BB: We are committed to being as sustainable as possible throughout all aspects of our business. Seedlip is not perfect but our processes are continually improving. Our sourcing, our materials, our footprint and actually what we do as people when we are at home, are, to us, part of living a responsible life.
We have a number of exciting projects underway in this space that we’re really excited about implementing over the coming years.
BB: My nose. All three Seedlip distilled, non-alcoholic spirits are based on aromatic memories from my childhood; smells from the farm and fields. We deliberately don’t try to imitate an alcoholic product, but rather celebrate the freedom we have with doing something different, adult, and exploring the best ingredients that pair well together.
TR: What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
BB: Getting a liquid in a bottle, it sitting on a shelf, selling a bottle, a stranger buying it and drinking it and buying another bottle. Alongside getting the chance to put everything I love into the company and working with awesome people, I love seeing the product have meaning in a stranger’s life. I couldn’t really wish for more than that! We’ve just done this again recently launching our new brand Æcorn Aperitifs in Selfridges.
TR: What three things can’t you live without and why?
BB: I probably should say a Seedlip & tonic, a copper still and peas...but right now the truth is: coffee, cigarettes and excel spreadsheets. Ahem.
TR: As designers, we love hearing about other people’s interior style, what makes your house a home?
BB: The mix of possessions - from the very old and inherited to new and equally loved. It would have to be the eclectic mix of blankets, books, antiques, Ercol, wood, taxidermy, plants, herringbone, neon, wellies, a Jack Russell, a Dalmatian, grey, green and orange... but not in that exact order!
TR: Do you have a favourite Tom Raffield design?
BB: I'm a big fan of the Noctis No.1 Giant Pendant. It reminds me of a swarm of bees or herring. I think it's genius and looks great in a more industrial, modern setting.