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Positive drinks

In a male-dominated drinks industry, women can bring a new perspective and a refreshing approach to business
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Becky Davies, Ten Locks Drinks and Pod Pea Vodka, in a field tasting peas

This article first appeared in our International Women’s Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 08 March 2024. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Ten Locks Drinks was launched in 2020 to satisfy what its director, Becky Davies, describes as an ‘insatiable need’ in the UK for authentic, interesting and premium spirits.

The company imports and distributes premium drinks from companies striving for positive change – including B Corps, organisations led by women or owned by co-ops or simply underwritten with a philanthropic intention.

‘I feel it should be easy for people to buy and consume sustainably and ethically’, Becky tells us. ‘There is a growing appetite for these products and I want to encourage both producers and stockists to be more proactive in this space.’

A man’s world?

For Becky, having a diverse team is incredibly important, and she intentionally surrounds herself with people who have different skills.

‘Throughout my career, I have often found myself the youngest and the only female in a room’, she shares. ‘If anything it spurs me on – and I also see real value in what others can bring to the table, particularly in business.’

This may be a male-dominated industry but Becky has noticed that having a balanced team, with over 50% women, has changed the dynamic at Ten Locks for the better. ‘Women rock!’, she tells us. ‘They have something different to offer that can add value to any business. If you haven’t recognised this then your business will be left behind.’

Positive drinks

The current economic climate is presenting ongoing challenges for businesses across the board – and the drinks sector is no different.

Rising operational costs, reduced disposable incomes and post-Brexit difficulties with imports and recruitment are compounding the broader challenge of a shrinking market; 39% of young people aged 18-25 are non-drinkers and many more, of all ages, are opting to moderate.

Becky supports the movement towards moderation and quality over quantity, and sees Ten Locks as a support for the hospitality industry as it is forced to react and respond to shifting social cultures.

‘We can support bars and restaurants by offering appealing cocktails and drinks’, Becky explains. ‘We’re currently seeing that when people do drink they choose better, which is great for premium spirits. Our brands provide an interesting point of difference and help to create the kind of experience bars and consumers are seeking. One example of this is the brand Three Spirit, a range of functional, non-alcoholic spirits which never fail to pique consumers’ interest.’

In addition to Three Spirit, the Ten Locks portfolio includes a wide range of products including ‘Mexico’s best-kept secret’, El Tequileño; co-op owned Banhez mezcal and the beautiful Savoia aperitivo, made by industry-renowned Giuseppe Gallo.

Better business

Becky’s experience in the drinks industry has convinced her of a need for more open conversations about what is and isn’t working in the sector.

‘It’s difficult to create a brand to excite the industry and ensure it is sustainable and affordable’, she acknowledges. ‘I had to learn this the hard way with Pod Pea Vodka.’ This Ten Locks vodka is made using an extremely sustainable raw material (peas), transition glass and zero plastic, and ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.

‘My cost of goods ended up being double what I anticipated because I opted for sustainable ingredients and materials’, Becky tells us. ‘This, in turn, makes our price point inaccessible for many, which wasn’t the intention and something that I continue to explore, because I believe sustainable products should be accessible and affordable.’

Despite all efforts, Becky acknowledges that Pod isn’t necessarily the most sustainable brand on the planet. ‘There is always work to be done and it’s important to keep identifying where we can improve’, she says.

Along the way, Becky tries to do everything with integrity and respect – for people and the broader environment. ‘I’ve been in many situations where these two key values are disregarded for profit or status’, she says. ‘Times have changed and I stand for a better way of doing business – with integrity.’

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