This article first appeared in our COP26 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 05 November 2021. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
In 2020, the closure of bars and pubs caused a 6.2% decline in global consumption of alcohol.
While the sector is expected to recover, IWSR has predicted the global low- and no-alcohol market will grow by 34% by 2024 as interest in wellness and health continues.
Sarah and Geoff Yates were on the front foot of this change; the husband-and-wife team had been running a wine bar for four years in their home town of Torquay. Like many of their customers, they wanted to live a healthier lifestyle that didn’t prevent them from socialising with friends.
‘We noticed that an increasing number of the customers in our bar were also looking for better quality alcohol-free options’, Sarah tells us. ‘They no longer wanted claggy, high-sugar soft drinks; they wanted sippable, sessionable drinks, made and presented with the same skill and sense of occasion as alcoholic drinks, using elegant glasses and quality ingredients. Thus the idea for Sea Arch was born.’
Geoff is a pastry chef and has a good understanding of flavour combinations, so he bought a still and started to experiment with a variety of botanicals. ‘We wanted to create something fresh, complex and delicious that still felt like a ‘grown-up’ drink’, Sarah explains.
The first very small batch of Sea Arch spirit was distilled in Sarah and Geoff’s kitchen, and to this day the recipe remains the basis of their Sea Arch Coastal Juniper blend – now an award-winning non-alcoholic spirit.
Bursting with seaside botanicals, Sea Arch Coastal Juniper is made using hand-harvested sugar kelp and samphire, both of which are native to the South Devon coastline where Sarah and Geoff live.
The kelp and samphire are distilled with nine other botanicals, then skilfully blended to create a deliciously crisp and complex non-alcoholic spirit.
The sea kelp and samphire deliver distinctive coastal herbal notes, conveying a truly Devon-based character through their slight saltiness and green freshness. Aromatic juniper berry and notes of sage add real depth of flavour. Coriander and grapefruit peel result in a clean, crisp feel on the palate with some peppery notes. Sweet blood orange adds complexity that blends beautifully with the lemon undertones. Cardamom spice gives a balanced, warm finish.