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This article first appeared in our Consumer Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, released on 19 Dec 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox
Stuart Thomson is a vegan brewer and distiller with passions for gardening, the environment and organic growing.
It didn’t take long to join the dots when, in 2005, he started thinking about a new career that would reflect his lifestyle choices at his Cornish smallholding.
Hops went in the ground almost immediately; 14 years later the hop-yard is neighboured by a fruit garden, orchard, hedgerows, brewery and distillery. Today Treisaac Farm is a certified organic smallholding that is also home to Stuart’s businesses: Atlantic Brewery and, with gin partner David Carbis, Atlantic Distillery: Cornwall’s only Soil Association certified spirits producer.
‘The palate of organic hops can be quite limiting, which is one of the reasons I started to diversify into botanical brews’, Stuart explains. ‘I wanted to make artisan beers with interesting and different flavours. When we started the distillery, it was natural to apply the same ethos to the spirits’.
Click here to find out why Atlantic Distillery Ring of Fire Gin is a My Green Pod Hero
The fruit garden and hedgerows provide plenty of ingredients, helping to create seasonal brews such as the Elderflower Blonde and this autumn’s Plum & Medlar ale. In 2016 David joined Stuart and they branched out into award-winning spirits; alongside the premium-quality real ale, they now also produce 10 gins, three liqueurs and two vodkas – all vegan and hand-crafted in small batches using organic botanicals grown on the smallholding or wild harvested in Cornwall.
Hand-picked Cornish gorse and elderflower are just two of the delicious ingredients that feature in the gins, while blackcurrants from the garden go into the Cornish Cassis and Blackcurrant & Mint Gin. Stuart and David have even planted 35 juniper trees which, given time, will go into their own gin.
Organic waste is composted back onto the veg plot, and rainwater collection, irrigation systems and a tracking PV solar array have been installed, further reflecting the drive to work and live lightly.