IN CONVERSATION WITH: Seedlip’s Ben Branson
What to drink when you’re not drinking? Ben Branson has the answer in Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic spirit distilled in a copper pot. With such an intriguing concept, we took a minute to learn more about Branson and his brilliant new beverage, which you can find now exclusively at Fresh STORY!
Tell us a little bit about your background. You come from a family of farmers?
My mother’s side of the family has been farming for over 300 years and I am very proud of the nine generations of farming heritage behind me. Seedlip is an opportunity to continue this legacy in a diverse way by working with ingredients we grow like peas and using them in one of our products, Seedlip Garden.
My father’s background is in brand design and so having grown up in the countryside on the farm I left school to then begin a career in London in brand design, eventually running my own agency. Seedlip is definitely the fusion of these two seemingly disparate worlds and a true product of my upbringing.
Were you always interested in distillation?
I’ve always been curious and willing to give anything a go even if I don’t know what I’m doing! I love natural history and it was initially this passion that, back in 2013, meant I found myself looking online at a 17th century book called The Art of Distillation and the 200 ingredients mentioned in it. The book detailed distilled alcoholic and non-alcoholic remedies and as a non-drinker I was fascinated by the non-alcoholic ones so much so I bought a copper pot still and started experimenting in my kitchen. Two years later Seedlip was born!
What’s your favorite ingredient to work with and why?
I am obsessed with peas. We have been growing them on our farms for over 50 years and as I write this we are 10 days away from our 2017 harvest. 60 of us will be going up to the farm to hand-pick our pods that we then use in Seedlip Garden.
Favorite subject in school?
Latin. I love the mythology and stories and have found that I can now apply what I learned from a language perspective to botany!
Who inspires you?
David Attenborough for his unwavering love of nature and my great grandfather who was knighted for his services to agriculture and philanthropy.
Favorite London restaurant or bar?
Favorite bar is Dandelyan, their ethos is all around modern botany, which is the perfect fit for us and they have two lovely Seedlip cocktails on their menu! Favorite restaurant has to be The Ledbury, Brett Graham is a true legend and been a fantastic supporter of what we are doing.
Any hidden talents?
What are you most proud of thus far with Seedlip?
My team. I started hand-bottling and hand-labeling as a one man band 18 months ago and I am now very fortunate to have a team of 20 people who have joined the company and are as committed as I am to solving the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking.
One item always found in your refrigerator?
Fever Tree tonic.
What spirit can we look forward to you making in the future?
We are working on a couple of different new products at the moment, I can’t reveal anything yet but let’s just say the word “dark” is going to feature!
Seedlip in five words?
Alchemy, farming, peas, invention, bottle.
What is a fun fact we can’t find out about you on Google?
I have the Seedlip crest tattooed on my arm!