Before working as National Education Manager at Seedlip, Laura Lashley was a bartender and bar manager in New York City for twelve years. Her appreciation for what Seedlip offers is really rooted in the creativity it provides for bartenders, as well as the ability to extend premium hospitality experiences to all guests–regardless of whether or not they drink alcohol.
What is the origin of Seedlip?
In 2013 whilst researching interesting herbs he could grow at home, founder Ben Branson came across a book written in 1651 called The Art of Distillation, which documented both alcoholic & non-alcoholic distilled herbal remedies. Out of curiosity, he began experimenting in his kitchen with home-grown herbs and a copper still. A few months later he was out for dinner in London and not drinking, and asked the waitress what non-alcoholic options they had, and she looked at him rather sadly. He began to wonder if there was a way he could combine everything he loved and continue his family’s legacy of working with nature whilst creating a truly sophisticated alternative option to alcohol. Three flavor varieties*: Seedlip Spice 94, Seedlip Garden 108 and Seedlip Grove 42.
Can you describe your typical Seedlip customer?
At Seedlip, our mission is to change the way the world drinks by solving the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking. There truly isn’t one kind of person who drinks Seedlip, but I think the common thread is that it appeals to a conscious consumer who appreciates the flavor and ritual of a great cocktail.
When we first launched Seedlip, a lot of the interest was coming from chefs and bartenders who wanted to experiment with the unique flavor profiles. Recently, we’ve seen that people have felt empowered to get creative and make their own Seedlip cocktails at home. To that point, we’re currently accepting submissions of original Seedlip cocktail recipes from our community for consideration and inclusion in an upcoming e-book. I think that as we grow over the next several years we will see our consumer base diversify even more.
What are the unique challenges to marketing Seedlip as compared to an alcoholic spirit, and how do you create your own category in the spirits market?
When creating a new category, I think the biggest challenge is education. Seedlip deliberately wasn’t made to taste like a non-alcoholic version of any pre-existing spirit, so we’re layering lots of new things on top of each other for the consumer. While that can be challenging, it’s also what makes it exciting! One thing that I’m happy to say has shifted a lot over the past three years is the “what’s the point” conversation. I get that response so infrequently now–it’s really nice to feel the change.
How does the brand create a marketing strategy to keep consistent visual imagery nodding to “the garden”?
Nature is at the core of everything we do at Seedlip, as it is hugely important to Ben and woven throughout our brand identity. The English countryside and farm is a part of Ben’s heritage and the origin story of Seedlip, so it naturally shows up in every corner of our brand. For example, all of the animals on our labels can be found running around in the countryside in Lincolnshire, where Ben’s family farm is located.
How effective are events as compared to other forms of promotion (i.e. social media)?
For Seedlip, events are a great way for us to showcase an occasion where an elevated non-alcoholic option can really be appreciated. Introducing people to the liquid in a setting where they can actually taste it and experience its intention is invaluable. I have found the most effective events are sometimes surprisingly boozy! In settings where the alcoholic cocktails are plentiful, people are often very appreciative of the option.
What does a typical week look like for you?
The great thing about my role is there really isn’t a ‘typical’ week–and I love that! As the National Education Manager, my role really touches all aspects of our business and I get to work across our sales and marketing teams, supporting accounts, planning events, teaching masterclasses, and developing new cocktails. For most of the last year, I was on the road helping to open our new markets across the US.
How have COVID times affected your methods of connecting with customers?
Our business has always been equipped digitally; however, my role was mostly connecting with people face-to-face. The current moment has definitely made me step up my online presence and network, but it’s also been a great way to build community online where geographical distance isn’t an issue. I’ve had the opportunity to teach online cocktail classes to people all over the country at the same time, which is really amazing.
What is your favorite Seedlip cocktail?
I love a simple Seedlip Garden 108 & Tonic, but this summer I’ve been really enjoying a PaNoma made with Seedlip Spice 94, fresh squeezed Grapefruit and club soda.
2 oz Seedlip Spice 94
1 oz Grapefruit juice
¼ oz Lime juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
Build over ice. Top with 3 oz cold club soda & garnish with a Grapefruit twist
*The three flavor varieties
Seedlip Spice 94 – Like a lingering ember beneath a gently dimming flame. Seedlip Spice 94 is a rich, aromatic blend of Allspice berries & Cardamom. Its earthy bitterness from high-quality Oak & Cascarilla barks is accented by glimmering notes of tart Grapefruit & Lemon peels.
Seedlip Garden 108 – Like a fresh harvest of local produce beaded with cool morning dew. Seedlip Garden 108 is a bright, verdant blend wth captivating top notes of English Peas, Hay & Hops. A complex herbal base character of Spearmint, Thyme & Rosemary round out this rather savory non-alcoholic spirit.
Seedlip Grove 42 – Like strolling through patches of sunshine & shade cast by rows of Mediterranean Orange trees. Seedlip Grove 42 is a celebration of vibrant Italian citrus–Blood Orange, Bitter Orange & Mandarin. Balanced by the piquancy of Ginger root, Lemongrass & Lemon peel, this blend has a more familiar, perennial flavor profile.