Words by Hannah Tapping
A drink for tomorrow, best served today.
If this year has taught us anything, it has been the need to look after our health. The old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’ should be a motto we all adopt in our day to day living and what we put into our bodies is crucial in so many ways. The benefit of eating healthily is heavily promoted across all platforms with meat-free and plant-based diets becoming de rigeur in 2020. Along with taking a considered approach to what we eat, there is also no doubt that there has been a mindful shift in drinking culture across the country.
Alistair Frost | Image courtesy of Pentire
Motivated by health, we are consciously moving away from using alcohol to lubricate with a movement towards clear heads and consciences. Former surf instructor at Polzeath Beach, Alistair Frost set up the Cornish non-alcoholic spirit brand, Pentire with this in mind: “We believe in adventure, exploration and independence, and to live life to the fullest means being ready, come dawn or dusk, for the activities that excite, challenge and fulfil you. Drinking shouldn’t hold you back from the adventures of tomorrow.”
Combining his previous work in the drinks industry with a love of coastal living and an active lifestyle, Alistair launched Pentire in May 2019: “I wanted to bottle the coastal experience. Something which could be enjoyed in a bar, pub, or restaurant, as well as at home or somewhere wild and remote.” The result was Alistair’s self-titled drink for tomorrow, Adrift; an elevated, sophisticated non-alcoholic spirit made by distilling unique plants native to the Cornish coastline.
Jack Beavan and Ben Pryor
Adrift contains a blend of rock samphire, sage, citrus, Cornish sea salt and a number of plants foraged from Pentire, the headland at Polzeath in north Cornwall. These key botanicals thrive here due to a combination of favourable climate, soil pH, and air moisture and through research and experimentation with local botanists, distillers and brewers Alistair has been able to capture these flavours through careful distillation. The range of botanicals used in the distillation process contain a lot of nutritional qualities. Alistair explains: “Our spirits are not about cutting alcohol out of your life; they’re about trying something new and making healthier lifestyle choices.”
Pentire Seaward is the second spirit to emerge from the Pentire stills. Just 700 bottles of this limited edition drink have been produced and akin to the makeup of a luxury perfume, Alistair explains that it has notes of pink grapefruit followed by herbal notes of sea rosemary, along with woodruff, sea buckthorm and wild seaweed. The grapefruit in particular is rich in vitamin C, an ingredient vital to help immune systems stay strong and healthy: “We are so excited to release this new flavour which we have been developing over the last few months. We have only produced a limited number of bottles, so once they’re gone, they’re gone. It started out as an idea, an experiment, and something we discovered to be simply delicious. It’s bright, zesty and verdant, and pairs wonderfully with a light tonic. For a more sophisticated and refreshing drink, our perfect serve is Pentire Seaward with soda and a pink grapefruit slice to garnish.”
Producing a premium product in an emerging sector, Alistair was unsure as to how the lockdown earlier in the year would impact on sales but was encouraged by the figures: “Our sales are really encouraging and show that more people are looking to make healthier lifestyle choices. I feel the last six months has solidified the no and low sector, as consumers have been trying alternatives to alcoholic drinks during lockdown, which has made them more aware of our industry.
It is great reading stories from our customers about new outdoor challenges they are setting themselves, or how they are cutting down on alcohol to channel their time and energy into exercise and becoming more healthy.” This is sweet music to the ears of a company that is all about coastal adventure, a passion for the outdoors and a knowledge that there are far more adventurous and exciting things out there than alcohol.
As we emerge into 2021, Alistair recognises that the new year will be a time when so many reflect on their health and how this year can be a little more active than the last: “Living near the ocean here in Cornwall, we are so lucky to be able to lead such dynamic lifestyles – and hope our non-alcoholic spirit inspires and encourages people on their own adventures. Dry January doesn’t have to be about cutting alcohol out of your life, but an opportunity to try something new. Pentire provides a sophisticated and delicious drink to make this period a more enjoyable experience.” Particularly as Adrift and Seaward are free from added sugar, artificial colours and artificial flavourings.
Since its launch, Alistair has worked with some of Cornwall’s best bartenders, high-end retailers, and Michelin-starred restaurants and you’ll now find Pentire in a number of South West and national independent restaurants and retailers. There are ambitious ideas afoot for Pentire’s future growth, including plans to expand every element of the business – growing the team, product range, working with new customers both nationally and internationally and driving the non-alcoholic sector as a whole.