THIS week’s food/drinks store is Arrowtown Drinks of Hellingly. Nick Mosley asks founder Rob Smith the questions
My name is Rob Smith, I’m 26 and we co-founded Arrowtown Drinks with my brother James.
We both graduated from university before deciding to enter the beverage world with no prior knowledge.
How did you come up with the idea?
Everything goes back to 2018 when I was traveling in New Zealand. It was there that I first stumbled across a “hartes Selters” – alcoholic sparkling water – that apparently everyone drank. It was light, refreshing, easy to drink, but low in sugar and calories. When I returned to the UK I discussed it with my brother James and we both agreed that if it was an option here in the UK we would definitely choose to drink it. We’re your typical average drinker, so we figured if we did it, surely others would too. One thing led to another and after much Googling and research, Covid delays, production and legal issues we finally launched in December 2020.
What exactly is hard seltzer?
Quite simply, it’s a fruit-infused sparkling water with alcohol. It’s a rapidly evolving category in the UK that has grown into a billion dollar industry in the US and around the world. The drink has become popular with the rise of health-conscious consumers, as hard seltzer typically contains far fewer calories and sugar than traditional alcoholic options. Our drinks are all 5% ABV, low in sugar and contain only natural ingredients.
How did you decide on your flavors?
We currently have three flavors – Red Berry, Lime & Elderflower and Tropical flavors. We started with red berries, lime and elderflower as these were common flavors that we would drink ourselves. As for the tropical, we actually voted on our Instagram when we were thinking about a new flavor.
We asked people what they wanted, with Tropical being the unanimous winner, before releasing it a few months later in August 2021. We believe these three are now a well balanced combination and there is something for everyone.
You are proud of your sustainability credentials – why is that important?
After graduating from University in Environment and Economics, it was important to me to build a company that can be used as a force for good and that can really make a difference.
Placing sustainability at the heart of the business has been a necessity for us, and subsequently it is a key driver in the day-to-day running of the company.
We have been a climate-neutral company for almost a year. While many food and beverage brands are becoming operationally carbon neutral, we have all three areas of the business covered, meaning we offset everything from sourcing the ingredients to the cans that arrive in customers’ hands.
We wanted the brand to be all-inclusive, so it was also important to us to make sure our drinks were vegan and gluten-free as well.
Do you also donate to charity?
We liked the idea of using everyday consumption habits as a force for change, so the simple idea was that consumers could make a real difference by doing something as simple as changing their drink, hence our slogan “With every sip make your contribution”.
As a family we went on a safari in Sri Lanka a year before Arrowtown started and got to see the magnificent elephants up close, but also learned about the horrific numbers associated with poaching.
This of course hit us hard and it just seemed right to work with Tusk who are doing truly amazing work.
When I was in New Zealand I was also fortunate enough to follow a pod of orcas, which was awesome.
But again, I was in disbelief that there were people out there illegally poaching these majestic creatures.
Sea Shepherd is an incredible charity that takes direct action against illegal whale poaching around the world, so we’re excited to partner with them on our Lime and Elderflower flavor.
We donate 3% of all sales to our charity partners and have subsequently raised over £2,000 for our charities which we hope to increase as we grow year on year.
What’s your take on someone who hasn’t tried hard seltzer before?
They’re a light and refreshing alcoholic option, much like a spritzer or a fruity gin or tonic, without all the calories and sugar, so why not try a new trend so you can at least brag to your friends that you’ve found them first ?
Where can people buy your product locally?
We have stockists across Sussex from pubs and bars to farm shops and delicatessens.
The easiest way to try the drinks would be on our website www.arrowtowndrinks.co.uk as we offer free shipping on every order – Argus readers can take advantage of WELCOME20 for a 20 per cent discount. We can also be found on Amazon Prime.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/21567676.sussex-brothers-bring-new-zealand-drinks-trend-uk/?ref=rss The Sussex brothers bring the New Zealand drink trend to the UK