What did you both do before launching Avallen, and what was the inspiration behind the business?
Our most recent incarnations before Avallen were both working for the largest drinks company in the world, Diageo. We were both Global Brand Ambassadors, jetting around the world preaching the good word on our respective tipples to bartenders, restaurants owners and customers. We met a lot of incredible people and built a considerable drinks industry black book. Nonetheless, we both didn’t feel like we were being true to ourselves and after a series of events, we decided to leave the company and took some time out to reset and revise what truly mattered to us.
We ended up uniting our life savings a year later and creating Avallen, a drinks brand that would give back more than it would take. A company built with compassion and care that would show the world you could continue to enjoy a delicious drink without leaving the planet with a hangover. By combining Tim’s eco-warrior power and my passion for French terroir and business savviness, Avallen was born.
Please can you give a brief overview of your Positively Charged series.
Steph: Positively Charged is a series offering bitesize chunks of curated and co-created wisdom with a single aim - to light up the sustainability conversation in the drinks industry using a balanced blend of expertise, creativity and positivity. It’s something Tim and I came up with in Avallen’s Zoom boardroom during lockdown - a way to generate the kind of inspiration that charges our batteries (sustainably) and stretches our brains (considerably). We created a free resource for our community, and we’ll continue to forge a brighter future with some of the best and brightest, inside and outside our industry.
What challenges have you found with practicing sustainability within your business?
Tim: Very few to be honest as we embedded sustainability at the heart of our business right from the very start and our entire business model is built around being the most sustainable spirits company in the world. I guess the main challenge is around the supply chain enroute to market, which is extremely traditional and based around a single-use disposable model rather than a closed-loop system – single-use glass bottles to transport our liquid, single-use cardboard boxes to transport the bottles, single-use plastic pallet wrap etc. Slowly there are more innovative companies, such as Flexi-Hex® and ecoSPIRITS, which are introducing modern sustainable solutions.
As one of the first adopters of Flexi-Hex, what was your experience of sourcing sustainable packaging?
Tim: We haven't had many problems with sourcing sustainable packaging as it's been something that we have sought out right from the start of our business. Flexi-Hex packaging has been a joy to work with, and once we had convinced wholesalers and retailers of not only its sustainable credentials but also its protective qualities, everyone was keen to embrace it and replace the single-use plastic sleeves with the Flexi-Hex option.
What does it mean to be a supporter of 1% for the Planet?
Tim: Since launch, we have donated to charitable organisations dedicated to protecting wild bee populations and becoming a supporter of '1% for the Planet' gives a more formal structure around that, as well as the ability to use a logo that is recognised around the world and associated with companies that want to have a positive impact.
What’s your favourite way to drink Avallen?
Steph: Avallen is a delicious and versatile spirit that is designed to be mixed, whether that’s simply with your favourite tonic, an apple slice or in a cocktail. My current favourite for the lasting summer days is the AMBROSIA, a herbal light sipper created by our friend Anya Lilly Montague. You will need:
- 45ml Avallen Calvados
- 15ml pear liqueur
- 5 mint leaves
- 1 sprig fresh lavender
- 10ml lemon juice
- 5ml honey water
- Top with sparkling water
Combine all the ingredients in a highball glass and garnish with mint flowers and a pear fan.
"Flexi-Hex packaging has been a joy to work with... everyone was keen to embrace it and replace the single-use plastic sleeves with the Flexi-Hex option."
What brands are inspiring you today?
Steph: Brands that do good, that give back more than they take that are f***** cool and built to last. We both recently bought a pair of 100% vegan apple leather sneakers from WOMSH as part of our ‘Avallen’ uniforms.