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Cook & Nelson Conversations 03: Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip - Cook & Nelson

Cook & Nelson Conversations 03: Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip

Ben Branson is the founder of Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand, gaining inspiration from his family’s 300 years of North Lincolnshire farming heritage, and growing up alongside his two younger brothers, eights dogs, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs. Stoically a country boy, Ben now lives with his wife, two-year-old daughter, two dogs and a cat in a 15th Century cottage in the Chilterns. We catch up with Ben and find out what he is reading, watching and motivated by right now.

What gets you out of bed each morning?
Our 2-year-old or my 7-month pregnant wife!

Favourite date night haunt?
Beaverbrook Hotel in Surrey - for the last 4 years Sam & I have been going a couple of times a year without children, without animals! We actually get to finish conversations.

Favourite Cook & Nelson product and why?
It’s got to be Welly - what a wonderful idea, gap found and modern solution created. Come to the UK!

What are you reading right now?
I always have at least 5 books on the go;

  1. Scary Smart - a book about AI by Mo Gawdat
  2. Fritz & Kola - how do you take on Coca-Cola from your student bedsit
  3. The Bomber Mafia - Malcolm Gladwell’s new one
  4. Otherlands by Thomas Halliday - a journey into ecosystems millennia ago
  5. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating - intimate & magical, reminding me of The Diving Bell & the Butterfly [my favourite book of all time!]

And watching?
We just finished Money Heist and a miniature doll’s house making competition which was brilliant!

Listening to (podcast / music or both)?
Fat Freddy’s drop Sonar 2017 concert on YouTube, it’s amazing, in fact they have carried me through the last 7 years since launching Seedlip, perfect tunes to travel to or write presentations with!

Favourite destination in NZ and why?
I lived in New Zealand for 9 months after I left school training to be a snowboard instructor & then teaching kids. I lived out of a van and caravan and absolutely loved it. Milford Sound took my breath away and it was amazing to revisit Christchurch launching Seedlip there 3 years ago.

Favourite holiday destination – anywhere in the world?
Um. Home. I’m as reclusive as I can be and at home I have everything I need, family, animals, plants, space, fields, trees and on a clear day I can see 100 miles.

My ideal weekend is ...
Outside, on the farm, with the kids, my wife and our three dogs [what a boring interview :)]

What's your guilty foodie pleasure?
Condiments…. Sauces, dressings, chutneys, jams. Food feels naked without!

If you weren't running Seedlip, what would you do / be?
Vertical Farmer, Artist.

What's your favourite kitchen hack?
Grow your own, grow anything, the process slows you down and usually rewards you later!

Your go-to cocktail/drink?
Double espresso.

One ingredient that you can't live without?
Peas. We grow them, I have P.E.A.S tattooed on my knuckles and for the first four years we handpicked peas from my farm for Seedlip Garden. There is more protein, fibre & vitamin C in a cup of peas than an egg/slice of bread & orange!

Where do you draw inspiration from (personally & professionally)?
The most random and diverse places! My children, my animals, nature, Instagram, books, history, supermarkets, driving, flying, reality tv, my wife, perfume, coffee.

Current go to recipe
A Seedlip & tonic (of course) Spice 94 & East Imperial’s grapefruit is so good!

Favourite dish (anywhere in the world)
My wife and I went to New York and were lucky enough to have dinner at Blue Hill Stone Barns, yes the Seedlip cocktails were amazing ;), but we were taken down into a separate room for one course and all it was, was a carrot, but it was the most delicious carrot I’ve ever eaten. So that and my mother’s Sunday Roast.

Favourite website or social handle for foodie inspo
I love what Lars & Mark are doing at Empirical redefining spirits @empiricalcph, I love what Aaron is doing at NON redefining wine and always a fanboy of how Ryan approaches drinks @mrlyan.

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