Alex: Hi Sarah, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your business?
Sarah: Hi, my name’s Sarah Yates and since I left school, my professional history is all linked to hospitality. When I met my husband, who is a pastry chef by trade, we travelled together and then came back to this country and set up our own business in Gateaux manufacturing, which we ran for over twenty years until I sold it a few years ago. Then I went back to university and did a degree in business administration, which inspired me to do something for myself, so we bought a wine bar in Wellswood, Torquay.
Sarah: We had more and more people coming into Welly’s looking for alternatives to alcoholic drink, saying, what can I drink, I’m not drinking tonight? I’ve got to work tomorrow, I just don’t want to drink, for whatever reason. So, we got the idea to look for alternatives to alcoholic drinks, really, and an alcoholic spirit is what we came up with. Inspired by the coast, we love the coast. I don’t know if that’s enough about my background?
Alex: There is just one thing, actually. I don’t think you mentioned the name of the business!
Sarah: Ah! Sea Arch
Sarah: Sea Arch Drinks, yes, and within that, this flavour that we currently have is called Coastal Juniper and yes, it’s in the gin arena, but I don’t call it a non-alcoholic gin. I know lots of people do, but that’s not where we want it to be positioned if you like.
Alex: Yes, perfect. Ok great, so the next question is: what methods have you used so far to promote Sea Arch Gin?
Sarah: The thing with our product is that we’re not just promoting our product and our brand, we are promoting and we’re educating about a whole new category.
We go out and talk about Sea Arch; we have to educate, we have to inform people and try to get them to understand what the product is. We consider ourselves to be a high-end product, which is reflected in the quality of what’s in the bottle and by the bottle itself, and also by the places that we are selling the product in to, e.g. Darts Farm, the shops at Dartington, in Torquay – Me & Mrs Jones Deli, and there are many, many other really lovely wine shops, farm shops, retailers, who take the product and do very, very well with it.
Alex: Brilliant, thank you, that’s a very thorough answer, just what I like! So, the next question is: what is your long-term goal for the business?
Sarah: Long-term goal – I would like to see the whole alcohol and non-alcohol sections to be merged, so that you’re sort of in a bar with your five friends, girls, men, women, whatever and you go to the bar and one of you says ‘I’ll, have a pint of beer, I’ll have a Gordon’s & tonic, I’ll oh, I’ll have a Sea Arch and tonic’ so that it’s, you’ve got equality. Forgotten what the question was now…(laughter)
Alex: Well, you’ve answered it. I mean, what I am really getting the impression of here, is that you’ve got, you have a really big vision, not just for your product in itself, but the industry as a whole.
Sarah: Yes and we wanted to make a drink which you know, doesn’t have any of the… there’s no baggage with it. Only the baggage that other people put onto it (Laughter) not us.
Sarah: It’s a simple delicious drink! You know at the end of the day I could say all these things, but does it taste nice? Yes, it does! (Laughter)
Alex: Yes it does, I will confirm that, Officially, on the record, it does taste great.
Sarah: Good, yes.
Alex: Cool. Ok so thank you. If people want to get in touch, how can they contact you?
Sarah: They can find us on www.seaarchdrinks.com, they can buy direct there, or they can, like I said, buy it in some various retail outlets – it’s in lots of bars. Especially around Torquay, it’s in places like On the Rocks, Number 7, The Elephant, Pier Point, I should mention Pier Point.