Leeds couple toast success thanks to award winning non-alcoholic spirit

Chris and Rose Bax. PIC: Polly A BaldwinChris and Rose Bax. PIC: Polly A Baldwin
Chris and Rose Bax. PIC: Polly A Baldwin
A husband and wife team are toasting success thanks to an award-winning non-alcoholic spirit distilled from their Leeds home.

Chris and Rose Bax launched Bax Botanics in 2019 from their woodlands in North Yorkshire.

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14 photos you'll only understand if you're from Leeds

The couple had been running a foraging and cookery course - Taste the Wild - for 15 years when they started experimenting with distilling foraged ingredients.

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Bax Botanics currently offer two products - Verbana and Sea Buckthorn. PIC: Polly A BaldwinBax Botanics currently offer two products - Verbana and Sea Buckthorn. PIC: Polly A Baldwin
Bax Botanics currently offer two products - Verbana and Sea Buckthorn. PIC: Polly A Baldwin

Motivated by a love of botanical flavours they set out to produce alcohol-free spirits that give the complex taste experience of an alcoholic drink without the after-effects.

Chris said: “We couldn’t serve alcohol with food at the woodlands and we wanted the drink to be as important as the meal, so we started experimenting with the foraged products” says Chris. I made something quite undrinkable so Rose, with her knowledge of wild plants, took over.”

Using decades of knowledge and experience Rose worked on recipes with herbs, roots, berries, and flowers and Bax Botanics was born.

Within seven months they had won a Great Taste Award - they remain the only non-alcoholic spirit to do so – and are now stocked in over 100 retail outlets, bars, and online shops; their distillery is at their home in Wetherby.

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They have now scooped a Global Good Award for the best new enterprise 2020.

“The awards recognise organisations that are making strides towards a better world for people, the planet and the global economy and it is really important to Bax that we are an ethical business; our drinks are crafted with the planet and our responsibilities to the natural world in mind. We aim to be as transparent as possible about our company ethics and undertake sustainable and nature-friendly practices throughout every stage of production.”

“Because we can distil up to 3,000 bottles a month, we now use farmed botanicals to ensure sustainability and high-quality supply,” said Rose.

“The planet, and sustainability, is of great importance to us and is at the heart of the product; we consider it at every single step. We use natural products that are farmed sustainably and organically by Fairtrade farmers.”

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Bax Botanics currently offer two products - Verbana and Sea Buckthorn. Not intended to drink neat, they are created to respond well to tonic water.

“The dilution and the fizz lift the flavours as they would with a gin,” said Rose. “The drinks are distilled in a traditional way using a copper still - a technique that was invented centuries ago and is little changed today.”

Rose and Chris have created a host of cocktail recipes in which their drinks can be used, and now aim to place the products in more bars, restaurants, and supermarkets throughout the country.

“There is a host of reasons that people may choose to not drink alcohol – pregnancy, designated driver, medication, religious beliefs, or just having some time off,” added Chris. “We firmly believe that you still deserve a luxury treat when you’re not drinking alcohol and botanicals are in our DNA; they’re what we do, and we do them well.”


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