New London Light (or NLL for short) is one of the most interesting 0% spirits we feature, the product is produced by Salcombe Distilling Company who are spirits experts based in the UK. Their award-winning products are inspired by the co-founders love of sailing and Salcombe’s ship building heritage.
Co-founders Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies
What brought you to create an alcohol-free spirit?
We launched New London Light in 2020 as a reaction to the growing trend of consumers making healthier lifestyles choices, which included non-alcoholic drinks. We have distilled exceptional Gin since 2016 and wanted to see if we could take the same principle of combining great quality botanicals to make complex layers of flavour, in a zero-proof spirit that is comparable to world class gins such as Salcombe Gin. We didn’t want people to compromise on quality just because they are choosing not to drink alcohol and we didn’t feel that the bar had been set very high by the brands and products that were in the market at the time.
Tell us a little bit about how you created your product?
NLL ‘First Light’ is crafted by first distilling three botanicals: rich Macedonian juniper berries, ginger and habanero capsicum. Fifteen additional botanicals are then blended into a base liquid delivering complex layers with hints of citrus orange and sage. We chose to produce a Juniper forward spirit as this is going to be the most familiar to us and to our loyal customers, but as an idea to re-create the kick of alcohol we used ginger and habanero capsicum. These flavours are balanced by fresh citrus and herbaceous sage, giving NLL a really complex flavour profile. We don’t use any artificial colours, flavours and don’t add any sugar, salt or other synthetic chemicals that many other brands include, it is 100% and uncompromising in its approach.
What's your current go-to NA drink/cocktail?
New London Light works extremely well as a substitute for gin in any classic cocktail but we have recently worked with the mixologists at Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses, (VIP airport lounges where NLL is the exclusive non-alcoholic spirit available) to craft a signature serve called ‘Outbound’. It combines NLL, cold brew coffee and coconut milk, with ginger, orange zest and a dash of soda water. It’s an interesting drink which I like to recreate for friends as a real talking point!
Why do you feel that environmental stewardship is important?
Our distillery is based in the coastal location of Salcombe, Devon and is positioned right by the water’s edge. Our company was created because of a love of sailing and water is at the heart of everything we do. It is vital for us to actively protect our oceans and communicate the value of ocean conservation and sustainability. We have a brilliant initiative called 1% for the Ocean where we donate 1% of the recommended shelf price to marine conservation charities, the Marine Conservation Society in the UK and Seatrees in the US, where the funds are used to protect and regenerate the seagrass (in the UK) and giant kelp forests (in California), both of which play a vital role in carbon sequestration.
How do you incorporate those values into your business?
Salcombe is an iconic coastal destination filled with luxury homes, we need to ensure every part of our business incorporates our values and share these with our community. From our supply chain, bar and distillery, worldwide shipping and global retailers, we have been working hard to minimize our impact on the environment whilst making the most positive contribution we possibly can to improve the health and wellbeing of our oceans.
Tell us more about your "1% for the ocean" campaign
For every bottle of New London Light (and Salcombe Gin) sold in the US, we donate 1% to SeaTrees as part of their Giant Kelp Reforestation Project in California. The latest science shows that globally, kelp forests can sequester more carbon than mangrove forests, restoring these sequoias of the sea is critical to solving climate change, so far we have restored over 3500 ft² of Giant Kelp.
Besides donations, how else are you working to reduce your environmental footprint?
There’s loads of things we are currently doing to help reduce our carbon footprint and reduce waste within our business. We have significantly reduced the use of plastics in our supply chain and have sourced a bottle stopper that is made from recycled ocean-bound plastic and is 100% recyclable, it’s our way of helping to ‘turn off the tap’ on plastic entering our oceans. One of the most innovative things we do in the UK is our Gin refill scheme; customers can return to our stores with an empty bottle of Salcombe Gin and we'll refill it for a 10% discount, providing a much better solution to recycling!