The Cornish coast in a bottle: Pentire takes its non-alcoholic spirit from the seaside to the city

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Pentire seeks to capture the spirit of the Cornish seaside and coastline
Pentire seeks to capture the spirit of the Cornish seaside and coastline

Related tags Cornwall NABLAB

From rock samphire to sea purslane, fledgling brand Pentire draws on plants native to the Cornish coastline to create a point of difference for its botanical non-alcoholic spirit. Launched last year by a former Polzeath Beach surf instructor, the drink is now expanding from Cornwall’s gourmet scene to the Big Smoke – not least with a prestigious launch in Harrods.

After a stint representing premium spirits in London, Alistair Frost became used to being called ‘the guy who works in drinks that doesn’t drink’ – planting the idea to create his own premium non-alcoholic drink.

His brand seeks to capture the essence of the beautiful Cornish coastline by using native botanicals found in the county.

From camping on cliffs to foraging in hedgerows... 

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It was when Frost was working in the bar scene in London – setting up an agency to represent premium spirits – that he realised “there was a huge amount of moderating going on among trade and consumers.”

On moving to Port Isaac in Cornwall, he also saw the opportunity to capture the taste and essence of the county – which is reflected in the brand from its name to its ingredients.

It’s been my goal since the very beginning to create a product which captures the flavour, feels and characteristics of this coastline,” ​Frost told BeverageDaily.

“Pentire is the name of our local headland, and is the hub of the activities and adventures that we enjoy day to day.”

While it was easy to draw together the concepts of the Cornish coastline with moderate drinking trends, the practicalities of creating a spirit with the right balance was a little harder. 

“It was not easy!”​ says Frost. “Pentire was bought to life by continuous collaborating and experimenting with local botanists, distillers, chefs and mixologists to create a natural and sophisticated flavour profile which truly harnesses the power of plants. 

"We have a huge botanical range on our stretch of coastline due to a unique climate, soil PH and level of air moisture, so we had a deep well of ingredients to draw on during our initial distillations.”

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Most important was the need to create something with a unique flavour profile, with versatility across serves.

The result was Pentire Adrift: which draws on a number of botanicals including rock samphire, sea purslane, sage, and sea rosemary. The spirit is free from added sugar, artificial colours or artificial flavourings.

Pentire Adrift is distilled, bottled and labelled by hand, producing a drink which ‘harnesses the power, beauty and immense flavour of the plants’.

2020: From country to city

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Since soft launching the brand, Alistair has been working with some of Cornwall’s best bartenders, high-end retailers, and Michelin-starred restaurants.

The brand has a pending launch in Harrods – testimony, says Frost, to the high quality of the product and the brand story behind it. It has also launched in Gloucestershire organic farm Daylesford.

And Pentire's plans for the future include expansion: with new team members, a new product launch (details of which are still under wraps) and tasting events at local beaches. It is also hoping to ramp up ambitions in London's buzzing low to no scene: including with tastings at big shows like Taste of London and Imbibe. Its focus will be on continuing to collaborate with the best chefs and bartenders in the country, whilst activating our product launches in the most premium retail locations.

As with any other business at the moment, its plans and their timing will be dependent on how the coronavirus pandemic develops. 

The low to no alcohol movement in the UK

The Low 2 No Bev Show (London, September 28-30) is a brand new - and unique - dedicated trade event to give the sector its own voice. Find out more here!

Related topics Markets Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider