Page 28 - Food&Drink magazine November-December 2022
P. 28

                 ✷ RISING STAR
Bottling all the feels
Sustainable grape-based spirits brand Feels Botanical was born out of an idea between two friends to create a holistic drinking experience, bottling ‘feels’ and moods for any occasion.
Pippa Haupt speaks to co-founder Blake Vanderfield-Kramer.
    28 | Food&Drink business | November-December 2022 |
IT was a chance meeting at an event which brought the co-founders of Feels together. For the last 13 years, Blake Vanderfield-Kramer has worked in spirit creation, building and creating alcohol brands for both independent businesses and multinational companies for more than a decade. Meanwhile, Steve Pillemer worked in the entertainment and music industry developing global brands for 15 years.
It was at one of Pillemer’s events that Vanderfield-Kramer was an alcohol sponsor that the connection was made. After working together for many years the two found themselves brainstorming a new idea for the beverage space. Vanderfield-Kramer says, “The gin boom was happening, vodka and super premium tequilas were trending. We started asking: what’s next?
“We didn’t want to go down the traditional gin botanical path, because we wanted a point of difference to the gins that were out there, and as for vodka, my experience in the industry had taught me that it’s a tough mark, dominated by big players, and there were already a lot of flavoured vodkas.
“Eventually I thought, why don’t we use a grape spirit? It can add a different flavour, mouth feel and structure. I started digging deeper into that and that’s when I learnt a bit more about the Eau De Vie category – which was big in Europe.”
French for ‘water for life’, Eau De Vie is essentially an unaged brandy, able to be made from any type of fruit. In Europe, due to restrictions on grapes, orchard fruits like pear, plum and apple are used.
Unrestricted by such laws in Australia, the duo capitalised on their access to some of the world’s most sought after grapes.
“It was a really exciting proposition: this combination of unique botanicals that added flavour and played to moods and occasions, all while using a base spirit that really wasn’t being explored in Australia,” says Vanderfield-Kramer.

   26   27   28   29   30