Page 31 - Food&Drink magazine November-December 2022
P. 31

                  Clean skins, fresh palate
What started with a conversation over a drink turned into an online bottle shop that celebrated female beer, wine, and spirit producers from around the world. Sip’er founders Jenny Cheng and Bree Nicholls told their story to Food & Drink Business.
IT’S not surprising Sip’er began when and how it did. We were chatting with Chrissy Flanagan, the founder of Sausage Queen Brewing in Sydney’s Inner West, over some sausages and beer.
Chrissy was talking about
other beers she stocked, and the conversation shifted to women in the industry.
It was a topic that kept coming up, so out of curiosity we started looking up different alcohol labels we
loved, the producers and stories behind them.
The alcohol industry has historically been a very male dominated one. We wanted to address that in a fun and approachable way that reflected our tone of voice. The idea for Sip’er grew from there quite naturally and quickly.
We found a lot of amazing alcohol brands headed up by women and realised how infrequently these women were being spoken about in the consumer-facing alcohol space.
Our initial nervousness about how the industry might respond to us evaporated pretty quickly. Once we started reaching out to companies the response was overwhelming.
different labels on the platform, all of them Australian (except the tequila).
There are fan favourite wine brands like Brave New Wine by Yoko and Andries, The Other Right by Alex and Galit, and Allevare by Alysha and Lucy.
Beers including cans from Mountain Culture by Harriet and DJ, and Two Metre Tall by Jane and Ashley are very popular, as are some spirit labels like Applewood Distillery made by Laura and Brendan.
We want Sip’er to be a site people can come to and feel comfortable enough to find something for themselves; whether they like classic or natural style wines, sour beers or whisky, that also encourages themtotrysomethingnew. ✷
     Creating a tonic for the times
When Sophie Todd and her family took a year off, leaving Sydney’s Northern Beaches for Bali, developing a new business was not on the radar.
 “WE were burnt out. I had some health issues, but all of us were going through a pretty tough time. We needed a clean break and some space to recover,” Todd says.
While there, it became a daily ritual for Todd and her daughter to visit a local plant medicine man for his versions of the traditional remedies called jamu.
“It is a secret mix of herbs and botanicals, developed 2000 years ago in Java and used by the Balinese to treat a whole range of health problems. We used to go together and drink these tonics because we noticed how much better we felt afterwards,”sherecounts.
When they returned to Australia, Todd could not find anything like jamu in stores, so started experimenting in her kitchen, trying to replicate the flavours of the jamu that had helped her in Bali.
As she made the tonics, Todd would share them with friends and then word of mouth spread news of their existence.
“I started thinking, well, if I make one litre I might as well make ten, and that became twenty. We got some space nearby and built a 180 litre pot, and then a second one. I was selling them at local markets anditwasjusttakingoff.
Todd returns regularly to Bali and visits the medicinal plant farm and jamu maker who taught her how to blend ingredients, as well as local plant scientists. Her formulations are then verified to ensure each ingredient provides the level of potency needed for her tonics to have a therapeutic affect.
“As we scale we are working with CSIRO, Austrade, and AusIndustryonhowwecan
achieve further verification for our products,” she says.
And scaling is what MrsToddy’s Tonics is doing, with the brand securing national ranging with Woolworths.
“Our ultimate goal is to be a zero waste brand,” she says.
As Mrs Toddy’s Tonics take off nationally, and with export conversations underway, Todd can take stock of what began at her kitchen table now providing comforttopeopleeverywhere. ✷ | November-December 2022 | Food&Drink business | 31

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