Ben Branson founded Seedlip, a distilled non-alcoholic spirit company in his kitchen in the woods, with a copper still and copy of The Art of Distillation (published in London in 1651). His aim is to continue his family’s 300 year farming ancestry and change the way the world drinks.
I love mornings. I’m usually up at 5.30. I say hello to my dogs – have coffee – play a game of chess – shower – drink a green juice and have a bowl of Primrose Kitchen and leave. I drive to the station and take the Chiltern line in from Amersham to Marylebone and then I’m either on the bus to the studio or down to Soho for meetings at The House of St Barnabas.
Before I started Seedlip I was working on other people’s brands running a design agency, it just got to the point where sitting on the other side of the table was just too compelling! My obsession with nature, history and ingredients and I guess the desire to try to nudge the world on a bit sparked my idea for Seedlip. The odds are heavily stacked against anyone starting a food and drink business, in my experience it took dogged obsession and delusion just to get launched. So I’d suggest anyone wanting to do this themselves either find a great idea and sacrifice everything to not let it down or join someone else’s crusade and see what it’s like. My mother also gave me the best piece of advice- manners cost nothing.
My favourite part of the job is anything to do with the creative direction of Seedlip- our aesthetic, finding and experimenting with new ingredients and exploring what’s possible without alcohol etc. My least favourite is anything the left side of brain needs to engage with- legal, finance, operations! I like a quick, light lunch – breakfast and dinner are for pleasure – lunch is fuel! I rarely work past 7pm and I’m not a big snacker… but I always have two satsumas before bed.
After work I spend time with my dogs and poor, suffering but wonderfully supportive girlfriend! We love going to restaurants – gardening – antiques and photography. I do a lot of walking around London during the week and with the dogs at the weekend. My girlfriend is a wonderful cook and training to be a chef and nutritionist, which makes a big difference to my meals! I would love to have more dogs and own ducks.
As a child my dream job was Willy Wonka, now I think my alternative career would be a gardener, cheese-maker or painter! My role models are David Attenborough, Roald Dahl and my Father.
My top three sources of online inspiration are: