Cornwall is waking up to the environmental crisis our planet is facing, and everyone is starting to do their bit to help. One small business that is moving towards a more conscious lifestyle are the south coast gin producers, St Ives Liquor Company, and their exciting new collaboration that sees them giving back to their local environment through every bottle.
Trees, the lungs of the planet. Every day, thousands of trees are cut down, desecrating wildlife habitats and natural plant and flower populations. Trees act as carbon regulators, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen, the fewer trees we have, the more pollution remains, it’s as simple as that and it’s no secret that as a society, we have to start doing something about it.
Hoping to stem the tide of thoughtless consumption are Rising Forests, a small business that aims to help companies offset their carbon footprint by planting trees throughout the UK. Established in 2018, their work focuses on environmental sustainability and involves research into forestry and woodland conservation, tree carbon content development and investment into land that enables the team to convert into growing and expanding the UK’s woodland and forest areas for future generations. With agricultural and business knowledge the team behind Rising Forests want to help change society’s ethos and help reduce our carbon footprint.
Even though they don’t shout about it much, the St Ives Liquor Company are a small business with a conscience. From composting everything they possibly can to the biodegradable seal on the top of their bottles and the biodegradable veg ware taster cups and bags they use at events, the team feel what they do is completely necessary, both as a business and as people who care about their environment. Several months ago, when Rising Forests approached them with the idea of working together, it was an offer they couldn’t refuse.
The St Ives Liquor Company have become something of a staple part of St Ives’ food and drink scene over the past several years. Founded in 2017 by the three Thompson brothers, Tim, Greg and Bertie, the family run business set out to create locally made spirits full of flavour. With a brand line of ‘Decidedly Different’ their original cold compounded gin, one of only a handful in the country, along with their 2 new flavours, is a firm favourite amongst St Ives and beyond. Their restaurant and bar, which also acts a shop for all their products, is a must-see for travellers from across the world. What started as a family dream with a passion to use what their local surroundings offered, has turned into a successful trade of craft spirits and liqueurs.
“We make all of our products from start to finish by hand in small batches,” explains Tim Thompson, who alongside his two brothers Greg and Bertie, mum Tamsin and dad Pete and a host of other close family members and friends, the St Ives Liquor Company and The Searoom was born. Recently the team have evolved from their already popular St Ives Gin, and now have their St Ives Super Berry Gin, St Ives Blood Orange Gin, a range of vibrant, natural liqueurs and even a St Ives Gin Marmalade under their belts, plus much more in the pipeline to come.
The original St Ives Gin, sees a special blend of unique botanicals gathered from Cornish coastline, Cornish garden and cliff-top, brought together to create Cornwall’s first small-batch, cold-compound gin. A traditional London Dry this is not. Decidedly different it is. With 13 botanicals, 8 of them fresh – this is a truly vibrant, colourful and fragrant spirit; a bit different to the gin granny used to drink.
The next addition to the exciting range was St Ives Super Berry Gin. Carefully infused with a bounty of do-good berries including strawberries, raspberries and the anti-oxidant rich, honey flavoured gojis. Teamed with a punch of juniper, fragrant kaffir lime leaves and topped off with the lemony-tart, plump fruit flavours of hibiscus petals. This is a unique gin that has summer in its soul.
Completing the range, St Ives Gin Blood Orange was released a year later. Embrace bold, bittersweet blood orange, as it blends with earthy notes of ancient safflower blossom and plump hedgerow rose hips. Infused with a fine-tuned selection of fragrant botanicals and a subtle stirring of cinnamon and nutmeg, St Ives Gin Blood Orange comes together to create a crisp, zesty spirit bursting with complex flavour, a clean, dry finish and a colour to light up your glass. St Ives Liquor Co’s new range of vibrant liqueurs – Limoncello, Arancello, Rosa Pompelmo and Limecello have been a big hit also. Perfect served on the rocks, with tonic or soda or with Prosecco for something a little special.
“Our mum always used to make a homemade Limoncello for Christmas,” says Greg. “So we’re well experienced in the stuff. You can see we’ve been pretty keen on alcohol for a very long time! We just figured what’s the point in having an alcohol company if you can’t make some of your favourites to fill your fridge with. Mum is also the biggest advocate for fresh, natural ingredients and I guess our passion for it as well has stemmed from that. Whilst it’s hard to work with real ingredients, as there are many, many variables, we definitely feel the end product is well worth it and we feel really proud to know we are doing things to the best of our ability.”
Their new range of cellos are excitingly unique, and the team have spent hours perfecting and experimenting with them for serving suggestions to go alongside their small plate tapas menu that reigns a firm local favourite in their harbour hub at the SILCo Searoom Gastrobar, as Bertie explains here,
“Myself, my two brothers and our mum Tamsin have a lot of input into the menus, we are very passionate about food and drink. We have a Spanish head chef who is instrumental in the decisions we make. He brings classic Spanish dishes to the table but balances it brilliantly with an eclectic selection of food from all over the world. You’ll find classic Spanish dishes such as chorizo cooked in red wine and albondingas (spicy meatballs) alongside a lot of fresh local seafood, as we’re in Cornwall after all. Grilled mackerel on toasted sourdough with a heritage tomato and herb salad and salsa Verde, Cornish scallops with black pudding and a butternut squash puree, Cornish mussels and local crab gratin to name a few! The rest of the menu comprises of a mix of Asian and European dishes from Asian style bau buns to a warm goats cheese and fig salad served with our very own SILCo Gin Marmalade. Our new bestseller dessert is our homemade Limoncello ice cream made with our own Limoncello served with fresh fruit and of course a shot of the good stuff on the side. We change the menu constantly at the Searoom as we strive to use ingredient that are in season and at their best.”
Whilst the food offerings are certainly on point, the drinks take centre stage too. A wide selection of craft beers, wines and ciders are gathered from other local St Ives producers, including St Ives Brewery and St Ives Cider, and if you don’t fancy your tipple of St Ives Gin neat, you can pair it with St Ives’ very own tonic, Seabuck, made just a few hundred feet away from the gin. Signature G&T’s sit beside Cornish infused cocktails and well-paired liqueur concoctions.
Innovation with a hyper local theme is an important part of this small family business, one that made them an ideal candidate when it came to Rising Forests’ new ventures. The partnership between these two companies is incredibly important to the whole family, who strive to make sure that everything they do as a small business has a positive impact on the environment rather than adding to its problems.
“In our partnership, we’ve agreed that from the 1st of July, every single bottle sold from across the range wearing a #GandTree swing tag, which includes our three gins [original, super berry and blood orange] alongside our cellos [orange, grapefruit, lime and lemon] will see a new tree planted in the UK by Rising Forests. Rising Forests works with landowners around the UK and will then choose tree types that will thrive in the ecosystem specific to that areas. This could mean new generations of oak, fir, alder, willow or pine.”
Ancient tree species native to the UK are suffering, and through this initiative Cornwall could see these species of tree regenerated in land that serves little to no purpose otherwise, not to mention the vital part these trees will play in helping native wildlife and habitats thrive and rejuvenate.
“We added a swing tag to each of the bottles sold which will have an individual tree number on it, correlating to the tree you’ve helped plant,” Tim explains. “We’re really hoping to see as many new trees pop up as possible but considering over 80% of the world’s forests have been destroyed, we have a long way to go. The team from Rising Forests are coming to scope out some land in Cornwall soon, which is where we hope our trees will be planted.
“A lot of the environmentally sustainable things we’re doing as a company, many people don’t even know about. Most of our packaging is plastic free and we compost everything we can from the gin-making process or reuse it in the restaurant. The lemon rinds left over from making lemonade at SILCo. Searoom are then used to flavour our Limoncello.”
What can be taken away most from this, is that for the St Ives Liquor Co. this is just another day at work. They may not shout from the rooftops about their eco-friendly living, but the entire point is that it shouldn’t be something to shout about, it should essentially be a normal way of living that hopefully we can all someday work towards. Still, it’s always encouraging to see small business’ doing what they can to run their business with a thoughtful outlook towards the environment and when those results can be physically seen by simply enjoying the hard work and produce of a local producer, then it’s even more rewarding.
“For us, it’s really not a desire to fit with the eco trend,” Tim describes, “nor about the PR opportunity. We were simply given an opportunity to support an initiative we believe could make a real change, so we have. That being said, if it’s a trend that results in our kids having a better world to grow up in, then it’s one we can really get behind.”
To buy your own bottle and help plant a tree, and to sample some of the incredible food and drink on offer, visit the St Ives Liquor Co. (Silco) Searoom Gastrobar or go online to www.stivesliquor.co to find a list of stockists and check out their online shop.
SILCo. Searoom Gastrobar
1 Wharf House
Open Monday to Saturday 11am – 10pm
Sundays 11am – 5pm