It’s a question that has perplexed drinkers for generations. “What can I drink if I don’t want alcohol, but don’t fancy a Coke?” In the Scottish lowlands, they’ve found the answer. And it’s called Feragaia. The brainchild of Jamie Wild and business partner Bill Garnock, Feragaia is an alcohol-free spirit made from botanicals sourced mainly from Scotland. A grown-up drink with a sophisticated taste, it’s already finding favour in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.
Here, Jamie tells us about Feragaia’s story, and why going alcohol-free doesn’t mean missing out on pleasure.
AT: Hi Jamie. What exactly is Feragaia?
JW: Feragaia is an alcohol-free spirit made with land and sea botanicals in the Scottish lowlands. It’s got a clean and complex taste: delicate citrus notes lead the palate and are followed by an earthy, herbaceous body and a warming finish.
How is it you made?
We source 14 special botanicals (many locally), including chamomile, blackcurrant leaf, bay leaf and serrated wrack. We separate them into two groups: floral and citrus, and herbaceous and earthy. Their essences are extracted, separately distilled, and then hand-blended back together. Finally, we cut it with Scottish water to create a finely balanced, complex and layered drink.
Why did you start the company?
Bill and I both felt that drinking habits had fallen behind the way people led their lives. We both come from backgrounds where alcohol is entrenched in social and family routine and wanted to change this. We’ve done it by creating a drink that represents an alternative to alcohol without making people feel bad about their relationship with it.
What’s your work background?
We’ve both worked in spirits in the past: me in the UK, Bill in the US. I’ve also been a sculptor for over 10 years: my emphasis is on conservation, while Bill is a keen landscape photographer.
What alcoholic drink is it most like?
We don’t want to be seen as a ‘non’ version of any alcoholic drink and so don’t associate Feragaia with any existing spirit category. However, if you twisted my arm, I’d say it’s between whiskey and mezcal. We have an amber colour thanks to our chilli and spiced botanicals, and we distil, bottle and blend in the Scottish lowlands.
Tell us about the lowland landscape Feragaia comes from…
It’s wild and bountiful. Generally, the lowlands aren’t as dramatic as the highlands, but they’re rich with windswept coastlines, big skies and open countryside. Merging these wild landscapes inspired Feragaia’s branding.
How’s business going?
We’ve had a great response since we launched. Our principal market is in Scotland and London. Feragaia’s provenance, transparency of process, versatility of spirit and our depth taste has been received well. We’re very excited about the coming months.
Do you see a healthy future for non-alcoholic spirits?
Yes, I believe that a lot will change in the way that people want to live their lives. Having a carefully created, satisfying drink that you can savour while feeling good about it is the idea that inspired me to start in the first place.
For more info on Feragaia or other non-alcoholic spirits, please contact your luxury lifestyle manager.