The UK’s smallest bee. The females mainly collect pollen from bellflowers and nest inside woodworm holes in dead wood. The males sleep inside flowers.
In The Beginning
Like so many good stories, it all started with a missed flight.
After I failed to get to the airport in time, Steph and I ended up sitting around her dining table, a couple of bottles of wine, some takeout, and a deep desire to have a positive impact on the world and to really challenge ourselves. The night ended with a crazy idea and the birth of Avallen.
We had no desire to chase a ‘gap in the market’ for the hope of a big payday or jump on a bandwagon, the world certainly doesn’t need any more gin. What we wanted was to create something that has a meaningful reason for existing and a little bit of us in each bottle. If you’re going to spend your life savings on something, you’ve got to put yourself into it right!
I’ve been passionate about environmental issues since my teenage years and Steph grew up surrounded by the beautiful Beaujolais and a deep respect of terroir and the relationship between alcohol and the land. So it was simple: we had to do something that pushed the industry forward on sustainability and reconnected the world of spirits with nature.
Avallen started with a simple question: what would the world’s most sustainable drinks brand look like if we went right back to the soil with a blank sheet of paper and put the environment and nature ahead of price and flavour?
Our answer to that question was the apples grown in the traditional orchards of Normandy which meant that, to be true to our idea, we had to make a calvados, the apple champion of France’s three great brandies.
Now, calvados is not exactly the first category you look at if you want to start a brand. The smart money would look at a spirit that’s in rapid growth so you can ride the wave, something like tequila or rum. It is however a category with great provenance, a rich history, and a beautiful story that needs retelling to a new audience.
And that’s what we’re trying to do with Avallen. Tell the story of this beautiful category and its fantastic sustainable credentials to a young, modern audience. To show people that we can enjoy delicious drinks without giving the planet a hangover.
It’s been a fantastic journey so far, full of highs, plenty of lows, lots of mistakes, and a real feeling that we’re part of building something that’s much bigger than just our small little brand.
It takes a village to raise a child, and it’s going to take most of us to turn the tide on environmental damage. We’re very excited to be a tiny part of the village that is changing the world for the better. We can’t think of a more important job.