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Wanaka Herbalist launches sustainable botanical spirits, including locally foraged ingredients

 In Botanical Spirits, Business, Gin, Sustainability, Vodka

Embarking upon a new business in an industry you’ve never been a part of, at the bottom of the planet, may seem absurd to many people. This is certainly true for, Claire Iredale, Director and Distiller of Wild Diamond, a craft distillery of Botanical Spirits. A sense of adventure, challenge and determination launched Wild Diamond, with the aim of crafting exceptional botanical Gin and Vodka in September 2017, which was then encouraged by winning the Chorus Entrepreneur Scholarship through CUBE in November 2017.

Having been working in the IT industry for the last seven years as a Software Quality Analyst, a redundancy meant a great opportunity for a career change for Claire.  With her previous background as a Naturopath and Herbalist, and the question in mind “what would I want to do everyday for the rest of my life”, Claire’s answer was “I want to connect people with plants”.  Thus Wild Diamond’s philosophy was born. Claire’s previous training as a Naturopath and Herbalist then took a flying leap into the scientific and creative realm of distilling Gin and Vodka.

What would I want to do everyday… I want to connect people with plants

Plants are powerful and wonderful entities. Claire had been making and sharing plant medicines with clients for years, but via a client-by-client method. In order to leverage manufacturing to a wider audience, and to make it a viable business income, the concept of bringing plant extracts to people needed to be looked at in a different way. Herbal tonics have been historically delivered through teas and alcohol. Gin is one of Western tradition’s most renowned botanical concoctions, and includes Juniper and Coriander amongst up to 25 other botanical ingredients. So much of our daily life has lost connection with the raw ingredients that make up our food, drinks and medicines. Wild Diamond botanical Gin and Vodka was established as a way to reconnect people with an incredible plant experience.

Claire says, “Be assured, the hypocrisy of a Naturopath creating alcoholic beverages, is one I can laugh about with anyone who is brave enough to mention it. Mostly, people are simply fascinated when I can put the raw plants into their hands that made up the delicious beverage they are sipping. Quality over quantity is something we can all appreciate”.

Quality over quantity is something we can all appreciate

The main philosophy of connecting people with plants and earth continues through Wild Diamond’s sustainability practices. The aim is to keep the impact on the planet as light as possible, while providing a mindful alcohol choice for consumers.  The bottle has been chosen for it’s lighter impact on shipping fuel consumption, and is also completely reusable and recyclable. The glass closure minimises plastic use, and makes for a beautiful water bottle upon second use. Renewable energy is used at the distillery, packaging is recycled, and organic ingredients are sourced at every possible opportunity. Many botanicals are hand harvested in the local area, in a delicate and sustainable manner. There are always more ways the sustainability processes can be improved, and this is a fun journey of discovery, problem solving and invention along the way.

… a mindful alcohol choice for consumers

As Wild Diamond builds a local New Zealand brand we can all be proud of, (imagine a blend of the sophistication of James Bond with the adventure spirit of Bear Grylls), we can look up into the night sky and see all the Wild Diamonds… look across the lake and see the rugged mountains reflected in the crystal water, the Wild Diamond… play amongst the snow field powder with the sunlight sparkling through a million scattered Wild Diamonds… and know that together we are part of our incredible Southern Alps environment, and part of the Wild Diamond adventure.

Cheers!

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