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Friends of Loving Earth

Q+A with StrangeLove Drinks

To celebrate the launch of the new 45g range we invited a few brands to join the party. We were very selective in the guest list! First up, allow us to introduce you to a Loving Earth party must-have, StrangeLove drinks! We sat down with Caitlin from their team for a (virtual) G&T...

What are you currently watching/reading/listening to at the moment? 

Reading - Sapiens: A brief history of humankind. Although in hindsight the book should be re-named ''Sapiens: a brief history of how humankind destroys anything they come into contact with''. It is essentially 300 pages of how awful the human race is to the environment, ecosystems and the animal kingdom. A real 'pick-me-up' of a read to really lift spirits during lockdown.

Watching - you just can't go past the 11 am pressers at the moment. Can't turn them off. What cinematic masterpieces they are. *cries*

Listening to: My pugs snoring. That's not the name of a hip new indie band. It's literally the sound of a pug dog snoring.

What always gets packed in your suitcase first? 

The kitchen sink.

Why ‘Strangelove’ as the name? And is it your favourite Kubrick film? 

Funnily enough - StrangeLove started out as an entirely different brand to the one you see before you today. Initially, the name was more of an ode to the inner turmoil of human nature to poison your body all weekend, then try and rectify it with a cleanse of lotions and potions during the week - only to repeat the process all over again. Quite the vicious cycle. A strange love/hate relationship of how we behave toward our own bodies.

Earlier iterations of our drinks posed a health and wellness skew, but we moved away from that space and into the premium mixer, low-calorie soda & mineral water space. StrangeLove most definitely has evolved into something different since the name was born, but it still suits the brand as an alternative to traditional, how do we put this nicely... slightly dull...counterparts in the non-alcoholic drinking space.

I personally haven't seen the Kubrick movie - James who came up with the name is a fan though. I will probably get a slap over my millennial chops for admitting that I haven't actually seen it.

Can you tell us a little bit about how StrangeLove started? 

Our two founders - James and Stafford - were experiencing an early onset mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of 27 on the sunny shores of Byron Bay. Their only options were to continue bludging and live out of a van for the remainder of their days, or start a beverage brand I guess. Lucky for us they chose the latter and through a bit of hard work - which mainly involved sitting around sampling G&T's all day - made a success of it.

They are both brilliant at different aspects of the business - one is a creative mastermind and the other has the gift of the gab - so together they were able to build a brand that is pretty damn special. To begin with, they saw a real gap in the market by calling bullshit on traditional soft drink brands and plugged it with drinks containing a touch of personality & adventurous flavours inspired by culinary trends. Early on, StrangeLove gained traction by building a cult following, as the original soft drinks were picked up by big names such as Attica, Quay and Mimoshima - which gave the brand its initial momentum to grow.

You certainly capture a sense of fun and absurdity in your branding and copy – where does that come from?

If you had ever met James and Stafford who started this business - you wouldn't need to ask that question. There is a lot of absurdity within the personalities of the people who work for StrangeLove and that manages to weasel its way into the heart of the brand. The aim is to never take ourselves or StrangeLove too seriously. In a world full of big (boring) brands and same-same messaging - we try to evoke a sense of fun into the mundane - while also poking fun at ourselves and the category.

We also like to make ourselves chuckle with the drivel that sneaks its way onto things like packaging or the website - much to the distaste of the CEO.

What are the top flavour combinations for mixing the perfect drink?

Sheesh. How long do you have? I could be here all day, our product list keeps on growing and everyone is quite steadfast on their favourites. Personally, I would go Cloudy Pear Lo-Cal soda with a hideously expensive shot of vodka any day of the week. Otherwise, Coastal Tonic with any top-shelf Gin is epically refreshing now the weather is warming up. I also have become addicted to the Nectarine Mineral Waters, luckily for me they are zero sugar, so you can drink far too many with no consequences - other than needing to pee a lot.

You’re passionate about using local ingredients, has that meant you’ve had to make some hard decisions in the creative process?

In short - yes. It is always that juggle of using local vs. organic vs. what is actually viable for future-proofing each product. For example, it's not exactly easy to obtain fresh Yuzu Juice outside of Japan, so sometimes you have to make sacrifices to ensure a steady supply of fresh ingredients. But in saying that, if some maverick farmer somehow starts growing Yuzu in Bacchus Marsh and is reading this right now - please give us a call. There are also some pretty big plans in the future to collaborate with local growers to come up with some pretty weird and wonderful innovations. Watch this space - 2022 is going to be a big one.

Currently, we source over 97% of ingredients on home soil & are 100% Australian made and independently owned.

Who’s the best ‘mixologist’ you’ve got on staff?

It would have to be Dave our CEO. He prides himself on telling long-winded stories about flavours and pairings and garnishes that go along the lines of ''when I was young and travelling the outer regions of Guatemala - wearing nothing but a loincloth and bowler cap - I encountered this Mezcal which was made purely from chicken poo..."

We did however just hire a young buck who may throw him off his mixology perch - it could be time for a Battle Royale style fight to the mixologist death for a changing of the guard. As long as the rest of the staff get some tasty mashups in the process - please battle away.

People always think we’re constantly eating chocolate (we are). We imagine your Xmas parties must be epic… What’s the fav drink at a Strangelove office shindig and can we come to the next one?

The boss still owes us a 2020 Xmas party. Thanks for the reminder. We just moved into a pretty swish warehouse in the backstreets of Collingwood, so once we get the asbestos and black mould out of the roof, we should be good to throw a right ol' shindig. Loving Earth shall be the guests of honour - please just wear closed-toe shoes and don't sue us if you get sepsis from a rusty nail poking out of the floorboards.

For now - we have just installed a G&T keg for personal use, so that gets a pretty good workout on a Friday.

Once we can travel again, where’s the first place you’re heading to?

The outer regions of Guatemala wearing only a bowler hat and loincloth to sample that famous chicken poo Mezcal.

Which of the new 45g range is your favourite and why?

The standard answer here would be ''all of them'' but if you are forcing my arm to choose - Cream n Cookies. Because it's cookies....and cream. How can you go past that classic duo?

No other vegan range has managed to nail that one - so thanks for finally bringing this combo to the people. Rejoice!

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