Raising spirits with the makers of Pentire Drinks

Food & drink

Raising spirits with the makers of Pentire Drinks

The non-alcoholic spirits inspired by the Cornish coast have become a staple in some of our favourite hotel bars. We shared a glass with founder Alistair Frost

Hannah Dace

BY Hannah Dace29 July 2022

With summer comes drinking, and with drinking comes hangovers (and, if you’re anything like us, with hangovers come self-pity) – but not in the case of Pentire Drinks: naturally distilled plant-based and non-alcoholic spirits. Alistair Frost of Pentire – known to most as Frosty – tells us more about how his cult brand of easy drinking botanicals was born, and how the Cornish coast influenced the making of Pentire and its products (now stocked in a crop of Cornish hotels of course). Smith members can stock up for summer with an exclusive discount but first we sat down for a cold one with Frosty to talk inspiration, surfing, sustainability and more…

What led you to creating Pentire, and did you face any challenges along the way?
When I first moved to London from North Cornwall I worked in a friend’s bar in Parsons Green. I ended up being there for years, and loved the industry – but, perhaps bizarrely, found that I actually moved towards consuming less alcohol than before. I wanted to make a drink that fitted well with the active, outdoor lifestyle I’d grown up with, but also with the industry and the social aspect of bars, pubs and winding down with friends.

Challenges have certainly ebbed and flowed: issues like getting the concept into product launch, scaling-up challenges, sorting our supply-chain and, of course, the pandemic. I’ve learnt to stay calm, patient and optimistic.

Describe your spirits in three words
Fresh, coastal, herbaceous.

Where (and how) do you most like to drink Pentire?
I love the Pentire Picante served at Soho House, and the cocktails that the Pig at Harlyn Bay dream up (pair with a fresh catch from their lobster shed). I particularly enjoy a Pentire and tonic with friends on a North Cornish beach (sunset view optional, but recommended), or slightly further afield at the Little Beach House in Malibu, California.

How did coastal living influence the brand and products?
Pentire is entirely inspired by active coastal living, given that it was made to be a healthy drink to wind-down with after a day spent outdoors. We’re influenced by companies like Finisterre, North Face and Patagonia. I wanted Pentire to reflect my home, and it certainly marries well with the way of life in Cornwall and the active community that tend to settle here. Having a product with a focus on provenance and sustainability is something I’m really proud of.

On that: how does sustainability take shape for Pentire?
We became a B-corp this year, and donate to sea conservation and restoration charities like the Blue Marine Foundation. Beyond that, we’re resolved to source sustainably and ethically, including the native coastal botanicals that are integral to our spirits (rock samphire, sea rosemary, wild seaweed and more) – so we make sure to work with the right farmers, who grow and nurture these ingredients in the right way.

Is there a hotel that best resonates with your brand or product?
For me, it’s all about the great outdoors, genuine hospitality and local ingredients. I look for authentic luxury when it comes to hotels, so Lime Wood, Coombeshead Farm, and the Artist Residence hotels stand out to me.

Where did you learn the most about yourself and your company?
A great question – owning a brand is a constant learning process, and having the self-awareness that you don’t always have all the answers is the key to working as a team. There’s no one place that I’ve learnt the most, but whenever I take a break from work, I tend to uncover more about the potential of Pentire, and about the wants and needs of active, outdoor-loving travellers (luckily, they tend to gravitate towards some pretty beautiful places!) – these learnings filter straight back into my work.

What’s next for Pentire?
To continue embracing big challenges, having fun and staying healthy.

And where’s next for a much-deserved break?
It’s got to be a surf trip. Maybe Portugal for some Autumn swells, or – if we have a great year – then to Six Senses Laamu given the famed surf breaks nearby (plus, for people who love the ocean, it doesn’t really get that much better than the Maldives…)

Got a thirst for the coast? Here’s where to stay in Cornwall