Meet Jason Quin founder of Etch Alcohol Free Sparkling

Give us some background on yourself

I’m Jason Quin, drinks maker, father, husband, small business owner, runner, windsurfer, living on the Mornington Peninsula Victoria.
After a 23 year career in the wine industry that spanned Australia, New Zealand, and France I achieved career goals such as Australian Young Winemaker of the Year nominee several years running, represented and managed brand and sales distribution for some of the worlds best wineries in this market I have now embarked upon a body of work with my wife Andy, utilising all the skills and knowledge above to create change for the Australian drinking culture.
We make alcohol free sparkling beverages from Australian native fruits and herbs. Our brand is ETCH. Every Time Choose Health.

Why have you decided to move to alcohol-free?

For a better life for me and my family.
In my early to mid 40’s my health, physical and mental was starting to suffer due to life circumstances that we all face. Given my accessibility to a beverage that I adored my entire adult life I began to self medicate to deal with / dull the impact of those circumstances.
I was fortunate enough to pick this issue up just in time and made significant lifestyle, career, and financial changes. Or else….

What were the benefits you gained from lowering your alcohol intake?

For me I gained my life back, in fact I got a better one.
I didn’t actually have a choice. I am one of those people that pushed it too far and crossed the line. I couldn’t tell you where the line was crossed because here in Aussie drinking culture it gets blurred as to what’s ok and not. I mean how many people do you know really stick to the ‘healthy drinking guidelines’?
There are the physical benefits; quite rapid body fat loss, skin colour return, eye clarity return, digestive health return, sleep return.
Then there’s the mental health aspect; the clouds part, clarity and perspective comes into view, the ability to deal with situations is actioned with skill and compassion. I am now present.

Do you still drink alcohol sometimes?

No. But I am ok with those that do. Socialising (when possible), dining and celebrating with others still often involves alcohol in the ritual for many Aussies. I don’t begrudge those that can safely consume. What we do do, is provide delicious, sophisticated options so those that don’t wish to have an alcoholic drink have a credible choice. There are many in Australia that don’t drink at all, and there’s a significant social movement of health and wellbeing progress across generations of people reducing consumption. Guess what, these groups still dine, socialise, and celebrate. They desire and want good quality beverages that aren’t plain water or sugary soft drinks.

How have people reacted when you decided to drink alcohol-free?

This is one of the biggest myths that was busted for me. The answer is nothing but support, or if I don’t know them well, quite a nonchalant reaction. ‘So, what’… What a great scenario.
It appears to me, that as long as rituals are still participated in, I have nice glassware, or an attractive drink package in my hand then a BBQ, party, dining occasion rolls on. The difference is I can wake up with gusto rather than in the old days when I’d be ‘dusty’, sore and sorry for myself.
I don’t think I’m the only one, In fact statistically more Australians are choosing to adopt a changing relationship with booze, thus the litrage per head is dropping of alcoholic categories and the non alcoholic category is rapidly increasing.

What is your favourite alcohol-free drink?

With the above said category growth driven by a social movement of health and wellbeing its fuelled businesses to make great quality alcohol free drinks.
There’s the traditional alcohol type categories where businesses replicate the segment, eg, alc free beer, wine, spirits.
Rightly or wrongly…we made the choice to step one further degree out from the norm and not replicate an existing alcohol category. This comes fraught with danger as we can suffer from brand issues such as ‘well what are you’.
We simply define ourselves as a Sparkling Beverage. When there are options for sophisticated adult drinks outside of traditional spaces it opens a broad range of beverage enjoyment to match your flavour desire.
My favourite AF drinks? aside from our Australian Native plant based drinks of course, personally I love what the alc free beer movement is doing. I think their quality, depth of flavour, stylistic presence is exceptional.

Where do you usually enjoy your alcohol-free drinks?

As I’ve said earlier, in Australia the ritual of beverage consumption is synonymous with getting together with others for social and dining occasions. So our use would include activities wherever and whenever these occur.
Our rituals include simple occasions like the end of the week ‘knock off’ a lovely cheese board and drink to reflect and celebrate the week, through to food and beverage matching for dining occasions and of course socialising with others.

Finally, to whom would you recommend making this choice?

From my personal experience I think every Australian would benefit from keeping check on what they are consuming and why.
Complete abstinence may not be for all, but if there’s great options out there I know that most Aussie’s would enjoy the benefits of maintaining and improving their presence in social occasions, and their bodies and mind will thank them for a conscious change in lifestyle.
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