This month the Undrunk team were able to sit down with Chris Wilfred-Hughes, the founder of Wilfred’s and do a little Q&A session. Naturally we all enjoyed a delicious spritz...
Undrunk Team: Why did you get into the alcohol-free business
Chris Wilfred-Hughes: It all started at home actually. I wanted to create a drink that could be enjoyed as much by those drinking as those not drinking. I sourced every botanical I could find inspired by my travels, from rare Japanese hibiscus to the aromatic English rose. My kitchen was effectively a drinks lab! But my journey eventually led me back home to the authentic flavours I associated most with home, which was a real surprise! The two signature flavours ended up being freshly picked rosemary from my mother's garden, and the bitter oranges in my father's homemade marmalade.
UT: What was the inspiration behind the name Wilfred's
CWH: I spent months looking for a name for my aperitif! One day I was taste testing an early batch of Wilfred's with close friends of mine who suggested I name it after myself. I told them that "Chris" was a terrible name for a drink and it would never fly! That's when they said "we meant middle name, Wilfred's". And it just stuck, it felt authentic.
UT: Do you still have your first ever still? Did you name it?
CWH: There were so many stills! Actually, my first batch was far too bitter and was terrible to drink! I hadn't yet got the proportions right, but that's why it took well over a hundred unique recipes to get the perfectly balanced bittersweet aperitif and spritz. I learnt that good things do take time.
UT: What would you say are the key botanicals in Wilfred's, what can people expect when they take their first sip
CWH: Wilfred's is intentionally botanical and complex, with a wide array of flavours as I wanted our drinkers to go on mouth sensation and journey, with notes of aromatic rosemary, bitter orange, clove, and a hint of rhubarb.
UT: Do you have a Wilfred's office mascot
CWH: No pets at home, but my wife's family does have a beautiful boxer called Baba, and so occasionally I'll take a day to work at my in-laws and if I'm honest, it’s mostly to say hello to Baba!
UT: How do you relax after a long day in the office
CWH: Given that the last year and half we've all been working from home lots, I love to pour myself a drink after work to break the routine and signal "that's it! End of the work day and start of relaxation". The drink itself can be anything, from a non-alcoholic beer to a non-alcoholic spritz, but the act of making a drink is the most important bit for me.
UT: What is your favourite time of year and what drink would you have to accompany it
CWH: I love spring most, as it's the end of winter and the beginning of social outdoor times with friends and family. Of course, a spritz is the perfect drink for spring sunshine, but I also love to crack open a beer or two.
UT: What's next on the cards for Wilfred's?
CWH: Stay in touch to find out!! Actually, I am so excited about the new products we are developing. it gives me a buzz to be back in the "kitchen" creating amazing tasting non-alcoholic drinks again. You may even see a new launch this year!