As demand continues to expand and evolve in the healthy beverages space, so too do the beverages on offer for pub patrons seeking out better-for-you tipples that don’t sacrifice flavour or festivity.

With sales of no and low-alcohol beer, wine and spirits soaring, and low in sugar options such as hard seltzer products going from strength to strength, it’s clear there’s still plenty room for innovation.

A new arrival to the space is Saint & Sinner, a bottled hard kombucha that’s brewed locally and promises “good times without the guilt”. 

This product is low in sugar, and is gluten and preservative free, organic and only 77 calories. It was born out of a Wollongong family’s desire to create something that would make people feel good drinking it — both during and after. 

For its makers Riley, Linda, and Peter Lord, their interest in kombucha began after Linda suffered a health crisis that forced her to focus on her gut health and cut back on sugar. 

“The more we researched the market, the more we were convinced there was a need for this kind of product,” Riley Lord says. “We were determined to create something which people could feel good about drinking.” 

According to the Lords, in contrast to Saint & Sinner, many of the RTDs on the market contain sugar and preservatives. In addition, Saint & Sinner contains good bacteria to aid gut health.  

Being an alcoholic beverage with one standard drink per bottle, however, they are careful not to position it purely as a health product. “It’s alcohol on its best behaviour,” Riley says. 

Available in three flavours — watermelon, pine-lime coconut and passionfruit — Saint & Sinner uses a small batch fermentation process. 

The Lords say every bottle is ethically and sustainably created, and the amber glass its packaged in helps to maintain the kombucha’s integrity.

“We knew we could make a great tasting kombucha, as we’ve been doing so for years, so we just had to turn it into something commercial,” Riley says. 

With a background in gut health and animal supplements rather than the beverages, the family worked with professional microbiologists to come up with a recipe, and once perfected, they sought out a contract manufacturer.  

“We took it to test groups and that’s how Saint & Sinner started,” Riley says. The company has to date focused on southern metropolitan Sydney and the NSW south coast, with Ryan’s Hotel, Thirroul and Figtree Sports Club among the venues that already stock the product. 

“I have trialled hard kombucha previously and it failed, but Saint & Sinner is completely different to anything I have seen in this line and our patrons love it,” Ryan’s Hotel licensee Phill Driver says. 

Figtree Sports Club CEO Paul Mack says, “Within six weeks of stocking, it has quickly become one of our best-selling products.”  

After finding success in the local area with Saint & Sinner, the company is now preparing for nationwide distribution. 

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