“The truth is that few companies are making the changes required to their business practices to make the urgent impact we need…” – Tim Etherington-Judge
Stephanie Jordan and Tim Etherington-Judge launched Avallen Spirits, a private producer of Calvados (a cider brandy made from apples) on World Bee Day, 20th May, 2019. Both were experienced drinks industry executives having held senior positions in the global industry dominated by the large corporates. Stephanie and Tim’s formidable industry knowledge and success was further enhanced by their personal backgrounds. Stephanie’s Dad is a wine producer in Burgundy, providing her with a unique insider perspective on the wine industry. Meanwhile, Tim’s upbringing in the apple-growing West Country of the UK instilled in him a deep appreciation for Apple brandy and concern for environmental activism.
Together they wanted to set up their own business within the industry that had a “moral purpose”. So they asked themselves “What is the most positive sustainable spirit brand we can make that gives back more than it takes?” Their research indicated that apples were the best fruit from which to make a planet positive spirit and so they decided upon Calvados, a traditional product of the Normandy area of France. Calvados traces back to the time of the French Revolution and has a chequered history. Its popularity probably peaked after the First World War, but it has since declined, largely due to the impact of the war on the area. However, their mission is not just to popularise Calvados, but to “bring back biodiversity to the bar”. “We have been drinking products made from monocrops (cereal, sugar cane, grapes, etc.,) for far too long” says Stephanie.
Stephanie and Tim located Avallen (Cornish for Apple Tree) in the La Manche region of France, a Calvados Appellation d’Origine Controlee area bordering Brittany and Normandy. Since 2016, the land has been free of pesticides and is now naturally fertilized by the livestock that graze on the grass and wild flowers. The area also hosts 40 varieties of apple trees, which are required to produce the 300 apple varieties needed to make the cider that is later distilled into Calvados. In addition to their spirit using up to 95% less water than benchmark products, Avallen Spirits commits to carbon neutral production. With every bottle of the spirit they sell, 2.74 kilos of carbon dioxide emission is removed from the atmosphere even. They engage in further external offsetting which includes recycling their glass bottles. But as Tim says, “we wanted to do something that goes beyond that.” To promote pollination and protect the honey bee they then partnered with the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust in the UK, and for every bottle of Calvados they sell they donate 50 cents in Europe or 50 pence in the UK to help protect the bees.
However, it is not just the health of the planet that is of concern to them but the health of its people, particularly those working in the hospitality and drinks sector. Following a serious mental health breakdown in 2016, Tim used his life savings to set up Healthy Hospo, a global non-profit organisation intended to help create a healthier, happier hospitality industry. For Tim, having a sense of purpose in life is a fundamental human need. Creating Healthy Hospo and Avallen Spirits has provided him with purpose, waking up with goal of helping people, saving the bees, and protecting the planet. Stephanie shares, “anything that gets me to closer to the land and local people working in harmony with Mother Nature is just pure joy”.
At the beginning of 2022, Avallen became a certified B-Corporation. It is very much a Harmonious Enterprise in which profit, planet, and people are in harmony. Additionally, it is addressing SDGs 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 13 (Climate Action), 15 (Life on Land), 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 5 (Gender Equality) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
Anonymous (Undated) Avallen Spirits- Stephanie Jordon. Spirits Beacon. https://spiritsbeacon.com/features/interviews/avallen-spirits-stephanie-jordan
Sutcliffe, T., (undated). Tim Etherington -Judge. Diffords Guide. https://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/2793/people/tim-etherington-judge
© Harmonious-Entrepreneurship.org / Harmonious Entrepreneurship Ltd. (2020-2023). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author(s) noted is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Harmonious-Entrepreneurship.org/ Harmonious Entrepreneurship Ltd with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.