w/ Stephen Lawrence, CEO of Brunswick Aces
Ahead of Father's Day (5 September - this Sunday), we spoke with one of the founders of two Australian firsts: non-alcoholic gin ("sapiir") and a non-alcoholic bar & bottle shop.
In another first, Steve also became a parent.
Louis Lawrence was born in March 2021 - just a month before the Brunswick Aces non-alcoholic bar opened in Melbourne.
Hey Steve! Tell us:
What is it like to run a business while caring for a new addition to the family? 👪
Life doesn’t seem to have become any less crazy or busy with his arrival, but now there’s always a reason to keep pushing and setting a good example for him; it’s like he’s always watching over us! Both Diana and I are working part time and sharing his care so it’s been nice to spend time with him while still working.
While it’s tough to juggle his needs and keep things moving, we’re lucky to have an amazing team that we work with. We try to make sure everyone has the personal time they need to look after those they love, so Louis is just another part of the extended Brunswick Aces family. He was there at the launch of our new bar and would have been held by every member of the team at one point or another. It takes a family to raise a child, and I think the same goes for raising a startup.
What does Louis do that brings you joy? 👶
Regardless of the mood I might be in, whenever I go and pick him up from his cot I can’t help but feel happier when his cheeky little smile lights up. He smiles and giggles now that he’s getting a little bigger, so it’s a joy to be around him. It doesn’t take much for him to smile, which makes me smile.
Is there anyone inspiring you right now, when it comes to parenting? 🍃
While I’ve always been grateful for my upbringing, there’s definitely a newfound appreciation for just what it takes when you go through it. Unfortunately my mum is in the UK unable to come and see Louis yet but - she’s a constant fixture on FaceTime in our house, helping and advising with his upbringing. She’s always been an inspiration to me and having Louis around has only solidified that further.
What do you drink when you’re not drinking? 🍷
My go to drink for ease is always a Bridge Road Free Time Pale Ale. It really hits the spot for me when I need a refreshing drink after a long day or a bit of hard work on a weekend. If I’m treating myself I can’t go past a classic gin and tonic. While I love our Spades Sapiir I’m conscious that drinking your own drinks is a little like listening to your own garage band while you’re driving around so I’ve been working my way through some of the other fantastic gin inspired NA spirits on the market. Current personal favourites are Clovendoe from Queensland and Ecology from New Zealand ((note: coming soon to KJ!)).
Your go-to snack that makes the day better? 🥨
I can’t open the fridge without dipping a few water crackers in some Green Olive and Mayo dip, often with a slice or two of provolone. Louis is only just starting to explore solid food so he’s not quite ready to share it with me - but he’s eyeing it up!
Finally, what has brought YOU joy this week?
Louis and Diana brought me the most joy this week, but that’s the same for every week! Outside of that it’s been a particularly tough week at work with more bad news on extended restrictions, but the silver lining has been how our team at Brunswick Aces have rallied together, not only to work creatively around the problems, but also to support each other and ensure everyone is hanging in there! It’s a joy to work with them everyday.
Thanks for sharing with us!
Cocktail of the Week 🍸
A non-alc cocktail reminiscent of warmth, smoky spices, comforting sweetness and a bright twist of backyard citrus.
60ml Ovant Royal
2cm (6g) fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 (40g) Tangerine or Mandarin, quartered (skin on)
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar (or 15ml Shrub)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Sugar
Optional: 3 - 4 drops Chocolate Bitters
In a jar or separate vessel, add ginger and muddle to draw out the juices. Add tangerine, muddle until lightly bruised and juiced. Add spirit, vinegar and vanilla sugar (and bitters if using).
Fill jar with ice, and stir gently 4 - 5 times to mix.
Strain over ice into a short glass - double strain (using a mesh sieve) if possible to prevent transferring fruit pulp.
Slice a thin strip of tangerine peel & add a sprig of mint - then share with someone you think embodies these comforting qualities.
Note: You can sub in any spirit you like for this one - I've designed it for a smoky, spiced based (rum or whiskey) but play around with what suits you. Mandarin citrus suits many flavours!
Joy Story 📖
A native Australian food sector has been slow to emerge but is gaining traction and is likely, in the coming years, to rewrite a more authentic local and sustainable food paradigm.
"When [skateboarding] was announced in the Olympics, I knew if Keegan put his heart and his mind to it he could do it. The world's your oyster," Ms Palmer said.