Thomson & Scott Noughty, created by British entrepreneur Amanda Thomson, is the world’s leading premium non-alcoholic wine brand offering wine lovers the opportunity to drink elegantly crafted wine without the alcohol.
How did it all begin?
I was always a big fan of Champagne but I realised that the alcohol itself in Champagne wasn’t doing me any good, along with the hidden sugars and sometimes, other ingredients that weren’t labelled on the bottle. At the time, there were no premium, quality, alcohol-free alternatives to Champagne. I hunted high and low, but couldn’t find anything that came up to my expectations of what a good Champagne-style wine could taste like without the alcohol. I decided to create my own alcohol-free sparkling wine brand initially, before moving on to non-alcoholic still wine, that was not only elegantly crafted but was also low in sugar and ethically produced. And Noughty was born.
What sets your business apart?
We didn’t set out to convince all consumers to stop drinking alcohol. Instead, looking to the future, people will start to balance their alcohol intake more and more. For example, you may well have business meetings or a fitness challenge and not want to drink (alcoholic) wine during the week. I want people to feel comfortable switching between their traditional wine and our great non-alcoholic version and it give equal enjoyment to the evening. Also, if you’re having a delicious meal, why should you compromise with sugary soft drinks that don’t feel grown-up or pair well with the food?
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
We are blessed to be working with talented winemakers both in Germany and South Africa. When we developed our portfolio, I was exacting in the way in which the wine tasted. For me, taste is everything. Without that, all you have is the marketing of something that looks and should behave like wine in a wine bottle but ultimately disappoints and drives consumers away from the emerging category. Now customers they know that there is love and attention being put into producing something that tastes elegant and delicious.
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
We’ve just brought our latest bottle to market, which is our new still Provence-style rosé wine. This effectively completes the portfolio, as we can now offer two sparkling wines, both Brut and Rosé as Champagne alternatives and three still wines, a red, a white and a rosé. Effectively this answers consumer requirements when it comes to good wine all year round. We’ve also been heartened to see how engaged the bar industry has been in recognising how delicious our wine can be in cocktails without alcohol. This is particularly interesting for bars and restaurants who can make the same amount of margin – often more – on a quality non-alcoholic cocktail as they can on an alcoholic one.
Thomson & Scott Ltd
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
Changing the way people drink, one beautiful bottle at a time. It’s time we tackled the negative impact alcohol has one everyone’s health and wellbeing.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
I was raised on a plant-based diet in the 70s by a health-conscious single mother who thought sugar was the devil. She was years ahead of her time back then and is certainly highly relevant to my brand I am now realising. Also, having an immigrant father who worked hard to make his way in the world here in the UK and a subsequent complicated divorce when I was young… these all shaped my grit, resilience and subsequent visionary entrepreneurial journey.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
Being the first non-alcoholic red wine to get a glowing review in The New York Times. The critic said, “Finally a non-alcoholic red wine you can bring to the party.”
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
Genius is 99.9% hard work!
Best piece of advice you have received?
Get the best finance director you can.
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Surround yourself with people who want the best for you and that you know you can call in the middle of the night when everything around you feels like it’s falling apart. It most likely isn’t but you need someone you trust to tell you it’s all going to be OK.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
I’ve worked hard to make sure that my investment has come with other benefits – experts in their fields and investors who let you just get on with the hard work of making your business a success. After all, they’re investing in you, not your widget.
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
When you have an incredible idea or business, there will unfortunately be a people out there determined to bring you down early days. Protect yourself from Day One and get the best advice you can to make sure you retain all that belongs to you.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
Because women-led businesses are known to be far more successful than male-led businesses. The numbers don’t lie. And you can’t be what you can’t see so we need to be the role models of the future to inspire the next generation of young leaders and make the world a better place.
My inspiration is...
waiting for me every day I get up. I just sometimes have to go looking for it.
My greatest fear is...
not making most of this short life and ensuring I leave the world a better place. I want that to be my brand legacy.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
turn down big money because the strings attached may have ultimately destroyed my singular vision and clear leadership position.
pistachio ice cream and documentaries in be.
Mantra you live by?
Keep F****** Going.
Female role model?
Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Women-led brand you love?
Sahar Hashemi’s By Women Built.
Top productivity tool?
Thomson & Scott Ltd has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members