In the early days of Covid-19, Kerri Baumann’s job came to an abrupt halt. She needed a new way to earn money, but what she discovered was a passion for non-alcoholic drinks that became Dusty Vin – an online store delivering across the east coast of Australia.
“I had a friend delivering fruit and veggie boxes and I started sourcing products for that,” she tells Broadsheet. “I came across all these incredible drinks businesses and suppliers – people who were so passionate about their products with these amazing stories. I knew I had to showcase them.
“I’m not a non-drinker,” says Baumann. “But I really like having choices and options. The beers have been the most popular, I think because people are more conscious about having a nice night and being up early to go to the gym or to feel fresh the next day.”
Dusty Vin is a one-woman show, but Baumann has plans to expand the business. “Every week, I find something new and innovative that I want to add to the site and share with others. That’s the exciting part for me, finding things that aren’t mainstream.”
Baumann raves about the shrubs from Pyewacket’s Traditional, especially the watermelon basil flavour. “The Pyewacket shrubs from the girls in Lismore are a prime example of passionate people creating a product with an amazing story,” she says. The drink is made using ingredients sourced directly from local Australian farmers using organic or spray-free practices.
Another is the Good Happy Lemon Myrtle Pepperberry Kombucha. “I went to Mullumbimby to visit the guys ... For this brew, they’ve used the healing magic of Jilungin, wildcrafted by the custodians of the land where it grows.”
For a cupboard investment, there’s Hellfire Bluff Inspirit Gin. “I love the story of the Hellfire Distillery down in Tassie,” Baumann says. It was once a potato farm and this is their first foray into a non-alcoholic spirit. The non-alcoholic gin is distilled with juniper and citrus, along with other botanicals and Tasmanian blackcurrants. Plus, Banks Botanical Crafted Spirit, which is distilled in the Yarra Valley using mountain water and a blend of five Australian bush botanicals: lemon myrtle, pepperberry, cassia, wattleseed and lime. “This is the ultimate pairing with the tonic from Mischief Brew,” says Baumann.
Then the Elderflower Sparkling by Ashbolt makes for an alternative to prosecco at your summer picnics. It’s crafted using elderflower and fermented in the bottle for a floral and almost lychee-flavoured drink.