Tell us about yourself…
I’m Roisin Meredith, 41, founder and head brewess of Wildling Drinks water kefir in Worthing.
What prompted you to start the business?
To being with, I started producing water kefir to help my poorly daughter and its effects were profound right away.
From that point on I was hooked on the incredible powers of live fermented drinks. After a divine spiritual moment at a yoga retreat, I decided to listen to my instinct and forge a new path in life creating water kefir for everyone to feed inner well-being and outer happiness. I ditched my job as a chemistry teacher to follow my passion full time in 2020.
So what is water kefir and what are the benefits of including it in your diet?
Did you know that your guts are your second brain? And that rounds of antibiotics, stress, viruses and hormonal changes can radically alter your gut microbiome? This can impact irritable bowel syndrome, sleep, menopause, auto-immune conditions… the list goes on.
Water Kefir is a live, fermented drink made from a 'mother' starter, very similar to kombucha but without the caffeine. It is part of the new 'holistic happy' movement where good gut health, mental well-being, sleep and nature are all part of the equation. Championed by modern health gurus such as Rangan Chattergee, the microbiome is getting increasing airtime, with ‘live cultures’ ‘mother cultures’ ‘mother starters’ and ‘probiotics’ becoming everyday lingo to young aspirational ears. Trust in big corporates is fading and consumers are becoming tired of having to compromise on taste and pleasure to get the goodness they desire.
What is the production process?
My water kefir is brewed like an unfiltered and unpasteurised beer. It’s literally as live as it gets and packed with billions of live cultures to feed good gut bacteria.
As I handcraft in small batches, it’s a far cry from unconvincing commercial versions where much of the live culture has been pasteurised out. Based on age old craft, it’s no modern fad. And now it tastes great too, in light delicious flavours that taste more fun than fermented including lime and mint, rhubarb and ginger, elderflower and activated charcoal and lemon. 80% of our ingredients are locally sourced.
What is your proudest business achievement to date?
Firstly, setting up a business out of my kitchen whilst home-schooling my 5 and 7 year old children during the lockdown. But I’m also very proud of our NatWest Entrepreneur Power Up Award and a gaining a respected Great Taste Award last year.
How can people get ‘hands-on’ and discover more water kefir?
I’ve teamed up with Connected Brighton to host a fermenting workshop at The Joker pub on Thursday 26 May. Guests will discover more about the benefits of fermented goodies and how to make water kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. Tickets are available from www.connectedbrighton.com
I’m also doing a pop-up tasting at Brighton’s HISBE sustainable supermarket on Saturday 14 May and have a stand at Arundel Market every third Saturday of the month.
How does water kefir work as a cocktail mixer?
Although its already just under 1.2% alcohol by volume, for an occasional splurge it also combines well with spirits as a mixer. It’s great with gin or vodka as it is sparkling and naturally low in sugar without any nasty fake sugars. You could say it’s a healthy mixer.
We’ve worked in the past with Elwood Wines and Brighton’s Mixology Group on drinks.
My favourite is the ‘Kefir 75’, a twist of the famous ‘French 75’ where Champagne is swapped out for water kefir. It’s simple to rustle up at home with 25ml of gin, 25ml of lemon juice, 20ml of sugar syrup and topped up with my Wilding Drinks rhubarb and ginger water kefir.
Where can people buy Wilding Drinks in Sussex?
We’ve lots of local retailers but HISBE supermarket and Kindly Shop in Brighton, Health Rebels in Hove, Best Health Food Shop in Shoreham and The Seasons stores in Forest Row and Lewes. You can also purchase directly from our website www.wildling.live