One of the many reasons that we are so excited for Christmas is the December Markets that pop up all around the UK during the holidays – Christmas lights, yuletide decorations, and, the most definitive drink of wintertime markets – Mulled Wine!
To some, mulled wine is almost a Christmastime tradition. And as traditions go, Old Hamlets Wine and Spice is a stickler for them. Started in 1974, Old Hamlets have been perfecting their artisan mulled spice mix recipe for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for over 40 years, hand-blending it in small-batches to maintain its authenticity. This adherence towards the traditional taste and blend was the very focus when Old Hamlets was acquired by Axel and Sophie of Steenbergs in 2017.
For Axel and Sophie Steenberg, they recognize the importance of herbs and spices that will impact the flavour, aroma and provenance of a dish. Hence, it was a no-brainer when the golden opportunity was presented to them to take over Old Hamlets. Following Steenbergs’ ethos of providing organic and fairtrade herbs, spices and teas (they were the first company to be licensed for Fairtrade spices in the UK!), they were confident in ensuring that Old Hamlets spice mix, as with every other product in the range, were ethically sourced without compromise.
We were interested in knowing more about Old Hamlets, so we decided to ask Axel and Sophie more about their story!
What inspired you to start this business?
We wanted to set up a business together and we kept coming back to herbs and spices as it’s the main difference for dishes around the world and we felt that what was on the market could be improved. We were delighted to add Old Hamlet to our company as we have long been supplying them with Fairtrade spices.
What keeps you going?
Our customers and suppliers.
Who is your role model that gets you motivated as an entrepreneur?
We admire many people for different reasons but mostly those who are driven by a passion for their products, provenance, ethics and environment.
What are some of your highlights/challenges since starting your business?
Steenbergs was the first company to be licensed for Fairtrade spices in the UK. Always a new challenge to overcome whether it’s the current vanilla market where vanilla is scarce and prohibitively expensive or bringing in the new company we bought in 2017 – Old Hamlet Wine and Spice – with the rest of the company
If you were to describe your brand in one sentence, what would it be?
Mulling Spices and Cocktail Flavours made with natural ingredients, chemical free to help you celebrate in style.
What tips do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Tackle one thing at a time, it can be daunting the amount of things you have to become an expert on.