Interview with Fae Soleimani, co-founder of Tcket Beer

Find out how Fae Soleimani used her experience working in sales and marketing in the food and drinks industry to launch non-alcoholic and alcohol-free beer brand Tcket.

What is Tcket Beer?

Tcket is a low/no (0.5ABV) saffron-infused, gluten-free craft beer made in the United Kingdom’s craft brewing heartland but with a proud Persian heritage.

What’s the state of play regarding the low/no alcohol drinks movement?

A recent Portman Group study suggested that today a quarter of British drinkers are actively seeking to reduce their alcoholic intake, including a third of all 18-24 year olds.

Latest estimates suggest that the UK’s Low/No category is worth about £235m (+506% since 2015) with beer the shining light when it comes to convincing consumers that alcohol-free needn’t mean short-changing taste buds.

The pandemic naturally led to significant reappraisal of family eating and drinking habits as ‘healthier living’ resonated ever louder as a prominent consumer trend.

In truth the move away from midday/mid-week drinking rituals was already afoot before lockdown, as reducing needless calories, a more balanced food and drinks outlook and a dwindling appetite for a session-based lifestyles was already in the ascendancy but there’s little doubt that the pandemic provided greater clarity of thought.

Back in the day non-alcoholic beer was sniffed at, deemed unduly sweet and cloying and with little resemblance to their alcoholic peers. Today tech advancement, the dynamism of the health-conscious movement and a growing participation of craft breweries and their highly prized brewery prowess means that this line is blurring

What’s the thinking behind Tcket Beer?

Ali my-cofounder was a former director of Shams beer a famous non-alcoholic beer from the Persian region, a brand with a prodigious reputation before the Iran revolution.

The thinking was to replicate the best traditions of this beloved beer but add a saffron-infused twist to create a truly functional vegan-friendly pale ale that showcased saffron’s manifold health benefits (mood lifting, raised energy levels and combatting oxidative stress….).

This is a full-bodied low/no beer with a meticulously balanced and distinctive taste, created from a combination of malted hops, barley, hops, orange, saffron and lavender. 

Does Tcket pair seamlessly with good food?

As with any well thought through craft beer an unrivalled ability to pair with great food is an absolute necessity. Like any well-balanced beer this is an aromatic beer than appeals to both male and female beer afficionados and goes especially well with seafood, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine and even sweet treats

Was lockdown pivotal to Tcket’s emergence?

Tcket was always going to happen but there was no question that Lockdown sped up the process. Ali and I actually had a holiday booked to Thailand before the pandemic put a stop to that, so we refocused our thoughts on launching our a modern low/no beer whose appeal would extend far beyond the festive ‘designated driver’ fraternity.

We read around our subject matter, got a better handle on the seismic growth of the low/no alcoholic movement and fostered a mutually beneficial partnership with a like-minded Northern craft brewery 

What usage occasions do you see beers like Tcket fulfilling?

Any that traditional beer would be considered for from fine meal accompaniment to eagerly anticipated friends and family reunions.

What was your career path pre-Tcket?

I have a sales and marketing background and have worked across 10 food and drinks categories over an 11 year time span (including low/no beer).

My passion has always been food and drink and my enthusiasm to become a brand owner was fuelled further by studying marketing management at the University of Westminster. I love the fact that we tap into the best British craft beer traditions but with a deliciously distinct saffron and lavender twist. 

What are the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome?

Beer infused with saffron and lavender does require a small leap of faith but is well worth the trouble!

And your most exciting high to date?

Being taken on by the Wise Bartender, a leading light in low-no online retail and a leading artisanal food wholesaler (CLF).

What are your plans for 2023?

A move into mainstream retail and off-licences PLUS the arrival of a Tcket lager.

And your best piece of advice for fellow entrepreneurs?

Follow your dreams and always expect the unexpected.

Find out more about Tcket.