Lets talk about sugar

Lets talk about sugar


One of the most common questions we get asked at Farmers Markets is about our sugar content. 


When creating ETCH, the health properties of the drinks were of high importance to us.  Knowing that many “Sugar Free” drinks brands in the marketplace use artificial sweeteners to make them more palatable, it was a key challenge to create drinks with only natural sugars.


So what role does sugar play in beverage making?  

From a food science and technology perspective, sugar (sucrose) plays functional roles in beverage production. Taste, colour, flavour, texture, fermentation, and preservation all are enhanced or facilitated by using sugar. 

At a consumption level it can also be the ‘pick me up’ and the ‘moreish’ element of a drink.


Why is there such a fuss about reducing sugar in drinks?


As with many things in life, it’s around moderation. The quantum of consumption as a society is the challenge. That’s why In June 2018, the Australian Beverages Council announced a pledge to the Federal Government that will see the non-alcoholic beverage industry commit to a 20 per cent reduction in sugar across the industry’s portfolio by 2025. 


It’s widely published that sugar needs to be managed as part of a healthy diet. In Australia that management is a reduction in quantity. Excess sugar is a driver of many health issues in our community and has a significant management cost.


Do ETCH Sparkling beverages contain sugar?


PLM – Davidson Plum, Riberry & Strawberry Gum and ZST – Fingerlime, Lemon Myrtle & Rosemary

ZST and PLM are completely free of sugar and achieve their flavour profile by the fruit and herbal  extracts and a small amount of monk fruit extract which is a natural sweetener extracted from the monk fruit.

HNY – Local Flora Mornington Peninsula Honey & Rosewater

Our HNY contains 2.4g (per 100ml) of natural sugar in the form of raw honey.  The bees that create this beautiful honey pollinate trees and flowers from the pristine Mornington Peninsula region and the honey adds beautiful complexity.


We are really proud of this aspect of our range of drinks and feel that they contain aroma and mouthfeel richness from the natural ingredients and do not rely on artificial flavours, preservatives, colours or sweeteners, allowing us to stand true to our name: ETCH = Every Time Choose Health.

Why Australian Native Ingredients?

Why Australian Native Ingredients?

Why Australian Native Ingredients?

When conducting our research and development back in 2018 Australia was in the grip of one of our worst droughts in centuries.  At the top of the news cycle was water use, environmental drivers causing the drought such as climate change, and the need for the human race to take action now.


Around the same time my Father organised a walk with a local Indigenous man called Lionel Lauch, a Gunditjmara Kirrae Wurrung-Bundjalung man. Lionel is Founder and CEO of an organisation on the Mornington Peninsula called Living Culture. Living Culture provide a doorway to educate people about the importance of keeping Aboriginal culture alive.

Lionel took my father, my brother and I on a guided walk, sharing some of his rich cultural knowledge about the region and the native plants growing where we were walking. He spoke about  nature like it is a supermarket and informed us on some of the many edible plants, leaves and berries that had sustained First Nations people and been utilised as a food source and medicinal source for millennia. I was amazed as I had run along these same tracks for years and was never aware of this the abundance that I was passing.

Lionel Lauch performing a Cleansing ceremony at our launch party in 2019

Native plants are unique because they are perfectly suited to the environment that they belong to. This means that they should survive on local rainfall patterns and in the local soil. Minimising water use, pesticide and herbicide practices in production. Better for the environment, better for the farmer, better for the consumer.


From a health and sustenance perspective Native Australian plants are packed with nutritional benefits. Studies have confirmed high levels of vitamins and minerals across different species. In such concentrated quantities that small amounts well surpass other introduced fruit and plant species. Antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, lutein, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, Iron, potassium to name a few. The concentrations vary depending plant species, we detail those contained within the plants we use on our product pages.


For us, this unveiled information sparked an inquiry to investigate the native botanicals that could be used in a beverage and led my wife Andy and I to thinking about what role we could we play as a brand to support a supply chain of change, and raise awareness to consumers.

ETCH Sparkling

ETCH Sparkling beverages are inspired by the native environment

Whilst Andy and I are not Indigenous, we acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia, their connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.


Our native plants have been understood and curated under the custodianship of First Nations people for millennia.


Through our learning, our teaching, our purchasing, partnerships and memberships we actively engage in the conversation and action to continue a pathway of shared culture with respect and acknowledgment.


Yours in good health,


Jason Quin

Co founder ETCH Sparkling

Why Alcohol Free Drinks?

Why Alcohol Free Drinks?

Why did we decide to make Alcohol Free drinks?

We’d like to share some of the logic and rationale as to why we chose to make alcohol free drinks at ETCH Sparkling.

ETCH Sparkling Co founders Jason & Andy Quin

It might interest you to know that in a survey* conducted in 2018/19 -21% of adult Australians had not consumed alcohol in the past 12 months.  It certainly surprised us!


Coming from a background in the wine industry and with family and friends who are regular consumers, we didn’t know anyone who didn’t enjoy a glass or two on a frequent occasion. So in 2018 when our brand idea had sparked, we began looking around for quality adult sophisticated beverage options and while there were some wonderful brands and products forging ahead in the market we noticed they were limited.


It seems that the recent health and wellbeing trend and the pandemic, has given rise to the number of alcohol free beverage options available and that many more are now gaining some critical mass. This is a wonderful thing, providing options for Australian consumers.  More brands equal more competition, increasing quality, targeting different segments and ultimately providing a better outcome for the consumer.

ETCH Sparkling is perfect for those looking for an adult beverage option

So it got us thinking, according to the above-mentioned survey 21%, or 1 in 5 adult Australians are not regularly consuming alcohol. Does the average restaurant menu have 21% dedicated to quality beverage options that are alcohol free to match your meal? Does your local retailer supplying adult drinks dedicate 21% shelf and fridge space to alcohol free beverages? In our research we have found the answer to be no.  Not yet.


Since that survey was released we have observed many foreword thinkers realising the opportunity with great success and proving thought leadership across various sections. There has been huge growth and we want to acknowledge those who have answered this call.  While fine dining restaurants have led the way by offering alcohol-free beverage pairing’s, it’s exciting to see so many in the restaurant and retail world following their lead.


Why do people drink non alcoholic drinks?

There are a myriad of reasons that people are choosing to drink alcohol free options.  For many it’s health reasons. Mental health and or physical health.  Some are realising alcohol doesn’t give them the same sense of enjoyment that it used to, other reasons could be not wanting to mix medication or drink while pregnant or simply wanting to live a more present active life. The reasons are varied and many. The encouraging sign of social conscience change is that the conversations are happening.  The breadth of brands, products and availability is increasing. These solutions answering the call for more adult positioned alcohol free beverages options.


For those choosing to moderate or live a sober lifestyle, having delicious beverage options that taste great and offer a sense of social inclusion can be game changing.


While at ETCH we consider ourselves an adult, alcohol free option, it is also an important to note that we are not trying to mimic an alcohol style.  We truly believe that a drink does not have to smell or taste like alcohol to be enjoyable.


At ETCH, we are so excited to see the growth and change that is rapidly occurring in the current Alcohol Free marketplace and are grateful to be a part of the social conscience movement.





*National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/national-drug-strategy-household-survey-2019/contents/summary