Did you know that as a herb, licorice is naturally over fifty times sweeter than sugar but without the calorific value? If you’ve tried our Black Adder brew, you’ll recognise the soothing, balancing and rejuvenating flavour, and this is why, along with its delicately sweet flavour, we use licorice in many of our herbal brews.
As a harmonising flavour, it has a similar effect to adding a pinch of salt to food to really bring out the flavour. And it is because of this quality that licorice is considered to enhance the power of synergy between the different herbs in a blend, delivering a flavour hit with every sip of your favourite brew. This magical plant really is pretty incredible!
As the global demand for licorice root is on the rise, in Kazakhstan, populations of licorice root are becoming endangered due to unsustainable harvesting from the wild. In the steppes of Kazakhstan, which is a sub-mountainous floodplain, it takes four years for the licorice to regenerate sufficiently for it to be harvested again. Sustainable certification of licorice is incredibly important as it ensures that areas are never over-harvested.
Our collectors work hard to carefully manage the areas that licorice is harvested in rotation, to ensure the populations are healthy and maintained. The Sustainable projects that protect the licorice, from the steppes of Georgia and Kazakhstan to the arid lands of north-eastern Spain, also ensure the collectors themselves are looked after.
Because of the nature of wild collection, our collection areas can be literally in the middle of nowhere – some-times as far as 60km from the nearest village. During licorice season the collectors stay in the collection area for five days, leaving for home at the weekend. The wild collection provides them with a secure, stable income, comparable with the income of a teacher in the same region. These areas provide limited opportunities for income generation, with young people typically migrating to urban areas in search of work.
With support from the Sustainable premium, the facilities in the collector camps improve year on year with sleeping, cooking and washing facilities added.
So next time you’re sitting down to enjoy a cup of your favourite brew, you can enjoy every sip, knowing that right from cultivation to cup we’ve taken care of our incredible ingredients in every brew.