Published on 6 December 2021
Cousins Chrissie Trabucco and Imogen Hayes were sick of being hungover. Using premium tea as a base, the pair set out to create a drink as complex and interesting as their favourite alcoholics, one that would neither derail weekends nor trip shame circuits. They've succeeded in a big way with T.I.N.A, which stands for This Is Not Alcohol, and well, maybe we're sick of being hungover, too. Here's Trabucco on producing a stand-up non-alc in a crowded space, and why it's set to take ground in 2022.
Who are you and what are you all about?
T.I.N.A is a modern beverage company that launched its pilot drink in July 2021 after rounds of complex sourcing and research and development. It’s been in the works and in the product development stage for about three years. T.I.N.A is Chrissie Trabucco and Imogen Hayes – equally obsessed with fine beverages in all forms, living serendipitously parallel lives in Melbourne and Sydney respectively. Also, fun to note: we’re cousins who grew up together in Queensland. Chrissie founded Assembly in 2013 and has since been exploring the world of coffee and tea through importing and distributing to other venues. Imogen is a wine marketer and wine nerd, who has spent the last ten years working across the Australia, Asia and US markets.
Give us the elevator pitch, what is T.I.N.A?
T.I.N.A is a high-mountain oolong-based tea drink, blended with fruit and natural botanicals and made with zero alcohol. Using premium tea as a base and introducing a combination of high-quality organic ingredients, the mission is to strike a balance of complex, drinkable and intriguing drinks that can be enjoyed anywhere, but especially in place of alcohol.
What excites you about this project?
The opportunity to be creative! To make something that is delicious and interesting and a little bit disruptive. It’s exciting to imagine and then create a beverage experience that includes something other than alcohol. It’s exciting to showcase some truly remarkable teas in a way that we don’t see too much.
Explain like we’re five, how do you make them?
We source high-quality, non-synthetic ingredients from Australia and abroad. We blend and balance our drinks by hand to ensure they have tannin, acid, fruit, aromatics and texture all in harmony in our lab in Carlton, before carbonating them offsite. Our drinks are very low in sugar and aim to be “deliciously complex”.
What are the perfect conditions to enjoy T.I.N.A.?
A wedding, wine bar, restaurant, New Year’s party, housewarming party, dinner party (see the party theme emerging). You might be on the dancefloor in your friend’s living room. “Happiness” by Alexis Jordan starts playing. You’re hitting your stride, all eyes are on you. You suddenly realise your dancing has regressed to flailing because you’ve had too many Negronis. You want to keep dancing but you also want to keep drinking. This is when you decide to swap to T.I.N.A.
You may have sore legs from dancing when you wake up tomorrow, but your head shouldn’t be sore as well. Or maybe you went too hard in lockdown and you’re taking a breather from booze, but you want something refreshing while you make a stir fry at home after a long day of work, and sparkling water isn’t going to cut it.
Is it here for a good time or a long time?
T.I.N.A is here to stay – there will be limited release drinks coming in 2022, but this is just the beginning.
T.I.N.A four-pack, $24, tinadrinks.com
You might also like
Sign up to our weekly news on Victoria's best food and drink.