Read our story: T.I.N.A in Broadsheet


We recently had the pleasure of talking with Tomas Telegramma for Broadsheet about our approach to non alcoholic craft beverages and how we built T.I.N.A:

Melbourne beverage brand TINA is 100 per cent sure what it isn’t: the name is an acronym for “This Is Not Alcohol”. But what it is? That’s a little harder to categorise.

So much so that co-founders (and cousins) Christina Trabucco and Imogen Hayes try not to. “That’s kind of the schtick,” Trabucco says. “You know when people spend all their time trying to categorise music? Like, ‘This is shoegaze’. It’s boring – just enjoy it!”

With the tagline “all natural, lightly sparkling, deliciously complex, no alcohol”, TINA (This Is Not Alcohol) is a natural fit on the booze-free section of a drinks list. But in making it, Trabucco and Hayes were more interested in flavour than nuzzling into the non-alc market. “Beverage is our common thread,” Trabucco says. “It was meant to be, in that way.”

Since 2013, Trabucco has been working to give Australians the same level of understanding and appreciation for tea as they have for coffee. “[Tea is] about a decade behind coffee,” she figures. Through her Carlton cafe and wholesale business, Assembly, she sources and shares rare-gem teas from all over the world, particularly East Asia.

Meanwhile, Hayes was in the wine-export world. Selling mainly to Asia and the US, she spent time living in Hong Kong and Taiwan, learning Mandarin along the way. So when Trabucco invited her on a tea-buying trip back to Taiwan, she was in. And it sparked something.

“I really began to notice the synergy between tea and wine – and us,” Hayes says. “I saw the parallels between the complexity of tea and how it’s produced, which I knew very little about, and also the tannin structure that it can create in a beverage.”

On that trip, one Taiwanese tea blew Trabucco’s mind: it was a high-mountain oolong called Dong Ding. “It’s wildly complex, incredibly floral, almost biscuity, there’s honeydew melon,” she says. “Nothing else tastes like that. It’s still my favourite tea.”

Having a vino in Carlton Wine Room just before Covid shut the world down, Trabucco and Hayes decided that tea was to form the basis of their debut drink: TINA 1.0.

You can read the full interview and learn about us here

Photos by Peter Tarasiuk



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