Meet Long Rays – the Brisbane-born mixer making happy-hour drinks an all-Australian affair
It only takes a quick glance at the shelves of any independent bottle shop to realise Australia’s craft-spirits scene is in the best shape of its life. Our burgeoning distillery industry is producing world-beating tipples at a rapid clip, proving the potency of our country’s botanical bounty. Looking to match the quality of our spirits is Long Rays – an independent beverage brand born under the Queensland sun that is designing distillery-vetted and bartender-approved mixers that eschew synthetic additives in favour of home-grown ingredients – elevating and enhancing vodka sodas and gin and tonics forever.
It’s not an easy call pivoting from a career in business advisory to craft-beverage production, but it’s the savvy commercial skill-set that helped steel Shivam Reddy’s resolve and confidence in Long Rays – Shivam’s Brisbane-born boutique mixer company. While working in the UK, Shivam experienced the country’s craft-gin boom firsthand – noticing that as the spirit industry blossomed, so too did its mixer scene. Upon returning to Australia, Shivam saw our distilling sector tracing a similar upward trajectory but, aside from a few established brands and the usual mass-produced subjects, our mixer selection lacked the cutting-edge diversity enjoyed overseas. Putting his business acumen to good use, Shivam decided to take it upon himself to fill the glaring gap in the market and create a mixer that not only supported and complemented the diversity of our distillery scene, but was also lighter and better for our bodies than most sugar-loaded options while utilising home-grown ingredients to create a quintessentially Australian taste. In order to cater to the needs of the drinking populace, Shivam and his team embarked on an extensive research-and-development period, beginning in 2018 with several focus groups with local distillers, bartenders and drinkers. The first group helped shed insight into what ingredients and characteristics comprised the heart of Australian-made spirits, the second advised on how it could best be applied in a bar setting, while the third was crucial in determining the right flavour profile and overall drinkability. Armed with this information, the Long Rays team honed in on its recipes and business plan. The debut range officially launched in July 2019 – initially popping up across Brisbane at Black Sheep Bottle Shop’s five locations before gradually expanding to 80 clients by the end of last year.
At its core, Long Rays is powered by a dedication to being the perfect support act for spirits. Whereas some mixers are designed to be the hero of the drink, Long Rays’ tonic and sodas are lighter on the tongue and more subtle in flavour, helping the intended nuance to shine through while also doing away with harsh textures. Long Rays’ premium tonic is a beautiful accompaniment to gins and even the odd tequila, with a flavour profile boasting Tasmanian native mountain pepper and Queensland lemon myrtle (which helps balance the quinine notes) as well as a crisp soda finish. Similarly, the original soda is a versatile addition to many spirits, boasting Victorian spring water that has been given life with some balanced carbonation. Both products come in packs of four, with each 275-ml bottle containing enough liquid for two serves. Long Rays is on track to secure nationwide distribution over the coming months, with boutique retailers and distilleries in Queensland and interstate eagerly stocking Long Rays on its shelves. Much like the brand’s logo, the future is bright – Shivam and his team are experimenting with new additions to the Long Rays range, with mixers for darker spirits shaping up to be game-changers for Australia’s drinking scene.
Long Rays can be found at local sipping spots Granddad Jack’s in Miami, Quince Fromagerie in Tugun and Tumbulgum’s Husk Distillery, as well as select independent bottle shops. Hit the Long Rays website for the full list of local stockists.
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