Why I created NONA June

I was raised near the Bourgoyen-Ossemeersen nature reserve, just a stone’s throws away from the bustling city of Ghent. When I was just a kid, my friends and I played for hours in the lush pastures around us. I would grab herbs like stinging nettle and raspberry leaf to make wild teas and infusions. Being so close to nature I developed an interest in the world of herbs and spices and what I could do with them.

That passion for nature and love for experimentation remained throughout my school career. When I went to the University in Ghent, it seemed obvious to try and combine these two. Pursuing a degree in bioscience engineering with a minor in food technology allowed me to study how drinks are developed and how to innovate these processes.

On a mid-summer Friday night in 2017, some friends and I decided to have some drinks after work. The place was packed, a nice tune was playing in the background and the atmosphere was amazing. I was looking for a non-alcoholic drink, but the bar only offered a very limited selection. I picked one of the mocktails they were serving. Unfortunately, the drink I got was way too sweet and had no complexity whatsoever. I was disappointed I couldn’t find a non-alcoholic alternative for the cocktails I love. I believe that, whatever the reason you're not drinking, you shouldn't have to compromise on flavour and experience. I quickly realised that I wasn't the only one looking for complex alternatives, and the idea of creating a premium non-alcoholic spirit was born.

Soon after, I began experimenting with herbs and botanicals in my living room, to great entertainment of my visiting friends and family. It wasn’t for long that jars and flasks covered every surface of the living room table. I frequently enlisted the help of chefs, bartenders and gin enthusiasts, in order to perfect the flavour pattern. After testing and sampling for about a year, I came up with a sophisticated but balanced spirit. To name my creation I looked at the production process. NONA is the Latin word for nine, as 9 botanicals make up the spirit. June refers to the juniper berry used during distillation. Juniper berry is also the main ingredient of gin, the inspiration of the spirit.

The first batch of 1000 bottles, which were all hand-labelled in my brother’s garage, sold out in three weeks. My first customers included The Jane, OAK, The Cobbler, and Boury, among other great Belgian restaurants & bars. Today, NONA June can be found in some of the best restaurant and bar concepts in five different countries.

NONA June was created to give you the choice of drinking differently. Our spirit inspires you to create sophisticated cocktails. No compromises should be made in flavour, experience and atmosphere when you are looking for a non-alcoholic option.

Interested in trying NONA June? Find a store near you or visit our online store.