Post content

Brand stories: Women in mindful drinking

Women Drinks Festival

*Images in banner courtesy of Spitalfields E1

We know that our Club Soda members, social media audiences and the general population of mindful drinkers is comprised of a larger percentage of women than men – but what about the brands, venues, and companies behind the companies who are helping to propel this scene forward, and provide a wider selection of options outside of booze? We spoke to four of the female founders from the brands who were a part of our Mindful Drinking Festival in London in July 2018, to find out whether this sector is showing a little more girl-power than others.

Fierce Botanics – Amanda Saurin

1) Fierce Botanics – your botanical, organic, handmade tonic is the brainchild of a group of women – can you tell us a little bit about the team behind the product?

The tonic has been my obsession for the last two years, I made numerous incarnations and then, as a team, we tasted weekly and I made small adjustments until we all agreed that we had arrived at a really beautiful drink. We are a team of women, all over 45 (except Bell and Rosi). As an older woman, I wanted to work with like-minded people and found Julie, Nicky, Nicki, Tara, Cate, Angie, Miranda, Rosi, Bell, Cammie and Lisa who work with me on Fierce.

I called the company ‘Fierce’ as a tribute to the women I work with. They are strong, funny, reliable, loyal and brilliant. We share the same taste in music and often dance and sing as we work. It is a very unusual workplace, there is no real hierarchy as such and we are all on the same rate of pay. Every person is critical to the success of the business, irrespective of role.

Julie, Nicky, Cate and I make the tonic. Tara and Lisa are Brand Ambassadors, Rosi and Bell help with sales, Cammie has been pivotal to our tasting team, Angie keeps the accounts under control and Miranda is responsible for growing our plants at the farm.

The beauty of working with women is the shared understanding and accommodation of one another – everything always gets done, no-one needs to be dominant, we create a rhythm to the day and a gentle way of working. If someone needs time off, the others take up the slack. The company works on respect and trust. We also laugh a lot

2) What was the inspiration behind its creation?

I’m in the curious position of working with a number of really good distilleries but I rarely drink alcohol. As part of my work, I help to create really interesting products that enhance spirits using actual plants. When I tasted the tonics on the market I was so disappointed, they were dull and two dimensional in flavour so I decided to reclaim tonic and make a proper Apothecary Tonic out of plants we grew and wild harvested rather than a cheap mixer. I wanted to make a drink that was as good on its own as it was with a spirit added. I particularly wanted to redefine adult non-alcoholic drinking from the inevitable elderflower cordial to something that was complex, exciting and with a clear provenance.

3) Have you noticed a difference in the number of women working in or founding companies in the ‘mindful drinking’ industry, compared to other sectors? 

I don’t know about other companies but for my own, out of all of us, only one drinks regularly. I think as older women, we can let our hair down and be pretty wild without the need for alcohol and we can wake up the next morning and feel great…Times are changing and women are great innovators, so I hope to see many more challenging the status quo of the drinks industry.

4) Where would you like to see the scene in two years time, including with your own brand, and what do you think is needed to get there?

I would really like Fierce Botanics available in good bars, restaurants and in interesting retail outlets. I think it’s time that mainstream venues regarded mindful drinkers as part of the norm rather than a specialist market. Where we are now reminds me of the time when vegetarians could only buy omelettes when eating out and then there was a thrilling explosion of non-meat based gastronomy. I hope the same thing happens in the non-alcohol scene. Why settle for anything less.

FruFresh – Debora Mazzitelli

1) FruFresh is your brand new drink brand – how did it get started? 

Frufresh is an idea of business I had in mind for a long time but I started working on it very recently. My contract as business manager terminated at the end of June this year, so I saw this as an opportunity to start my own business. I set myself a few targets for now and started selling the products at local markets. I am the only member of the team at the moment, however, my brother is always happy to get involved in his spare time.

2) What was the inspiration behind its creation?

The inspiration behind Frufresh is my passion for fresh made drinks and food. I noticed that people are more and more interested in healthy and fresh made products. I truly believe that there should be more alternatives for someone who doesn’t want to drink alcohol.

3) Have you noticed a difference in the number of women working in or founding companies in the ‘mindful drinking’ industry, compared to other sectors?

I have met other women who have founded a business in the ‘mindful drinking industry’. Although they have started in the last 4 years or so, I think that a new generation of women entrepreneurs is taking over the industry.

4) Where would you like to see the scene in two years time, including with your own brand, and what do you think is needed to get there?

In two years time, I would like to add some fermented drinks to my products and would like to start selling to pubs. There are not many alternatives to alcoholic drinks when you go to a pub, or in many cases, non-alcoholic drinks are made with artificial flavours and plenty of sugar. I would like to set my products range as a valid alternative to alcohol. To get there I would need a more structured production and a focused marketing campaign.

Nix & Kix – Chelsea Fumarola

1) Nix and Kix is the brainchild of two women – can you tell us a little bit about them and the team that works on the product?

Nix & Kix was first born in 2014 when friends and co-founders, Julia Kessler and Kerstin Robinson spotted a gap in the market for healthy, low-calorie soft drinks that were not packed full of sugar. They first met on an aeroplane 10 years prior, when travelling from Germany to the UK and have remained friends ever since. The Nix & Kix team is still led by both Julia & Kerstin on a daily basis, however, we have a very passionate and determined team, consisting of sales, marketing and operations. We have 6 full-time employees and 4 university placement students all working hard to make sure you stay #cayennehappy!

2) What was the inspiration behind its creation?

Whilst working in the corporate world, both Julia & Kerstin struggled to buy a soft drink that would help to re-energise and re-boost them that wasn’t packed with sugar and caffeine. There was a definite gap in the market for a delicious tasting drink that would actually benefit the consumer. After discovering that chillies have several benefits, such as metabolism boosting and energising properties, boom Nix & Kix was born!

3) Nix and Kix have exhibited at all of our festivals and has done incredibly well since its launch – where would you like to see the scene in two years time, including with your own brand, and what do you think is needed to get there?

We are so proud to be a part of the Mindful Drinking festival and have really enjoyed the journey so far, we know there is also so much more to come. Consumer behaviours are changing rapidly, with more and more people now drinking less than ever before. We want to see this trend continue and educate people on the benefits of cutting down or cutting out alcohol altogether. We also think it’s really important to remind people that soft drinks are fun and interesting! There are so many amazing and innovative flavours emerging and brands, such as Nix & Kix, want to be the market leaders in spicing up the soft drinks category! Let’s remove the stigma associated with soft drinks and get more and more people being mindful about their drinking habits.

Redemption Bar – Catherine Salway

1) Redemption Bar is London’s first alcohol-free and vegan bar/restaurant with Shoreditch and Notting Hill branches and is the brainchild of two awesome women – can you tell us a little bit about you and your co-founder?

Of course! Andrea’s CV includes running her own health food store in New Zealand, working for the experimental and forward-thinking Lamrock Café on Sydney’s Bondi Beach in the ‘80s, formal silver service French cuisine in Wellington and chefing for John Frieda in his Mayfair salon during the late ‘80s. All this before she took on the role of Head of Food for Pitcher & Piano, a brand she saw grow to food sales in excess of £20 million per annum and managing a team of 80 chefs. After the sale of Pitcher & Piano Andrea joined several of her colleagues in the purchase of Tootsies. They built the brand from 9 to 35 restaurants before they sold in 2004.  Since then, Andrea and I have worked together to build and grow Redemption Bar.

I studied economics at university before working at Virgin for 17 years starting in the press office for Virgin Cola before working my way up to Virgin Group brand director.  During my time at Virgin I led a diverse array of start-ups, innovations, marketing campaigns and customer service strategies globally (e.g. Virgin Mobile, V Festival). My big passions were the charity Virgin Unite and Virgin Group’s social media presence. I left the Virgin Group with the mission to start my own socially conscious brand – Redemption!

2) What was the inspiration behind its creation?

Our aim was to create a space that provided an alternative night out without having a night off. We wanted to prove that socialising with friends didn’t have to be at the expense of your health. We serve delicious plant-based, vegan and gluten-free food, refined sugar-free raw desserts as well as booze-free cocktails, wine and beer. It’s incredibly healthy without ever sacrificing flavour!  Our philosophy is that once you’ve made the decision to come to Redemption, you can’t make a bad decision for yourself or the planet.

3) Have you noticed a difference in the number of women working in or founding companies, brands or venues in the ‘mindful drinking’ industry, including health drinks and brands, compared to other sectors?

Yes, we have come across loads of awesome women who are building sustainable and wellness businesses and projects.  Women seem to be getting the holistic picture a bit faster than the menfolk who can be a bit focussed on just profit.

4) Where would you like to see the scene in two years time, including with your own venue, and what do you think is needed to get there?

We hope to see the movement towards a healthier and more sustainable way of life continue. With studies continuing to show us the negative health impacts from our current diets and how our lifestyles are unsustainable, we think it’s important to make altering current lifestyles accessible.

In order to achieve this, we have implemented a really exciting growth plan for Redemption Bar. This included successfully completed our crowdfunding campaign raising £300,000 (which we have done!) to contribute to the opening of new sites and the goal of global, ethical expansion through franchising. We want to spread the word about Redemption Bar and make living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle possible for everyone.

You can check out the other brands’ stories from our incredible selection of festival stalls/bars here.


If you’re thinking of doing a sober sprint, would like to cut down your drinking, stop for a while or quit completely – you can sign up to our FREE mailing list for advice, inspiration, events information and more. You can also join our private Facebook group to access our webinars live (check the ‘articles’ section for the saved videos) and to share stories, advice, and support with like-minded people on different stages of their journeys. Want to keep socialising but not sure which places are good for alcohol-free drink choices? Head to our Club Soda pub guide where we list the best places for mindful drinkers.

Club Soda is a “Pay What You Want” movement. If you liked this article or any of the other resources we provide, we ask that you donate on a one-off or regular basis. You can do it in our secure online shop using PayPal or a credit/debit card. Read more here.

jentree

Article By

Social Media Witch. Moderate drinker. Metal chick.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.