Dry Drinker’s Stuart Elkington meets Jess Hook, the woman behind stunning alcohol free Outfox wines.
Can you tell us your story?
I’ve always been interested in the drinks market, especially wine. I love the social element of drinking plus all the rituals – pouring a glass of wine after a long day at work, sharing a bottle, having a glass while cooking – but quite often I don’t want the alcohol.
This started my journey trying to find something that could replace all the elements I love about drinking, but without the alcohol.
I had to get fit quick and so cut all alcohol for 6 months while training
During this time, I got a place in the Marathon des Sables (a foot race across the Sahara). Not being a runner (at all!) I had to get fit quick and so cut all alcohol for 6 months while training.
This time showed just how much of my social life was centred around meeting friends in bars and just how rubbish the drinks options were (plus how uncomfortable others can be around you when you’re not drinking.)
I’m really proud of the products
It really cemented it for me: better options should be readily available.
It’s been more than 2 and a half years developing Outfox and getting it to market but I’m really proud of the products. And I’ve got so many ideas for the next ones coming through!
What is your company’s vision?
I created Outfox to help make dry drinking better. Drinks that taste great, and that don’t feel like the soft option. It was very important to me that while the drinks weren’t sweet and didn’t have lots of sugar or calories, they kept the ingrained rituals of drinking.
Hopefully we can help change the way people view drinking
Our ambition for the brand is to have products in multiple categories widely available both across trade and retail. Hopefully we can help change the way people view drinking, and their opinions on alcohol free options!
Why is it important to have non alcoholic drinks like Outfox on offer?
20% of people in the UK don’t drink and of those that do, more than half are trying to reduce their consumption.
So, attitudes around drinking are changing. People want to stop or regulate their drinking for lots of reasons – there’s been lots in the news about the effects of alcohol, and I think we’re going to see more news over the coming years.
We want the associated emotional benefits of drinking
But for a lot of people, this decision to moderate is really difficult because drinking is ingrained in their lives. A glass of champagne to celebrate, beers with the game, sharing a bottle of wine with friends to catch up … we want the associated emotional benefits. In these situations, a diet cola or glass of water feels a long way from what we’re after.
Outfox is a credible substitute to that glass of wine
With Outfox, it was important to me that we made drinks that could replicate these rituals and keep some of the positive elements of drinking. Outfox is a credible substitute to that glass of wine, be it when you’re not drinking at all or trying to reduce the amount you’re drinking that night.
What can our customers expect from Outfox?
Our drinks are always created with 3 core principles:
- Always under 0.5% ABV (‘alcohol free’ – our first products are less than 0.1% ABV, so are similar to a kombucha or orange juice)
- Always low in calories and sugar (with quarter the calories of wine and half the sugar of tonic)
- Never feel like the soft option
Your motto for life?
Fortune favours the brave
Quick fire round
- Favourite food? … Sushi
- Last holiday destination? … Las Vegas
- Last book?… Anything that promises to tell me how to run a business!!
- Last film? … Beast – not light watching!
- Cats or dogs?… Dogs – I have 2 spaniels that come into the office every day
- Curry or fish and chips?… Can I have both?
- Wine or beer?… Wine
You have a magic power for one day – what would it be and why?
To create more hours in a day so I can get more done!
Where will you be in 5 year’s time?
Still running around like a crazy person but hopefully with Outfox having moved into multiple categories and selling internationally.