Empowering Female Entrepreneurs Shaping the Non-Alcoholic Drink Industry

Empowering Female Entrepreneurs Shaping the Non-Alcoholic Drink Industry

Welcome to our celebration of International Women’s Day which this year is celebrated on 8th March 2024! In this blog, we will share the rise of seven female entrepreneurs making a mark in the non-alcoholic drink industry and their innovative, uplifting and tasty concoctions.

Here at Drydrinker, we are proud to support these incredible women and stock a wide range of their non-alcoholic products, ranging from dark and spicy non-alcoholic spirits to juicy CBD-infused seltzers. In fact, you can even shop all the drinks by the female founders listed in this article in our International Women's Day collection!

So, let’s raise our glasses to these trailblazers and taste what their stories and brands bring to the sober movement scene!

The Landscape of the Non-Alcoholic Drink Industry

The non-alcoholic drink industry has boomed in recent years, driven by changing consumer preferences and a growing focus on health and wellness. A recent study highlighted that four in 10 UK adults have already cut out alcohol or are giving it a go, with 59% of these people stating that health was their primary reason.

Companies have jumped on this trend, birthing tasty, new alternatives such as craft non-alcoholic IPAs, functional beverages, and alcohol-free spirits, catering to the demand for health-conscious options. However, with an increasing number of people seeking alternatives, the market for non-alcoholic drinks has become highly competitive.

This presents challenges and unique opportunities for female entrepreneurs at the forefront of non-alcoholic brands, who need to stand taller than ever in an increasingly competitive market while embracing the opportunity to bring fresh, new ideas to the scene. As the industry evolves, innovation and product differentiation will be key to success. So, let’s look at how female powerhouses are currently shaking the scene!

7 Inspiring Female Founders of Delicious Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Here is our list of female-founded non-alcoholic drink companies. You can read more about each inspirational story of these seven women founders below, who are rising to new heights in the non-alcoholic drink industry.

Ellie Webb - Caleño

Ellie Webb is a prominent non-alcoholic drink industry figure known for her brand Caleño. Caleño offers a unique range of alcohol-free spirits that have gained popularity among health-conscious consumers. Her story began over five years ago when she was out in Bristol watching a Latin funk band with friends and noticed a gap in the non-alcoholic drinks market; there were either high-sugar soft drinks or premium-priced spirits, but nothing in between. And so, Ellie decided to create Caleño, inspired by her own experience and the gap in the market, infused with the vibrancy of her Columbian roots. She hosts The Joyful Drinker Podcast for ‘anyone who drinks but wants to drink a little less’ and continues to lead the way and bring fresh, tropical, sun-drenched flavours to the world of non-alcoholic spirits.

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Moa Gürbüzer - Oddbird

Moa birthed the Oddbird collection of alcohol-free wines after witnessing the negative influence that alcohol was having on society. Having worked as a family therapist and social worker for over twenty years and seeing recurring alcohol-related incidents in families, she decided to do something about it.

Founded in 2013, she worked with chemists (including her son) to figure out a de-alcoholisation process that would lift the alcohol whilst maintaining depth, taste and texture profiles. She now reigns as Scandinavia's female entrepreneur who
challenges norms and inspires a society liberated from alcohol, producing non-alcoholic wines, beers and spirits.

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Sonja Mitchell - Jump Ship

Sonja Mitchell loves sailing and hates hangovers. She launched Jump Ship in December 2019, and it took nearly a year to perfect her first beer, which then went on to win the best no and low alcohol lager in the World Beer Awards in 2021.

One of her 2024 priorities is to lead the way in terms of sustainability, and her latest brewery is 100% powered by renewable energy, fuelled by sustainable biomass and solar energy, sourced from woodlands within 15 miles of the brewery.

She is a woman on a mission and brews world-class alcohol-free beers in Scotland that are naturally less than 0.5% ABV with her motley crew.

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Tatiana Mercer & Meeta Gournay - Three Spirits

Tatiana Mercer & Meeta Gournay founded Three Spirits in 2018 alongside Dash Lilley (head herbalist & cofounder). Within three months, they had made it into over fifty leading restaurants and bars around London, having tapped into a new niche, focusing on what they put into the drink rather than highlighting what was taken out.

This led to an alchemy of active ingredients, such as adaptogens, nootropics, herbs and distillates, being added to their blends, offering consumers the chance to experience a change in state without alcohol in sight. Initially, they began with three drinks, the Livener, the Social and the Nightcap and have now expanded their range to add functional wines, such as Spark and Sharp.

The name ‘Three Spirit’ has a spiritual essence and describes someone who sits between drinking and not drinking, balancing mind, body and soul.

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Amanda Thomson - Thomson & Scott (Noughty)

Amanda Thomson was raised on a plant-based, no-sugar diet. These values filtrated through her vision of a 100% organic, vegan, halal-friendly, low-sugar and sustainable b-corp that provides premium non-alcoholic wines.

She studied for her Diploma in Wine at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris and launched her wine portfolio in London in 2016. After discovering that many alcohol-free wines contain high levels of sugar and chemicals, she wanted people to see the truth behind what they were consuming, inspiring changes in perception and opening up conversations about the ingredients behind the bottle.

From the beginning, Amanda has had a vision much larger than herself; she oozes transparency and accountability by promoting organic, vegan and sustainable production methods.

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Olivia Ferdi - TRIP

A post shared by Olivia Ferdi (@olivia.ferdi)

Olivia founded TRIP in August 2019 with her husband, Daniel Khoury. After personal experiences with CBD, involving burnout, anxiety and injury, the couple became entranced by the benefits of CBD. And so, they delved deep into researching the effects of CBD and birthed a non-alcoholic drinks range that aims to help people find calm in everyday chaos. The company's success exploded alongside the pandemic as mental health and well-being became a top priority for everyone.

Now, TRIP’s market share of CBD drinks is 90% and they continue to produce next-generation wellness drinks and products infused with CBD and powerhouse adaptogens.

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Kate Johnson - Highball Cocktails

Kate founded Highball Cocktails with her Husband, Red, in 2019. Having over twenty years of experience in marketing and brand-building, Kate birthed Highball Cocktails, alcohol-free, ready-to-drink versions of our favourite cocktail classics.

During her twenties, she experienced post-viral illness after being unwell with glandular fever, and after having children, she decided to cut down on drinking alcohol. She was voted one of the UK’s top 100 Female Entrepreneurs by F:Entreprenuer and has won Great Taste and IWSC Awards.

Kate sets a new standard for pre-mixed, non-alcoholic cocktails, which are meticulously handcrafted in small batches and free from synthetic sweeteners and artificial ingredients.

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The Honourable Mention: Daniya Stewart - Drydrinker Managing Director

 Daniya Stewart holding a glass on non alcoholic wine and smiling at the camera

While we shine a spotlight on the leading ladies of the non-alcoholic beverage world, we simply must tip our hats to Daniya Stewart, the Managing Director of Drydrinker, who stands out as our honorary number eight. Not a drink company founder (although she is a food company founder of Phomo), but a force to be reckoned with, Daniya has been pivotal in navigating Drydrinker to its position as the UK's premier alcohol-free store. Her keen market insights and passion for promoting healthier lifestyle choices have enriched the non-alcoholic drink landscape, making it more accessible and diverse than ever.

Daniya's leadership extends beyond business acumen; it's her genuine commitment to building a community around alcohol-free living that truly sets her apart. She embodies the spirit of innovation and inclusivity, ensuring that Drydrinker not only offers a wide range of choices to its customers but also educates and inspires them towards making healthier lifestyle decisions. While this list celebrates founders, Daniya Stewart deserves a special mention for her indispensable role in shaping the future of the non-alcoholic beverages industry from behind the scenes.

Challenges Faced by Women in the Industry

Women face many unique challenges when becoming successful entrepreneurs and experiencing growth in the non-alcoholic drink industry. Despite the industry's growth and increasing focus on diversity and inclusion, women in business still encounter barriers such as gender bias, limited access to funding and resources, and a lack of representation in leadership positions in a male-dominated world.

Being a female entrepreneur can also be a lonely journey, and navigating the highs and lows can be challenging when building a thriving business. Many of the above women share that they had to put in years' worth of effort, grit and determination to birth their brand, some working full-time in the early stage, alongside launching their own business.

For example, Ellie Webb worked on Caleño for two years before quitting her job. Others, such as Moa Gürbüzer, shared that she could not get any form of bank loan and had to borrow $14,000 from her hairdresser to get Oddbird off the ground. Similarly, Olivia and Daniel had to take a risk and pour their life savings into starting TRIP. These examples demonstrate the tenacity, determination and perseverance needed for female entrepreneurs to make waves in the non-alcoholic drink industry.

The Role of Women in Innovating the Industry

Women have played a significant role in driving innovation in the non-alcoholic drink industry. Their unique perspectives and experiences, such as experiencing pregnancy, chronic health conditions, raising young children and anxiety, have led to the creation of new and exciting products that cater to a multitude of needs. From developing flavoursome, functional drinks to pioneering sustainable brewing solutions, women have been at the forefront of pushing boundaries and challenging traditional norms in the industry. As more women continue to make their mark, their contributions will undoubtedly shape the future of the non-alcoholic drink industry.

Raising a Glass to Women in Business

Women deserve recognition for their innovative contributions to the non-alcoholic beverage industry. So let’s celebrate the determination, dedication and grit that has paved the way for the explosion of alcohol-free drinks now available on the market. 

As we raise a glass to these trailblazing women, we hope that the rise of women entrepreneurs continues to bring new perspectives and exciting alternatives to the world of non-alcoholic drinks. 

So, which story inspired you the most today?

Comment below; we would love to hear your thoughts.

Here at Drydrinker, we are proud to support the above, inspiring women by stocking a wide range of their non-alcoholic offerings; from light and zesty tropical spirits to Noughty non-alcoholic red wine, we’ve got it all. 

Shop the products lovingly created by the women in this article in our Female Founder Collection


Or if you just want to stay in the loop, simply follow us @drydrinker

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