My Drynuary: 'I'm inspired by brands that have revolutionized traditional F&B categories'
BD: Tell us about Impossibrew!
IMPOSSIBREW is a UK-based functional non-alc beer startup with a mission to create the world's most relaxing alternative to alcohol that offers that "one or two pint feeling". We brew top quality, enhanced 0.5% beers developed for relaxation to take a slice of a market expected to reach £23.27bn in 2025.
Founding the brand due to a health scare at mere 22, I began working with university professors to create a new kind of functional non-alcoholic beer designed for relaxation using active herbal ingredients. Since appearing on Dragons' Den, we've became Tiktok's biggest beer brand (all beer), now aiming to expand beyond a pure-D2C model.
What makes a good alcohol-free brew?
I think it's important to start with 'First Principles'. Why does alcohol-free brew exist in the first place? It's because people want to drink but don't want to in certain contexts (i.e, lifestyle choices). And why do we drink in the first place? It's the way it makes us feel (flavour coming a very close second).
So a good alcohol-free brew has to both taste and 'feel' somewhat like the real thing - much like a good meat alternative must try and resemble all aspects of the original.
Most alcohol-free beers are currently just 'box-ticking' exercises designed for niche occasions, we want to make one that both tasted, and felt close to the real thing. There's headway being made in the first category, and unto the second, functional ingredients are the future.
Have you tried many other alcohol-free beer brands? What’s the quality like across the category as a whole?
I started this journey because I wanted something more than just taste when I can't drink, so as a consumer first, I pretty much tried it all I think. The overall category has developed significantly over the years and with more quality-focused players - things are looking good.
How do you expect to see the alcohol-free beer market evolve in 2023?
The market has evolved a lot since the early days, especially with more specialist brands now focusing on craft alternatives to big non-alcoholic beer. As it's now quickly becoming a regular lifestyle for a lot of people, consumers will demand more from their staples beyond just taste alone, seeking a complete replacement experience. Much like the early days of the meat alternative movement settling with tofu, now evolving to ultra-realistic replacements.
What does your job involve?
As a small startup trying to do big things, there's a lot of firefighting going on and things always just go wrong. But with challenges comes opportunities. It's a multifaceted role but very rewarding indeed.
What will January and the rest of 2023 look like for Impossibrew?
January is a perfect time for people discovering new ways to drink, without actually drinking and it is one of our busiest times for sure.
Though as a small brand we can't afford giant billboards and other big brand awareness activities, we do what we can and focus on making entertaining, organic content for people to share - and that has led us to more than a million eyeballs on our Tiktok account in January alone.
2023 is going to be an incredibly exciting year. We grew 17x from 2021 and now we'll finally be starting to move beyond the D2C space. We'll be launching a wide array of new products and a series of mega collaborations. Watch this space.
What inspires you on your journey in the alcohol-free space?
Looking at brands and people that have revolutionised traditional food and drink categories (like Huel, Beyond Meat, Oatly etc.) to allow people to live healthier, yet uncompromising lives - they are huge sources of inspiration. And we hope to do the same, and in our case, to alcohol itself.
What’s your favorite Improssibrew product?
For me it's a niche pick, but the newly released Vanilla Stout is #1. I've always been a dark beer person, even though they're not too popular as a category compared to say Lagers or IPAs. This balance of bitter roasted malts and a hint of vanilla is simply perfect - I could have it everyday.