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Drink Monday Founder Chris Boyd on the Future of Adult Drinks

Introduction

Many Americans resolve to cut back on alcohol at the start of a new year. The growth in popularity of non-alcoholic beverages suggests this could be part of a greater trend. Many health-conscious consumers seek alternatives not only to reduce their alcohol intake but also to reap the benefits of consuming less sugar and calories.

Drink Monday offers zero-calorie, sugar-free, and non-alcoholic beverages to let consumers enjoy the experience without any guilt. Monday’s product offerings currently include non-alcoholic gin, whisky, and a variety of cocktail kits. We reached out to co-founder and CEO Chris Boyd to learn more about the company’s origins and how the brand envisions its place in bars and restaurants.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

In your own words, how would you describe Drink Monday?

Chris Boyd

Monday is a pioneer in the non-alcoholic beverage category, supporting the mindful drinking movement and those taking a break from booze with a top-shelf cocktail experience in a space projected to grow 31% by 2024.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Chris Boyd

The idea was inspired on the night of my birthday a few years ago. It was a Sunday night, and I was out with my friends, sitting at the bar and having some gin. The bartender was a magician, serving up some amazing beverages, but after a couple, despite how much I was enjoying the goods, I stopped and switched to water. Everyone wondered why, and I answered, “Because tomorrow is Monday, and I have sh!t to do, and I want to do that sh!t well.” Curiosity sparked at that moment for me: “Why can’t I have proper adult cocktails without the alcohol so I can keep on tonight and be sharp in the morning?” 

A little later, I ran into a friend (Ben, now co-Founder at Monday) at the gym who I hadn’t seen in a while. We traded updates, and he asked, “So what’s next for you?” I let him know I was thinking about creating a non-alcoholic gin, and his eyes lit up, sharing that he too had a similar story (avid gin fan and serial entrepreneur with no time to feel sluggish after one too many). A few weeks later, Monday was born, and we’ve been serving the mindful drinking movement ever since.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Chris Boyd

We have a six-person founder group of local San Diego entrepreneurs who have known each other over the years and finally took the opportunity to combine forces to start and scale something we believe in deeply. Each has their own superpower that compliments the group, making us a one-stop shop internally. That makes us dangerously (in a good way) capable of moving quickly with quality at low cost.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

How is Drink Monday transforming the non-alcoholic beverage industry?

Chris Boyd

We have been here from the start (early days of 2019), but it’s candidly not about any one brand here. The rise of this category is a testament to people collectively coming together and refusing to choose between good health and great taste (think plant-based meats and alternative milks). It’s a punk rock movement shaking up cocktail culture, and we’re flat-out here to support it with the adult drinks people love minus the alcohol they’re trying to avoid.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Chris Boyd

As with any young, growing category, a rising tide floats all boats. This early in the game. There are no competitors. We are all here to serve the same movement, produce increasingly good-tasting products, and we need to band together to ensure exciting growth continues for the long-haul, pushing us toward the mainstream. Sure, maybe that comes across too optimistic, but even farther down the road, I don’t see cutthroat competition here. Look at your favorite bar or restaurant setup: there are hundreds of bottles, dozens of each variety of spirit, and they all have their place among favorites of bartenders and patrons alike. I see the same for non-alcoholic drinks, where several varieties of each non-alcoholic drink really set the stage for this being real and offering customers a deeply satisfying drinks experience. And I see Monday’s spirits playing a role, of course — sitting high on the top shelf.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Chris Boyd

In the words of my Russian weightlifting coach, “more everything.” We plan to continue scaling our digital footprint direct-to-consumer through Amazon and a handful of strategic partners like Huckberry, Food52, etc. We will also expand to new markets internationally (Canada, UK/EU, Australia, etc.). Further, we will march toward being on premises, meeting people where they’re eating and drinking in a bar, restaurant, or hotel as the world returns to a sense of normalcy.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Chris Boyd

I want investors to know we’re here to change the adult drinks game, have a demonstrated track record of success to date, and are outperforming the other, well-funded brands in our space online. We have the talent, know-how, and plan on deck. All that’s missing is your capital to fuel our journey toward this next phase of growth and success.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Chris Boyd

We’re here to normalize alcohol-free drinking globally, full stop. And we’ll keep blazing trails toward this audacious vision for as long as we believe we’re doing the most good at the helm. It’s very possible there will be a point in our future where handing over the reins to a strategic company more experienced in a particular stage of our journey could make sense (i.e. reach our ultimate end goal faster), and we’re open to that opportunity if/when the time comes.

We look forward to seeing where Chris and his team take the company. Drink Monday is currently raising on SeedInvest.

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About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.

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