Beverage Startups

Gnista – Party Like There’s A Tomorrow

Gnista - Party Like There's A TomorrowGnista – a Swedish non-alcoholic spirit brand promising the revolution. Recently, we have shared a review of Gnista with a joy. An aromatic and fresh startup is something we all have been waiting for. Today, I have a pleasure of talking with Erika Ollen, Founder at Gnista.

Who or what inspired you to create Gnista?

A few years ago, the first premium non-alcoholic spirit brand was launched, and soon others followed. They have in common that they are based on a “distilled” production method and transparent liquid, thus being positioned as “non-alcoholic gin”. In our opinion, the flavour of those didn’t resemble alcoholic spirits at all. And we simply thought there must be an opportunity for non-alcoholic spirits that better imitate the character of alcohol and spirits.

Gnista has a very pleasant taste. Can you tell us more about ingredients and main notes of your brand?

The first version, released September at Scandinavian bars and to consumers in Europe via e-commerce, is called Floral Wormwood. It’s aromatic and fresh on the nose, with bitter tones of wormwood and green herbs, hints of orange peel and has a floral finish.

In order to achieve a “spirit-like” end product, we’ve used a unique combination of modern gastronomy, food tech and classic spirit making techniques; where distillation, brewing and barrel ageing are central. Gnista is handcrafted and made in small batches, and since the ingredients/produce change with the season, you can expect small flavour variations between each batch.

Our second version/flavour is to be launched this spring and will have a very different character, to complement Floral Wormwood and better suit people who’re into Whiskey and Rhum.

Releasing a unique beverage brand is quite challenging. What difficulties did you face so far? What is the hardest part of creating and launching a beverage brand?

We launched another drinks brand in 2015 and all learnings from that period has been put into Gnista! Our approach this time has been to work in close collaboration with great bars from the start, in order to create a product that actually has the ability to replace spirits in drinks.

Still, two things have been new and challenging this time around: 1) The development process – since it contains a variety of methods and products, it’s taken much testing (and conclusion that we need a master blender who can make the final adjustment even when produce and seasons differ).

And 2) Another thing we’ve learnt is how the industry works when it comes to partnerships and collaborations – better bars and chains often have paid partnerships with the established spirit brands. Which has made us realise that an established partner when going global would make life easier!

Gnista is a unique brand with a lot of energy and courage. Who is your target market?

People who like the complex and challenging taste of fine spirits, but who sometimes or always want to avoid the alcohol (including the growing group of “sober curious”).

Gnista - Party Like There's A Tomorrow Gnista is a Swedish word which means ”spark”. Why this name was picked for your beverage brand?

Cocktails and spirits have for decades been an obvious part in most peoples’ lives. We say let the moments and the cocktails live on! But believe alcohol has become obsolete. Our pursuit to create non-alcoholic spirits truly resembling fine spirits – that’s our spark.

What is the biggest milestone you aim to reach in 2020?

Enter new markets both through and continue to drive the trend of better low/no cocktails.

In your opinion, what are the biggest trends in the beverage market every startup should notice in this year?

THC/CBD and other functional aspects. But also craftiness, and more flavour specific woody, botanical, bitter and smoky.

What advice would you had given yourself before you started out in the beverage business?

Stern determination is needed at all times, and nothing ever comes for free.

For more information visit Gnista’s website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

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