Taking the non-alcoholic drinks market to a new level

– Alan Tse and Christina Delay

Dr Christina Delay and Alan Tse CA founded Altina, a non-alcoholic beverage social enterprise that uses science and intellect to blend ideas and ingredients that create unexpected, intriguing and satisfying drinking experiences. It’s a company built out of passion. One that wants to provide drinkers with a social alternative that doesn’t stigmatise the desire not to drink alcohol. I sat down with Alan recently.

Christina has a Bachelor of Chemical Biotechnology and a Ph.D in Plant Biology and I have a Commerce Degree. Several years ago we were both working in the corporate sector as professional consultants. As is usual in this space there are a lot of social gatherings where drinking is normalised. We both wanted to drink less but found that there was social pressure to do so. By that I mean people would wonder if something was wrong if you didn’t want a drink.

There were no alternatives available aside from soft drink or lemon, lime and bitters. We wanted to do something about that. Firstly to normalise the choice of not having a drink, and secondly to be able to provide a really palatable alternative that people would embrace when they didn’t feel like a drink, but wanted to socialise.

Christina came up with the idea originally given her background, and because of mine, I knew we had the skill set to create a delicious product and get it to market.

In the social impact space people love ideas that will change the world, the challenge is how to realise them. Socialising over alcohol is a very entrenched social problem. Our brand message and product is about normalizing socializing over no- alcoholic drinking and reducing stigma of non-alcoholic drinking by creating crafty, delicious and sophisticated drinks, rather than trying to convert people to stop drinking - we know that would never happen for the majority in any community.

We have provided a solution where people can swap out a glass of alcoholic with a non-alcoholic product and still be part of the party; rather than asking people to change the way they normally behave.

Our product fit is right for the market– it’s an easy swap for an existing habit.

Everyday consumers are our target audience and we’re offering them a simple and delicious alternative that removes the social stigma associated with not having a drink.

It was hard. I think we were lucky because we started in Canberra. There are not many product based businesses there and we were the first non-alcoholic production business there. Importantly though we have a good product which is vital if you want to create lifetime value.

I want to say we were lucky in this regard. Three years ago there were effectively no non-alcoholic beverages available that tasted really good. When I started talking to retailers they said they’d give us a go so we started with small orders that just got bigger and bigger. The retailers themselves said they were amazed that the product was so popular.

Ideating. We had all these ideas and got the opportunity to test them and see what people thought. Starting a social impact business was new to us and we gained a lot of knowledge from experienced people in the sector who understood the space and how to make and idea in to a viable venture.

It was also through Mill House Ventures that we found out about SERVICE ONE and we couldn’t have gotten started without them.

Yes and no. We knew what success could looked like and we had the skill set to succeed. It was hard to fathom what making $1 million, $2 million and $5 million turnover meant but now we are on our way, it’s a great feeling.

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