AUFI Ventures recently backed a new low-alcohol Gin brand called Quarter and we're psyched to see them launch to the world last week. A quick Google reveals the concept of 'moderation' splits opinion. Some poke at it as something embraced by those who lack spontaneity or joie de vivre. Others claim it to be the secret to a long and balanced life. Whilst the 'alcohol free' category has spiked in the last couple of years, selling the message that you either have it ("booze") or you don't, Quarter feels things needn't be so binary...
- Nick BellTell us about what you're doing with Quarter? In a world where non-alcohol brands are seemingly popping up everywhere, what interested you about the low-alc category?
Rohan RadhakrishnanQuarter is a 12% Light Gin that delivers a fraction of the alcohol, with no compromise on flavour. Quarter challenges the status quo and creates a new and unique way to moderate our drinking. Although there has been a lot happening in 'no-low' Spirits space, we actually took our initial inspiration from the Beer category. We loved products such as Camden Week Nite and Small Beer Co, that delivered all the flavour of a full-strength Beer, but with less of the impact (ABV, calories etc) at a lower strength (c.2% Vs 5%). This prompted the question; 'why hadn't this sort of product been developed in the Spirits industry?' We believed it shouldn't have to be all or nothing, so we dove into the middle ground and have been flying the flag for 'lower' alcohol and Light Spirits ever since.
- NBBeyond the product tasting amazing, which you’d assume is table stakes, you’ve clearly worked hard developing the brand. Can you tell us about that process and why it's so crucial to build out a visual world as rich as yours?
RRAs you say, getting the liquid right was objective number 1. It does not matter how engaging your brand is visually, if the product does not live up to the hype - then it was all for nothing. That is not to say that we haven't put a huge amount of emphasis and focus on the brand identity, packaging and digital content. We have stepped into a no man's land from a product perspective and wanted the physical and digital representation of the brand to reflect this. There is a certain amount of education required to explain who we are and what we do, especially as no one has done it before. We worked with the amazing Duzi Studio for over a year to define our identity, packaging, website and socials, in order to communicate our true point of difference. The very talented Hot Icarus then brought our brand strategy to life through our digital imagery and video content. We were not trying to walk, talk or act like any other Gin brand or Spirits company, because our offering and positioning is unlike that of our more traditional peers. Therefore, we needed our brand to speak to newness, disruption and to spark intrigue and excitement around this new sub-category of 'Light Spirits.'
- NBWhat does the future look like? Beyond Gin, you’re presumably looking to expand into other spirits?
RRWe want to become synonymous with the 'Light Spirits' category and continue to innovate in this space in order to challenge, and ask the question as to why Spirits have always been created the way they have been. Of course we still see the value and enjoyment in the full-strength and we totally get and appreciate why so many others have made 0% versions of our beloved Spirits, but we want to be the ones diving into the middle ground - delivering a new way to moderate our drinking across categories and formats. A long winded way of saying that we are due to launch our second Light Spirit into a new category within our first year and will continue to develop more innovative products in the future.
- NBAre there any other brands out there you’re looking to as inspiration at the moment? Who would be a dream brand partnership for you guys?
RRWe have taken a lot of inspiration from brands in the US such as Haus and Dirty Lemon, especially in terms of how they deliver their D2C experience to their customers. When launching only one product D2C through our own platform, we wanted to ensure that we heightened the digital experience, offering SMS ordering, bundles with our mixer partners (Double Dutch & Dash), as well as merchandise and other benefits for our subscription members (who are delivered bottles and mixers straight to their front door, on a monthly basis). In terms of dream partnerships, we are already thrilled to be working with the likes of Double Dutch and Dash - however, when looking at the longer term big picture stuff, we would be looking to team up with other lifestyle brands, in innovative and surprising sectors, to deliver unique experiences for our customers, and to open up a diverse range of people to a new way of moderating their alcohol intake.
- NBPositioning a product like this, in terms of its tone of voice and brand personality must have been an interesting exercise given the various routes one could take. How did you land where you did, and what made you excited about that territory particularly?
RRWhen trying to deliver a totally new product category to an established market, we wanted to ensure that our tone of voice and brand personality stood out and did not mirror that of our more traditional counterparts. We worked with revered brand strategist Robert Bean to define our positioning and values and have since brought these through all of our touchpoints, whether that be the arresting design of our bottle label, or a disruptive slogan on one of our advertisements. We are excited by the brand architecture that we have built and the opportunity to really push the boat out with our messaging, where perhaps other brands might be more restricted.
- NBWhere can people find Quarter, and how should they look to drink it?
RRQuarter is available to purchase through our website (www.quarterproof.com) and will be soon hitting the bar shelves in the on-trade, as well as through independent retailers. In terms of how best to drink it, we have created a few signature serves that bring a refreshingly light take on all the classics. For example, the Quarter&Tonic delivers all the flavour of a G&T, but at a quarter of the strength you can enjoy 4 for the impact of 1 (4x Q&T = 1x G&T). Our Quarter&Soda comes in at 40 calories per serve and is a really great way to keep sipping slow and low throughout the night. Our Quarter Martini or a 'Lowgronis' are also great alternatives to our old favourites, and again, bring us all the ritual and experience, but with added longevity and without the downsides! Our distiller also suggests just drinking Quarter neat over ice with a slice of grapefruit. Even neat, it is still less strong than an average glass of wine and a double is only 38 calories!