In conversation with

Imme Ermgassen

Co-founder, Botivo

Introduction

Introduction

Unlike other no alcohol aperitifs, Botivo isn’t just a dealcoholised version of something people already know and love: “it’s its own thing”. But when you know your product wins on taste, all you’ve got to do is get them to try it. We spoke to co-founder Imme Ermgassen about challenges they’ve faced, stories they’ve built and a brand world in which everyone’s invited. 

Question and Answer

Can you tell us more about Botivo and the concept of 'the yellow hour' which inspires your brand?

Botivo is a Big-Sipping Botanical Aperitivo (0% ABV) made in small batches by my co-founder Sam on a farm in Hertfordshire using apple cider vinegar. Our ACV is aged and infused to create a multilayered taste experience. Just add ice, soda or sparkling water and a slice of orange, and that’s it.

We use “The Yellow Hour” as our tagline because we’re all yellow, from our product to our playfulness to how we believe Botivo should be best enjoyed – in the golden hour when you clock-off work. It’s all about really savouring that moment and everything has been designed to make it pleasurable, from the wax opening to the orange slice ritual.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced launching the brand?

The biggest obstacle is that we’re creating a whole new thing, not just a non-alcoholic version of something else. Supermarkets like putting products in a box, but we want to break away from that. Our drink is inspired by aperitifs, but it’s its own thing.

Our second biggest obstacle is convincing our audience of the quality of the products in the space. A lot have been burned by underwhelming non alcoholic products in the past so they need to be convinced that it is different. We’ve had huge help as really prestigious sommeliers, food critics and restaurants loved the product really early on and shouted about it.

Building a brand story is essential for connecting with consumers. What’s Botivo’s story and how does it make you different from other brands?

Botivo is not about moderation. It’s about pleasure: the thing you drink when you want something delicious, it’s not just for when you are not drinking. Our product is great for digestion and gut health, but that’s not something we focus on, because our focus is enjoyment. Sam created Botivo from scratch, in search of incredible taste, and every batch is crafted with this care for the process and how to inject love into it. That’s why we position our brand as a hedonistic one not a moderation one.

“The biggest obstacle is that we're creating a whole new thing, not just a non-alcoholic version of something else. Supermarkets like putting products in a box, but we want to break away from that. Our drink is inspired by aperitifs, but it’s its own thing. ”

Did you have an audience in mind when you first launched Botivo? And has it changed much since then?

Our main audience is foodies in general. It’s a nice target to have – people passionate about the process, techniques, ingredients, the joy in food and drink. Since launching, our product hasn’t changed, but the customer we speak to is a little more grown-up, and their taste and palate reflects that.

As you keep growing, how will you continue challenging conventional ideas about craft beverages?

The key thing we want to do is continue being different and pushing the category. Doing things like limited-edition drops, always ensuring they are the first of their kind in the market. That’s our aim moving forward: pushing the boundary in experiences in taste.

If Botivo were to host a festival, what would it feel like?

Our brand world is illustrated by Rozalina Burkova, with 21 characters picked to represent Botivo. That’s what the festival should feel like: different characters together, enjoying great food and drink from different cultures, listening to joyful, timeless music. With a dress code of whatever they feel comfortable dancing in. Everyone is invited.

Magazines

  1. Feast in The Guardian
  2. The Atlantic
  3. Monocle
  4. The Economist

Podcasts

  1. Off Menu
  2. Fresh Air
  3. On Strategy ShowCase
  4. The Guilty Feminist

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