There’s something beautiful about a bottle of wine. Not just the taste of it, but the experience of sharing a bottle – as opposed to sharing multiple bottles of beers or individually served cocktails. A bottle brings people together around a table, where you can all partake the activity of smelling and tasting and drinking the same delicious drink, and still have a slightly different tasting or drinking experience than the person next to you.
And then you wake up with a hangover from having too much fun, and you miss your morning boxing class, rush to work, and chug some extra coffee hoping that will keep you sharp. Oh, and a fistful of Advil.
What if you could redo this scenario without the that super un-fun second part?
That’s what Jen Batchelor was stuck on before she came up with Kin Euphorics, a non-alcoholic beverage-alternative that contains botanicals, adaptogens (stress-relievers), and nootropics (cognitive improvers). Kin refers to itself as the world’s first “euphoric” that will “elevate your state, connect with others, and take back (y)our morning afters.”
“The botanical ingredients are only 1/3 of what makes up the euphorics experience,” says Batchelor, the founder of Kin Euphorics. “Stress-curbing adaptogens (which can also come from the fungi world), hand-selected nootropics, and functional botanicals found in Kin are combined to create a crescendo of elevating effects that are sustained or tempered on the back end to avoid the typical crash or hangover.”
Did we mention there’s no alcohol in it?
Discovering the Need for a Bar-Friendly, Booze-Free Category
First, Kin Euphorics identified the need: Kin found that there are at least 50 shades of sobriety. While consumers love being social, they don’t love drinking all the time, which puts them in an awkward (and unique) position if they want to have a fun night out. Sometimes you’re just not up for drinking, sometimes you have one cocktail on an empty stomach and you need to switch to something else for a bit – either way, there aren’t a lot of options out there.
“The people [in NYC] are the hardest working, most creative people in the world. Most everyone of our die hard Kin fans have a side hustle, love to socialize and can’t afford to skip their morning meditation or boxing class in the am. They need a way to have their cake and eat it too, to keep their minds sharp and their bodies feeling great,” Batchelor says.
She saw this gap as an opportunity: Fifty shades of sobriety meant 50 more reasons to skip alcohol and consume a non-alcoholic option – typically a club soda, water, or Coke. In addition to the need for this product, Batchelor asked, why compromise on a good time?
“Our consumers flock to us because there was a gaping hole in the black and white world of drinking or not drinking, and rather than fill it with a mocktail (where the insult is baked right there into the nomenclature) we chose to craft a solution that had their modern, driven, inspiring lives, goals, and dreams in mind,” says Batchelor.
There was also the “recycling” factor: the same trend happening over and over again, just packaged a little differently each time.
“After years in the wellness industry, I grew tired of the trend-driven hamster wheel most recently known as “Detox to Retox,” she says. “I couldn’t believe people were finding themselves in the same vicious cycle as all the women I grew up with, only back then it was SlimFast, Coca-Cola classic, Jane Fonda, Repeat.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Detox to Retox is when you attend a hot yoga class (or equally sweaty class) following a night of excessive drinking, so you can drink again right after. This is one of a plethora of wellness regiments meant to reign in the effects of alcohol, which plays the role of a “guilty pleasure.”
“While everyone is distracted making ingredient-specific functional beverages and competing on flavor, we’ll be over here proving the more effective way to win the hearts of consumers is to help them feel some kind of way — on their terms,” she says. “We hope the market will follow suit and we intend to help that along so the world has more options to revel in good conscience and give voluntary liver poisoning the boot once and for all.”
Navigating Brand Strategy for a New Category – and a New Audience
For emerging categories like non-alcoholic bar options, there is by nature no example of how to market your new product. Gaining recognition and traction in the eyes of new consumers is not the only obstacle – you first have to communicate what your new product is.
The answer? Don’t tell consumers what you are. Show your consumers what your product is about.
“Our brand strategy will always center around uniting all creators and celebrating bliss as a birthright. To most, that might sound like just a couple of taglines more so than ‘sound strategies’ but, as category-creators, Kin is in a unique position to choose social mission over clever brand,” says Batchelor.
One glance at Kin’s online media and you’ll see what she’s talking about. The beautifully curated images on Kin’s Instagram feature the striking bottle design and scenes with stylish cocktail glasses and disco balls. There is also a dazzling, unusual collection of images that evoke a specifically glitzy-ritzy, sophisticated, elevated mood – images of velvety interior design, retro-future scenes, and colorful plants that consumers can associate with the experience of drinking Kin.
“The world is becoming ever more lonely,” she says. “Our modern lives are inundated by social feeds that, at best, are a parody of true social connection and intimacy. Ironically, we are living among more and more people every day as the cities we live in become more populated year over year. Yet our daily habits keep us strangers.”
In short, the message is, let’s connect over a bottle of Kin: create bliss without the booze, and enhance our human connection.
“When your belief system is intertwined with your product, your brand story is your personal story and that, you’ll find, is what you’re selling at the end of the day. People relate to people, people heal people — not products,” Batchelor says. “Non-attachment allows you to create for the common good and, more importantly, to give zero F’s. That’s important when you’re creating something meaningful, something game-changing.”