Bemuse (Nolo Partner for August) Founder Interview

  1. Author: Conor Erb
  2. Date: September 10, 2021

Bemuse is a story of two passions combined, resulted in creating of our brand, which brings to the market a low alcohol sparkling mead – a completely new drinking experience.

The co-founder Anna Chalov has been a passionate consumer of low alcohol drinks for a long time. It started as it often happens with children, 16 years ago when Anna’s eldest child was born. Anna remembers how back then so few options were available for consumers who were moderating for some reason. Mostly one would need to resort to juices or lemonades or tonic water, all traditional sweet choices. Even as children became older and a sober lifestyle was no longer a necessity, Anna discovered that there was still very little space for alcohol for a modern woman with an active and positive outlook. There was just no time for alcohol consumption and the subsequent recovery. Whenever one wants to have a quality family event, a productive work meeting, an efficient gym workout, an immersive artistic experience, when pursuing your hobbies – at all times you need you senses work 100% for you, be in control of your body and mind, to be able to live your life fully.

At the same time, drinking culture is rooted deeply in our civilisation’s history. By denouncing the experience of tasting quality wines and beers completely, it feels like one is discarding millenniums of human innovation and strive for better quality of life in terms of food and drink.

This is why Anna has become incredibly enthusiastic when the low and no movement started, when new technologies emerged which allowed to produce high quality alcohol substitutes. A lot of thought and innovation went now into the willingness to give consumers a choice to be able to experience a complex taste pallet of a sophisticated drink without the negative consequences of alcohol.

Anna has always held demanding and exciting jobs in the past. After graduating from London Business School Anna joined private banking and subsequently has moved on to set up from scratch and to head a family office for one of her clients. In this role she has been dealing with successful entrepreneurs and has constantly been involved with start-ups, helping to kick-start early stages entrepreneurial initiatives as a manager. She learned that entrepreneurship is a hard work, but the most important for a successful enterprise is to have a passion for what you do, to be confident in your ability and to develop a relationship of trust with people you work with - your team, your partners, your suppliers, your clients.

And now Anna has embarked on her own entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder, bringing her passion for low alcohol drinks and her entrepreneurial experience into Bemuse.

Nataliya has a passion for creating and developing new, exciting and meaningful market innovations. For more than 25 years she has worked both as an individual and together with specialists from different disciplines (marketing, R&D, Design, Branding, etc.) in developing and testing new products and ideas and bringing these successfully to the market.

Nataliya has a broad range of experience working in almost every category you can think of, from consumer products, beauty, food & beverage, mother and child care, lighting, medical, intimate care, etc.)

She has worked together with a lot of well-known alcohol & soft drinks companies to develop new flavours, new formats, new packaging as well as creating and testing new event concepts and ideas.

With her experience in this field and the fact that she is a busy mum she also noticed there was a gap with a lack of diversity in the low/no alcohol drink category.

Nataliya and Anna together decided to look at the market creatively and instead of just adding another no/low alcohol beer (of which there are many), they decided to create a completely new drink experience.

This was therefore a much more challenging task, that pushed them to be really creative and to do a lot of in-depth research to find out what people wanted and what would inspire them to try a new drink experience.

They eventually settled on reviving an ancient drink that some people might know, but reinvented it in a modern and appealing way.

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