Proud of You: Q&A with Owen Grogan, Head of Partnerships & Experience at Boisson - Boisson

Proud of You: Q&A with Owen Grogan, Head of Partnerships & Experience at Boisson

Posted by Boisson Staff on

It’s Pride month, the month to celebrate the impact that LGBTQ+ communities have had on history, and this year, we decided to highlight how these communities supported our own growth here, at Boisson. To recognize the contributions of LGBTQ+ folks to the rise of the sober curious lifestyle, we sat down with our teammate Owen Grogan—Head of Partnerships & Experience at Boisson—to chat about his journey as an LGBTQ+ employee, his challenges and inspiration, and how mindful drinking and queer culture overlap and magnify each other. Read on to learn about Owen’s background and his aspirations, the message he would like to share with the community and allies who support diversity and inclusivity, and how each of us can give back and pay homage to queer individuals in a thoughtful, meaningful and authentic way.


To start off, we'd love for our readers to get to know you better. Could you share a brief intro about yourself and talk about what specifically drew you to Boisson and its mission?

 Sure thing. Hi guys! I'm Owen—I'm the Head of Partnerships & Experience for Boisson. It's hard to believe I'm in this dream role, as it feels like the culmination of so much of my personal & professional path to date. I've worked for almost a decade in the alcoholic beverage industry, notably across Moët Hennessy, helping to grow their portfolio of wines & spirits, both here in the US and globally. When the pandemic hit, I decided to take a pause on my career to reset and assess not only my next steps professionally, but my mental health and in part, my relationship with alcohol. Crazy enough, right around the same time, I was introduced to Boisson in its nascent stage, and an opportunity presented itself to help build the partnerships arm of the business. I feel so happy and lucky to work for a company that is so closely aligned with my professional experience and personal choices—how many people can say that?!

Could you provide some insights on how the LGBTQ+ community intersects with the emerging trend of health-conscious and mindful drinking?

When you think about the LGBTQ+ community and the difficult journey most of us have had navigating a life of inequality & personal hardship, it's no surprise that drinking and other means of coping (like drugs, sex, etc.) run rampant in the community—as substances of any kind are certainly used as an escape from the tough reality at hand or past trauma experienced. Though drinking culture is still very prevalent amongst us, the LGBTQ+ community is built upon a foundation of inclusivity, and therefore, the trend of health-conscious and mindful ANYTHING is something that is not only accepted, but celebrated!


With so many questionable, salesy Pride campaigns, what bugs you the most and what is the right way to give back to the LGBTQ+ communities?

Cringe. Cringe. Cringe. So many brands miss the mark year after year—not only with Pride campaigns, but really any celebration of minority communities. Don't do it unless you have something meaningful or impactful to contribute or it has a direct tie to the mission of your business. Frankly, if you are a company that has zero representation or is doing nothing financially to support our community, please kindly save the rainbow logos for the "what not to do" slide of your brand guidelines. :)


Can you talk about any specific challenges or opportunities you've encountered as an LGBTQ+ employee in the non-alcoholic drinks industry?

Representation! Especially in the on-prem: gay bars, I'm looking at you! We've got to get more options available on your menus—my anxiety can't take another Red Bull. LGBTQ+-founded/owned/operated brands, where are you at? I want to work with you, too. The non-alc category needs some more flare & charisma. Perhaps, my next venture ;)


Are there any particular individuals or movements that have inspired you in your career within the non-alc drinks industry or beyond?

I'm constantly inspired by the work & advocacy of the non-profit organization called The Trevor Project—if you aren't familiar, stop reading this blog, check them out & consider volunteering or donating. They are the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth, providing 24/7 confidential crisis support. This is such an important resource and one that we are happy to be in support of.


What are some of your favorite venues/bars in NYC/LA that align with the non-alcoholic drinks scene? Where can we find you on a Friday night?

 The Exley in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has to be my favorite gay bar right now, not only for the impeccable vibes, but because it’s one of the few gay bars that actually have an interesting, dare I say robust, zero-proof offering. You can find me there on any given Friday night sipping on a Spiritless NOld Fashioned.


Are there any specific LGBTQ+-focused events or initiatives Boisson has been involved with or plans to show support during Pride month?

Hell yes! We'll be celebrating Pride in both our New York City & San Francisco markets with some in-store tastings around the pride parades. Take a look at our events page on the website for where & when, so that you can join us! In NYC, we'll be supporting a Pride celebration that is raising money for The Trevor Project, and we're also working with our partners over at Barry's Bootcamp to stock all of their pride workouts with products for some post-class sips.


Do you notice any specific flavors or drink profiles that have a strong resonance within the LGBTQ+ community? We'd love to hear about any particular favorites or recommendations you have for non-alcoholic drink recipes that you personally enjoy.

Hmmm… I'd say anything RTD resonates well. We're no stranger to a weekend getaway to Fire Island Pines or a Saturday afternoon at Christopher St. Pier, so anything easy to pack and carry is a big win for optimal consumption. We all know the gays run on caffeine, and let me tell you—I'm the posterboard for this. Kin Spritz? Yes, please. 


Finally, what message would you like to share with the community and allies who support Boisson and its mission of inclusivity and diversity?

"Thank you. Without your support, we would never be able to share the hugely important world of non-alc with this community or anyone for that matter! We strive to make drinking a more positive and inclusive experience, and your role in supporting us has been pivotal to our success in doing so."

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