The Los Angeles-born actress who effortlessly embodied an uptown New Yorker now is entrepreneur to a nonalcoholic beverage line while married to a gin-slinging spouse—there's no question that Blake Lively is a dynamic force with a knack to surprise and delight. We love Lively's refreshing take on mixers, whether you choose to mix them or not, so it was a great pleasure to chat with Ian Pilarski, Vice President of Sales at Betty Buzz. Read on—we hope you enjoy the flight!
What was the original inspiration to create Betty Buzz?
As a non-alcohol drinker, Blake had a clear vision that mixers were the unsung heroes of the drink world, and deserved just as much love as alcohol. She spent the last three years crafting Betty Buzz and she's excited for people to finally try her creation.
Where did the name Betty Buzz come from?
Blake's father's name was Ernest Brown Jr, but he was known as Ernie Lively. He gave up his last name when he married Blake's mother, and any success he, or Blake, had, the experience has been in a name that isn’t his. So when Blake was working hard to build Betty Buzz, she wanted any success to be in a name that was meaningful to him. Betty was his mother's and his sister’s name.
Why do you think poor quality mixers have been the norm until now? Is there an educational moment needed for consumers that they deserve better?
I believe it was initially due to a general lack of awareness, but consumers are quickly smartening up, reading nutritional panels, and paying closer attention to what they're putting into their bodies. It's the perfect timing for Betty Buzz to enter the market, as our products are arguably more delicious than many of the mainstream and premium mixers in the category. Betty Buzz is lower in calories, made with clean and natural ingredients, and contains real juice. Our sparkling grapefruit is 24% juice and it's pure magic!
How did you choose which flavors to launch with? We love that you have classics like tonic water, but also refreshing new takes like Meyer lemon club soda.
Blake went so far as to list out the most popular spirits in the market and the best flavors to pair with them. That was her starting point to make sure she created the best portfolio of mixers for what people liked and wanted to drink. Blake wanted drinks that weren’t too sweet that complemented food but weren't overpowering.
We love that, in contrast, Blake's husband has a gin company. How are they inspired by each other, both being in the beverage industry? Does it pose its challenges?
Mixing with Aviation Gin has obviously been a big part of the inspiration to create Betty Buzz. A welcome challenge has been playfully engaging with Aviation while winning as independent brands. Blake is an entrepreneur in her own right, and the playful banter between the brands helps to highlight that even further. At the end of the day, we're a mixer brand, so we want to be fun and engaging.
What's your favorite way to drink Betty Buzz—what's your go-to drink recipe?
1/3 Bottle Betty Buzz Sparkling Grapefruit
1/3 Bottle Betty Buzz Sparkling Lemon Lime
1/3 Bottle Betty Buzz Meyer Lemon
Fill glass halfway with ice. Slice citrus of choice and add to glass. Continuously layer in Sparkling Grapefruit, Sparkling Lemon Lime, and Meyer Lemon Club Soda. Gently slap or agitate sprigs of basil and mint and add to glass.
What has made you most proud on this journey of bringing Betty Buzz into the world?
With an extensive background in sales, and more specifically, in the mixer category, it's been been really amazing to see the overwhelmingly positive responses to Betty Buzz from buyers and retailers. The vast majority of our partners deeply believe in Betty Buzz and in Blake's vision, so watching people jump through hoops to get product on the shelves has been eye-opening and highly motivating. The best part is that buyers equally believe in the quality of the product as much as they believe in Blake's ability to support and promote them. On a personal level, Blake has helped me fundamentally change my relationship with alcohol in a positive way. I've found myself drinking significantly less alcohol, and my new reward after a long day of work is a Betty Buzz Sparkling Lemon-Lime and no longer a glass of wine.
Our motto at Boisson is seeing the Glass Half-Full. How do you think alcohol-free alternatives like Betty Buzz allows people to see the glass half-full?
I think choosing to drink less or not at all is an important lifestyle decision, and choosing to lean into NA alternatives can help empower you to take better control of your mental and physical health while simultaneously helping to manage mood and anxiety. We're excited to have Boisson as an early believer in Betty Buzz and as a partner, as I believe the NA movement is picking up speed and momentum. NA brands and bottle shops will ultimately help people lead more fulfilling lives.