When Japan appointed their first official minister of loneliness last year, it became yet another proof point that stress and anxiety can and should be treated preventively. Luckily, the beverage space recognized that all of us can be in deep water from time to time and rushed to craft a cure for our mental health — whatever state it may be in. Meet Parch — an up-and-comer of the beverage scene who found remedy to our tension and angst in the nourishing power of nature. Inspired by the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert, Parch created flavorful RTD cocktails with a blend of adaptogens that’ll help the body restore its balanced state and finally calm our frayed nerves. Read on to learn more about ‘the Parch effect’ and what led to this much anticipated stress management discovery.
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and what has been your professional path before Parch?
Rudy & I crossed paths while we both worked for the largest spirit company in the world – Diageo. He was running the Agave portfolio of brands including Don Julio Tequila and I was creating new brand innovations like Ketel One Botanicals. After Rudy faced & beat a life-changing medical illness (cancer) he decided to remove alcohol from his life and together we created Parch to craft deliciously complex and carefully crafted adult beverages that never felt like a compromise.
We know that your drinks are inspired by the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert. Could you give us an example of how ‘what grows together goes together’ principle influenced the final recipe?
Agave is at the core of all our liquids and we build our recipes using fruits, botanicals and herbs that grow in the same terroir not only because nature has created naturally complimentary flavors but because we want to actively support the biodiversity of a healthy and balanced ecosystem (vs. monoculture crops).
What makes the Blue Weber Agave you use in your beverages so special?
We use the same organic Blue Weber Agave sourced from the Jalisco Highlands, that is used in the world's finest tequilas, including Don Julio 1942. Our piñas are harvested after 5-6 years of growth, slow-roasted in ovens and pressed to extract the 'agua miel'. What makes our non-alcoholic agave base so unique is that we use Agave Nectar, Agave Plant Fiber (inulin) and our own custom-made Agave Bitters.
Do you think your proprietary base spirit will be available as a standalone drink or are you more interested in developing RTD cocktails only?
We have two spirits in development with one ready to launch hopefully in 2023. It is an utterly unique NA spirit unlike anything in the market, but we have seen such good support for canned beverages that we have been busy developing new cocktails, more news to come in 2023.
Could you tell us more about the ‘Parch effect’?
We know most people drink alcoholic beverages to relax so in making adult beverages without ethanol (a well known neurotoxin) we wanted to find a healthier way to manage stress. Our bespoke blend of active adaptogens were chosen by our naturopathic doctor to work symbiotically by boosting your body's adrenal function. Each can contains 285mg of our custom blend of Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, American Ginseng & GABA. To ensure greatest efficacy, all our adaptogens are sustainably-sourced and GRAS-certified by the FDA and we will never overclaim or promise euphoria, sleep or getting you high.
We love your packaging design, it’s bold and really stands out. Is it mostly targeted at Gen Z or who is your top customer?
Thank you. Our packaging is thanks to the wonderful folks over at Young Jerks studio who shared our vision for this brand and are now co-owners of the company. We have customers across all ages, demos—and universally the aesthetic appeals. Our 'top customer' is really anyone who has found a place for Parch as compliment to their current drinking repertoire (whether that includes alcohol or not) and have a general appreciation for well-crafted products with a strong design aesthetic and mission to do better in the world.
Why did you choose to make your cocktails sparkling? Does carbonation really change how we perceive flavors?
As our name Parch conveys, we offer thirst quenching, refreshing cocktails inspired by the Sonoran Desert. And there is no better way to quench your thirst than with bubbles. Carbonation does also enhance the taste and elevates the character of individual ingredients as they bounce around your mouth. Lastly we wanted these drinks to be savored, not chugged, and bubbles force you to slow down and enjoy each sip.
The NA beverage industry is gladly embracing all kinds of components: adaptogens, nootropics, cannabis-derived elements to name a few. Do you think that cacti might become the next it-ingredient?
Agave already is an 'it' ingredient as the fast growing spirit category and we have seen Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit trending as a flavor and in the water space thanks to its bold look, taste and antioxidant rich benefits. 'It' ingredients become a double-edged sword, sure they are good for sales, but they can be devastating to the planet, so ensuring sustainable sourcing and processing of our ingredients is critical to retain a balanced ecosystem.
Our motto at Boisson is seeing the Glass Half Full. How do you think alcohol-free alternatives like yours allow people to see the glass half full?
At Parch, we want to ensure those who chose to drink less, differently or not at all never felt compromised by their choices. The Glass Half Full for us is about offering adults delicious tasting, complex and carefully crafted cocktails made with the highest quality plants, botanicals and herbs and just happen not to contain alcohol. Our brand should be equally appealing to those who drink alcohol and those who don't.