Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andreas Duess, Co-Founder of Auralis Botanical Brewing Company, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We brew alcohol-free botanical, slightly carbonated tonics with medicinal mushroom extracts flavoured with adaptogenic botanicals from Canada's boreal forests. The drinks are free from sugar, sweeteners, and anything artificial. Our core market is sober curious consumers who want to drink something better. People who want to go out, have fun with their friends, and wake up the next morning with a clear head and no hangover, either alcohol or sugar-induced.
A secondary market is mushroom lovers, people who are aware of the benefits of medicinal mushrooms and choose to include these in their diets and wellness regimes. I have been taking medicinal mushrooms for over 5 years now, with great results for my physical and mental health.
Tell us about yourself
I stopped drinking in 2019, just before the pandemic. I had noticed that even small amounts of alcohol were interrupting my sleep; I'd wake up at 3:00 am and lie awake for 2 hours. I decided to try if alcohol was to blame and tried a dry October with zero drinking. During this time, I also read the book "Sober Curious" by Ruby Warrington, which dives deep into alcohol's effects on the body and mind. It was a real eye-opener. At the end of the month, I felt so much better overall I decided to quit alcohol completely.
The next problem, of course, was what to drink now. I didn't feel like being the odd one out at parties or social events holding a glass of water, and I wasn't interested in sugary pops. For me, the answer was to experiment and formulate my own drinks, using functional mushrooms as a base, not just for their flavour but for their amazing properties. I found partners, and we launched our drinks about a year ago. We're now in about 400 stores across Canada, from health food stores to national grocery chains, from gyms to health clinics.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Launching any business is incredibly difficult, especially when using ingredients many people aren't yet familiar with. I believe that functional mushrooms and mushroom extracts are mainstreaming just the way kombucha did, but we invested a lot of effort into educating people.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Keeping everybody engaged and on the same page. People drift off; they have other projects and life events happening, so keeping the energy flowing can be hard at times.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Everything will take 5 times as long and cost 10 times as much as you think it will.
- Nothing is so hard that you can't learn it yourself, but often it's quicker and easier to pay an expert.
- From day one, sweat the financial aspect of the business. Get a good accountant and know where your money goes.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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