Feb 8, 2022
Ghia, a pioneering brand of non-alcoholic cocktails, takes its name from an Italian car designer who wanted his vehicles to convey the sophistication of a Ferrari while being as accessible as Fiat. It’s not surprising that the beverage brand’s aesthetic and business strategy are similar in nature.
Founded by former Glossier executive Mélanie Masarin, Ghia aligns three fast-growing beverage trends: premium ingredients, ready-to-drink cocktails and alcohol-free alternatives. Inspired by Mediterranean aperitivo culture, Ghia made its debut in June 2020 with flagship product The Aperitif, a glass-bottled, still beverage made with Riesling grape juice, gentian root, lemon balm, fig and elderflower. Ten months later, the company launched Le Spritz, a ready-to-drink, single-serve can made with Ghia’s signature formula and blended with sparkling water, yuzu and rosemary. In September, Ghia extended the brand once more with Ghia Ginger, a ginger-infused version of Le Spritz.
Lauded for its sleek package design, novel formulation and resonance with sober-curious consumers, Ghia is currently sold at several hundred retailers and direct-to-consumer via its website.
In an expansive interview featured in this episode, Masarin provided a deep dive into the origins, development and launch of Ghia, including the influence of her previous work experience at Goldman Sachs and Glossier, how the company pivoted when its plans to build as an experiential brand were sidelined by the pandemic and why she’s not thrilled about social media despite her prowess on Instagram. She also shared a remarkable story about how she won over Ghia’s brand and package designer, why “growing up in the right way” often means pumping the brakes and why she’s optimistic about achieving a lofty professional goal in the near future.
0:51: Mélanie Masarin, Founder & CEO, Ghia - Masarin spoke with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif about her recent travels in Mexico and Ghia’s new headquarters in Los Angeles, her documentation of the brand’s development via an Instagram stories compilation and why she has so many reservations about social media. She also discussed the origins of the brand name, the importance of her experience at Goldman Sachs and gaining a financial skill set at the investment bank, how focusing on creating “IRL” experiences at Glossier helped create a new way for customers to interact with the company and how she conceptualized Ghia beginning with her own personal lifestyle. Later, she recounted literally chasing down a branding expert for A-list musicians and convinced his firm to take on Ghia as a client, how Sweetgreen co-founder Nicolas Jammet became a key advisor to the company and why she’s both excited and guarded about the rising tide for non-alcoholic beverages.