Launched in October 2021, alcohol-free sparkling wine French Bloom is now available in 28 countries worldwide. Co-founder and CMO Maggie Taittinger speaks to db about the brand’s growth and upcoming Series A funding round.
“Health is the new wealth,” Taittinger tells the drinks business, and French Bloom is cashing in, tapping into a growing number of sober-curious consumers with its organic, halal-certified zero-proof French sparkling wine.
Taittinger is passionate about the brand’s cause; “those who decide not to drink an alcoholic beverage have every right to drink something as special, as elevated, as the person in front of them sipping their glass of Champagne or cocktail,” she says.
French Bloom looks to offer just this, and says that while it recognises the importance of sober consumers, the vast majority (80%) of its fans also drink alcohol, particularly fine wine and Champagne.
Taittinger came to the concept for the brand over four years ago, when she was responsible for the international development of the Michelin Guide, and found out she was pregnant with twins.
“For me, food and drink go together. And suddenly, I was at loss at what to drink while at client dinners in starred restaurants. For the first time in my life, I felt what it could feel like to be excluded for not drinking alcohol; excluded from the celebratory toasts at friends’ weddings; a bit on the side during the Apero at sunset with friends during summer holiday; a bit awkward at gallery openings with water — or even worse, nothing in my hand.”
She teamed up with business partner and French model Constance Jablonski to work on the brand. The pair spent more than two years on R&D and over 70 iterations to finally release two organic cuvées with 0.0% alcohol — Le Blanc and Le Rosé.
Wine was already in the family, as husband Rodolphe is the CEO and founder of Champagne Frerejean Freres, a Champagne house which specialises in grand crus in Avize.
And there may be some friendly competition between the pair. “The current Champagne process is the fruit of 400 years of R&D,” she says. “Today, with the creation of premium alcohol-free Sparkling wines, although we are using some of the techniques currently used in today’s wine process, we are also in need of developing a new know how almost starting from scratch.”
However, she is confident that alcohol-free quality will win out, and hopes that in the near future, “you will be able to drink grand cru quality wines without alcohol”. She says: “We won’t stop until we achieve that.”
French Bloom starts with 100% organic Chardonnay from the Languedoc region of France, before dealcoholising to 0.0%. “We then twist the recipe here,” she says, “and this is what we do differently. We add organic natural ingredients to build that flavour architecture, like organic lemon, to revive the wine and develop character and mouthfeel.”
The alcohol-free French sparkling wine contains no added sugar, sulfites or preservatives.
To date the company has raised €13 million from friends, family and strategic investors which include Jean Moueix from Petrus, Frédéric Biousse, Béatrice Cointreau. In the UK, the brand retails in Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Hedonsim Wines. Hotels and restaurants include Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Raffles at The OWO, The Mandrake, Claude Bossi at Bibendum, Hide Restaurant, The Ladbroke Hall, House of Koko, 67 Pall Mall.
French Bloom’s founders also plan to launch their first official Series A funding round in 2024.
Read the article at TheDrinkBusiness.com HERE.