Formerly the Managing Director at Champagne Lanson, Paul Beavis turned his attention to the alcohol-free category to help create London-headquartered Wild Idol: a 'vibrant and naturally alcohol-free' sparkling alternative to wine that's hand-crafted from a superior blend of grapes by expert winemakers to create a delicately bubbly drink that's vegan, gluten-free and ready to party.
Introduce us to Wild Idol...
Founded in 2021, Wild Idol is a premium, alcohol-free sparkling wine, celebrated for its unparalleled quality.
The meticulous skill and craftsmanship involved in perfecting Wild Idol’s White and Rosé variants took over two years to refine. Working with exceptional vineyards, we use winemaking techniques and a superior blend of grapes to produce the finest aromatics and the purest flavour.
The team behind Wild Idol includes myself alongside a group of specialists from the drinks business and the luxury sector.
Why did you choose the name ‘Wild Idol’?
The name Wild Idol represents a celebration of nature and the essence of living in the present moment. ‘Wild’ plays homage to nature and the natural world, while ‘Idol’ signifies standing for something significant and revered.
Our creature-like emblem is a sea lion's head adorned with a lion's mane, paying homage to our winemakers’ Kent origins. The Wild Idol Creature is full of untamed energy and freedom, reflecting the spirited taste profile and effervescent finish of our exceptional liquid.
What can we expect from the Wild Idol drinking experience?
Wild Idol is produced using the same techniques found in traditional winemaking, crafting a non-alcoholic version that closely mirrors its alcoholic counterpart, minus the alcohol content.
We’re not trying to replicate the taste of alcoholic beverages, but rather to craft the finest naturally alcohol-free option available.
Our production focuses on high-quality fruit and minimal intervention.
Wild Idol White is made of 100% Muller-Thurgau grapes, offering a clean, naturally fruit-forward flavour and an aromatic character.
By sourcing high quality grapes with pure varietal flavours, we can ensure that Wild Idol embodies these unique characteristics.
Similarly, Wild Idol Rosé is a blend of 85% Muller-Thurgau with 15% Merlot.
As with the White the Muller-Thurgau contributes aromatic and pure fruit notes, while the additional grape varieties enrich the blend, adding a depth of flavour and a beautiful hue.
Where can we find Wild Idol?
Our main market is in the UK, which is probably one of the most competitive markets in the world, especially within the premium sparkling beverage sector where champagne reigns supreme. Wild Idol isn’t about competing with other labels; it’s about offering consumers a premium, non-alcoholic choice.
Since our launch, Wild Idol has found its place in over 300 hotels and restaurants from The Dorchester Collection to Hilton Hotels, collaborating with renowned chefs like Tom Kerridge and Jason Atherton. Wild Idol is also stocked in premium retailers such as Harrods, Daylseford, Selfridges and available to buy online through our own website where we service customers directly, along with grocery listings such as Ocado, ensuring easy access to our products.
Who are your consumers?
With a market that’s 70% dominated by women seeking out alcohol-free alternatives, we cater to this strong female bias. While the audience profile spans various age groups, the demand is notably driven by Gen Z (also known as “generation sensible”) and millennials, who are embracing healthier choices and a ‘sober curious’ lifestyle.
The beauty of Wild Idol is that it is a truly inclusive product, with no age profile restrictions, catering to conscious hedonists striving to go ‘wild and be free’.
Your brand is very much about offering that ‘something special’ for alcohol-free drinkers at special occasions. Take us through how you’ve created that premium positioning.
The careful, meticulous process through which Wild Idol is produced is key when communicating Wild Idol’s elevated positioning. This process reflects that of traditional winemaking, but without allowing the fermentation process to occur, which means minimal intervention is required.
We are committed to providing a premium alcohol-free alternative that never compromises on taste or style! Each product is beautifully presented which perfectly complements the unparalleled quality of our non-alcoholic sparkling wines, perfectly suitable for any occasion.
Setting a precedent, we are also the first naturally non-alcoholic sparkling to declare vintages from our label. Through our rigorous creation techniques, each vintage encapsulates the authentic essence of its year, ensuring a truly exceptional experience.
What does your job involve?
My job is multifaceted and covers all disciplines of starting a business including sales, marketing, finance, logistics and brand development. As we steadily grow, our vision is to work in the key international markets, aiming to create value and introduce Wild Idol to the right global audience.
One of the main opportunities is the wider and authentic purpose for our brand, especially in engaging everyone in key moments and being part of the wider picture. Wild Idol is a proud member of 1% for the Planet - a global organisation dedicated to addressing the world’s most pressing environmental issues. As a 1% member, we have committed to donating 1% of our annual sales to environmental causes that drive true on-the-ground change.
Do you see a peak in sales in January?
Actually, the festive season of November and December traditionally tends to be a peak period in the sparkling realm, notably because there is something about bubbles that brings people together during special moments. Undoubtedly, Christmas marks our busiest trading time, but Wild Idol continues to thrive beyond seasonal festivities as it can be enjoyed all year round.
Dry January is also another key time for us as more people look to embrace this month for a variety of reasons, whether it's to moderate, abstain or to kick start a healthier 2024. We aspire to be the preferred premium alcohol-free sparkling choice during this period, extending our appeal to those seeking reduced alcohol intake beyond Dry January.
Our retailers and venues have also responded to this Dry January demand, amplifying their drinks offerings to include premium alcohol-free options. For example, Searcys At The Gherkin will be offering an alcohol-free afternoon tea with Wild Idol throughout January, catering to this growing trend.
And what should we look out for from your company in the rest of this year?
As Wild Idol continues its journey since its inception, we've achieved notable milestones. Our products are now proudly available in retailers like Harrods, Selfridges, and Daylesford, and are listed in prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants, top-tier hotels, exclusive private members clubs and bars.
Expanding our footprint internationally is a key focus. We've successfully entered the flourishing Middle East no-alcohol market, with strategic plans underway for expansion into the US market. Adding to our lineup, we're excited to introduce our half bottle selection in both rosé and white variants. Building on this enthusiasm, we've recently launched magnums.
What inspires you on your low/no alcohol journey?
What inspires me on my no/low journey is that we are creating a brand new category and within that we are playing our role in the premium naturally alcohol-free segment.
Throughout one's career, having the ability to do something like this is very unique and rare and knowing that there is a bigger purpose behind the role Wild Idol plays in people's lives is very inspiring.