I’m Adam, I am the founder of PURE and here is a quick Q&A to share a little about me, PURE, and how we got to where we are today…enjoy!
What was your lightbulb moment? What made you start up a vodka brand?
I knew from a young age I wanted to be an independent businessman.
At about 11/12 years old I used to run my own door to door car wash company in the local area called “Sparkle and Shine”. I used to buy wholesale sweets with my pocket money and sell them on the school playground. I was always searching for an idea, for something I cared about, for a big project and that was there from a young age.
The eureka moment came at the place where all good ideas come from… down the pub! It was 2016 and the time of the Instagram boom, where it truly took over and the health and fitness, organic, vegan, ‘clean living’ crazes all went mad! I have a great group of friends but we as a crowd are very much the average Joes. I noticed that the drinks orders amongst even this group of lads was changing. They were moving away from pints to a healthier vodka soda & lime, looking for a low calorie, lighter drink. I felt that there was more to this than just a change of drink – it was a cultural change and if it was happening in my local, I knew it would be happening elsewhere.
I decided I would make a vodka that ticked all the boxes of the modern, health-conscious, environmentally friendly, equality-conscious individual. Organic, vegan friendly, gluten free, clean i.e. no additives or preservatives, no carbs, no thickeners, as minimal calories as possible, a pure vodka! PURE stuck.
Background – tell us about you. Where are you from and what drives you on?
I am born and bred in Essex, a big football fan, I love my sport, any sport to be honest, doesn’t matter what it is but if it’s competitive and there’s passion from the players, even the curling can be exhilarating. I have a great, busy social life that has always included a lot of drinking, so I count myself somewhat of an expert in that field.
My working background is not anything to do with alcohol, though I once worked in the wine section at Waitrose, Billericay, as a squeaky voiced 16-year-old on my Saturday mornings!
What drives me? I’ve always wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. There’s nothing I hate more than coasting along taking it easy. I don’t think you can attribute that to something, it’s just the way you are.
People often ask me what it’ll take me to sell up, but I got into this to run my own business and I love the everyday back and forth and the decisions that make or break you. I’ve got enough of them wrong now and every day is a school day, but we’re still here so I like to think I must’ve got a few right too!
What’s been the hardest part of starting your own alcohol brand?
The hardest part? Wow, I don’t know. I will say that prior to starting out, I knew it would be hard, obviously, we all know it’s hard, however it has turned out to be 1,000 times as hard as I ever could’ve imagined. My admiration and respect for anyone who has started a company or brand themselves has grown 10-fold and I now feel a real empathy with people I meet who have been through or are going through the same. One thing I want try and do is partner with small brands and help small brands out wherever we can in the future. It’s a tough world out there and a rollercoaster life.
In terms of the hardest task, I think finding a distillery to work with was the toughest. That took over two years of searching and conversations with over 200 distilleries all over the UK. It was a long process which involved months and months of taste testings, and eventually finding the final distillery, then yet further months of back and forth with the master distiller until we ended up with a fantastic product that we’re delighted with.
I’d also add that I am the sole owner and going at it alone is tough. I think having someone to share the burden with would’ve made a big difference. It’s a huge adjustment when you go from the working world, in your office, in London, where you go on holiday and others are there still working, picking up the pieces – to then knowing that literally nothing happens unless you do it. It certainly takes some getting used to and is still challenging at times, though now we thankfully have some others on board sharing the load!
What was / Who was or is your inspiration in business?
Aside from footballers, one of my childhood idols, believe it or not, was Curtis “50 cent” Jackson, I loved his arrogance in business and his hustle has been second to none. He’s the nothing to something story on steroids – I’m not sure I can quite match him, but I admire his energy and drive.
Thankfully there’s plenty of places to look for inspiration in business, take a look at Bill Gates, on one of the. most famous and richest men ever to live, and it’s easy to find inspiration from him, someone who now gives so much back and dedicates his career almost entirely to charity work. A less well-known story I find inspiration from, is that of a man named Kai Cant, the founder of Abode and Hotbed. I look at all he’s accomplished with building out these entertainment brands and how much he gives back. He has founded the Abode Project that builds schools in Uganda. An incredible cause and a chance to genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. I hope that PURE reaches the levels where we can look to make a similar difference in our own way. That’s when you know you’ve done well and Kai is someone who looks to me like he’s doing just that.
For motivation – I would say, like many millennial entrepreneurs, some of my biggest motivation comes from inspirational videos on YouTube; from the speeches of Eric Thomas and Gary Vee to Al Pacino’s half time speech in Any Given Sunday – I’ve seen them all!
I also LOVE the podcast ‘Guy Raz: How I Built This’ – where he interviews successful businessmen and women from the last 50 years and talks through their highs and lows, their decisions that helped them make it and their general experiences and advice. I would recommend these to anyone starting a business, in fact to anyone full stop!
What brand do you admire?
Again, I’d have to say Abode / Hotbed for the reasons above. I love Riverford organic veg boxes for all they are doing on the organic / environment front and the awareness campaign they have. It’s phenomenal. I think education is the key with organic products – it’s amazing how little is actually known about the subject; a lot of people just think it’s some hipster green word that is codenamed for expensive and that’s just not the case and there’s so much to it.
Who is PURE for?
Some people say it’s a product designed for men, but I disagree with that.
If anything, the female population are way ahead of men in their awareness of what they put in to their bodies and maintaining balanced diets, and they are the folk we are targeting.
I’d also say that a younger, millennial generation is the target as they are generally the most concerned by climate change and the environmental aspects of going organic. Amongst millennials, this is a rapidly growing market.
But I guess it’s a product for everyone – once people know about it, have tasted it, and are educated on the benefits of the products and the work we are doing, we find that everyone is on board and it appeals to all!
The bottom line is, everyone wants to try something new, and an improved product to their norm.
What’s your favourite way to drink PURE?
We have our signature cocktail which is The Pink Lady, which is absolutely delightful. But it’s a tough question – there’s so many!
I love a Moscow mule, or our PURE Caipiroska, which swaps traditional lime for raspberries, or for something a little sweeter, a woo woo!
You can view these cocktails and many more in our Cocktail Hub.
What are your longer-term goals for PURE?
We want to build brand awareness. We want people to know our message and not just the fact we’re organic but what that means we’re committing ourselves to; the first aspects of: saving the bees, protecting animal habitats, preventing eutrophication, encouraging a healthy ecosystem, ensuring these chemicals aren’t making it in to your drink, supporting U.K. businesses… and the immediately impacting aspects of; being aware of what goes in to your body, minimising the bad but still being able to have a good time – it’s all about balance!
If these are the things people think of when they think of PURE, and the things they know they support when buying PURE, then I will sleep happy at night!
What’s next for PURE?
A lot. How much time have we got? We have alternate sized bottles – magnums and sample sizes on their way.
We have a spin off product just launching, – a LITE version of PURE @ 20% vol.
We have another spin off product coming in 2020 – this is something we are all really really excited about and something I will say no more on for now…
We are branching out across the country and getting in front of more and more people, for more and more events and activations, behind more and more bars, restaurants and clubs – were trying to make it as easy as possible for you to drink PURE wherever you go and make it so that when you see a range of vodkas behind the bar, you choose PURE and you know the reasons why it’s different!