13. How I Created the Duchess – Johannes Le Roux

August 15, 2020

Tribe Sober – Your Guide to Alcohol-free Living!

After running Tribe Sober for 5 years and helping hundreds of people to ditch the drink and embrace alcohol-free living, I’ve learned a thing or two.  My biggest insight has been that sharing our stories around alcohol is the most powerful way we can help others – that’s why the heart of this podcast is recovery stories.

In this episode I interview Johannes Le Roux.   I first met Johannes 5 years ago when Tribe Sober was very new and he had just developed The Duchess.  He kindly sent me samples whenever we had a workshop tasting, and it was usually the hot favourite amongst our participants!  There is an obvious synergy between our two companies, so it was good to catch up and shoot the breeze.

We both firmly believe that there is great value to be had in taking a break from alcohol – even if you don’t want to give up completely.  Johannes loves our Sober Spring Challenge initiative so this year it will be sponsored by The Duchess Alcohol-Free Drinks Studio!

In this Episode

  • Johannes studied property development but graduating in 2008 meant he needed to consider other careers
  • He decided to go join an advertising agency as he had always been fascinated by brands (and the Mad Men series!)
  • His first brand was an alcoholic drink, but when he noticed the gap in the market for AF drinks he did a pivot
  • Johannes feels branding design is vital and was determined that Duchess would be perceived as an adult drink
  • We chatted about the the conception of the Duchess, the “recipe” and how his Aunt Phoebe played a vital role!
  • We agreed that AF drinks should be seen as a “third category” rather than fake alcohol
  • Johannes explained the concept of “Born Free” drinks – quite different to “de-alcoholised” drinks
  • He talked about “Dope Drinks” or CB- infused drinks – that give you a buzz from other active ingredients
  • He is excited to launch the Duchess AF Spritzer in two flavours – Elderberry and Acai Berry
  • We talked about how much fun we can have at social events without alcohol – once we get through those first fifteen minutes!
  • He agreed with me that we give alcohol far too much credit for fun
  • Johannes knows that many people want to cut down or quit but have no idea where to start
  • That’s why he loves the work that we do – just giving people a helping hand through our challenges and workshops
  • AB InBev have bought a stake in the Duchess as they believe that 20% of their turnover will soon be AF
  • AB InBev now has a Director of AF Drinks and Johannes left me with this startling statistic: 53% of Americans want to drink less but AF drinks represent only 0.5% of the market!

More Info

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Episode Sponsor

This episode is sponsored by the Tribe Sober Membership Program.  If you want to change your relationship with alcohol then sign up today.  Read more about our 8-step program and subscribe HERE.


The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

Don’t wait for 11 years – join Tribe Sober today!