Career Conversations: ‘How I launched a drinks brand’

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20 min listen

It’s not every day you get a phone call that changes the course of your life, for Ellie Webb it left her “half over the moon, half terrified”.

Sainsbury’s were calling to say they wanted to stock her new non-alcoholic drink, Caleño.

At this point, Ellie was working alone, making the drink in her kitchen – Sainsbury’s wanted to stock it in each of their 500 stores.

“I thought to myself, I either go for this or I don’t,” Ellie tells Eliśa Roche in this episode of Career Conversations.

She did go for it and it worked out really rather well.

Caleño is now a huge success, stocked in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and M&S.

It all came about when Ellie had a brainwave on a night out. She wasn’t drinking alcohol, but she didn’t see why that meant she had to drink sugary drinks all night.

Find out how she turned her dream of creating an adult-tasting, sophisticated, non-alcoholic drink into a reality.

Ellie reveals what she thinks makes the differences between dreamers and doers, how she overcame a certain amount of boardroom sexism to get to where she is today, and how she once ended up with 1,000 ruined bottle labels.

Ellie is launching her own podcast. “The Joyful Drinker” will be available wherever you get your podcasts very soon.

Ellie Webb, Founder, Caleño

Before starting Caleño, Ellie gained experience working in the drinks industry, which she came to love, and soon she became keen to find her own place within it.

The lightbulb moment came when Ellie was doing Dry January and out dancing with friends. She was disappointed by the lack of choice on offer when it came to grown-up non-alcoholic drinks and realised there wasn’t anything accessible, that suited her lifestyle or reflected her sense of adventure when it came to drinks.

Born in Kent to a Colombian mother, Ellie has always had an entrepreneurial streak, and even when she was young she would make ‘jugos’, Colombian fruit juices, and sell them to her family.

So it felt natural for Ellie to take matters into her own hands and create something that she wanted to see on the shop shelves.

Ellie worked on her idea for a new non-alcoholic spirit for two years before quitting her day job, during which time she explored and experimented with different botanicals in her kitchen and took a trip back to Colombia for more inspiration and research. 

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