In Pursuit of a Better Way to Drink

Helena Price Hambrecht
May 22 · 4 min read

About a year ago, as I was breastfeeding my three-month-old and doing some market research, I had an idea.

Today, that idea is a real, venture-backed company. It’s called Haus.

Haus in action. (Photo Credit: Dagmar Studios)

As a techie/creative/photographer/mom, I bet the last thing you’d expect me to build next was a booze company. It’ll all make sense in a moment. Keep reading.


I’m married to a booze guy. His name is Woody. We live on a farm in Sonoma County where he makes wine and manages 67 acres of wine grapes, as well as a variety of fruits and botanicals for his craft spirit projects.

The farm. (Photo Credit: Myself)

It’s been fun deeply immersing myself in his boozy world and learning the ins and outs of the industry. That said, it didn’t take long before I noticed things seemed a bit backwards.

I’ll sum it up like this:

The alcohol industry hasn’t changed since prohibition. It’s ruled by a three-tier system where distributors and bartenders are the gatekeepers, ultimately deciding what you drink.

It’s largely pay-to-play, so the products made by corporations with deep pockets are the ones that make it into your glass.

So while consumer needs are changing, the industry is not shifting to meet them.

The drinker is stuck with alcohol products that don’t work for them.


As I was making these observations, I was experiencing a drinking dilemma of my own.

I am an entrepreneur, and have always been a career-oriented person. For as long as I can remember I am always either working or out doing something related to work. Drinking, for better or worse, is a big part of work.

For us and most folks we know, drinking is built into the fabric of business and society. It’s almost a requirement if you’re a career-oriented, social person. You have happy hours at work, networking events, business dinners, etc. A lot of people I know are casually drinking more than four nights a week.

Just working. (Photo Credit: Dagmar Studios)

This is creating a lot of problems for a lot of people. It’s making our sleep worse, it’s making our health worse, it’s making us hungover. It’s, ironically, keeping us from doing our best work.

A little research told me this is actually a universal problem with millennial drinkers (who, by the way, now range from 21 to their late thirties). People aren’t looking to get wasted anymore — they are health conscious and they care about their image. They don’t want to be that drunk person on Instagram; they don’t want the calories or the hangover. They’re looking for what I’m looking for.

So I wondered… with such a huge market wanting something different from alcohol, why isn’t there a better way to drink?

Well… there’s a reason why. Remember what I said above? The alcohol industry hasn’t changed in almost 100 years — since prohibition. The industry is like a mafia. It’s basically impossible to get around them. So our generation is stuck with high-octane, high-sugar, highly processed alcohol options that don’t work for them.

Long story short, Woody and I found a way to get around that mafia.


Today we’re launching Haus, an alcohol brand designed for the way millennials drink today.

We’re taking on an industry that hasn’t changed in almost 100 years by rethinking how it works, from product to distribution.

Think of us as the Warby Parker of booze.

Join our waitlist here and be first in line to try it.

xo

Helena

(Photo Credit: Dagmar Studios)

PS!

I want to give a million thanks to:

  • Woody, my ride-or-die biz/life partner.
  • All of our investors who took an early chance on us, including Combine, Haystack and Partners Resolute.
  • Gin Lane for taking us on and helping us bring our brand vision to life.
  • Everyone who offered feedback, made intros and gave encouragement through the rollercoaster that is building a startup. I’ll never forget it.

Helena Price Hambrecht

Written by

Founder of @drinkhaus + @dagmarstudios, creator of @techiesproject etc. http://helenaprice.com

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