Brand moving into new markets as demand increases for vodka and gin sodas
When North Shore native Maddy Amisano began working with Nude, the new B.C. startup focusing on canned, carbonated soda alternatives to beer and coolers, they had sales of a hundred grand. Two years later the young company is now at just under 10 million.
Amisano grew up on the North Shore attending Windridge Park Preschool, Plymouth Elementary and Windsor Secondary schools, as well as playing team sports with the North Shore Girls Soccer Club and Mount Seymour Little League.
At Nude, she started out in operations as the company’s first employee.
“We’re still very small,” says Amisano, now Operations Manager. “We’re a team of six but I was the first employee for quite some time. Although I would say I was in operations, when you are in a startup you wear many hats, so even to this day we do a bit of everything.”
Company founder Julius Makarewicz created Nude as a healthier alternative to what was available in the market.
“He’s very health conscious,” says Amisano. ”It’s five per cent [and] you are not weighed down by all the other stuff that’s in all the other beverages out there.”
When Amisano joined Nude in February of 2018 the company was marketing only one vodka soda flavour.
“Strawberry Kiwi launched before I came on board in a six-pack format,” she says. “The distribution was quite low because we were just starting out as a brand new product. When I came on we started launching product after product after product so the operations role became pretty huge, pretty fast.
“My day-to-day varies so much. I deal with the backend, suppliers, liquor boards, manufacturers and deliveries. I’m also setting up our photo shoots, doing our marketing, helping out with events. When you’re involved with a high-growth startup you have to be on the ball as things are moving at a fast pace.”
In the past year Nude has launched another seven vodka soda products and this month moved into an entirely new category adding Gin Soda Lemon to the lineup.
“Right out of the gate we had distribution in all B.C. government liquor stores and then we had many private stores ordering it as well,” says Amisano.
The entire Nude product line is also available in Alberta and online in Ontario. This month they’ve also branched out into Montréal starting with one flavour – Cucumber Mint Vodka Soda.
Nude feels it’s important to give back to the community and are developing relationships with animal rescue groups as part of their company expansion plans. “We work with the BCSPCA on a 1/1/1 basis,” says Amisano. “One per cent of our sales, 1 per cent of time (volunteering) and 1 per cent of our can (awareness). We have donated over $20,000 to the BCSPCA to date. As we continue to expand we will be supporting a local animal rescue in each province.”
Nude Vodka Soda started with Strawberry Kiwi and has now expanded into four vodka flavours including Cucumber Mint, Classic Lime and Peach in six-pack, 12-pack and 24-pack configurations.
This month Nude moved into entirely new terrain with the addition of Nude Lemon Gin Soda to the mix.
All products, handcrafted in B.C., are sugar-free, sweetener-free and gluten-free alcoholic beverages.
Nude sodas are sold in all B.C. liquor stores and other specialty outlets. They are also available in Alberta, Ontario and Québec.
—by John Goodman, North Shore News