In First Features, we feature brand new CPG startups who have never received any media coverage before. We are so thrilled to provide our community members with the first look at some of the most exciting emerging brands in CPG. These brands may be the best-kept-secrets for now, but we have a feeling they won’t stay that way for very long.
Read on to learn more about Meredith Cochran and her new non-alcoholic wine brand Tēthos.
Who is Tēthos?
“Free from alcohol, Tēthos’ wines allow customers to savor the moment without the crash or hangover the next day. These specially formulated potent tea and wine blends are loaded with antioxidants and theanine, all while containing less than 1g of sugar per serving. Tēthos has a line of three non-alcoholic wine varieties using teas sourced from around the world, such as handpicked silver needle white tea from Indonesia, second flush Saejak green tea from Boesong, and Himalayan Shangri la gold black tea. The grapes are carefully selected for their unique flavors and blended with the premium teas to create the flavor profiles you crave. Whether it’s a pause at the end of your busy day to check in with yourself or a bottle shared over laughs with friends or family, Tēthos is here to help you reconnect inside and out.”
What is the origin story of Tēthos?
“I have a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbology, and I am obsessed with combining potent plant medicines. But, I also wanted to create more community, so I aimed to build a brand that could elevate our social life without having to sacrifice our health and wellness routines. I’ve tried really great non-alcoholic beers that are a great substitute, but the wines in the space felt like they were missing something — they felt flat to me. So I partnered with one of the top tea masters in the world to utilize nutrient-dense herbs to develop a line of wine that tasted sophisticated without all of the inflammation, alcohol, gluten, GMOs, artificial additives, or loads of sugar that normally fill our wine glasses.”
“The way that the majority of the non-alcoholic wine is made is by processing wine through high temperatures to denature the wine and remove the alcohol, which is why it doesn’t taste good. The other alternative is a wine that is basically fruit juice. It’s so high in sugar, and that isn’t what I wanted either. Tēthos, on the other hand, is naturally non-alcoholic, pairing wine grapes that have never been fermented with tea, and it has less than 1 gram of sugar. It addresses a massive white space within the NA category, and it’s something that I personally love and was looking for.”
What has been one of your proudest moments since founding Tēthos?
“This may sound silly, but I’m incredibly excited about the label design. I was working with someone who wanted to design the label, but it just wasn’t working out from a partnership perspective. I was very nervous about doing it alone, so I spent hours researching the current set of teas, wines, and non-alcoholic beverages. I wanted to find something that was bold, nostalgic, and fun in a way that could stand out and bring a smile to your face. I was thinking back to a time when we were young and we could be social without feeling like we had to drink.” As Tēthos continues to evolve, I’m probably going to want to change the label, but I love what I came up with now. And to be able to do it myself and be the one to make all the decisions about who the brand is was empowering.”
What has been one of the most challenging moments?
“My production and delivery was significantly delayed. It took forever to get the product in. It forced me to push back the timeline of the launch by over 6 months. To be honest, I was pretty bummed at first. But then I realized that I was the only one who would know or be impacted, so I decided to focus on other areas of the business while I waited.”
What advice would you give to fellow founders?
“I think that a lot of people get intimidated by getting started — they get caught up in all of the ‘what-ifs.’ My advice is to start before you’re ready. At the end of the day, what you launch with will probably not be your final product. You are going to launch something, receive feedback, and make changes. With Tēthos, this is how I’m starting, but I can guarantee that in a few years, it’s not going to be the same. I might want to have cans or individual serving sizes or different flavor combinations. But now I have a product I can get feedback on. Don’t be afraid to create quickly and then be ready to modify the product based on what your customer wants.”
“I tend to think our definition of success and failure is skewed. The number one regret we have as we age is that we didn’t go for it or that we didn’t do something. So, what are you waiting for? Take it one step at a time and let’s continue to create better and push our society forward. And I’ll be cheering for you along the way.”
What are your dreams for the future of Tēthos?
“Tēthos is a community of people who want more connection. Less toxic social structures. More wellness. Less Bullsh*t. More flavor. In the next year, Tēthos will continue to expand online and in select retailers. Within the next five years, it will be swapped out for its alcoholic counterpart by millions and there will be a community to support the switch.”
How can the Startup CPG community support you?
“I would be forever grateful if you would sign up for my newsletters and give my brand a try. My audacious ask is that I want to meet Serena Williams. She has been one of my favorite athletes and someone I admire for their role within CPG since dominating the courts. I admire her power, positive body image, and fearlessness in the face of adversity.”
Where can people purchase your product?
To connect with Meredith about Tēthos, reach out via Startup CPG’s Slack (@MeredithCochran) or Linkedin.