Table of contents
- ANA Drinks
- Founders - Lisa Fraser
- Based in Adelaide, South Australia
- Started in 2022
- 1 founders, 1 employee
Lisa, what's your backstory?
My name is Lisa Fraser and I’m an Aussie born to a Vietnamese Mum and a Kiwi (New Zealand) Dad and grew up in Darwin, Northern Territory. That was a mouthful!
My whole life I’ve been immersed in the Hospitality industry having grown up with my mum and her partner (step-dad) being a chef. I love hospitality and customer service and worked casually as a teen in my mum’s numerous businesses - from food trucks at Mindil Beach Markets through to over the counter at her takeaway on Stokes Hill Wharf.
When I was 18 I decided I wanted “a real job” and applied for a sales role with a local beverage distributor. It was then I had my first taste of sales and got a good look into the world of coffee, wine and non-alcoholic drinks.*
*disclaimer - non-alcoholic drinks back then were your redbull, lipton ice tea and soft drinks!
Fast forward a few years and I needed a change of scenery as the little country town of Darwin wasn’t satisfying my hunger for growth, ambition and drive. So I moved to Adelaide to study.
At Uni I studied a Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and within 4 weeks started my first tech business with a few others from Uni called Mealmates. Mealmates to me was probably like my first love. It’s new, romantic and you give everything to it to try and make it work and somehow manage to miss all the obvious red flags to any seasoned business person.
Mealmates was a social hospo tech business whose potential far exceeded the experience of a couple of 21 and 23 year olds. We did however catch the interest of the state government and a few local accelerators. Plus we ran some successful MVP tests across multiple states.
Long story short, the relationship came to an end 18 months later and Mealmates became a story I told at parties. Although it financially and emotionally scared me that my first start up failed (what are the chances…) I still had a keen interest in Hospitality and the Tech industry. I ended up going into multiple sales roles and staying within industry.
My last role before starting ANA Drinks saw me develop the South Australian and Northern Territory market for hospo tech company menus, with great success. Now, aside from obvious love for the hospo industry and with that booze and food - what piqued my interest to dive into non-alc you ask?
To answer that I have to take you back to Christmas time last year when my partner and I just went NUTS with the partying, the dinner parties, christmas parties, catch ups etc. We found ourselves drinking heavily for like twelve days straight. By the end of the festive season we had decided to take three months off drinking to detox.
Unfortunately, even though we cut out alcohol, the social life still remained and we had to find new non-alco / “adult” alternatives to take to dinners and parties. It was then that after trying a number of non-alc beers, spirits and wines I personally went “shit, all this stuff is actually really good!” and started exploring more non-alcs.. So the deciding moment for me during winter was, it’s now or never. I have the experience, I love the products, it’s a booming industry and I think Adelaide (and Australia) is ready for this!
Tell us what your company does?
ANA Drinks - stands for ‘Australian Non Alcoholic’ Drinks and is South Australia’s first dedicated non-alcoholic bottle shop. It has the largest range of non-alcoholic products in the state and provides the community a diverse range of premium non-alcoholic products across beer, wine, spirits and cocktails.
As of this interview, ANA Drinks is currently just a retail store however there are plans to expand online, into events and provide wholesaling as it allows.
How did you come up with the idea?
Originally I actually came up with the name “Dawn” with the idea of “Dawn of a new day - new day of drinking” or something along those lines.
It wasn’t until I went to a BBQ and told a few of my business friends what I was thinking. One of my friends (a well respected businessman of Adelaide) said “Too complicated, doesn’t make any sense and people will never find you online unless you pay thousands for google ads and SEO”.
This got me thinking, and I remember dryly thinking I’ll just call the shop Australian Non Alcoholic Drinks… and shorten it like many other iconic Australian businesses do - NAB, ANZ, QANTAS, ALH… list goes on.
Honestly, having played startup before the first thing you do is check if the domain/name availability etc and I couldn’t believe it was available. So I registered the company as Australian Non Alcoholic Drinks Pty Ltd and the rest is history. Seriously ballsy but I don’t think many people get a chance to call their company or business something like that anymore.
How did you go about building and launching the business?
Once I had decided and committed to the business, it was all about the strict timeframes and deadlines. On 6th August 2022, I set the deadline to be open before the start of October. That’s seven weeks from conception to launch.
The most important thing here is to do things in blocks and not all at the same time. Having small blocks allows for you to track your progress more easily and keep to the original schedules.
How have you grown the business?
ANA Drinks has only been open for five weeks as I write this. The biggest learnings I’ve found so far is that people appreciate honesty, a friendly smile and if you remember their name. I’m so grateful to the people that have come in multiple times to repeatedly buy in the shop. Seeing people come in again and again is when I really believe ANA drinks can be a real success.
What's your biggest selling product/service?
In ANA we’re selling heaps of wine. Being in wine country with regions like Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale on our doorstep, it seems non-drinkers are searching for good replacements to what they’re used to..
What have been some of your biggest failures along the way?
In the start up of the business, no major failures - which is SO surprising and I don’t mean to gloat. Everything just worked like clockwork and I only have planning and being organised to thank for that.
I have a saying from an old friend that is “it’s only a problem if you don’t have a solution” so every problem or set back I encountered with a solution I was okay with. That being said, an almost disaster was when I was three wines short from filling my shelves with four days before opening and there was no local supplier that I could just magically get stock from at the last minute.
I was banking on a particular brand which came back to me at the eleventh hour and said they were out of stock of three products. If it wasn’t for the fact that I had a back up - which I begged to send over in express, my shelves may have looked a little empty!
What's next for you and your business?
Definitely a lot of big things on the horizon! I want to expand the ANA retail footprint to make it more accessible for regional locations to access non-alc. I’m working through an online platform and am tinkering away at how I can work more closely with the hospitality industry here in South Australia.
What digital tools do you use regularly?
CANVA. The absolute best!
What books have been a great inspiration to you as a founder?
Atomic Habits by James Clear. My god. I actually am not much of a reader… but this book really made me rethink my habits and how I can improve my personal performances. Definitely read this.
Any podcast/websites that help you run your business?
Not really… I live under a rock…
Any quotes you live by?
I said this one before - but the quote: “It’s only a problem if you don’t have a solution” is amazing. Every time I run into something that sets me back or is a block. I take a moment to run through a list of potential solutions and then try them out.
What do you love and hate about being a founder?
I love being able to create. Being a founder; to me, means you are creating the foundations to something new or great. And I love that I can be creative, experiment and then sit back and see the impact it has. No hate - I just love creating.
What do you do to look after your mental health as a founder?
Great question. I think the biggest one for me is to always make time for myself. It’s okay when you’re super busy to just sit on the couch and watch netflix or to go for a run. Balance is different for everyone and it’s not at the sacrifice of passion or drive if you feel like being a couch potato. I also like cooking, especially if I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything lately. Cooking; when finished, is really satisfying to reach the end and complete the process. It’s the little sense of achievement that helps lift me if I'm feeling a bit flat.
In a few words, sum up what it means to be the founder of a business
"Create good foundations for something great."
What are the biggest pieces of advice you’d give to other founders?
"If this is your first time 'founding' something, put yourself into 100%. It’s so distracting and hard to have a 'side hustle'. Get rid of the safety net and you’ll find that things actually get done… cause the bills don’t pay themselves."