CHARLOTTETOWN— WHEN TORONTO MUSICIAN SERENA RYDER SAW THE PHRASE “FIND YOUR BALANCE” ON THE BACK OF A CAN OF LIBRA, SHE WAS REMINDED OF THE MANTRA SHE HAD BEEN GOING BACK TO FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS. LOOKING INTO COMPANY, SHE FOUND THEY HAD A LOT IN COMMON.
“It’s not just a beer,” said Ryder. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Libra is a non-alcholic craft beer created by Charlottetown’s Upstreet Craft Brewing. Its brand is built on the idea that you don’t have to sacrifice physical and mental health when having a drink with friends. Together, she and the brand are on a mission to normalize socializing without drinking alcohol, which Ryder says allows you to be authentically yourself.
As Libra’s chief balance ambassador, one of Ryder’s first tasks will be designing her own non-alcoholic beer.
“I’m really excited to do things that I’ve never done before,” said Ryder. “Because I feel like that’s where transformation and growth really happens.”
The first time she tried Libra, Ryder said she was blown away. In three years of not drinking alcohol, she tried a lot of non-alcoholic beers. She doesn’t bother with them if they don’t taste like the real thing, but with Libra, she said didn’t notice a difference.
“Most of the kids that I know in their teens and in their 20s, even people in their early 30s, it’s like they’re really uninterested in that whole old idea of party culture,” said Ryder.
In her own life, Ryder sees her friends getting sick of drinking culture, wanting to be present in their lives. Ryder said her friends who drink often switch to Libra after a few beers and wake up without a hangover.
Mitch Cobb, the co-founder of Libra, agrees that the trends are being led by the younger generation. He said that over half of millennials are trying to reduce their alcohol consumption, and one in four Gen Z’s choose not to drink alcohol.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t want the social experience that alcohol provides.
“They still want to do the things that they typically do,” said Cobb. “They want to go out for dinner, they want to meet up with friends.”
This train of thinking is why Cobb started Libra in 2021 with Mike Hogan.
Their partnership with Ryder started when Libra sent Ryder some samples, and her team came back with the idea of a larger partnership. Cobb said there used to be a stark line of either you drink or you don’t drink, usually because of health problems or alcohol issues. He is seeing those lines starting to blur and the reasons for choosing not to drink expand.
“At the time it felt like a bit of a dream,” said Cobb. “But the more we kind of dug into it the more we started to realize the potential of what we could do together.”
As part of their partnership, 1 percent of all Libra sales will go to Ryder’s music incubator, ArtHaus, which she describes as a community-based label collective of artists, managers, and people involved with mental wellness.
In the past, Ryder said if she felt her values didn’t fully align with a company, she wouldn’t partner with them. She doesn’t want to make decisions based on money.
“Money isn’t the thing that brings success,” said Ryder. “It’s the things that you create with wealth that brings the success, and so it’s almost redefining what wealth means because, to me, wellness and health and community, that’s the real wealth, that’s the real currency.”
After meeting Cobb and Hogan, Ryder said they felt like family.
Looking forward to their partnership, Ryder said the possibilities are endless, especially in a creative community like theirs. She wants to replace broken business models and create new ones based on community and health.
“Isn’t that what we want?” asked Ryder. “To have partnerships with people in our business lives and not have to fragment ourselves, our personal life and our business life should be, you know, a community.”
See Rachel Smith’s full commentary on Huddle.Today HERE