Homegrown Business: Andrea Grand of Barbet

Barbet makes bold, full-flavoured sparkling water for curious taste buds. For our latest featured local business, we spoke with Andrea Grand, who along with her sister Katie Fielding, co-founded the company.

Barbet

What is your business called and what does it do?

Simply put – we make full-flavoured sparkling water blends for curious taste buds. But we’re more than just the bubbles in our can – we bring together people to create experiences that put alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks on a level playing field. We’re creating space and doing the work to shift conversations and allow people the ability to choose between delicious alcohol-based drinks and their equally complex zero-proof counterparts.

Our ethos is to get rid of that question of ‘why aren’t you drinking’ and really shift it to ‘what are you drinking’, focusing on what is in a person’s can or cup, not what is not.

What made you want to do this work?

My sister who I started this with, Katie. Katie has epilepsy and had a particularly bad seizure in March 2020. Because she hadn’t experienced a seizure in a while, she cut out a few things, alcohol was one of those things. At the small social events covid allowed for at the time, she was constantly being asked ‘why aren’t you drinking’ and was holding a can or drink that someone would have had as a child sitting at the kid’s table.

So we came up with a wild idea – to put alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on a level playing field. To create full-bodied blends that don’t shy away from being bold. We realized it wasn’t just about creating something better in the can. It was about enhancing the entire experience (taste, smell, appearance) and inspiring a more intentional drinking culture built around people, places, and memories. We realized that what matters most isn’t a liquid’s alcoholic payload but its capacity to elevate a mood or moment.

Who are your clientele/demographics? What problem did you want to solve with the business?

Barbet was built off of Katie’s experience – that moment you enter an event or solo moment and don’t feel like (or can’t) reach for an alcoholic drink but holding a beverage you used to drink while sitting at the kid’s table just didn’t cut it.

There is a tide that is shifting around alcohol – and it isn’t about going totally sober. It is about finding products that support choice and versatility. From what we’re seeing, people who are reaching for zero-proof drinks are doing so while drinking alcohol. Between cocktails, they’re asking for something sans alcohol. We wanted to create a product that had the versatility to be your go-to ready-to-drink option or the perfect mixer for when you want to add a spirit. This way, it didn’t matter the event or moment, Barbet could always be your plus one.

In design, values and flavour we want Barbet to elevate the drinking experience.

We focus less on the individual and more on collectives of humans within the creative community, specifically those that are open to exploring outside of their comfort zone, asking questions and trying something new.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We sell bold yet refreshing sparkling waters!

Where in the city can we find your profession?

People can pick up a cold can of Barbet from our friends across Ontario (full list here), order for delivery across Canada from our website or visit a Foxtrot store in Dallas, Austin, Chicago or DC.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

I’m not sure there is a specific question as it all comes down to personal taste, and only your tastebuds can answer the question of which sparkling water you prefer better!

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part is starting something from nothing and the worst part is starting something from nothing. Running a small business isn’t for everyone and it comes with a lot of struggles and hustle, but that can so quickly be countered by the amazing people we get to work with, the belief that Barbet is creating conversation around choice and the amount of people that have attached themselves to the product already.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

I can’t think of any jokes, but the puns write themselves! I’ll let you know if any jokes bubble up for me

Where can we follow you?

Website | Instagram

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

There are too many to mention! We are working with some incredible ones right now for Drink Freely – Othership, Jaybird, Good Juice Box Vintage, Camel Cafe and our awesome charity partners – Save Our Scruff, Good to be Good and A Greener Future.

 

 

About Joel Levy 2601 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography