A cure isn’t really what comes to mind when you hear the word liquor or alcohol, but Curatif co-founder Matt Sanger reveals his company name does in fact mean “curative medicine” in French.
Curatif founders and industry veterans Sanger, Jez Spencer and Sam Lane saw an opportunity in the start-up liquor market in Australia that led them to set up the innovative and sustainable company.
Curatif collaborates with liquor and coffee brands including Archie Rose Distilling Co., Four Pillars Distillery and Seven Seeds Coffee to create cool cocktails in cans for consumers.
“Curatif is to improve you, to fix what’s wrong or make the good better. A Curatif is an elegant explanation for that moment, when the worries slip away and the enjoyment begins. It is one step closer to happiness,” Sanger told Inside FMCG.
“The values of Curatif are (we believe) simple; amazing product delivered effectively and approachably, with all consideration to environmental and ethical sustainability. This is a business and a product that we hope to be able to say, ‘this is the best there is, and we hope that you love it as much as we love making it for you,” he said.
Inside FMCG: How do you go about selecting liquor and coffee to use for Curatif?
Matt Sanger: When we first set out to find our raw materials, we determined that in order to make world class drinks we had to use world class materials. Accordingly, to make the best possible Negroni we had to use Four Pillars Spiced Negroni gin, the only gin in the world made specifically for a Negroni, it has twice been named world’s best contemporary gin at the Global Gin Masters (and won another gold medal there a couple of weeks ago).
It was the same story for our Espresso Martini and the selection of Archie Rose Original Vodka, which is distilled with five gin botanicals that create a crispness to the vodka that couples perfectly with the fruit forward notes of the particular Seven Seeds coffee that we use.
Critical to our partner selection process also, Four Pillars, Archie Rose Distilling and Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters all have highly developed sustainability programs that align with our ideals and aspirations
Inside FMCG: Tell us how you began working with Dan Murphy’s?
Working with Dan Murphy’s was a straightforward decision for us, with almost a 30 per cent market share theirs was one of the first doors we had to knock on. Fortunately, everyone we dealt with at Dan’s had the vision to recognise that what we are creating is something really special that the market is absolutely ready for. It’s not easy for a very small start-up to start working with a massive national retailer, but fortunately we have had a number of knowledgeable and experienced industry stakeholders support and guide us on our journey.
Inside FMCG: Why did you decide to partner with Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters, Four Pillars and Archie Rose?
We approached all of our partners with a collaborative mindset, they each know their brands and products best, and we knew that for any partnership or supply arrangement to work – especially one that involved any sort of brand representation on our packaging – that we had to be really respectful of their product and brand ideals. It’s been greatly rewarding for us to work with such forward thinking enterprises who are leaders in their industries, and we hope that we’re able to continue working with them for many years to come.
Inside FMCG: Any plans to target more supermarket-run drinks operations?
We are rolling out on to shelves with BWS (another Woolworths banner) in August, and will be initiating discussions with Coles very shortly thereafter.
Inside FMCG: Any other liquor companies in Australia you want to work with?
We are very fortunate in Australia to have amazing craft manufacturers at every corner of the map. At this stage we can’t say too much about who we are working with on future products, but readers can [be] rest assured that we will continue to work with the very best global brands from both Australia and internationally.
Inside FMCG: How much does it cost to create cocktails in a can?
The cans themselves aren’t greatly expensive, however the research and knowledge that went into perfecting the process has been significant. We spent over two years in R&D, which (as any manufacturer will tell you) is fraught with peril. The highs and lows of the last couple of years have been wild – we’ve had great days with breakthroughs in process and formulation, and we’ve had terrible lows where its looked like the whole operation was going to unravel.
Since we are using absolutely premium raw materials in our drinks, our costs are higher than what we could achieve had we chosen to use generic ingredients, but we believe that consumers recognise the value of world class cocktails and can accommodate that at the register.
Inside FMCG: What other cocktails do you plan to unveil in the future?
Watch this space – we’ve created some very exciting drinks with some amazing brands that we can’t wait to bring to [the] market.