Ayanda Mvandaba

Drink Nil

What does your company do?

Established in October 2020 in response to a rapidly changing beverage landscape, Drink Nil was the first retailer in South Africa focusing on non-alcoholic and 'zero' drinks. The product offering focuses on the fast-growing alcohol-free drinks sector from big brands to many ‘craft’ and bespoke local producers. A healthy selection of non alcoholic wines and bubblies, gins, spirits, mocktails, tonics, seltzers, ciders and beers. Targeting a mixed customer base, from those trying to get healthier by drinking less alcohol to those who don’t drink due to religious, medical or any other personal reasons, Drink Nil's huge choice of quality drinks plugs that previously unfilled gap in both the hospitality and home markets.

What is your biggest success?

We often think of "inclusion" being about gender dynamics in the workplace or creating safe spaces for those who do not identify as hetero-normative. In my buying and taking over of Drink Nil, the narrative I am punting is inclusion. The South African context is greatly geared towards fun accommodating those who choose to consume alcoholic beverages. By Drink Nil becoming the face of inclusion, I am saying there is a space for fun regardless of what one consumes - the party is not over, it is just different. My biggest success has been invitations from hospitality industry to curate menus for tastings, pairing and non-alcoholic beverages because they want to be inclusive to their customer base. It is invitations to various events like the Raging Bull Awards, Glamour Events, Radisson Barbie events to name a few because people are being conscientized towards this inclusion. It has been being approached to partner on a lifestyle TV series which focuses on well-being and fitness.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

My biggest hurdle is growing the business in such tough economic times. There is also a challenge from how people receive the possibility of catering for mindful drinkers - I often have to be willing to showcase for free which is a large investment from me - for the sake of educating, letting people taste and experience the fun in our beverages. Yes the business is more than a 1000 days old but it is still realistically in the start-up phase which, according to research on life cycles of businesses, lasts between 5 and 8 years. Many of the brands that I stock are also small South African brands. My supporting my business, you support not only 8 staff members and their families but 8 other small businesses. Those businesses cannot afford to extend credit terms and as such my handle of inventory has to be exact - I cannot be holding slow moving stock that I would have had to pay for upfront - this has been a challenge.