The Most Talked About NA Beer This Year?

Esjay Jones on KittiePIG's Past, Present and Future

Wotcha! This week’s newsletter comes from an unusually sunny and warm England. I’ve popped back home to surprise my dad for his 85th.

So the next couple of editions will be different from the normal format of three drink recommendations. This week I chat with Esjay Jones, lead singer of We Are PIGS and co-founder of KittiePIG, producing NA beer brewed with “Blood, Spit and Tears” which is currently making significant waves in the NA beer scene across both Canada and the U.S.

In this week’s edition: 

  • 📰 NAN - Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

  • 📖 INTERVIEW: Esjay Jones - KittiePIG

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Read time: 4 mins 36 sec

NAN

Nonalcoholic News my Nan would approve of!

🍹 COCKTAIL: This sounds very intriguing; Spirits of Virtue have teamed up with Sri Lankan tea-merchant Eswaran to launch Teasons - initially releasing four tea-based zero spirits. (link)

🧂 BITTERS: Ben Branson (Seedlip) will launch seasn, the ‘salt and pepper’ for drinks, in the U.S. next week. (link)

• 🍹 COCKTAIL: Seattle-based NoWhere Foods have announced Tidal Break, a pear, coffee and maple cocktail in the vein of an Espresso Martini. (link)

• 🍹 COCKTAIL: Just in time for summer, De Soi have released their newest flavor—Spritz Italiano. (link)

• 🍹 COCKTAIL: São Mocktails are debuting three skus on Central and Southern Californian shelves and online across the U.S. (link)

Photo: Chris Quinn

ESJAY JONES - KITTIEPIG

One of the most unexpected debuts in the nonalcoholic beer market this year has been from KittiePIG. The beer is the brainchild of Grammy-featured producer Esjay Jones, lead singer of We Are PIGS, and Morgan Lander, frontwoman of the all-female band Kittie.

A couple of years back, the two bands collaborated on a single, “MOOT”, and while working together, the two singers came up with the idea for the nonalcoholic beer.

The result is KittiePIG, a hybrid of the two band names, and their first beer, Saskaberry Blonde—a refreshing blonde ale that’s light, crisp, and delivers a burst of Saskatoon berry flavor.

I caught up with Esjay Jones to discuss how producing a beer came about, how it’s been received, and what the future looks like for KittiePIG.

Morgan Lander and Esjay Jones (Photo: Chris Quinn)

How did you go from collaborating with Kittie on the single “MOOT” to producing a nonalcoholic beer together a couple of years later? 

I had dabbled in the world of craft beer before, creating a super juicy, single hop, double hazy (8%) “IPAAF” with the band Alien Ant Farm in 2020. Covid put an end to that venture fast, but I was pleased to see the response to the beer and put the idea in my pocket for future potentials.

After meeting virtually for a musical collaboration during the pandemic, Morgan and I discovered we were both “sober-curious” people. After 25 years of going hard on and off the road, we had to change our relationship with alcohol and couldn’t find NA options that screamed “us”. KittiePIG was born out of our passion for heavy music and love for easy-drinking beers ... so we took out a personal loan and here we are!   

A few weeks back, in the Music Edition of this newsletter, I featured the new Walker Hayes/Athletic Brewing collaboration. While researching his background, it really dawned on me just how many country songs include references to alcohol. It seems to be in almost every other song. This made me wonder how his peers have responded to his very public stance of not drinking. How have your musical peers received KittiePIG?

Honestly I feel like times are changing and people are generally more open-minded and pretty progressive with most things. Drinking feels like one of those things that no one really cares about anymore, so the Kittie Fans and our core demographic are totally supportive and embracing a product that screams “THEM”. As well as being absolutely crushable!

Photo: Chris Quinn

I have found most venues in the Portland area, where I live, to be woefully lacking in NA options. Are you having any success with getting KittiePIG into venues either in Canada or the States?

We have been reaching out to almost every rock/metal bar and venue around the country to send samples of our NA “brewed with Blood, Spït and Tears”. The response has been extremely positive and we have partnered with AIRGOODS for wholesale. 

It’s not that different from being in a band. You have to be very hands on and keep knocking on doors until someone at the venue (label) gives you a chance. We are hand-packaging every order from my home and definitely bring thick skin and tenacity to the table, so expect to see KittiePIG in your local rock bar soon! Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far … WE SEE YOU!

Airgoods seems like a game-changer for small brands looking to have a seat at the table. Has it made a big difference in getting KittiePIG out to a wider audience?

Yes! Very grateful for our boy Jordan at Mash Gang who made that intro for us. We have found the NA community so supporting and welcoming so far and Airgoods has really helped us connect the dots to retailers across the states.

Photo: Chris Quinn

Saskaberry Blonde has only been out for a few months, and you probably have your hands full marketing it. Is this a one-off release, or will we see other KittiePIG beers in the future?

We are currently brewing 2000 gallons in California with a new recipe called “Brutal Berry” which will become our signature.  We intend to keep collaborating with other breweries around the country to find flavor profiles that are missing in the NA craft beer market. For now, we are focusing on “Brutal Berry” but you can definitely expect more SKU’s in the near future.

You mention working with other breweries, how did you come to that decision as opposed to just working with one?

Our first collaboration (Saskaberry Blonde) was with our amazing friends at One For The Road Brewing Company. They were so awesome helping us figure out the flavor profile we thought would be best for our demographic with their already award-winning brews. We wanted to keep the first edition batch Canadian, as Kittie are a Canadian band.

However it’s pretty costly to import and transport beer into the U.S. So as we move forward, we will be developing new recipes and collaborating with new breweries to grow our market.

For more information on KittiePIG, please visit kittiepig.com

One thing before you go. Here’s a great newsletter on fitness and nutrition that I think you should check out. There’s excellent advice on living a more healthy life in this weekly 5-minute read.

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