As the Australian non-alcoholic beer brand NORT rolls out a new range in time for its inaugural Dry July event its founder has described the success of its first nine months as “phenomenal” as its growth has kept pace with the boom of the alcohol-free drinks category as a whole.

Launched in September last year by Modus Operandi brewing co-founder Jaz Wearin, NORT has seemingly been the right product to arrive at the right time as sections of Australian society, for multiple reasons, have looked to take a more balanced approach to their drink choices. The Endeavour Group, the parent company of BWS and Dan Murphy’s, said recently their sales of non-alcoholic drinks had increased more than 83 per cent in the past year, with alcohol-free beer being its biggest seller in the category.

On the back of a national ad campaign, that saw NORT being brandished across the back of capital city buses and elsewhere, the first released and flagship Refreshing Ale is now stocked in Woolworths supermarkets across Australia. It is also stocked nationally in Dan Murphy’s and BWS stores while it can be found with the likes of online retailers Amazon Australia, Beer Cartel and Sans Drinks. NORT has also just received a $1 million grant in the second round of the Federal Government’s Manufacturing Modernisation Fund.

And now, as the alcohol free charity event Dry July kicks in for what could be its most supported event ever, NORT is raising its presence considerably with the release of three new beers that cleverly play to both the broader market and to the more seasoned craft drinker.

Jaz Wearin
“It’s just been phenomenal to watch for me – especially coming from owning a brewery and watching the change,” Jaz told Beer & Brewer. “It’s not so much that everyone’s completely going sober, but there’s this real mindful drinking coming in to play and you just can’t ignore it – you can see it in the numbers and the trends. It’s quite incredible.”

Similar to the Refreshing Ale, NORT’s new Pacific Ale, released in bottles only, is positioned to appeal to most palates while the All Day IPA and Tropical XPA, both solely in cans, are targeted at current craft drinkers who have moderation in mind. Refreshing Ale is also now in cans. The new NORT releases are available online through Sans Drinks, Amazon Australia and Beer Cartel and in select independent retailers across the country.

“At that time (NORT launched in 2020) I was like ‘I’m putting this out there and I’ll see what happens’. But the growth that we’ve had is quite mind-blowing and it’s just going from strength-to-strength. And that’s why we’ve brought out these new varieties – because people are on to NORT but they’re wanting more. The uptake that we’ve had already with the new SKUs is quite incredible.”

The rise in popularity of drinks that mimic their alcoholic versions has caught many by surprise, including those that make them, and Jaz said she’s learning everyday the reasons for the uptake of brands like her own.

From the 70-year-old who can’t drink like they used to, to the 21-year-old who just doesn’t want to drink, she said her customers come from a vast array of backgrounds and display different motivations for limiting their alcohol intake.

“But the biggest commonality from our customers is balance. People are saying ‘I still like drinking and I don’t want to give that up because I like my big hoppy IPAs’ or whatever. And they’re having one but saying to themselves ‘I want to stay out with my mates’ so they’re having a couple of NORTS instead. And then they could potentially still drive home later in the night and they’re not wasting half their next day being hungover.”

If launching a new brand and coping with its upward trajectory wasn’t enough for Jaz, herself and husband Grant are building an entire new Modus Operandi production brewery and hospitality venue up the coast from their original Mona Vale home in the Newcastle beachside suburb of Merewether.

It’s been a challenging process by the sounds, simply for the fact they are breaking new ground somewhat with few similar ventures having preceded them in the area. But the build is in full swing and Jaz hopes to be welcoming guests come Spring.

“We’re most excited about the extra capacity that’s going to come on,” she said. “We’ve been brewing out of a shoe closet (in Mona Vale) for so long and… the little brewhouse there really needs a rest. So to have this extra capacity is going to be life-changing.


This story is courtesy of Yahoo Finance.

The power of stories: I started with $7, now my beers are in Woolworths

Jaz Wearin is no stranger to a beer.

Six years after co-founding the popular Northern Beaches brewery and pub Modus Operandi with just $7, she understands exactly what makes a beer drinker tick, how to grab their interest and how to leave a memory.

So when it came time to launch her non-alcoholic beer brand Nort in the second half of 2020, she knew exactly what she needed to nail: the distribution, the product, the marketing, and the story.

She already had working relationships with the major players like Woolworths and Dan Murphy’s so she quickly tapped into those when Nort was ready to fly.

Her beers are now on Woolworths’ shelves – a sight she says she couldn’t have predicted in her “wildest dreams”.

Her seven years in brewing also meant she knew how to brew a superior non-alcoholic beer – Nort has already taken out the silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards for non-alcoholic beer.

The final step to a phenomenal launch was clear: combine the power of marketing and storytelling to embed in Australian consumers’ consciousness.

Hone your story to succeed
“The thing that I really recognise is that marketing is such a successful tool,” Wearin told Yahoo Finance.

“Especially in the non-alcoholic space, there is a bit of an education piece around there, and I feel like marketing can really assist with that.”

She launched Nort with a huge campaign including radio, influencers and press – something she and her partner hadn’t done with Modus, simply because this time she needed to educate and appeal to a different consumer.

“Having seven years in the industry, I have learnt a lot about how consumers engaged with the product and I think that assisted in the phenomenal growth that we’ve had,” she said.

And when it comes to building a compelling story that connects with consumers, Wearin’s tips are simple: it has to come from passion.

“It’s well and good to have an idea that you think you can make money off of, but you have to be passionately involved, and you have to be able to tell a story,” she said.

It’s something that business owners need to take more seriously, Wizard Home Loans founder and serial entrepreneur Mark Bouris told Yahoo Finance.

While it used to be enough to simply have a useful and price-effective product, today businesses need more.

“If you want to market things today, you’ve got to have a story associated with it – and don’t make the story about yourself,” he said.

“It’s got to be a story about the social characteristics [of your consumer]. So if I’ve got the social characteristics in my story, then I’ve got a story that I can push into the media, because people are all of a sudden interested.

“If you’re going to create a business today… then you also have to have that social impact as a major part of the story.”

For Nort, the story is clear: Australians struggling with lockdown have been trying to find alternative drinks.

And for Wearin, it was even more personal – she came up with the idea while pregnant and looking for a passable non-alcoholic drink.

“Like most of the world I was juggling a business, motherhood and trying to stay healthy and focused. As a brewery owner and beer fanatic, I soon realised there was a massive need to grow the non-alcoholic beer category and offer Aussies a non-alcoholic beer that is carefully crafted and rich in flavour,” she said.

The Nort story? It gives you options.

“A beer to balance with an alcoholic beverage so you can drive home, get out for that early morning surf or head into that board meeting.”

It’s a good story.


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Locally brewed non-alcoholic beer NORT has launched the world’s first non-alcoholic Pacific Ale to quench Aussie beer lovers’ thirst during Dry July.

NORT Refreshing Ale is a thirst quenching beer, golden in colour with a fruity aroma and refreshingly crisp finish. Brewed naturally, unlike other beers in the zero category, NORT’s high-quality taste is a result of the craftsmanship that goes into creating it.

NORT’s creators, Modus Operandi Brewing, observed that simply removing alcohol from a beer often leaves the product tasting sweet and plain, so the team set out to craft a new non-alcoholic beer using traditional brewing methods. The result lead to NORT recently taking out a silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards in the non-alcoholic beer category.

As of July, NORT will boast four alcohol-free varieties, Refreshing Ale and the latest additions, the world’s first Pacific Ale, Tropical XPA and All Day IPA. All the beers are below 60 calories, which makes NORT’s range the lowest calorie Australian made beer in the country.

Modus describes the Pacific Ale has having flavours of passionfruit and tropical aromas, with a golden haze appearance, a light sessionable body and coming in at just 49 calories.

Jaz Wearin, co-founder and owner of Modus Operandi Brewery and NORT said“NORT was born amidst lock-down. Like most of the world I was juggling a business, parenting and trying to stay healthy and focused. As a brewery owner and beer fanatic, I soon realised there was a massive need to grow the non-alcoholic beer category and offer Aussies a non-alcoholic beer that is carefully crafted and rich in flavour. NORT gives you options. A beer to balance with an  alcoholic beverage so you can drive home, get out for that early morning surf or head into that board meeting. Or it can be a beer you can have at any time of the day without feeling guilty or fuzzy afterwards.”

“We worked hard on the recipe, ingredients and brewing process to ensure this was 100% non-alcoholic, but also 100% crafted beer.”


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