Alix Peabody, Founder of Bev / © The Alixir Company
One minute, you’re working in finance as an investment recruiter in the Bay Area. The next, you’re cashing out your life savings to buy a buttload of pink wine and moving to Los Angeles. Very few people could pull a move like this off, and we had the privilege of talking with one who absolutely did—and she’s not even 30!
Alix Peabody founded The Alixir Company in June 2017 and launched their first product, Bev, in May 2018. This bubbly canned rosé is just the beginning of Peabody’s journey. Get to know Peabody—how she got started, what foods she likes to pair with Bev, and what’s next for her brand—below.
1. Introduce us to our girl, Bev. Did her personality or the name come first?
Alix Peabody: Bev was founded based on her personality; the product and name came second. We wanted to build a brand that speaks to women and is approachable, all while changing the cultural landscape around having fun. Once we decided on rosé, we started calling it “Project Bev” which just stuck.
2. Why rosé? And why canned rosé, for that matter?
AP: It was less about the rosé and more about creating something in the alcohol industry that is specifically for women (without making it about body image.) If you look at the products out there now, just about everything is made for men, by men. We want to change the drinking and party culture, and, more specifically, how it depicts women. Rosé does a good job of reaching our female consumers, and the can use-case is more closely comparable to the use-case of beer.
3. Backing up a few years: How did you end up in investment recruiting?
AP: I was looking for a change of pace after working at Bridgewater and decided to make the move to the west coast. I always wanted to learn a bit about the startup world and knew I wanted to be in San Francisco. In terms of the job, it kind of found me. I thought it would be a really great way to meet like-minded individuals with an eye to the future of one day starting my own company.
4. Even more importantly, what made you decide to leave that career path and start your own company?
AP: When I worked at Bridgewater and pretty much ever since college, I had health issues that ended up requiring multiple surgeries, including freezing my eggs. A lot of what I was dealing with wasn’t covered by insurance and it left me waist-deep in medical bills. In order to pay those off, I threw what was called The Sonoma Daygers up at my aunt and uncle’s house. They weren’t your typical NorCal-type parties. People came as they were; humans first and man or woman second. They were almost like mini Burning Man parties—they were inclusive, people expressed themselves in their own, radical ways, and they were just downright fun. Anyways, all to say, I knew that this was something that I wanted to recreate on a larger scale—to build a community of sorts that vibrated with the same energy.
5. Did you tell anyone of your plan to cash out your 401(k) and buy rosé before taking the plunge? (If so, what did they say?)
AP: Nope, that was a decision I made all on my own!
6. Did you ever have an “oh, shit” moment between cashing out and launching your first product? (And, if so, how did you get yourself back into a good state of mind?)
AP: I don’t think you can cash out your 401(k) and not have at least one “oh, shit” moment. And there have been plenty since then, too. But you need the “oh, shit” moments in order to learn and grow. One thing that helps me get through these times is telling myself “the only way out is through.” Persevere.
7. How did you end up in LA?
AP: I thought at the time I wanted to start a media company after becoming somewhat obsessed with the female owned social space. In order to build that, I’d need to understand the entertainment and media industry. So, I enrolled in the MFA program at USC for screenwriting and have been in LA ever since.
8. When you first started Bev, how many different hats did you have to wear?
AP: Just about every hat possible! At that point it was just a few of us on the team, so we all had to take on multiple rolls—fundraising, production, sales, marketing, all the way down to handing out stickers on the street. We still wear many hats! But it’s a great way to get exposure and knowledge to of all sides of the business.
9. What does the Bev team look like now?
AP: STRONG AF! I’ve hired around my weaknesses and definitely have people on the team that are smarter than I am. I think that’s something that I have learned along the way as a best practice that will take us really far.
10. What’s next for Bev—more products, events, wholesalers, etc.?
AP: All of the above! Right now we are focused on our distributor partnerships and will be looking to launch in new markets across the nation as well as globally in the new year.
11. Who are your role models/mentors/expanders?
AP: Shonda Rhimes. She’s someone I really look up to and also inspired me to apply to USC. And, of course, my team.
12. Most amazing moment since founding Bev so far?
AP: Launching with Reyes distribution in Southern California was pretty surreal. We’re the first brand they’ve signed on from launch as well as their first canned wine. In our first two weeks we’ve gone from nearly 0 to 100 accounts—seeing the efforts and support of our new partners along with that of my team has been incredibly humbling.
13. Favorite place to drink Bev—and why?
AP: The rooftop at Bev during sunset with people I love. It’s truly such a gift to be able to do this because I get to take a second and pause to think about how lucky I am, how far we’ve come as a community and family, and how we have so much to look forward to.
14. Tell us a little bit about Bev’s unofficial mascot, Harold.
AP: Harold is the real MVP. He’s amazing and the most lovable but odd cat you’ll ever meet. Calling him a cat doesn’t quite do him justice—I’m pretty sure he’s a grandpa that got stuck in the wrong body.
15. What do you do when you’re not running a kickass business?
AP: Hard to say, because it truly is a 24-hour-a-day job, and my bedroom is literally at the office. But, I love spending time with my boyfriend, Geoff, and with close friends and family. I read a lot, and I love to work out. Oh, and, of course, can’t forget Harold.
16. What’s your favorite self-care practice?
AP: Exercise, for sure.
17. What are you bingeing on Netflix/Hulu right now?
AP: SUITS. So much Suits.
18. Dogs or cats?
AP: Harold, which is neither.
19. Best Bev + food pairing?
AP: Hmm I think the office vote would be pizza.
20. In-N-Out or Shake Shack?
AP: Shake Shack.
21. Favorite place to grab a drink in Venice?
AP: The Bev Haus!!!