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Business

Last drinks: Nourished Life founder’s latest startup, Sans Drinks, placed in administration

- July 25, 2023 2 MIN READ
Sans Drinks founder Irene Falcone
Sans Drinks founder Irene Falcone
Nourished Life founder Irene Falcone’s latest startup venture, Sans Drinks, has fallen victim to the challenging retail environment, with the business handed to administrators.

Jirsch Sutherland partner Andrew Spring was appointed administrator of The Non Alcoholic Drinks Co Pty Ltd, trading as San Drinks, on July 17.

Spring said it was “still early days in the investigation” as they assess the business and work with Falcone on a solution. For now Sans Drinks continues to trade and the website is still operating and available.

Employees were terminated prior to the appointment of the administrators and the company’s flagship store at Westfield Warringah Mall store on Sydney’s northern beaches was closed prior to Jirsch Sutherland taking control.

Falcone had also acquired competitor, Craft Zero, then sold it in an attempt to reduce debt.

Andrew Spring said the “experienced challenging trading conditions and suffered a dramatic decrease in sales”, due to a range of factors including the non-essential nature of the product, growing cost of living pressures impacting on discretionary spending habits, and customers moving away from e-commerce post-Covid.

“The company was in the process of expansion, which included rolling up* competitors and establishing its own brands, which has used up the working capital. The director injected money into the business, and is the largest creditor,” Spring said, with Falcone down around $1 million.

There is only one general security holder, SelectPay/Australian Factoring Company, which is owed approximately $190,000.

Spring said “it is not likely that the business will be sold as a going concern”. The first creditors meeting will be held this Thursday, July 27.

Having sold her online beauty brand Nourished Life  in 2017 for $20 million, Falcone returned to ecommerce in the midst of 2020’s Covid lockdowns with Sans Drinks, having stopped drinking alcohol several months earlier.

“I was standing in a bottle shop asking if they had non-alcoholic wine or beer and they looked at me as though I was absolutely crazy! It was exact the same look of judgement I received when I walked into a chemist and asked for a natural deodorant back in 2012,” Falcone said at the time.

“My whole body light up and I knew that this was what I needed to do. This was the next big thing and from that moment, Sans Drinks was born.”

It was a nascent period for alcohol substitutes, which brands such as Lyre’s rapidly gaining traction. In the three years since Sans Drinks was born, consumer options have changed dramatically and retail competition is rife. Major supermarkets, while slow to move, have now embraced the movement and found extensive shelf space for non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits alongside heavy discounting.

In April after Nourished Life’s ASX-listed owner, BWX, landed in its own financial difficulties and shut down the brand, Falcone attempted to launch a replacement brand, Sans World, targeting Nourished Life’s former customers, saying it would open “in the next few weeks”.

sansworld.com.au remains offline.

 

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