Founder Stories

TULA Drinks delivers the social connection of drinking without the nasties. Here's how the drinks brand took off!



Food and beverage



Monique Bateman, Jess Owens and Josi Fox are the founders of TULA Drinks; a non-alcoholic functional beverage brand born out of a shared passion to help people to find balance without compromise. How did it begin? The trio coalesced on a shared tension: the pursuit of sustained health vs. finding joy through indulgence. And alcohol sat at the center of it.

In this Founder Story we dive into TULA Drinks’ origin story, their key milestones, tech stack, growth strategies and more!


Drinking is the world’s oldest social tradition. It fosters connection, meaning and delight. It heralds an occasion. And we all didn’t want to miss out on that, or change it for that matter.

TULA Drinks team

Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?

Jess had chosen to be sober but was uninspired by the alternatives, Josi was on her homeopathy journey and was mindful of the short and long term repercussions of alcohol, and Mon was becoming more conscious of her fluctuating drinking habits in search of her sweet spot. We were also experiencing the rise of sober-curiosity and alcohol moderation within our own communities, which could be extrapolated to major shifts in the global market. 

However, drinking is the world’s oldest social tradition. It fosters connection, meaning and delight. It heralds an occasion. And we all didn’t want to miss out on that, or change it for that matter. But the products available at the time did not address the fundamental friction we’d all observed in-market and were experiencing ourselves. 

Enter stage left: functional ingredients. These naturally occurring potent compounds were not yet mainstream in the drinks space at the time, but were known to us through our prior explorations of wellness. By combining the power of functionals with our beverages, we found a way for people to have their cake and drink it too – we have crafted a drink that gives you a natural buzz in the moment, whilst looking after your future self.


Our first batch sold out via our website in less than one month and we have since undergone two more batches double the volume.

TULA Drinks team

What were some of the the key milestone moments for your business?

TULA Drinks’ sales went live at the end of October 2023. Our first batch sold out via our website in less than one month and we have since undergone two more batches double the volume.

Bringing on our distributor, Very Very Goods, in December 2023 has created retail and on-prem momentum. You can find TULA stocked in over 20 stores and restaurants across Australia, and growing.

We are also investing in our hospitality and corporate channels to make the power of functional ingredients accessible beyond the typical ‘drinking’ context - as a mid afternoon pick-me-up or uplifting work drinks alternative.

A key milestone moment was bringing the Canva office onboard early this year!


What tools and apps do you use to run your store?

Our tech stack is currently running very lean as we grow. All sales and analytics are currently run through Squarespace, with imminent plans to transition to Shopify.

We have recently introduced Substack as an alternative platform for email marketing and community engagement and plan to start digging our teeth into conversion and experience analytics tools such as HotJar and the Upsell by AMP app.

With the rising Cost of Customer Acquisition through Meta what strategies do you believe are essential for brands to think about to scale growth?

In our view, working at the intersection of brand and experience strategy is critical to sustained growth. We think of it this way - brand is the promise you make, experience is the promise you keep. And differentiation is absolutely key. Manifestations of this through marketing activities should be deeply considered and contribute to target customer’s lives beyond a specific product, service or offering.

Connecting into lifestyle aspirations, goals, affiliations, and deeper identities within social contexts is what truly translates to sustainable bidirectional relationships. In short, know your customer deeply, and speak to them directly.

But the world is constantly in flux, keeping up with what’s important is near impossible, which is why we also believe strongly in experimentation; testing, learning, failing and iterating rapidly. And not behind the scenes - in-market, with real customers, across channels… some would argue a potentially higher risk, but we’d argue guaranteed higher return.

Was there an ah hah moment that launched your growth? What was your secret sauce?

As we are still new to market, our growth activities are heavily focused on top of funnel activities to drive awareness. Majority of our momentum has emerged from organic social sharing and word of mouth.

We have also started investing time into building and nurturing brand partnerships in adjacent industries such as fashion, arts and wellness. So far, TULA has collaborated with the likes of Incu, St. Agni, Female Founder World, Australian Red Cross, and After Word Drinks podcast with upcoming events with Peaches Pilates, Ganni and ANJAC in the works.

Tastings and showings at our stockists, such as P&V Wine, have also launched us into the hands of new consumers, unlocking the opportunity to share more about the product and engage in live customer research.

We have big ambitions for 2024 and beyond and hope to report back to the AMP team on kicking major scale goals in the near future!

What are your top resources for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Perhaps a bit left of field, but the people around us have proven to be the best resource for us so far. There is nothing more inspiring and energising than sitting down in front of a friend, colleague, a new contact, or a connection two or three times removed for a coffee catch up to hear about their experiences, lessons, and advice.

It’s also an incredibly uplifting reminder of the goodness and humility in others who are so willing to offer their time to help.

If you want a drink that invites you to indulge and feel good for it check out TULA Drinks today!

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