‘Everybody Wants to Be Invited to the Party’: Katy Perry on Launching a Zero-Proof Aperitif

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Make no mistake, Katy Perry still loves a strong weekend martini, Amass gin, and a celebratory glass of bubbles. But with a Las Vegas residency (“Play”), a 2-year-old daughter, a successful shoe line, and what sometimes seems like a never-ending series of meetings, the California Gurl isn’t regularly indulging in the kind of party lifestyle detailed in her hits like “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” “This Is How We Do,” or “Waking Up In Vegas.”

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“I’m at a place in my life where I’m drinking a lot less than I used to,” says Perry. “During the week … especially as a mom, a businesswoman, and a matriarch … I just don’t have the time or energy to indulge in a cocktail [or suffer] the cloudiness of a hangover the next day. My Vegas residency is a daily reminder of how necessary it is to take care of my body in order to perform at the level I expect myself to and what a delicate balance it is between getting enough sleep, eating well, and working out.”

But that doesn’t mean the “sober-curious” star wants to always sacrifice “the little joys in life,” or the social connection grabbing a drink offers.

“Sometimes, I want the ritual of having a drink with a friend or a nightcap after dinner. I still want to have something in a nice glass and an elegant experience.” Perry says. “I see nonalcoholic drinks as a way to take care of myself both physically and mentally.”

She knew she couldn’t be the only one who felt this way, which is why she joined forces with her friend Morgan McLachlan, who happens to be a founder and master distiller at botanicals-forward spirits and hard seltzer company Amass, to create De Soi (pronounced “de-swa”), a range of sparkling zero-proof and ready-to-drink aperitifs. Launched during Dry January, the drinks come in both cans ($25 for four cans or $70 for a 12-can variety pack) and bottles ($25 each or $70 for three).

De Soi

Price: $25+

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After gaining celebrity fans and securing shelf space at Erewhon, Boisson, and Total Wine, the pair secured $4 million in seed funding from Willow Growth alongside the Creative Artists Agency in late July to grow the line nationwide. The drinks are also available to order through Amazon.

De Soi Bottles and Cans
De Soi Bottles and Cans

De Soi

Price: $25+

Buy Now

“Now more than ever, people — especially women — are trying to do it all. They’re balancing work, families, and social lives, and are looking for something fun and healthy to drink,” explains Perry, who met McLachlan in 2020 while both women were pregnant and abstaining from alcohol. “That was certainly the type of consumer Morgan and I had in mind when developing these drinks. We saw a white space in the market for a nonalcoholic alternative that was truly delicious and celebratory while still being good for you. [Because] everybody wants to be invited to the party.”

And she certainly wasn’t wrong about there being a voracious demand for such a product, which she calls “a passion project.” According to a 2021 Nielsen survey, 22 percent of consumers reported they were sober curious and interested in cutting back on alcohol citing health and wellness as the top reason for that decision. A 2022 report by Allied Market Research said the global nonalcoholic drinks industry (which includes soda) earned $820 billion in 2020.

“The majority of De Soi customers are regular drinkers who, for one reason or another, are looking to cut back on their alcohol consumption,” McLachlan says. “Katy and I didn’t want to create an alcohol alternative that was a sad substitute for the real thing. De Soi is a decidedly indulgent sensory experience. We believe pleasure is an important part of well-being yet it isn’t something that immediately comes to mind when you think ‘better-for-you drink.’ We are proud to use a mélange of beautiful, culinary botanicals to create a deeply flavorful drink that pairs well with an elegant meal.”

Named after the French ethos of combining pleasure and restraint, the lightly carbonated beverages are vegan, gluten-free, have between 30 and 40 calories per glass, and don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, or refined sugar.

De Soi
De Soi

“If you’re very calorie-conscious, mocktails are totally full of sugar. They’ll make you feel hungover from all the sugar the next day,” Perry says. “[De Soi products are] low-calorie, low-sugar, and still an elegant experience.”

De Soi comes in three flavors: Golden Hour has notes of yuzu, lemongrass, and rosemary. Champignon Dreams tastes of strawberries, bitter grapefruit, and birch, while Perry’s “current favorite” Purple Lune is packed with blackberry nectar, vanilla, spice, and rose.

“It’s our take on a full-bodied red wine; it feels really decadent,” she says. “Golden Hour is our lightest flavor with bright herbs. Champignon Dreams is the juiciest of the lineup. I love that all three offer a unique flavor experience. They’re sophisticated but really drinkable, which is a hard balance to strike.”

McLachlan adds: “Our aperitifs are made to be enjoyed just as you would an Aperol spritz or a glass of wine. Purple Lune makes an excellent stand-in for a Lambrusco, while Golden Hour is most similar to a dry, citrus-forward white wine. I took great care to develop flavor expressions that are layered, nuanced, and evocative. To the chagrin of our production and operations team, De Soi is composed of 45 different natural botanicals across the expressions.”

Both women know the nonalcoholic spirits and the pre-made mocktail market is crowded with competitors, but they’re confident the De Soi trio can hold its own. Both attribute that in part to the use of natural adaptogens like ashwagandha, reishi mushrooms, maca, lemon balm, and tulsi.

“We precisely formulated each of our aperitifs with adaptogenic herbs to help our customers unwind without the wine. The results are subtle. A glass or two isn’t going to make you tired or wired, just a warmer, mellower version of yourself,” McLachlan says. “We also blend over a dozen culinary botanicals in each to lend nuance and depth to the harmonizing effects of the adaptogens.”

Perry personally swears by the results. “The natural adaptogens help me relax after a show or a string of meetings. I need Mother Earth to help soothe me sometimes,” Perry says, adding that her 12-year transcendental meditation practice also “makes a huge difference in helping [her] reboot and avoid burnout.”

The brand also released a limited-edition line of corresponding colorful merchandise that included a canvas tote bag, stemless wine glasses, and packets of edible flowers over the summer. Items flew out the door, but fans can still purchase the duo of pink and orange flower-shaped acrylic coasters or the mustard silk scarf. It features a dinner party pattern and the phrase a ta santé which means cheers.

De Soi
De Soi

“I love our silk scarves and edible flower garnishes,” Perry says. “To me, the [merch] screams De Soi — playful, smart, but still totally functional.”

Perry’s iconic style and charismatic public persona have clearly played a big part in the vibrant and cheerful merchandise, final product, and overall branding. McLachlan wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I have great respect for her and have always been impressed by her preternatural business sense, and discerning creative vision, both of which have played a huge role in our product development and brand identity,” McLachlan says, when asked why she felt confident starting a new company with a pop star. “She has incredible presence and is very intuitive. When Katy and I met, we immediately hit it off. We are both creatives, business women, and mothers who definitely like to have a good time.”

Additional reporting by Tim Chan

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