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Zayn Malik had already been dreaming of making a splash in the non-alcoholic beverage industry before Kristina Roth came into the mix. All he needed was the right partner, and Roth — who last year founded Mixoloshe, a brand dedicated to mimicking adult drinks minus the hangover — fit that bill.
Now, the ex-boy-bander is the new co-owner and chief creative officer of the company. He and Roth announced the joint venture last week, at the same time unveiling Malik’s first-ever original flavor of “boozy without the booze” mock-seltzer: Lychee Martini, a fruity but floral pain-free potion described as having enough sparkle to “make a unicorn jump with joy.” Boasting 45 calories, the drink’s sleek black can is printed with designs based on the “Pillowtalk” singer’s full-body blend of bad boy tattoos.
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Coming into fruition just as Malik polishes up his next batch of new music, the partnership was first teased in the music video for his July single “Love Like This” with a brief shot of one of Mixoloshe’s brightly-colored spritzers.
“These drinks offer an array of benefits, from a healthier lifestyle to being more inclusive for various occasions,” the star tells Billboard. “I want to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and empowered to choose them without judgment.”
Below, Malik teases his upcoming new music, shares his goals for “disrupting” the non-alcoholic beverage industry and the beginnings of his partnership with Mixoloshe:
We’re told you’re busy this week in the studio. Can you give us an update on any new music?
I’m putting the finishing touches on it right now, I’m ready for this to be shared with the world. Excited and ready.
Take us through the timeline of your partnership with MIXOLOSHE. Their website says you started as a fan of their products — did you then reach out to the company with the idea of working together?
My journey into the non-alcoholic beverage industry began about six months ago when I was introduced to Kristina. I’d been interested in this industry for years, primarily due to its potential for innovation and creativity. At the same time, Kristina was actively seeking a creative partner to bring fresh ideas into her venture. In June, we officially joined forces, and we wasted no time getting down to work.
Did MIXOLOSHE’s female leadership in particular motivate you to join the company?
After hearing about Kristina, and meeting her, I was really excited about her passion and drive for the brand. Her business skills spoke for themselves, but the product still had to speak to me in different ways, and it did. Mixoloshe, its goals, its products, its positioning in the marketplace, all of it was aligned with what I wanted to jump into.
As a man, what do you hope to add to a business led and founded by women?
I think it’s just about bringing my very best to the company in every way I can, and that’s what I’m going to strive to do. We lift each other up and that’s what I love about the partnership. Sharing and embracing each other’s skills and talents. Collaboration is key, our joint aim is to deliver the very best for our Mixoloshe customer. If people are going to spend their hard earned money on our drinks I want them to be the very best in the game.
As a musician, what perspective do you hope to bring to MIXOLOSHE that the company may not have considered before your partnership?
I believe there’s a strong parallel between making music and making cocktails, and that’s the importance of striking the right balance to create harmony. The art of creating the perfect music and achieving the perfect sensory harmony are intertwined, in my opinion, as both require a careful balance and a keen sense of creativity. When you’re composing music, every note and instrument must come together in just the right way. Similarly, in the world of cocktails, it’s essential to blend different elements and flavors to create a perfect taste experience.
You’ve said that the non-alcoholic beverage market is “ready for disruption.” What do you mean by “disruption,” and how do you plan to bring it?
Disruption in the non-alcoholic space is driven by innovation. Creating unique flavors that can rival their alcoholic counterparts is a game-changer. Consumers are increasingly seeking exciting taste experiences in the non-alcoholic realm.
Secondly, the quality of ingredients used in these beverages is paramount. Using premium, natural, and sustainable ingredients not only elevates the product but also meets the growing demand for healthier, conscious choices. Finally, affordability plays a crucial role in ensuring broad accessibility for our brand. Innovation in the non-alcoholic category should not only be limited to high-end products but should include options that are affordable for a wide range of customers.
Why non-alcoholic drinks? Why are sober alternatives to alcohol personally important to you and your life?
I have such a busy work schedule so I have to be switched on. I’m always trying new sodas/flavored waters, all types of drinks that are refreshing and still fun. The chance to create my own with tastes I think are missing in the current market in the way we’re delivering them with our brand is really special.
I’ve also really loved the idea that this category brings people together, no matter their drink choice. I’m all about that, and it feels good to be providing a high end product at an accessible price, which was really important for me.
What do you want your fans to understand about this new venture?
My commitment to eliminating the stigma around non-alcoholic beverages. Non-alcoholic options should not be reserved solely for those who don’t drink, and the idea that non-alcoholic beverages are exclusively for “sober” individuals is a stereotype that I’m determined to challenge. My commitment lies in both innovation and social change, creating an environment where enjoying a non-alcoholic beverage is a choice, not a label, and where these drinks become a vibrant and celebrated part of the beverage landscape.
Do you see this as a stepping stone to becoming someone like Rihanna, Jay-Z, or Justin Timberlake, all of whom are moguls that started out as musicians?
All of them have had great success, and it’s been incredible to see. I’m on my own journey though, I don’t like to look left and right. I’m on my own path from Bradford to wherever it takes me next!
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