We had the good fortune of connecting with John Dalsey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, what do you attribute your success to?
It’s almost cliche to say but 하드Nectar would be nothing without our community of fans. In a year that literally was defined by people separating themselves from one another, people coming together and supporting us is what completely change the course of our business overnight.
We set out to create 하드Nectar, the first asian-inspired hard seltzer, at the end of 2019 with plans to launch in Spring of 2020 but no-one saw covid coming. Covid wrecked us in so many ways but we persevered and put almost all of our small life savings into the business to just get to the point where we had a few pallets of product and could get to selling. We went to over 200 liquor stores in LA and although no-one flat out said no, no-one said yes either. The store owners didn’t want to take a risk at the height of Covid on a brand with 0 followers on social media and 0 proven sales.
We turned to TikTok to share our story and put our phone number in the video just to see if we had completely missed on this idea, or if there were actually people out there that believe in our idea as much as we did. That video went viral and thousands of people from across the country started texting in asking how they could get 하드Nectar. Using this data we were able to convince our first 2 liquor stores in LA to stock us. We texted our fans a date, time, and location and they came out in droves, selling out 300 boxes on a Wednesday at 10am, in under an hour!
It was at this point that we knew we had something special. We reached out to our fans again and asked them where they’d like to see us next and repeated these massive sell outs in OC, SD, SF, SJ, NYC, and Oakland. At each city, the fan support grew larger and larger with lines extending over 3 full city blocks.
This overwhelming support helped us get the attention of the largest copacker on the west coast as well as some big retailers including BevMo! and goPuff. All of whom took a chance on us because they saw what the community we are building was capable of.
Our fans continue to help steer the direction of 하드Nectar through our #QUITTHECLAW campaign where we’ll bring 하드Nectar to ANY city that gets over 300 phone numbers to text us at 310-388-6729
What should our readers know about your business?
I go into the story in pretty good detail in the first question but to add to that:
Our vision for 하드Nectar is to create something that’s Divinely Different. Everything from the flavors we offer, the way we’re packaged (we have a patented variety box with a reusable handle!), the vulnerable stories we tell, how we distribute and sell our product, to our branding and marketing is different.
The alcohol industry is dominated and controlled by big businesses and middle men. We’ve set out to break the mold and disrupt what we see as a super homogenous industry with everyone jumping into hard seltzer doing the same boring thing.
Like any business, we’re tackling different challenges everyday but I believe we preserver because we’re willing to go the extra mile to make things happen for our fans. If we have to pull an all nighter to hand pack 2,000 variety packs because a full truckload of product was destroyed in transit, we’ll get it done and then load the truck and hit 52 stores across SoCal to make deliveries (lol this really happened).
We’ve been great at documenting our journey so far on our TikTok @nectarhardseltzer and I encourage you to check it out to see more!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I grew up in New Jersey and lived in Philly for 5 years before moving to LA this past October 2020 so I am still a little green with getting out to check out the real local spots. Especially since everything up until recently had been closed due to Covid.
That being said, from visiting friends over the years one of my favorite things to do was/is go brewery hoping-some great spots are Highland Park, Homage, Monkish, Modern Times DTLA, and Mumford.
In terms of restaurants my first and second favorite (so far) are Crossroads and Bavel. If you know me, you would never guess a vegan restaurant is my favorite restaurant in LA so that should say a lot.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shoutout to my Mom, Dad, and family for encouraging me to be ambitious and showing me unconditional support; Shoutout to Susan Smith of Vistage (and the rest of my Vistage Peers) for mentoring me through a pivotal time in my entrepreneurship journey; Shoutout to Trish Halamandaris and everyone else involved at UCLA’s Venture Accelerator for taking a chance on us; and shoutout to my business partner Jeremy Kim, I can’t imagine a more inspiring person to be building something with
Other: Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@nectarhardseltzer?lang=en