We asked 10 questions to our client Blanca Costa, the co-founder & CEO of BdeGust beer. BdeGust is a committed beer from Girona with a global commitment towards our society, our planet and all the living beings with who we share it.
What made you leave your established job to become a social entrepreneur?
Blanca: I had been looking for a change and I wanted a new challenge, something that would really motivate me, allow me to take risks and to learn again. I worked in marketing since I graduated from ESADE, and I had a clear idea of the future job I wanted! Together with my partner and co-founder, Lluís, we shared this dream that ticked all the boxes we were looking for!
When you started, what were the 3 biggest challenges you had to overcome and how did you do it?
Blanca: The first challenge was to produce a great quality beer. We got in touch with an amazing master brewer and after many tests we came up with the final recipe for BdeGust.
The second challenge was the bureaucracy. From the beginning, we wanted our beer to be bio and vegan, following our values and way of life. It took a very long time to gain the certification for this. Overcoming it was a matter of patience!
The final challenge was to create a brand that would communicate exactly what we believed in and what the product and the project was about. The solution was clear: get in touch with an expert.
Why a beer and why Girona? Was it part of your dream? Is the beer category lacking in social innovation?
Blanca: Lluís and I are both beer lovers. Every time we travel we always dedicate one day to visit local breweries! Girona is my hometown and we had the opportunity to take a field where we could grow our own hops. So everything made sense and clicked into place! There are few food & drinks products in Spain related with social impact, but we believe in the power of companies to generate impact and be drivers for change.
How do you manage your time between marketing, sales, PR, operations, etc…?
Blanca: That's a really good question and, truth be told, it is not always easy. At the beginning it meant less holidays and working on weekends, as well as finding partners who share the same values. In Girona the deliveries are done by bicycle in collaboration with an NGO who works with people at social exclusion risk. The labelling is done at Fundació Els Joncs, a not-for-profit enterprise who ensure the wellbeing of people with intellectual disabilities.
Can you explain a couple things that happened to you during the last year that significantly affected the evolution of BdeGust and helped position the brand where it is today?
Blanca: I am thankful for absolutely everyone who has trusted BdeGust and helped us grow. From our designer Josh who introduced us to a wonderful client (Les Filles), to the Basque Culinary Center who selected us at one of the top 5 start-ups of the year when we launched. They recently invited us to be part of "Jóvenes Talentos de la Gastronomía" which has given us visibility nationwide. We have also been lucky enough to work with Finesse Films who created a short film of our beer that we love. And last, but not least, our friends and family who help us to spread the word! When you’re starting a new business, every bit of help counts.
Why should people buy BdeGust? Is it better than the other beers?
Blanca: Well, it is not for me to say that it’s a great beer... I really encourage everyone to try it and let us know their thoughts! If you are looking for a beer that is refreshing, where you can taste the malt and our locally produced hops, where the bitterness cleans your mouth but doesn't stay and, most importantly, if you want to enjoy a beer and at the same time generate a positive impact, then BdeGust is your beer! And, of course, always remember to put the bottle in the correct recycling bin or send it back to us ;)
We’re seeing more and more social entrepreneurs for whom we have the honor to create purpose-driven brands. Do you think this will eventually inspire bigger organisations to make a change?
Blanca: Definitely! If those organisations truly believe in it, the market asks for it, and they do it correctly then I can see there being many more purpose-driven brands.
We’ve seen one of the biggest beer brands in Spain sacrifice their annual ad campaign for one that invites everybody to protect our oceans. Companies like Nestle, Burger King and Unilever are already investing in plant-based alternatives to meat, etc. We've put our planet under too much pressure already and now we are seeing the consequences.
Is it possible to be purpose-driven and still manage to make a profit in order to serve your purpose? How do you manage that at BdeGust?
Blanca: That's what we are working towards every single day. It's been 10 months since we launched and the company has been running on it’s own profits since the 4th month. Hopefully we will be able to say the same in 10 years time!
You sell to Michelin star restaurants and leading eco retail chains such as Veritas. How did you reach them and why do they choose BdeGust? Are buyers/clients asking for more responsible choices on the shelf / menu?
Blanca: When it comes to restaurants, we normally visit them to introduce our beer. There are an important number of buyers who are looking for responsible choices, and that number is growing, but it’s important to offer a great quality product as well. A bio & vegan beer made from local ingredients and with a social project behind it means nothing if the beer tastes awful! So we are very happy and proud that the best restaurants in the country appreciate the beer itself and say that it’s an excellent one. In the case of Veritas, which is the only retail chain we are available at (our own decision), we participated in the Veritas Ecological Challenge with Ulule (thank you to Cris and Alejandra) and this is how we got to know them and were offered the possibility to be stocked in their supermarkets, which we are absolutely grateful for!
Last question. What does the future of BdeGust look like? What can we expect to see 5 years from now?
Blanca: Impact, impact, impact. Always positive. Our aim is to help the world to be a better place with BdeGust as a part of it.