One of the best things about the non-alcoholic beverage industry is all the innovative and passionate people behind the brands we so much love and enjoy. Christian Carlbaum – the founder of the Swedish N/A brand Carlbaum’s – is no exception. As the third generation of the Carlbaum restaurateur family, Christian has always been passionate about creating extraordinary drink experiences, both for himself and others. Discover how he revolutionized the creation of N/A cocktails with his versatile drink mixers and gin alternative.

Hi Christian! We are so excited to learn more about you and Carlbaum's. Let's get straight into it! What inspired you to create Carlbaum's, and how does it reflect your family's three generations of experience in the restaurant business?

My general inspiration in whatever I do is to contest pre-set assumptions and ideas and think of new ways to do things. Non-alcoholic vermouths or spirits was a blank paper when I started and it was up to me to decide what I think it could be, and that idea was very inspiring to me. I spent over one year developing the Sthlm Dry, our non-alcoholic gin, and I’m still developing it further. My dad was a classic bartender and restaurateur and he has been a huge role model for me. I grew up spending time in various restaurants and making cocktails at home with him. The main drive behind Carlbaum’s has been to create something that people will enjoy. It has also been a lot of fun developing the cocktail mixers and the non-alcoholic vermouths and spirits and my dad was very much part of that journey with me. He is also pictured on the vermouth’s bottles.

Can you tell us about Carlbaum's ambition to change the creation of cocktails and mocktails, and how you're working to redefine the perception of what a non-alcoholic drink can be?

What is a mocktail? What is a non-alcoholic spirit? These were questions I asked myself and I realized it’s all about perception, senses, and taste. When I’m creating a product, I focus on these things and play with them to create feelings beyond just taste when you enjoy our products.

"I see flavors very much like music cords when creating products. Flavors of different notes that together creates a harmony."

Could you walk us through the development process of Carlbaum's Cocktail Mixers, from turning your kitchen into a lab in 2015 to achieving the perfect mix of sweetness, acidity, bitterness, and flavor?

I started with my grandmother’s old juicer in the kitchen and made cocktail mixers to bring to parties. Then I spent around a year developing a drink matrix and recipes so that each drink mixer could be used to make a variety of drinks and with the same exact measurements: 50/50 spirit/cocktail mixer for a cocktail or 4cl spirit/ 6cl cocktail mixer/8cl soda water for a long drink. All with a perfect balance.

What is the significance of taste in Carlbaum's products, and how do you ensure that each mixer and spirit delivers on flavor while maintaining simplicity and versatility?

The significance of taste in Carlbaum's products is that they are all full of flavors and at the same time not overly sweet or bitter. I see flavors very much like a music cord when creating products, flavors of different notes that together creates a harmony.

Can you share more about the importance of sourcing the best ingredients, such as Primofiori lemons from Murcia, and how these high-quality ingredients contribute to the exceptional taste of Carlbaum's products?

It’s simple, if you want to create products of the highest quality then you need ingredients of the highest quality. Murcia is a proud producer of some of the best lemons in the world. When I visited them in the beginning years I got to taste various seasonal pressed juices, and the difference was striking! The Primofiori lemons are ripe when they are picked, and they are picked within a 10 km radius, then they are pressed into juice the same day as they are picked and then frozen directly, so the juice we use are from ripe and directly pressed raw lemon juice. It’s also much more climate responsible to ship squeezed juice rather than fresh fruit.


As a third-generation member of the Carlbaum restaurateur family, Christian Carlbaum is... 

How do you ensure consistency and quality across batches, especially when producing small batches in your Stockholm facility and larger batches in Skåne?

We have a well elaborated structure for our productions, and we buy ingredients from the same producers each time. I blend each batch myself, based on the same recipe, and I make sure the quality of the taste. 

In what ways does Carlbaum's embrace Swedish craftsmanship, and how does this ethos influence the development and production of your non-alcoholic spirits and mixers?

Our focus has always been on the quality and flavor of the beverages rather than the marketing and branding of our products. We have spent almost all our energy and focus on the innovation, creation and production of our products to let the quality speak for itself, beside the labels and webpage we have not spent any funds on marketing.

You have a lot of exciting products but if you have to choose one, which is your favorite?

Sthlm Dry is the closest to my heart, as it was the most challenging to do.

Where do you see Carlbaum’s in 5 years from now?

We have a few more non-alcoholic spirits in our portfolio, and we sell our products more globally.

How would you describe Carlbaum’s in three words?

Innovative. Flavorful. Free.