We had the opportunity to interview Morten Sørensen, the founder of ISH Spirits – renowned N/A brand from Denmark. Not only is Morten deeply ingrained in the industry, but he also brings a unique blend of kindness and intrigue to the table. Read on to find out what he had to say about reshaping consumer’s perception of non-alcoholic drinks and making it globally. 

Hello Morten! It's a pleasure to speak with you. How are you doing?

My pleasure, I am delighted to meet you and look forward to chatting. Life is good, I’m happy and busy, and I feel like we are making great progress at ISH.

Can you share the inspiration behind founding ISH Spirits and your vision for the company?

It all began with a 100-day alcohol-free challenge back in 2017 when I realized that alcohol was becoming a bit heavy. Although I wasn't drinking excessively, I felt it was slowing me down. So, I quit drinking and turned it into a challenge because that's just how I'm wired I guess. I discovered that abstaining from alcohol was the easy part – the real challenge was finding satisfying alternatives. That's when the idea for ISH was born. As a digital nomad at the time, working on creative projects worldwide, from trekking Everest Base Camp to living in Los Angeles, Cape Town, and various other places, I returned to Copenhagen, my hometown, to establish ISH with the vision of creating a range of alcohol-free drinks that make it easy for anyone to be a mindful drinker – a solution to the challenge I had faced.

"We strive to do the best we can in everything we do and continue to learn along the way."

Could you elaborate on ISH's approach to social responsibility and sustainability, particularly in the context of advancing a healthier global alcohol culture?

The World Health Organization released a report stating that alcohol undermines 13 of the 17 SDGs. This revelation was astonishing to me! Something so common has such detrimental effects on the goals we all strive to contribute positively to. Our reason to exist is to make mindful drinking easy and with roughly 50% of consumers looking to reduce their alcohol intake, we aim to make that easy for them. By providing satisfying alternatives, we ensure they are included in the party, get the same flavor experiences and do what feels right for them.

How does ISH source and select natural ingredients for its beverages, and what considerations are given to sustainability and environmental impact?

On the sustainability front, we have conducted a comprehensive emission assessment to understand our carbon footprint. Based on this, we have implemented various CO2-reduction measures to establish the most sustainable production processes possible. All our cans are produced using wind and hydro power. We are transitioning to lightweight wine bottles to optimize glass and transportation resources. We prioritize fair trade and responsible sourcing of ingredients.

We strive to do the best we can in everything we do and continue to learn along the way.

ISH Spirits

Founded in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2018 by Morten Sørensen, ISH is a... 

Could you discuss the significance of familiar flavors in ISH's product development process and how you prioritize them?

We cater to consumers who, like myself, enjoy the taste of a G&T, Daiquiri, Margarita, Spritz, Sparkling wine, etc., but wish to consume less alcohol. Essentially, we aim to bridge playfulness with mindfulness. We believe the most effective way to achieve this is by offering drinks that provide the same taste experience as alcoholic beverages. This way, consumers can enjoy similar satisfaction without the alcohol content. It's a challenging benchmark, but we believe it's the best approach. While it may not be the easiest path, we are committed to it, even if it means we may not become the largest company in the industry. However, we strive to be recognized for offering the most authentic-tasting beverages.

What role do you see ISH playing in reshaping consumer perceptions and behaviors towards alcohol consumption?

We are a pioneer in this category, and we believe that comes with a great responsibility. A responsibility that helps the category grow, through great consumer experiences. We are proud to have some of the highest-ranking products in the industry, both in regards to awards, but also customer reviews. We are here to inspire and with the growth we are experiencing, both internally and the category as a whole, I believe we're on the right track.

As ISH expands into new markets, what factors do you consider when tailoring your offerings to different cultural preferences and consumer demands?

Having traveled extensively, I've noticed that, fundamentally, we are all quite similar. We all enjoy socializing, spending time with friends, meeting new people, and indulging in life's pleasures. The global beverage scene reflects this narrative. While experiences may vary depending on location, the fundamentals remain the same. However, we recognize that different regions may have distinct palettes, which we try to accommodate. Especially in our approach to wine, where we have some exciting projects in the making. Also, some countries have a stronger cocktail culture, while others lean more towards wine. This is where our broad range becomes even more relevant.

What personally drives and motivates you in your role as the founder of ISH Spirits, and what do you hope the company's legacy will be in the beverage industry?

Personally, I am driven by the desire to provide people with exceptional alcohol-free experiences. Those moments when you offer a sip of your drink to a friend to show how fantastic it is. That makes me happy. I hope ISH's legacy will be that we elevated the alcohol-free experience to new heights and helped shape the future of a more balanced alcohol culture where everyone has the freedom to choose.

We know it might feel impossible, but we always have to ask – which one of your products is your favorite?

Uhh, it’s hard to choose which child you love the most, but I will say that I am absolutely in love with our new Paloma that is launching this Spring.

Where do you see ISH Spirits in 5 years from now?

In five years, the ISH brand will be firmly manifested in our key markets. It will be the go-to choice for consumers seeking exceptional alcohol-free beverages.

How would you describe ISH Spirits in three words?

Authentic. Innovative. Freedom.