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Au Revoir to Boisson

Updated: Apr 28



Having opened its latest store earlier this year, American alcohol-free retailer Boisson.co announced this week that it will be closing its nine retail locations with immediate effect.



Inside Boisson, Williamsburg
Boisson, Williamsburg (credit: Boisson)


With eight stores in Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and the ninth in Miami, Boisson, which launched in 2021, was the leading physical supplier of low/no beverages in the US.


But after a difficult decision, the founders and directors, including World Alcohol-Free Awards judge Nick Bodkins have decided to ‘re-structure’ the business by closing all physical locations and focusing solely on e-commerce and wholesale distribution.


In a statement on LinkedIn on 6 April, Boisson CEO Sheetal Aiyer said the company’s board of directors had decided to enter into a restructuring process as it was in the “best interests of its creditors and other stakeholders”.


Aiyer went on to say “While this is certainly disappointing, taking these actions will allow the company the opportunity to put forth a restructuring plan aimed to focus on the wholesale distribution and e-commerce divisions, which continue to operate, accepting and fulfilling orders without interruption.”


Despite increasing year-on-year revenue by 300% in 2022 (source: The Spirits Business) and projection for triple-digit growth, the firm cites insufficient resources as the reason behind the decision.


Aiyer said the company had been hit by “notable financial challenges in recent months, both in ways to focus investment given the overall complexity of the business as it currently operates and in broader macroeconomic conditions facing retail and consumer startups.


“Significant infrastructure, including fixed costs associated with the retail footprint and bi-coastal warehouse operations further compounded these challenges.


“Without a necessary restructuring plan, the company could not continue operating. Despite concerted efforts to mitigate these obstacles, the resources available were insufficient to sustain the status quo.”


Aiyer thanked the firm’s shareholders for their support during the transition. Among the company’s backers is French spirits conglomerate Pernod Ricard, which provided US$5 million in funding last September to support Boisson’s global expansion.


And concluded, “Boisson remains optimistic about the future and is confident that this strategic shift will position the company for sustained success in the evolving marketplace.”


Nick Bodkins, co-founder of Boisson, also took to LinkedIn to share his response to the restructure. “First, our failure is not the NA [non-alcoholic] category’s failure,” he said. “No one should consider this anything other than what it is: a failed venture-backed startup that grew too quickly, made mistakes, and wasn’t able to find capital fast enough to continue to build three businesses at the same time (bricks-and-mortar retail, e-commerce, and wholesale import/distribution), which in hindsight, proved to be impossibly hard to execute.”

 


 


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