The branding for Starla is as beautiful as the product. (Photo by Shayna Fontana)
Starla's red blend, $28 a bottle. (Photo by Shayna Fontana)
Starla's sauvignon blanc, $28 a bottle. (Photo by Shayna Fontana)
Starla's sparkling rosé, $28 a bottle. (Photo by Shayna Fontana)
Founders Jamie Coulter and Dawn Maire wanted the branding of Starla to get people excited about the drink category. (Photo by Shayna Fontana)
When Dawn Maire (former president of Dallas-based Poo-Pourri) set out on a personal health journey, she began reevaluating her relationship with alcohol. However, she ran into a roadblock when it came to giving up wine — she simply loved it too much.
“I love everything about wine. And honestly, if I drank wine every time I wanted a glass of it, I would not be a productive member of society,” Maire tells PaperCity. “To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a delicious bite of food with a glass of wine and feeling really good in that moment. You can’t get that with club soda or a Shirley Temple.”
Thus began a journey to find an alcohol-removed wine product that actually tasted good.
“I tried what I believed is every kind of non-alcoholic wine product out there and they’re just awful. It’s really more of an after-thought or a convenient use for crops that would otherwise go to waste and it showed in the product,” Maire says.
So like any motivated self-starter, Maire decided to create exactly what she was looking for. She teamed up with fellow entrepreneur Jamie Coulter, a cofounder of Dallas’ buzzy fashion brand La Vie Style House, to launch a label that puts a premium on both health and style. Starla debuted its inaugural three-wine collection (and a noticeably fashionable ad) at the end of July.
Elevating a long-existing product was a thoughtful endeavor, according to Coulter. “Our number one priority was always to distinguish ourselves from other products in the alc-free space. We invented a new category with Starla, the first premium alcohol-removed wine collection,” Coulter says. “Starla is the only alcohol-removed brand that marries elevated branding and lifestyle content with a full-bodied wine and high-quality botanicals.”
The health value of their product was paramount. To balance taste and health, Maire and Coulter had to depart from traditional modes of wine production, seeking inspiration from nutraceutical and pharmaceutical development practices. The process was long and meticulous, with their original rollout being postponed to fine-tune the wine’s sugar and calorie content. The result is a low-calorie product that holds its own in the wine aisle.
“We really talked about the confidence of knowing you can have your cake and eat it too,” Maire said. “So you can imbibe a beautiful drink that is tasty that you feel good about putting in your body, and you’re not missing out on any of the experience.”