Clinton and Lozen Shultz are the clever creators of Sobah, a Gold Coast-based non-alcoholic craft beer infused with the goodness of Aussie bush tucker and breaking down the stigma of Australia’s social drinking culture.
The couple created the company as a response to the lack of interesting premium, non-alcoholic beers on the Aussie market and they are changing the game both at home and nationally.
We sat down for a chat with Clinton and Lozen about the realities of our drinking culture and where you can find Sobah throughout Dry July.
How long have you been Gold Coast locals?
My family has been here for a few generations while Lozen moved here nearly 15 years ago after growing up in Central QLD and a brief stint in Sydney.
What do you love most about living here?
There is so much to love: the surf, the beaches, the hinterland, the weather. We live semi-rural and only 10 minutes from Burleigh Heads so we are blessed. It’s a great place to have an active, healthy lifestyle.
Tell us about your business, Sobah…
Sobah is Australia’s only non-alcoholic craft beer currently brewing a range of brews infused with Aussie bush tucker. We created the beers as a response to the lack of interesting, premium non-alcoholic beers in the Aussie market, but also to address the issue of alcohol in our society and raise funds to support programs in drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Sobah is here to provide an alternative to alcohol for anyone looking to have a break from booze whether just for the night or for longer term sobriety.
How did the idea come about?
I went sober in 2014 after my eldest son asked me to “stop drinking silly drink”. I didn’t think I had an issue with alcohol but the more I worked in drug and alcohol rehab and interventions, I was confronted with my poor relationship with booze. I thought if I was out telling others about the negative effects of drinking and relationships with alcohol, I’d better have a good one myself. I couldn’t get a non-alcoholic drink when I went out that wasn’t soft drink or soda water which was frustrating. I love beer so I started drinking imported NA beers and realised decent, tasty NA beers were missing from our market.
What did it take to build the business to what it is today?
Money. Faith. Goals. Support. Luckily as a start up we have a source of income (as I work full-time in my psychology consultancy and as a lecturer at Bond University) to support the growth of Sobah. Lozen has been running Sobah for two years and is the real grease and oil behind the business. We have a deadly (awesome) community behind us giving us positivity and encouragement, which helps immensely. Also, our desire to give back is a massive driver. We want to see Sobah succeed so we can help others find a healthier way of living and being, and to support charities and organisations that provide healing programs.
Why do you think it’s important businesses like yours exist?
Sobah was created with a social impact purpose. Reciprocity is one of our philosophies. We truly believed we are blessed and while we work hard, we are lucky enough to be in a position to give back and make things easier or better for others. Having a strong sustainability focus and positive culture within the business, is also important for us but also everyone around us. Big companies are beginning to look at ways they can have a positive impact, following the trend of smaller businesses and this says something about what we, as a society and as consumers want.
Dry July is coming up, where can we find Sobah on the Gold Coast?
There are a few cafes and bars on the coast, including Rosella’s Bar in Burleigh and Greenhouse Canteen in Coolangatta. Flannery’s will also be stocking Sobah at their Miami and Robina stores. We’re certainly keen to get Sobah seen more locally.
Any advice for someone looking to start their own business?
We’re not experts, but we have definitely learnt from rookie errors. It’s okay to make mistakes and cause chaos, but you have to be willing to apologise too. Honesty and transparency goes a long way when building a strong customer base and business relationships. Don’t rush or push for things to happen. An organic growth will create better foundations. We always want things yesterday so patience has been a big part of our work-lives. For couples going into business together, make sure you clock off and stop talking about work after hours, like ban work talk in the bedroom haha.
What’s the plan for Sobah for the rest of 2019?
We have reformulated our existing product range and up-scaled to a new brewery. We are distributing nationally with a strong and growing customer base in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The opportunity to export is also there. We are setting up our HQ in Burleigh Heads to handle distribution for our online store and provide a place for locals to pop in for a yarn and pick up their brews. Once set up, we will be hosting an opening event and other events throughout the year, and collaborate with other businesses. We recently sold some shares and hired staff, and we hope to bring more people into the Sobah crew before the end of the year.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: Heritage Hideaway Cafe in Tallebudgera Valley just a minute from home
Coffee spot: Social Espresso Coffee Roasters with my climbing crew or Nook Espresso has always done a great coffee which is enjoyed watching the surf from Burleigh point, and days when I’m at Bond Uni I grab one from Blackboard Coffee.
Restaurant for dinner: Greenhouse Canteen at Miami and Cooly
How does your weekend usually look: This time of the year our sons play footy, so the most part of Saturday is taken up with sport and if the Titans are playing a home game we will usually go to the footy. If there is surf, I’m surfing and the kids love the beach all year round. If there is no surf and weather isn’t great, we can be found at Paramount Rock Climbing gym where I train regularly. Sometimes Lozen and I leave the kids with family so we can hang out, go for a drive and grab coffee and a feed somewhere on the Coast.