This week, we’re excited to welcome our new client Joshua Zad to the blog. Josh is the brilliant founder of Alfred Coffee & Kitchen (@alfred) and Alfred Tea Room (@alfredtea) as well as the mastermind behind the ubiquitous #butfirstcoffee. We’re thrilled to be working with Josh on a new lifestyle beer brand called Calidad which officially launches on November 1st. Read on to learn a little bit about Josh’s inspiration for Calidad, his thoughts on shaking up the beer industry and his favorite spots in LA.
1. With a real estate background and success with Alfred, what inspired you to make beer?
In short, I wanted to affect change in the beverage world on a much broader scale. At Alfred, we have the unique ability to control customers’ experiences 100% — from the music, to the store layout and design, to how customers are greeted at the register; and of course, the quality and appearance of the coffee/tea drinks. But alas, there is a cap on how many people we can both serve and reach in the course of one day. I had been tossing around the idea of getting into alcoholic beverages for a while, and after taking a deeper look into the beer category, I noticed a huge opportunity. The opportunity to take a fresh and exciting approach to beer – speciﬁcally when it comes to catering to the non-specialized, novice beer drinkers. Craft beers and hop-heavy IPA’s have had their time, but the majority of beer drinkers shy away from them. So, I created Calidad — a lifestyle beer brand that capitalizes on the surging growth of the Mexican beer category and consumers’ desire to reconnect emotionally with basic, everyday beverages. The beer category has been stagnant for a while, it’s time for a shake up!
2. What is your goal for Calidad?
My goal with Calidad is to take a sizable chunk out of the Mexican import market. And to show people that you can enjoy an easy, drinkable cerveza that tastes just as good (if not better) than the long-standing, incumbent brands you have come to know, while also providing a level of transparency in the process and sourcing of the ingredients in that beer. I think the ultimate success would be eventually diversifying Calidad, which is produced in California, by launching new beer SKUs, other Mexican spirits like tequila and mezcal, and expanding into the broader Mexican foods space – all through a California lens and most importantly, never losing the emphasis on one obsession: Quality.
3. What does it take to be successful in the industry?
In the beer industry, where people have SO many solid options and new breweries are popping up daily, a strong following can make or break your brand. Loyalty is paramount. For this reason, we are dedicated to sampling product in-store and at festivals, connecting with both Calidad lovers and newcomers alike, and building our following one sip and one conversation at a time. We are taking a brand-ﬁrst approach to this company, which is not so common in the beer industry — to grow a loyal customer base of Calidad lovers from the onset.
4. As an LA native, what’s your favorite restaurant in town and what do you normally order?
Easy. Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich at Honor Bar in Beverly Hills. Second to that would be a chicken parm from either Dan Tana’s or Craig’s. I am a huge fried boneless chicken guy.
5. Where’s your favorite place to grab a holiday cocktail when it finally gets chilly in LA?
Roger Room hands down. My go to holiday-rainy-and-cold-outside drink is the “Japanese Maple” – Suntory whiskey, maple syrup, lemon juice, egg white and house made bitters.