Starla – A Toast to Non-Alcoholic Excellence

Birthdays, anniversaries, promotions, holidays — one thing they often have in common is the consumption of alcohol. But for those unable or unwilling to drink alcohol, there hasn’t been much of a festive alternative. Non-alcoholic choices have been boring, flat, or tasteless. 

Enter Starla, the beautifully branded, non-alcoholic wine created by wine lovers for wine lovers. 

Marketed as “alcohol-removed wine,” Starla is sugar and carb-free and made by extracting the alcohol from fully fermented wine, so the flavor and experience remain when the alcohol is removed. Starla’s co-founders and owners are women. And half of the founding duo, Dawn Maire, lives here in the Flower Mound area. 

Dawn didn’t set out to create her own company, but necessity is often the mother of invention. “I was semi-retired and found myself filling idle time drinking wine. A lot of wine,” she said. “I knew alcohol wasn’t serving me, so I decided to stop drinking altogether. As a wine lover, I needed a viable alternative, and this was  when Starla was born.” 

Dawn wrote in her blog that missing more than the drink itself drove her to find a perfect substitute. “I’ll start by proudly proclaiming that I love wine. I love selecting, uncorking, pouring, smelling, sipping, holding, swirling, clinking, pairing, cooking, and serving wine. It’s the ritual of wine that draws me in so deeply and passionately to this love affair.” 

Pairing her beverage preferences with a successful career in brand marketing and manufacturing, Dawn set out to make the perfect non-alcoholic wine. “I had been following the trends and knew that there were other female wine lovers like me looking for an alternative.” 

Dawn and co-founder Jamie Coulter started development in 2020 and sold their first bottle online in August 2021. It wasn’t an easy industry to break into, but they knew Starla could fill many needs. “Our customers drink everything — alcohol, non-alcoholic, beer, wine, spirits,” Dawn said. “They are substituting Starla when they want to enjoy a glass of wine without any downside. That said, when they want non-alcoholic wine, we want them to choose Starla.”

While there are other non-alcoholic wine choices on the market, Starla leads them all. “Starla has been labeled as a ‘category creator’ for being one of the first nationally launched non-alcoholic wine brands,” Dawn said. “We differentiate ourselves with our unapologetically female branding and premium, award-winning varietals that don’t contain any sugar or carbs. No other non-alcoholic wines can make that claim.”

Building a strong team of women is important to this female-owned-and-run company, which boasts an 80% female staff. “Women need to hire women and pay them like men,” Dawn said. Not often easy to do in her line of work. “The beverage industry, specifically the wine industry, is a male-dominated business from winemakers, to buyers, to distributors. Women make up only 13% of the industry and don’t have the networks, or in many cases, access to mentoring or training from other females who have gone before them.”   

Starla is a force to be reckoned with. “All three of our varietals: Red Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sparkling Rose have medaled in every wine competition entered,” Dawn said. “Our Red Blend and Sparkling are tied for top sales, but the Savvy B is not far behind. Everyone has their favorite!”

Starla was just awarded an annual contract with Target stores nationwide. “As part of our Target launch, we are also launching Starla Sips: ‘Single Serve Minis for sipping and sharing on the go.’ Our minis are found exclusively at Target in their new non-alcoholic section,” Dawn said. “We are at the Flower Mound Target, and
the best way to support us is to purchase our products.”

A Target launch is a definite coup, but Dawn is not content to rest. “We are on a mission to transform the culture of social drinking by offering healthy and delicious alternatives,” she said. “We envision a future where non-alcoholic alternatives are as commonplace as their boozy counterparts. If future generations drink alcohol just a bit less, I am okay with that.” 

In addition to Target, Starla can be found in many national retailers and online at starlawines.com. 

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