Acclaimed Mixologist and Restaurateur Adam Hodak Joins Awake as CEO; Company Launches Seed Round to Fund Multiple Business Units
Denver, Colorado, September 12, 2022 – Today, Awake founders Billy and Christy Wynne announced that Adam Hodak will be the CEO of Awake Life PBC, the next iteration of the multi-faceted, alcohol-free wellness social enterprise that the couple launched in 2020. In conjunction with the announcement, Awake Life is launching a seed funding round to raise $500,000 to optimize existing operations and launch additional business units.
Hodak has been a long-time leader in the Denver and national bar sector, having served as Beverage Director for Bonanno Concepts from 2009 to 2019. Hodak has led the launch of 14 bars, including Green Russell, which was named one of the top 10 bars in America by Travel & Leisure, and currently owns the L on South Broadway. He has helped launch an RTD beverage, gained TTB approval for multiple products, and brings a strong consulting resume, all of which will fuel the 2.0 era of Awake.
“Adam answered our call for new energy, expertise, and leadership as we move quickly to reopen our flagship bar location in Denver and roll out a variety of new alcohol-free and wellness-based products and services,” said Billy Wynne, who will serve as Awake Life’s President.
“It has been a privilege to build this radically inclusive, innovative, alcohol-free space for our community,” said co-founder Christy Wynne. “The response locally, nationally, and globally to Awake’s mission has inspired us profoundly. What we have lacked is first-class operational expertise to give back to the community everything that it deserves to fully embrace and thrive with alcohol-free living. Adam delivers that vital remaining piece of the puzzle.”
“I have been watching Awake unfold with keen interest since its inception,” said Hodak. “Awake is truly the strongest and most authentic alcohol-free bar brand in the world. Together, I know that we will lead this global cultural movement into a bright and exciting future.”
In conjunction with the announcement of Hodak as the new CEO, Awake is also launching a seed funding round to raise capital for the rapid escalation and expansion of its alcohol-free, wellness service lines. By engaging with consumers in a variety of contexts and delivering to them the widest array of services under one roof, Awake provides investors the most diversified option for participating in the exponentially growing alcohol-free market while also delivering clear social impact.
In addition to improving and innovating its full-service, alcohol-free bar, bottle shop, and craft coffeehouse model, the company is rolling out a hospitality & consulting business to support bars in adding and elevating alcohol-free options on their menus. Awake Life also has plans to create and distribute ready-to-drink alcohol-free adult beverages and other products and services to support alcohol-free living and overall wellbeing.
“To this day, despite the exponential proliferation of a very wide variety of high quality, alcohol-free beer, wine, and spirits,“ said Christy Wynne, “Most bars are missing a prime opportunity to serve non-drinkers. When I try to order a nonalcoholic drink, the most frequent offering is either club soda or a sugary, juicy mixture. Bars are beginning to realize that they can be more inclusive, better serve their customers, and improve their bottom line by offering a selection of high-quality alcohol-free drinks.”
The firm’s hospitality business will also continue Awake’s offsite bartending service for private events like weddings, corporate receptions, baby showers, and birthday parties. The flagship bar location, the central Denver location of which the company plans to announce soon, will continue to offer private event rental services on-site.
After the flagship location is reopened, Awake plans to re-launch its franchising operation to launch new locations in communities across the country. It has already secured the necessary legal disclosures, state registrations, and training materials, such as a robust operations manual, for the franchise system and received organic interest from over 130 franchise candidates in several dozen states and the U.K.
“This alcohol-free movement, this radical reorientation of our culture and the beverage market, is something we feel very fortunate to have joined at the ground level,” said Billy Wynne. “Taking even a brief peek into the future can be mind-boggling. Like our tagline says, we are truly waking up together. It is an amazing thing to witness firsthand.”
About the Alcohol-Free Movement
In just the past few years, the proliferation of next-generation, high-quality alcohol-free beverages has been one of the most rapidly growing facets of the global economy. In the U.S. in 2021, nonalcoholic spirit sales grew 600%, NA wine grew 300%, and NA beer grew 200%. More than half of Americans say that they are trying to drink less alcohol, with the most notable shifts occurring in the Millennial and younger generations.
New alcohol-free companies like Athletic Brewing, Lyre’s, and Boisson have garnered valuations that reflect this growth. In August, Boisson, an alcohol-free bottle shop founded in 2021, raised $12 million reflecting a $47 million valuation. Athletic Brewing has raised over $150 million and Australian NA distiller Lyre’s is on pace to exceed a $1 billion valuation by next year.
Awake is a public benefit corporation founded in 2020 by Billy & Christy Wynne, a Denver couple that quit drinking a few years prior. For them, the choice to live alcohol free was rooted in the goal to be more present with gratitude for the opportunity to be here now. Too often, this choice is couched in a sense of loss and self-denial. Billy & Christy were determined to turn toward alcohol freedom as a positive act of creation.
Fortunately, the time came for them right as the sober conscious movement was hitting stride, bringing its abundance of support, celebratory culture, and rapidly expanding array of high-quality alcohol-free beverages. Having found success in other aspects of their careers, they wanted to contribute to this cultural movement. That intention became Awake, an alcohol-free bar, bottle shop and craft coffeehouse first opened in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. The couple decided to close the first location to secure new expertise, capital, and a new flagship location that would allow the concept to truly thrive and bring radically inclusive, alcohol-free space to new communities around the world.