Ambijus is a non-alcoholic drink that aims to define a new category of an alternative to wine that gives people a bigger selection and an experience that doesn’t compromise on flavour and pleasure. We aimed to bridge the gap between those who don’t drink alcohol and those who are into discovering new flavours. We wanted to explore the NOLO (No or Low Alcohol) category in a novel way, creating an intriguing look that takes away the focus of not drinking alcohol, while also offering a complex flavour experience.

Our work started with defining the strategy and creating an identity that embraced the undefinable aspect of this new drink — its complex flavours. Ambijus’ innovative exploration through fermentation creates flavours that are intertwined, transformed, and indistinguishable from one another — opening up for different interpretations.

Fermentation invigorates and focuses the flavour in an unbelievable way. When tasting something you haven’t tasted before, all your senses are involved and awakening memories. Our concept wanted to acknowledge both the emotional and the chemical side of flavour. Illustrations play an important role in creating the universe of Ambijus and portraying an evocative visualisation of the flavours.

We invited Alexis Jamet to create the illustrations for the first three products. His work is both innovative and crafted, abstract and figurative, soft and bold. His technique is a mix of digital and analogue resulting in a grainy texture that offers a fluid and dreamy atmosphere.

(1) Act Naturally is a homage to flavours and fermentation (microorganisms), (2) Real Fantasy  focuses on the senses, and (3) Clearly Confused suggests the memory of a walk in the forest. Each illustration is also animated. The colours used in each illustration are inspired by the ingredients. The seals are colour coded and each product is numbered in the order of when they were created. The numbers in parenthesis are a nod to the chemistry.

Ambijus' mark, slightly inspired by the See-No-Evil Monkey, supports the playfulness and innovative profile of Ambijus. The hands’ gesture creates anticipation, a sense of discovery and surprise. The identity is further developed by the motto 'The lab is our terroir' — supported by an illustration showing an intricate and morphing scene of a busy lab. These illustrations were created by Espen Friberg and contribute to adding humour and wit to the concept. Both illustration styles reinforce Ambijus' innovative philosophy and positioning, communicating that these products are something new, with an experimental and playful approach to ingredients and process.

Fermentation and flavour

Fermentation is an age-old technique. A tradition we are all part of. Without fermentation, there is no kimchi, sourdough bread, Parmigiano, no wine or beer or spirits, no pickles, no soy sauce. Fermentation improves everything. Flavour is its pursuit. Is a time honoring-process. It requires waiting. It runs contrary to the spirit of modern-day.

Flavour is a phenomenon which naturally and fluidly connects the bigger, systemic aspects of food with its personal, visceral and psychological aspects.

"Flavor is mostly taste and smell; it’s a composite sensation created by the brain; it’s something we experience as a mixture of sensory information, pleasure, disgust, and memory; it comes from molecules and flavor molecules come from evolution, ecology, competition, attraction, digestion, and chemical reactions — flavor is both simple and complex. It’s a sensory phenomenon, but also an encoding of information into molecules and feelings. It’s a connecting point between the outer, physical and biological world, and the inner world of emotion, memory, and identity" – Dr. Arielle Johnson, Flavour Scientist & Chemist

For the naming, we created a new word that unapologetically captures the ambiguity of this new product. Being ambiguous is being open to more than one interpretation; not having just one obvious meaning. It’s also something that is in constant flux, fluid, moving and shifting. The word "jus" is typically used in describing natural wines and suggests something juicy and delicious. The combination became 'Ambijus'. The product names; Act Naturally, Clearly Confused and Real Fantasy are all oxymorons, a figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

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