STORY TO DATE.
Villbrygg is created by two good friends, Cornelia Øiestad and Vanessa Krogh.
It was early 2016 when Cornelia Øiestad started experimenting with wild plants and fermentation. The food industry had been developing towards local ingredients and sustainable produce, while the complimentary beverages were limited to French wines and American soft drinks. Serving someone a Nordic dish did not feel complete. Recognised chefs were starting to understand that we have wonderful flavours in the North too, even tropical! Take, for example, the herb Tunbalderbrå, it tastes and looks a bit like a pineapple and most people consider it to be a weed. These Nordic tropical flavours should be used to make better beverages.
Cornelia: "One day a question came to me. Do we have terroir in Norway? The same way as we speak of wines in France? What really is terroir? Flavours from one specific area. The hunt for Nordic terroir began. I went out in the forest, gathered every single edible plant and mushroom. No rules of what belongs together - just true terroir! I filled a bucket with all the plants, water and honey. Stirred in it every day and watched it develop bubbles - A real witches brew! Aromas I never smelled before, forest ground, mushrooms and old leaves. Extremely interesting flavours, and something you could sip on and let your mind wander.” The seeds of Villbrygg were planted, and Cornelia continued to pursue that curiosity.
Vanessa: "I on the other hand, had been working many years in restaurants, and continued to be disappointed by the alcohol-free drink selection. I often failed to recommend the guests interesting alternatives to alcohol because non-alcoholic drinks had little complexity to offer, they generally contained a lot of sugar or chemicals, and were mostly produced by imported ingredients. Furthermore, the design of the bottles were often childish and not as elegant as the alcoholic drinks usually were. Personally, I found a sober night out with friends or colleagues to be mostly unsatisfying because there was no story behind the alcohol free products as such. Choosing alcohol free drinks just felt like a horrible compromise."
Being good friends, with complementary skill sets - Cornelia started asking Vanessa for business advice, as she had previously managed a restaurant and was currently doing a Masters degree at Copenhagen Business School. Through conversations with Cornelia, Vanessa was getting more and more excited about Villbrygg. It was the perfect concept and something she became eager to build together with her best friend Cornelia. One day Cornelia said “I wish that you could join the Villbrygg adventure..." Vanessa soon replied: “We need to make that happen”.
A few preparatory months later, while Vanessa was finishing the last year of the degree there, she joined developing the Villbrygg concept and company together with Cornelia. Villbrygg AS was founded in July 2018 in Oslo, Norway. Since then they have developed and successfully launched, some tasty, high-quality drinks, based on wild nordic plants, which are now available at selected bars and restaurants in Oslo, Michelin restaurants are among these.
The founding partners have been friends for a long time. They have good communication, trust each other and work well together. They share the same goals and aspirations. Mistakes are quickly forgiven and looked upon as a learning opportunity. A small company with great visions and great companionship.