Brandable: Going Nowhere
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Over the past few months, businesses in the restaurant and bar industry have had to pivot their operations at least a few times to adhere to social distancing protocol, and also to make guests feel more comfortable returning post-coronavirus. For most eateries and venues, this likely required closing indoor dining areas and placing tables six feet apart outside; some towns and cities are permitting restaurants, for the time being, to place tables on adjacent sidewalks too. But Oddbird, an alcohol-free Swedish wine brand, is taking the concept of socially distant dining to another level by opening a temporary restaurant in a very remote location.
Appropriately named Nowhere—and fittingly being advertised with the verbiage, “Escape to Nowhere”—the “restaurant” is located in the Häringe-Hammersta Nature Reserve in Stockholm County, Sweden; an isolated, picturesque place that stretches across two peninsulas and features different landscapes and castle ruins. Opening August 20, the restaurant is comprised of six uniquely set tables—designed by Danish interior designers Anna and Lars Norrmans, using recycled materials—that are scattered throughout the reserve. The menu was created by chefs Linn Söderström and Marion Ringborg of restaurant Garba in Stockholm, an initiative the duo describes as a social restaurant project; the chefs operate a traveling kitchen and host pop-ups at eateries and cook privately in guests’ homes, with the intent to create social spaces and bring people together. And certainly, the menu is complete with a selection of Oddbird’s non-alcoholic wines.
Oddbird’s experiential dining is an opportunity for the brand to create once-in-a-lifetime memories its guests will find unforgettable; something that will aid in brand recall, social media exposure and word of mouth. But it’s also something that’s aligned with brand culture. Oddbird’s branding paints it as a brand that’s whimsical with a free-spirited feel that’s aligned with the concept behind the company. Oddbird’s founder, Moa Gürbüzer, is a former family therapist and social worker with more than 20 years’ experience, and having worked mostly with clients with alcohol-related family issues, she saw firsthand the detrimental effects of alcohol abuse. In 2013, she left her job and started Oddbird, which today is the largest producer of non-alcoholic wine in Scandinavia. By setting Nowhere in such a remote, untouched and pictorial location, Oddbird is sending the message that it’s placing a playful spin on the concept of social distancing, while also celebrating its mission—which is the freedom, or liberation, that one feels when the mind is clear and totally present.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.