Tell us more about Au Liquid Gold. How did the idea come about?
My girlfriend, and now business partner at Au Liquid Gold, Araceli, and I delivered our first borns around the same time in early 2015. Throughout that time she lived in Morocco and would Facetime almost every night as we both enjoyed a beer while we talked about our days. We exchanged all the new mama stories, funny moments, sharing our concerns and questions. We looked forward to our evening beer ritual as our daily treat and that’s when we noticed that it dramatically helped our milk supply. It was in those moments that the idea of Au Liquid Gold was born. For the past three years we have been working on our passion project in the hopes that we can enhance the natural production for mamas everywhere. We deeply believe that we can help mothers feed their babies with their magical milk while celebrating motherhood.
I want to see the positive and put more good into the world for my daughter’s future.
What are the benefits of drinking a dark brew while nursing?
You’ve probably heard that European women swear dark beer is one of the best ways to increase breast milk volume. Or you have been told by a lactation consultant, MD, or girlfriend that having a dark beer helps with milk production. Hops, one of the main ingredients in beer, are a magic galactagogue (a food or drug that increases the flow of a mother’s milk). Also, prolactin is a hormone made in the pituitary gland of the brain. It is found in both men and women, and although it performs many functions in the human body, it is known as the breastfeeding hormone because of its role in lactation. This brings us to the barley and grains used in making beer…polysaccharide in the barley used to make beer, stimulates the production of prolactin, which helps moms make and release more milk. Stress and lack of sleep are major inhibitors of milk production, so why not kick up your feet at the end of the day, and have a cold beer so you can go to bed more relaxed and ready for what crazy tomorrow brings!
I have a fun beer fact for you. The oldest known record of beer brewing comes from Ancient Egypt, where beer was made and sold almost entirely by women. After the colonization of America, women were the family brewers, crafting beers from corn, pumpkins, artichokes, oats, wheat, honey, and molasses. Settlers of the colonies drank large quantities of beer as a nutritional break from a diet based largely of salted, smoked and dried meats. Beer was such a staple that there was even something called “bride-ale,” a beer brewed and sold during weddings with all proceeds going to the bride, and “groaning” beer, which was consumed during and after labor by the midwives and mothers. We’re taking beer back to it’s roots, two women brewing beer and serving women. We are ‘groaning beer’ and I just love that!
What was researching the brew process like?
Our entire journey in making Au Liquid Gold has been a learning experience, every step of the way! And let’s remember we are working in a boys’ world. We worked with brewmasters, a nutritionist and a scientist to test out the different ingredients and recipes. There have been endless tastings, notes, changes, additions, subtractions and countless conversations about exactly what we want nutritionally, while not compromising the body and palette of our beer. During this process, we always had our mama, milk-making women warriors on our minds.
Ultimately, this is all about making mamas and their babies happier and healthier. Beer is not the obvious first choice beverage for a lot of women and we wanted to create a beer that would be subtle enough, while at the same time, enjoyable to want to drink again and again.
There are a lot of misconceptions about drinking and nursing. What do you do to help to dispel these myths?
Like every other area of life, you have to be responsible and find your balance/moderation. We do not encourage excessive drinking, especially not while nursing! There is plenty of scientific research that confirms having one beer while nursing will not harm your baby. Most beers contain around 6% alcohol, but can go up to as high as 12%. Our beer is at 3.9% alcohol, putting it at the same level as many kombucha products. Through our marketing, we fully educate all mamas on the best time to enjoy an Au Liquid Gold so that they won’t pass along any alcohol to their baby. We also explain all of the health benefits that are in our brews.
According to doctors and lactation specialists, the best times to consume a beer is during a breastfeeding session, or right after you put your baby to bed. This is because the alcohol does not immediately affect the breastmilk, and there is ample time for the body to process it before the next feeding session (it takes approximately 30 minutes for the alcohol to hit your system.) This way your baby is exposed to very minimal alcohol so the mama has at least two to three hours before the next feeding, which is plenty of time to process a beer.
Lastly, as any breastfeeding mama knows, when nursing you are eating far more than you did when you were preggers and what you eat before, during and after you drink plays a role in how your body metabolizes alcohol. Drinking in moderation, even wine, while pregnant is socially acceptable in much of Europe and they don’t experience any marked consequences.
It is our hope that we can enhance natural production for mamas everywhere so they can feed their babies with their magical milk while at the same time celebrating motherhood.
Why was this mission important to you?
Being a mom and feeling the joy and connection of being able to feed my baby from my body was not an aspect of motherhood that I was expecting to enjoy or connect with on the level that I did. I also wasn’t expecting the feelings of failure and pressure that I put on myself to feed my baby girl when my milk supply would drop, it was heartbreaking. Our vision as moms, and for Au Liquid Gold, is by no means to shame any moms who can’t or choose not to breastfeed. We are each on our own journey and there is already so much judgment and guilt put on us as mamas. We would like to help and support the women that want or try to breastfeed and we believe that we have created a tool to do just that. I tried everything when I was nursing…cookies, teas, herbs, and ultimately the one thing that helped was having one dark beer at night. I would wake up before Valentina in the middle of the night ready to feed her. We wanted to offer mamas something that is going to help them make milk, heal post-delivery, and provide them with a treat to look forward to at the end of the day. Because in the early days, it’s all about navigating the newness, being sleep deprived, and balancing your new life. We think it’s nice to celebrate yourself and your partner (if you have one) for making it through another wild day!
Believe in yourself and your idea. You will bring it to fruition.
What advice would you give to a new mama who has an idea and doesn’t know where to start?
Figure out if you are passionate about your idea, and if you are, just start. Start researching your market, make phone calls, start sketching your idea, put pen to paper, partner up with someone you trust if you want the support and make a ‘to do’ list. Whatever it is, just start. If you put an idea into motion you will start to gain momentum. It is going to take a lot of time and energy (and funding depending on what you are doing); however, the joy of bringing all of these pieces together is a rewarding part of the process. Believe in yourself and your idea. You will bring it to fruition.
What are some things that you learned during your first year in business?
Organization is everything! I make a new list at the end of everyday for the next day. I wake up and start tackling my list as this is the only way for me to ensure nothing falls between the cracks. No one will get something done the way you will, so it’s best to do it yourself. You have to stay on top of everyone on a daily basis since most people won’t share your passion. And believe in yourself because as a woman you can make shit happen.
We love that you say, “With her birth, my heart softened, my eyes opened.” Can you tell us more about this reawakening?
The moment Valentina was placed into my arms after a 10-hour delivery (I was exhausted, of course), but everything else around me disappeared. I felt no more pain (even as I was being stitched up) as Valentina became my everything. From that moment, I truly felt my place in this world and had a defined purpose. It is a love and euphoria that I can never put into words. Since that early morning she has never left my mind, and until recently when she started school, she rarely left my sight. I am still me, I have my own identity. Being Valentina’s mama is not all that I am, but I believe being Valentina’s mom has made me a better version of myself.
Now as a mom, I want to see the positive and put more good into the world for my daughter’s future. I am much more aware of how I invest my time and energy, as they have both become precious commodities. I also see (and feel) on a deeper level why it’s so important to focus on what is most important in this world. I truly believe that includes both feeling and giving love.
Carve out quality time in your days with your little one(s). It's cliche, but they really do grow up so fast!
Be present. When you are in work mode, work like a boss. When you are with your family or friends, be with them and soak up every minute because ultimately this is your fuel for life.
Don't forget to take care of yourself. If mama bear isn't happy, no one around you can be properly taken care of.