At The Bar with Sustainable Hard Seltzer Start-Up Wonki

A sustainable hard seltzer start-up Wonki is proof that when life gives you misshapen fruit, you can turn it into a beverage of the future.

Wonki founders are Max Moolman, Bridget Lansell, and Gabriel Tucker, saving food waste every time you choose to drink their seltzer. They raised more than $150,000 via Crowdfunding to get this project off the ground, and the rest is a Blood Orange & Mandarin howl at the moon moment.

Created under Monash University’s ‘Fastrack Accelerator’ program, the trio dreamt up the business model to transform bin-bound fruit into delicious cans courtesy of local manufacturers.

Wonki is now stocked in 32 Dan Murphy’s across Melbourne.


They partner with Farmers Pick for produce sourcing, Market Juice for juicing, and having the final product manufactured at Gypsy Hub. They have plans to expand their flavours too with Cucumber & Lime cans being made in July.

“We found out pretty quickly that saving Wonki fruit and getting it into a can was not only logistically difficult, but expensive too,” explains Bridget Lansell.

“It cost Wonki more to manufacture this way than compared to a conventional premix, but it’s all been worth it. Being able to use misshapen fruit, as well as create a really naturally fruity beverage, that stands out in the vodka soda category,” she says.

The plan now is to release more product with Watermelon & Lemon on its way in March.

“Did you know watermelons get sunburnt just like we do? However, they are rejected due to this sunburn, leading to a large amount of watermelon waste in Australia,” explains Lansell.

“We want to inspire more conscious consumers and start conversations about food-waste. We’re also looking to partner and grow with local like-minded businesses who share our vision and want to do the world a flavour,” she adds.

The trio chat to us At The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.


Melbourne – we love the buzz and living amongst various cultures, hidden gems and having everything at our doorstep. It’s something all Melburnians would agree is what makes our city so alive. Melbourne loves to celebrate local fresh produce; with our extensive market scene, wineries and micro-farms, it’s amazing to see our community choosing local as a non-negotiable.  Along with this, we have some amazing brains that have pushed the boundaries with initiatives such as Into Carry; turning cut-off materials into bags, Green-On; turning broccoli stalks into chips, Great Wrap; potato waste cling wrap, Farmer’s Pick; rejected fruit and veg affordable grocery boxes. I mean talk about cheeky and resourceful people.


Bridget: A food experience I will never forget – Yeni’s in Colombia. Driving by motorbike taxi with my best friend, to a secret local recommendation. Run by one woman, we were greeted by Yeni and her family with a big hug and a table set for two; pink plastic chairs and table. No menu, but putting our full faith into her creation, we were served fresh fish, coco arroz (famed coconut rice); the freshest possible ingredients and love. With no English spoken; we communicated through google translate and our expressions of pure good food.


Don’s Wine Bar Prahran – one of our first believers and stockists. A natural wine list curated by our favourite guy Harry. You must order a Wonki – the focaccia is the perfect pairing.


Max: The ‘Wonki-rita’ – a play on Wonki and margaritas. This was concocted by some friends serving Wonki Blood Orange & Mandarin on tap and margaritas on tap at a NYE event. The 50/50 mix was punchy, refreshing, not too sweet, and with just enough kick. It reflects my personality because I love doing things a little differently, generally with a bit of gusto, always looking for ways to shake things up.


Fresh, fresh, fresh. Swim in the ocean, and coconut water. If all else fails, a Cucumber & Lime Wonki. The best hair of the dog.


10 William St, in Paddington Sydney; negroni and pretzel with bottarga. Enough said.


Max: Unico Zelo – ‘FRESH A.F.’ – Chilled red blend sourced from my local bottle house, it’s so refreshing and easy to drink. Minimal sulphides which I love and have enjoyed on the deck with a BBQ and the family.


Montalto – Always have the best wine and food. Plus, an amazing set-up. It’s a classic, easy choice just out of Melbourne.


Sydney – Planting the seeds for some national Wonki expansion. Meeting with some of the Sydney Endeavour group; as well as a collaboration event with Jamoo x Oroton. Jamoo is reimagining Oroton’s deadstock towels, in combination with their vintage towels to create one-of-a-kind garments. Wonki will be supplying the drinks to immerse and inspire customers with the possibilities of resource creativity.

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