Things are getting juicy in Stockholm! Juiceverket started up two years ago and just keeps growing. But this ain’t no ordinary juice bar. Who is behind this fantastically fruitful endeavour? YLC’s Solveig Rundquist decided to find out!
I notice Juiceverket the moment I step through the doors of Mood Gallerian. It’s the first shop on my left, right by the entrance, but even without the prime location it would be hard to miss – waves of warmth and eclectic electronic tunes entice like scattered fairytale breadcrumbs, leading slowly but surely into the bar.
And although it looks more like an old barn turned into a garage, it somehow manages to pull you in like grandma’s kitchen. Only hipper.
I prop my elbows on the counter and inform the bombshell boy of a bartender that I’m a total newbie. The menu is vast, and with juices like “Bacon and eggs” on the list I’m a bit worried about what I might end up with. “I’d like to order your favorite,” I say decidedly, and wait. He hesitates for just a split second and then gets to work, deftly throwing all sorts of mystic ingredients into a blender, and after two minutes I have a drink in front of me.
First sip – cardamom. My favourite. In a freshly-pressed juice mix.
I plop down – on a barrel, I might add – with cofounder and partial-owner of Juiceverket Andreas Wilson. He’s known among ritzy circles for starring in Oscar-nominated Swedish film Ondskan (Evil), but this afternoon he seems to me decidedly normal – and about as far from pretentious as a guy can get.
“Well, I guess it’s going well,” he says humbly when I mention how business has really taken off for the company. “People seem to like it. They’re coming back after all.”
Juice bars are the latest trend, and a lasting one, in many capital cities, and Wilson has been to plenty in New York, Los Angeles, Barcelona, and even Copenhagen. But there was no such thing in Stockholm. So with the help of buds Niklas Junker, Sebastian Berggren and Claes Häggström, he decided to change that. The guys used cocktail bars as a model for inspiration and went from there.
“Many juicebars tend to be like fastfood places,” Wilson said. “We didn’t want that. We wanted more of a whole experience, some place to hang out. More like a cocktail bar.”
From conception to grand opening, the process only took about 10 months. Now Juiceverket has three thriving locations. The “bar” received glowing reviews from the get-go, with many customers saying it’s like something straight out of New York, while others say it’s uniquely Stockholm.
“We’ve discussed this whole thing about the New York feel a lot, because you can’t even define it,” Wilson says.
“We don’t know what it means. But I would say Juiceverket has a Swedish feel. We partly chose apples as a base ingredient because it’s a very Swedish fruit. Though in the beginning we had mostly sweet juices with oranges. Now we’re developing towards more complex flavours.”
“Like bacon and eggs?” I wonder.
To my relief, the name is a bit of a misnomer.
“Well, you can get juice with eggs in it. Just not bacon. Not yet,” he adds with a grin.
Juiceverket’s online presence has expanded almost as fast as the physical, largely due to the guys’ podcast. And why, you might ask, do four guys with a juice bar have a podcast?
“A lot of what we do is based on what we think is fun,” Wilson says.
The guys get together for a recording session once a week and some 1,000 people tune in. They talk about anything and everything – except juice.
“We decided not to talk about Juiceverket. We don’t want it to be like a commercial,” Wilson tells me. “The podcast is for fun. People should listen if they want to be entertained. We’re four rather different personalities and we just have a good time.”
Instead they talk about fish, law school, whisky, anatomy, pony-riding, Atlantis, racism, cycling, folk music, being grown-up, not being grown-up…you get the picture.
Juiceverket is now two years old and the podcast celebrated its first birthday just last month. Even as the colder weather rolls in, folks keep rolling on in to the juicebar, which is far from seasonal – they have smoothies and juices specifically geared to kick your cold. So what’s in store for the company now?
“Well, we always have a lot of ideas, a lot of passion projects,” I hear Wilson say as I slurp up the last precious drops of fruity cardamom goodness from my cup.
“Of course we want to continue doing what we’re doing…and other than that, we’ll see.”
I couldn’t tell you what’s in store for Juiceverket. But as for me – I’ve found myself a new favorite drink. And listening material.
Solveig is a recently-graduated American cactus who plucked up her ancient Scandinavian roots and transplanted them back to snowy Stockholm soil. When not writing for YLC she can be found cantering about town in search of culture, cheer and a career.