Over the next two weeks we’ll be taking a, shall we say, laid-back look at the California lifestyle with the help of our sponsor Hangar 1 Vodka. This series, #Influencers, dives into conversations with people who embody the California lifestyle – that is to say a life that is filled with passion, chilling, freedom, creativity and enjoyment. These are likely best read with Hangar 1 cocktail in hand – may we suggest a cocktail recipe from our Grilling It Up Series?
What started as a wine bar pop-up has now morphed into a thriving, indie, juice-to-order business. Meet Luisa Alberto, co-founder of San Francisco’s Sōw.
Fresh juice is proliferating California. What did you and partner Derek Castro want to create with Sōw that you thought the market was missing?
We wanted to create a showcase for the rotating seasons and diversity of California flora. Juice can be delicious and nourishing outside of typical cleanses and obsessions with kale. Food is more special when someone makes and serves it to you on the spot. There’s a surprising lack of made- to-order juice bars in San Francisco, so we started our own.
How do you think your work at Sōw embodies the California lifestyle?
The best word I can think of that defines the California lifestyle is fresh. Sourcing all of our organic, in-season produce direct from California growers to individually craft juice combinations to order is about as fresh as it gets.
As a native New Yorker, what inspires you to make California your home?
It’s progressive, forgiving spirit and natural beauty. There’s always a feeling of forward movement, and plenty of beautiful places and spaces to try something new or start over again.
What are your favorite ways to while away a California day?
Anything that involves driving up or down the Pacific Coast Highway is bound to be a refreshing reminder of why I moved to Northern California — and stayed. Hiking to the Tourist Club, down to Stinson Beach or grilling oysters waterside in Tomales Bay are also annual rituals.
What are your favorite out-of-the-way destinations to hit in California?
Calistoga is a wonderful weekend getaway town. There’s a spa and hot springs called Indian Springs Resort & Spa there that has a 50s-style modern California vibe mix. Guerneville is awesome, too. I like that they feel timeless. California has this awesome way of combining the best of the old with the new.
How do you unwind after a stressful day?
With a cocktail in hand at a watering hole near my house in the Mission, or on a blanket in Dolores Park looking over the city.
Which words come immediately to mind to describe your distinct breed of California entrepreneurship?
Ambitious, fearless, resourceful, alive.