In the summer of 2015 the future founder of Toast!, Sean O’Neill, was busy working one evening when he received the most shocking phone call of his life. A nurse from his doctor’s office called and told him “you have cirrhosis of the liver, because of your drinking”. Sean was only in his late 20s, and wasn’t that much of a drinker (workaholic yes, alcoholic not so much), so this came as an incredible shock! Unable to get answers from his doctors, Sean started to research how alcohol affects the liver and was amazed by the research he found. Not only were there a number of natural substances that helped reduce the damage caused by alcohol there were even some that were shown to help reduce or prevent hangovers! Curious about this research, he asked his doctors about it, but found to his frustration that none of them had ever heard of any of it.
It would eventually turn out that Sean’s liver was fine (his spleen and some veins, not so much). While alcohol had proven to be unrelated to the entire ordeal, the research he found never left his mind. Living in a city like New Orleans, drinking was part of the social culture, and the vast majority of drinkers were responsible adults just enjoying a beer or two with their friends…and occasionally more than a beer or two during a big event like Mardi Gras. Yet for all that clinical research, there was almost nothing available to drinkers that seemed based on actual science.
After recovering, Sean started a MBA program at Babson College where he was surrounded by a majority international class, many coming from countries where taking something prior to drinking was common. Enlisting his classmates as guinea pigs, Sean started testing some of what he’d found in clinical research, and from the first tests people said he was on to something. But there was a problem. Everything was pills and powders. It smelled weird. It tasted weird. It looked weird. It seemed more like taking medicine or preparing for some kind of cleanse than getting ready to go out and have a good time.
So, one day Sean made gummies. Just Jello with his special formulation added in. Bringing that first batch out to a bar, before he could even finish saying “you know that product I’ve been working on”, people were already grabbing and munching down the gummies he’d made. That’s the day Toast! and the Before You Drink Gummy were born. Sean would later partner with Dr. Joris Verster, the leading authority on alcohol hangover and the author of much of the research that had inspired Sean in the first place to help refine his formula, and later partnered with an American candymaker to develop a truly candy quality gummy bear. Like most of the world, Toast! was thrown a bit of a curveball by the COVID pandemic (the original public launch for Toast! was scheduled for spring 2020…), but would ultimately launch publicly in October of 2020.
Inspired by that same process that led to the creation of the Before You Drink Gummy, Toast! continues to work on new products that combine that same combination of clinically researched natural ingredients, and fun, tasty, and convenient formats like gummies. There is a wide world of clinical research out there on common everyday problems, and it’s our mission at Toast! to bring those benefits to the world. Because as Sean discovered in 2015 and the world discovered in 2020, you never know what’s going to happen, you need to make the most of every moment. So remember to give a Toast!, to your health.