Getting to Know Angus Brown

Calling all students and busy professionals! The clever folk behind brainfood drink, Ārepa, have shouted us some bottles so we'll be handing out shots of delicious and refreshing neuberry juice - and did you know, we'll all be smarter for it! Angus Brown is the boffin behind Ārepa - New Zealand's first brain health drink.

Come grab a shot of brainfood before class on Thursday here at Kelburn and read our interview with founder Angus to get the lowdown on these super blackcurrants that can help push and protect our brain's performance. 


What is your day job?

CEO and founder of Ārepa – a brain food technology company

What is your connection to Vic Books?

I was once a student at Vic Uni!

How did the Ārepa business start?

My first job after University was selling energy drinks and I hated it, selling caffeine and sugar just didn’t seem right. I also lost grandparents to cognitive decline so decided to develop New Zealand’s first brain health drink.

Where does the name come from and what is its meaning?

Ārepa is Te Reo Māori for alpha as in the alpha brain wave. Alpha brain waves relate to the state of flow deemed by psychologists as “the zone”, aka calm and  focus. That’s what we’re investigating right now using brain scanning technology called EEG, to measure brain wave activity after consuming Ārepa.

When we first saw the Ārepa bottles we were immediately intrigued! The packaging is clean and beautiful but we felt like we had no reference point for it. It wasn’t a juice, a smoothie or a soft drink. How do you classify your range of drinks?

We call ourselves a Brain Drink - like Kombucha is for gut health (although we would like to see some published evidence). Ārepa is for Brain Health.

What is a “Nootropic”? And what is a Neuroberry?

The word Nootropic essentially means ‘for the brain’ or to ‘enhance the brain’. Our drink is a natural nootropic that we are working hard to clinically prove, we have one published study, with four more clinicals underway.

Neuroberry is a unique variety of New Zealand Blackcurrant that has shown to purport to benefits towards mood and neuroprotection. We’re undertaking a $1.5m clinical study on these berries this year to show how they can potentially protect the brain from neurological decline. If we can delay the onset of Dementia worldwide by five years we will save the world $10 trillion dollars’ worth of economic burden.

Angus in the Arepa lab

Vic Books stocks both the performance and the sparkling drinks and the drinks have a very dedicated following from those that know them. We were really keen to have a tasting so that people could try them. We think it will have a pretty dramatic effect. What is your greatest opportunity for business growth do you think?

We have already found our drink can improve memory from a one-time consumption in stressed university students (which we will be publishing the results later on this year). So there are direct applications for students and busy professionals but I think the biggest applications are in the space of neuro-health where one in six worldwide are affected by neurological concerns.

You also have supplements – capsules, freeze dried Neuroberry and a powder. Are you working on any other new products?

Yes, we have recently released a 90ml shot, its tart and makes you… smart.


If you could combine the consumption of Ārepa with any other two things - what behaviours would you hope people would take on that would have the most benefit to them?

Nutrition is just one part to optimal health. I think things like exercise and mindfulness practise are two key activities people should also do on a regular basis.

Some quick-fire book recommendations please!

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.

What are you reading at the moment? What do you like about it?

How Google Works – how to create the best organisational structure and think on a global scale.

Which literary character do you most relate to and why?

Ha! What a tough question! I loved Harry Potter when I was young but don’t think I can relate to having magical powers and being selected as the one to take down all evil. If it was on people I look up to, I would say Elon Musk.

Hardback or paperback?


Favourite coffee?

Oat milk flat white (just one).