photo by Erincooperphotography.com
A voyage into a new category of wine spritz has begun for the crew of Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz. We recently caught up with one of its creators, BJ McCaslin, and he shared with us his vision, tactics and passion for growing this innovative new brand.
What was the catalyst or inspiration for the creation of Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz?
We really liked the wave of convenience in the low ABV space and ultimately, we can only drink so many Coronas. Hard seltzers and non-alcoholic sparkling waters are really trending in the market and although the category is crowded, consumers continue to want options. We also noticed that no one is really using rosé in an innovative fashion. We love flavors and always want to have a unique offering when we bring a brand to life, so we took our love of juices and bubbles and then decided that rosé was a unique base for them. It has been about 18 months in the making.
How did you determine where to source the ingredients for Rosé Spritz?
We are beverage innovators by trade, so we teamed up with our favorite food scientists on the formula. We kind of stumbled onto the actual formula, so that was pretty fun. Since we are located on the west coast, we stuck with a California rosé as the base. The one aspect we wanted to be super premium is our sweetener, so elected to use monk fruit for that.
Who do you consider to be your target consumer?
I think anyone between the ages of 21-50 who is active and likes to have a good time. Our can is pink, so it gives us a more feminine offering from the onset but I see men diving into the “pink ocean” as well.
How has your background in food and beverage prepared you for this new venture?
Nothing can really prepare you for launching a brand in wine and spirits. It has really been our relationships that have been the catalyst to open the channels of distribution. We are blessed to have really good friends we can ask for introductions and then it really boils down to two things: hitting the streets to see at least 15 accounts a day and bringing the liquid to lips. Being able to take “no” and move on from account to account with enthusiasm is also key.
What do you feel has been the most challenging thing about creating a new brand?
The greatest challenge is capital. Beverages are easy to launch because of the low barrier of entry but they are hard to maintain. We are good at hustling and macerating the brand but we didn’t go to Harvard, so doing things like creating financial models or interviewing investors can be difficult. Ultimately, we are committed to staying bootstrapped. I like that term because I feel like my journey as an entrepreneur is similar to a pirate’s voyage. (You’ll find that everything to me has some sort of private analogy.)
What has been the most exciting or rewarding thing?
The most exciting thing is finally having a good brand after a few years of importing and experimenting with different lines. This is our third concept within the same company, so to have a line like Rosé Bubbles, that we know has legs, is very, very nice.
Approximately how many calories and how much sugar does each can contain?
95 calories and 5 grams of sugar. No added sugar is added. It is all naturally occurring from the juice. We use a touch of monk fruit to sweeten it but not much. We want it to have a juicy but dry finish.
What are your current flavors and how did you select them?
Watermelon, strawberry, orange and pineapple. We looked at the best fruits out there as well as what we usually eat with wine or end up putting in the glass whilst we drink wine. One day Drew, our business partner, came up with the watermelon flavor out of nowhere and it is currently the bestselling flavor in the line.
Are you working on developing any additional flavors or formats?
Yes. We will do a non-juice spritz next. We always want to have a few new flavors but these four are the starters on the field and I don’t really think we need 12 SKUs. We might expand to 6 maximum.
Where do you feel is the perfect place or occasion to enjoy a Rosé Spritz?
Anywhere that convenience and activity meet. On the patio, roof, a game, golfing, at a pool, camping, etc...
Where do you see Pink Ocean Rosé Spritz in 5 years?
Hopefully we will still be sailing the seas on this voyage. We would love to see the brand in the beyond beer category as a top 5 contributor. We have some great distribution that we are about to launch nationally, so we hope to keep the wind at our backs and stay positive while getting more liquid to lips daily.
Who should our audience reach out to for additional information?
Feel free to reach out to me at BJ@drinkrosebubbles.com.