Bay Area Entrepreneurs Serve Canned Ready-to-Drink Goods

The ready-to-drink market segment is booming. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of ready-to-drink products nationwide increased 42.3% in 2021, to $1.6 billion. And while the category remains loosely defined, 55% of those sales are for spirits-based products. But the remaining 45% is expanding as products like hard seltzer and canned wine increase their profile. COVID has certainly helped the market. According to Nielsen Holdings, an American information, data and marketing measurement company, sales of ready-to-drink wines alone have increased by 3,800% between 2017 and 2021. And many Marin County entrepreneurs are start dancing.

“The ready-to-drink explosion has certainly been heightened with COVID,” says Sammy Hagar, who launched a ready-to-drink version of his already established Beach Bar Rum in cans (

“People not being able to go out to bars and drink from glasses has reduced contact with the mixologist,” he adds. “And you just needed something you could take home and put in the fridge, like a beer but with more exotic flavors.”

Hagar says he can offer high-end products for less because “that’s not what I have to do for a living.” Its four flavors — Tangerine Dream, Island Pop, Pineapple Splash and Cherry Kola — cost less than $6 a can.

Marin also spawned two canned wine companies founded by women: Maker Wine and Just Enough Wines (, founded by San Anselmo resident Kaitlyn Lo, who went to Stanford on a water scholarship. -polo obtained at the time Drake High School.

“After a long day at work, it would be nice to come home and have a glass of wine, but if you live alone, or your partner doesn’t drink wine, or whatever, it’s hard to “open a bottle full of the wine. Either you drink too much or you end up wasting that bottle because the wine doesn’t stay good in the bottle for more than three to five days, depending on the grape variety,” says Lo.

The former communications major — Lo interned on “Good Morning America” ​​and “Nightline” — became an entrepreneur when she met her partner, Jessica Hershfield, at Stanford and realized “we don’t like what we do”.

“The traditional bottle format just wasn’t aligned with how we live our lives,” Lo says. “Really, the size of the can was that perfect glass and a half, and it’s also a high quality wine, the type of wine you’d expect to come out of a bottle.”

Just Enough Wines offers six varietals.

A corked bottle has never been the ideal format for a perishable product, be it wine or beer. The caps themselves are permeable and the material itself is prone to microbial contamination. And what about the size? What other product comes almost exclusively in a 750 milliliter bottle?

Just Enough Wines launched in September 2020 and now offers six varietals in their 250 milliliter cans: Pinot Noir, Red Blend, Sparkling Rosé, Sparkling Brut, Chardonnay and Still Rosé.

Not to be outdone, Lyda, Spencer and Wyatt Hanson, former students of Sir Francis Drake/Archie Williams High School and siblings, launched Suntide Mimosas ( last year in the Midwest and their two flavors, a traditional mimosa and a bellini, have recently become available in California.

Lo argues that part of the original problem with canned ready-to-drink products, which have been around since the 1980s, was the substandard ingredients used in their production.

“Now you go to any prime market and look down the aisle and all these growers are canned,” Lo says. “It’s not just beer, it’s kombucha, Blue Bottle coffees. True high-quality beverage products all lean towards cans, not only because of quality, but also durability.

Mill Valley’s St Hildie’s ( is another high-end offering.

“We like to think we appeal to wellness-conscious drinkers,” says founder Meghan DeRoma. “People looking for alternative ingredients, paying attention to things like where the ingredients come from?”

DeRoma and partners Christine Peck and Alexi Cashen founded St Hildie’s nearly a year ago for “people who actually read labels”.

“(St Hildie’s) sips like a cocktail,” DeRoma says. “All the ingredients come from the soil. We include real fruit and mildly effervescent alcohol and botanical tinctures, which are roots and herbs steeped in alcohol and added as concentrated versions of these elements.

St Hildie’s flavors include elderberry hibiscus, lemon turmeric and guava ginger, and do not include added sugar, but still provide 5% alcohol.

The ready-to-drink market is still relatively vague. But consumers can rest assured that whether they are looking for value, convenience, quality or wellness, and in many cases all, there is a Marin County product for them in the ready-to-drink format.

“Why not celebrate things on a weekday?” says Lo about the smaller portions of ready-to-drink products. “Why not celebrate that you got to fold your laundry and put it away today?”

Jeff Burkhart is the author of “Twenty Years Behind Bars: The Spirited Adventures of a Real Bartender, Vol. I & II,” host of the Barfly podcast on iTunes and an award-winning bartender at a local restaurant. Follow him on jeffburkhart .net and contact him at [email protected]

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