Bev-alc lifestyle company Island Brands recently joined Beernet Radio to chat about what’s on deck for the company in 2023.
Recall, Island Brands made Inc 5000’s 2022 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., coming in at no. 2,341 with a 250% 3-year growth rate. Now, Island Brands plans to make a splash with several moves in the spirits space that will launch exclusively in Florida in Q1 2023.
- Island Riptide, a line of Caribbean rum-based RTDs, includes a mojito, pina colada and “stormy” flavor
- Island Wave Water, a line of 100% agave tequila-based RTDs, includes a lime margarita, paloma and tequila sunrise
- Island Coastal Rum, 750ml bottles of rum including a white and spiced rum
- Island Volcano, 750ml bottle of cinnamon-flavored tequila, will have a PTC $15.99 to $18.99
CEO Scott Hansen told us they’re aiming to be a market “disruptor” with Island Wave Water and Island Volcano – Island Brands’ “answer” to Ranch Water and Fireball, respectively.
Scott said once the spirits RTDs and liquor “really takes hold in Florida” Island Brands will likely expand its footprint through a “more targeted approach” in late 2023. He mentioned Texas, California, New York and “Chicago-land” as likely regions on the short list where the spirits could eventually be sold.
EXPANDING EAST COAST DISTRIBUTION FOR BEER.
As for its beer and FMB portfolio, Island Brands has zeroed in on the East Coast. The company currently has distribution in 13 states in the Southeast and just secured production outside Boston, MA to expand its distribution footprint to an additional 13 states in the Northeast.
Scott said the added source of production will enable Island Brands to distribute its entire beer portfolio throughout the East Coast by Q1 of 2023.
Its high ABV FMB line, Crush, which launched in late spring in Tennessee through the Red Network, will hit “a good portion” of its current footprint in the Southeast and coming footprint in the Northeast, as part of this expansion as well.
Island Brands is also in discussions to expand West, with a single, yet-to-be-named statewide distributor in Texas, that could carry its beer and Crush portfolio as soon as Q4 this year, Scott said.
“DIFFERENT” APPROACH PAYING OFF. Scott mentioned he took a different approach to distribution than most craft brands by “going from the top down with buyers.” When Scott needed to fill and sell 280,000 cans of its flagship Island Coastal Lager, Publix gave the company its first break.
“It’s mainly chain mandates driving our revenue,” Scott said, noting, “it’s tough to find our brands on premise, especially when Covid hit.” And those large format mandates have proven successful in getting Island Brands’ growing portfolio of liquids into the hands of consumers. “The way we see it, a lot of those chain mandates can also carry high-alc FMBs, they can carry RTDs and they can carry liquor. We’re just giving our consumers more of what they want.”
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