RTD Cocktails Profile: Wild Roots Vodka Sodas

Who has taken a bottle of vodka and infused some type of fruit into the alcohol? I’ve done it with blueberries, figs, and blackberries but never achieved the success of Portland’s Wild Roots Spirits and their range of fruit-infused vodkas. Each of these spirits starts with six times filtered corn-based vodka infused with over a pound of real fruit farmed in the Willamette Valley. Grapes are not the only quality fruit grown in the largest river valley in Oregon. Recently Wild Roots entered the RTD market by creating a series of Vodka Sodas based on these infused vodkas. These 12-ounce sparkling craft cocktails are low in alcohol (4%), gluten-free, flavored with natural ingredients, contain only 2 grams of carbs, and have less than 100 calories.

Our influencers received a combination of four cocktails: Raspberry Vodka Soda, Lemon Vodka Soda, Peach Vodka Soda, and Blackberry Vodka Soda. Their favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, freshness, and low alcohol — particularly while hiking and hanging outside. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

Chefsquire.eats
DenJenEats
KelseeBHankins.com
Let Her Drink Wine
Swig & Ramble

RTD Cocktails Profile: Post Meridiem

We’ve learned from the highly successful Rendezvous: An In-depth Look at RTD Cocktails campaign that RTDs come in flavors, percent alcohol, and size. One brand that has stood out despite its diminutive size is Post Meridiem Spirits, a producer from Atlanta, Georgia. Their RTDs are intended to directly correlate to a craft cocktail so each can is 100ml in size and equates to a standard cocktail pour. In addition, these rugged – yet artistic cans – are encased in a steel wall, encouraging their portability for hikes, picnics, beach visits, and foreign travel. Post Meridiem also provides transparency regarding the ingredients – proudly displaying the cocktail recipe directly underneath the cocktail name. And finally, these are not low alcohol crushable RTDs, these are true cocktails with the alcohol content reflecting what would normally be expected in the targeted recipe.

Our influencers received a combination of four cocktails: The Modern Classic Cosmopolitan, The Double Old Fashioned, The Real Lime Juice Margarita, and The London Dry Southside. Their favorites varied but all appreciated the portability, transparency, and quality of each cocktail recipe. Here are some of the Instagram posts from the participants.

DenJenEats
Princess Nohelani
Jessica
Let Her Drink Wine
WineCompass

RTD Cocktails Profile: iiCiNG Flavour Shots

“It was really simple …… we thought, why can’t we flavour alcohol like MIO flavours water. And with that thought, the brand was born. “, Paul Wolchuk, founder of iiCiNG Flavour Shots

iiCiNG Flavour Shots

iiCiNG Flavour Shots allows consumers to become their own bartenders by moving the flavouring to the final stage of consumption instead of dictating which flavours are used in the production of the RTD or hard seltzer. Wolchuk’s previous experience was co-packing for the beer industry and one of the consistent issues he noticed was that co-packing flavoured beer was constantly on hold for flavour profile issues. Then he thought, let the brewers create the beer and he will create the flavours. And more importantly, they wanted to ensure that iiCiNG had zero calories, zero sugar, and all-natural flavours.

Bourbon Root Beer

The flavoured alcohol market can be segmented into three categories (coolers, cocktails and hard sodas) and thus iiCiNG attempts to create flavours to fit into these buckets. The first three flavours were Root Beer, Pina Colada, and Raspberry Grapefruit which were then followed closely by Cherry Burst and Blueberry Bang. Kreamsicle and Limoncello are the final two flavours — although more are in the pipeline.

The entire premise of iiCiNG is to allow the consumer to control their flavour profile, not the bottler. You choose what to add it to, when, where and how much. According to Wolchuk, “it makes the drink experience as individual as you are.” He continues, ” all our flavours not only taste exactly like the flavour, but they look and smell like them. No BS, they do!”

We have devised several recipes that we will be trying and will be updating this post as we discover more ourselves and hear from the content creators. Cheers.

Bourbon Root Beer
2 oz bourbon
6 oz seltzer water, chilled
iiCiNG Root Beer to taste

Lemoncello
2 ounces vodka
6 ounces chilled seltzer water
iiCiNG Lemoncello to taste

Pina Colada
4 oz rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz cream
coconut flakes and pineapple chunks
iiCiNG Pina Colada to taste

Coffee Cherry Smash (inspired by Cocktail Contessa)
2 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
½ oz coffee rum or coffee liqueur
iiCiNG Cherry Burst to taste

Sparkling Raspberry Grapefruit
6 oz sparkling wine
iiCiNG Raspberry Grapefruit to taste

Raspberry Grapefruit Margarita
4 oz 100% agave tequila
2 oz grapefruit juice
½ oz lime juice
iiCiNG Raspberry Grapefruit to taste

Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy Campaign

Let me introduce you to our BevFluence Collaborations platform and latest campaign: Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy. We created the BevFluence Collaborations Campaign (BCC) to expand influencer engagement by leveraging the BevFluence community. We have devised and tested our proprietary methodology for accelerating social media distribution and require our members to adhere to specific regulations throughout the campaign. This methodology includes scheduling social media posts at the optimal time, sharing, and working with brand participants to engage within our platform. 

After an incredibly successful Rendezvous: An In-depth Look at RTD Cocktails campaign, the BevFluence team is jumping right back in with a passion project – Cider: New Perspectives on Cider, Perry, and Brandy. The BevFluence team is comprised of cider enthusiasts (BevFluence founders Justin, a Certified Cider Professional, and Todd, a tried-and-true cider lover) and cider aficionados among the team of influencers. This campaign will operate during the late summer and fall and feature cider, perry, and apple or pear brandy from across the globe. It will also include deep dives into cider making, consumption, styles, cocktail recipes, and food pairings. The products will be presented to a combination of industry experts, mixologists, bartenders, creators, bloggers, writers, and other media – and across the craft beverage landscape. This will generate new perspectives about cider, perry, and brandy from creators who range from cider novices to experts and these perspectives will cascade to their followers. 

We curate only the most diverse palates, particularly those who will be tough but fair. You will get to know these creators as part of our community through group tastings and one-on-one interviews. Dozens of creators have already signed up and are salivating for this campaign to barrage you with posts and discussions about your brand (unless you live in a cave, that is). This campaign is far superior to your typical trade show as we go deeper and aim for more impact than the usual one-post or five-minute meet and greet. If you want to grow your business and meaningfully engage your consumer, this is the campaign you need to be part of. 

You can view more information on the BevFluence Collaborations platform (https://bevfluence.azurewebsites.net/). Once the campaign commences, you will use this platform to engage the creators, view posts and professional tasting notes, and experience the engagement dashboard.

Registration will open in early July and run through September. The price per each product registration is $225, but we have enacted early bird pricing of $195 per product registration. Cider and brandy associations can contact us for further discounts for their members.  

For each product registered, the brands must send (6) samples to each BevFluence Regional Office, as well as a sample to each Influencer we assign (3-4 influencers). That equals 15-16 total samples. All of the requirements are outlined in the campaign guidelines once you log in to the BevFluence Collaborations platform. 

I have also attached a larger synopsis of BevFluence and some of our previous Collaboration campaigns. 

Thanks for the time and cheers!

What is BevFluence?

BevFluence, LLC (BevFluence) was founded in 2017 and is made up of active members of the food & beverage industry – experts with decades of experience. This group of well-respected and highly sought-after professionals is dedicated to building and strengthening the professional food & beverage media community through education, collaboration, and expanding access for both brands and creators. Founded by media professionals to create the change for our clients that define the future, you get us all (for the cost of a single consultant in some other companies) – a team dedicated to growing your business over the long term. Our Team is made of wine, whiskey, technology, marketing, social media, hospitality, culinary, and beverage industry experts.

Attention Virginia Cider Professionals: The Virginia Cider Ed Road Show

The American Cider Association is holding four educational sessions in Virginia during the first week of June 2022 to educate cider professionals “about the diversity and versatility of Virginia hard ciders”. I will be attending the session at Lost Boy Cider and hope our Virginia members can allocate time to attend one of the sessions. Here is the info from the ACA:

“The American Cider Association (ACA) is hitting the road to partner with Virginia cideries and chefs to teach food and beverage professionals about the diversity and versatility of Virginia hard ciders. Each workshop will be tailored to the cidery and city where it’s taking place with a focus on exploring ciders made with Virginia grown apples, crafting trendy cider cocktails, and mastering delicious cider pairings. Jennie Dorsey, a Certified Pommier and the Cider Education Outreach Manager for the ACA, will be leading the cider learning, tasting and pairing experiences.
Are you a current food and beverage professional? Or an up and coming professional in the food and beverage scene? Do you happen to live in Virginia or nearby? Come join us at one of these four free workshops we’ll be offering throughout Virginia. These workshops are being provided thanks to a grant from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.”

Lost Boy Cider (Alexandria Virginia) June 6th: 5-7 PM
Potters Craft Cider (Charlottesville Virginia) June 7th: 4-6 PM
Fall Line Richmond Marriot (Richmond Virginia) June 8th: tbd
Sly Clyde Ciderworks (Hampton Virginia) June 9th: 12-2 PM

World Whiskies Awards 2022 Taste Winners

Back in November 2021, I was invited to help judge the World Whiskies Awards 2022 where 32 judges sampled 250 American whiskeys divided into 17 categories. The results were finally published here and eight American spirits were recognized as the World’s Best in their appropriate categories. You will find those spirits below as well as the American Best for all categories. Can’t wait to try these again.

World’s Best Wheat
Bainbridge Battle Point Two Islands Hokkaido Cask

World’s Best Corn
Ironroot Republic Icarus

World’s Best Flavoured Whisky
Whiskeysmith Blood Orange

World’s Best Small Batch Single Malt
The Notch Nantucket Island 12 Years Old

World’s Best Bourbon
Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon 10 Years Old

World’s Best Single Barrel Bourbon
Blanton’s The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

World’s Best Small Batch Bourbon
Widow Jane 10 Year Bourbon

World’s Best Tennessee
Jack Daniel’s 10 Years Old

American Best

Best American Blended
Breckenridge Distillery Powder Hound Whiskey

Best American Blended Limited Release
Heaven’s Door 777 Blend

Best American Blended Malt
Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt

Best American Kentucky Bourbon
Old Forester 100 Proof

Best American Non-Kentucky Bourbon
Redemption Barrel Proof High Rye Bourbon 10 Years Old

Best American Kentucky Small Batch Bourbon
Rabbit Hole Heigold Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Best American Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon
Blanton’s The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Best American Non-Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. TX Bottled in Bond Single Barrel Texas Straight Bourbon

Best American Grain
Bainbridge Yama Mizunara Cask

Best American New Make & Young Spirit
291 Colorado Whiskey Fresh Colorado Whiskey

Best American Pot Still
Talnua Distillery Olde Saint’s Keep 2021

Best American Rye
The Senator Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey

Best Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon
Blanton’s The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey

Best Non-Kentucky Single Barrel Bourbon
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. TX Bottled in Bond Single Barrel Texas Straight Bourbon

Best American Single Cask Single Malt
Hogback Distillery Wallace Collection Single Malt Whisky

Best American Single Malt
Westland Outpost Range Garryana Edition 6

Best American Small Batch Single Malt
The Notch Nantucket Island 12 Years Old