Canned cocktails have quickly become the hottest category in the wine, beer, and spirits world. Coca Cola, Travis Scott (by way of AB InBev), and Gordon Ramsey are just a few of the names who recently entered or announced their intention to enter the ready-to-drink (RTD) marketplace. That’s why it’s so exciting to see a brand like VIDE receive attention on the national stage.
Started in Manhattan by Ryan Laverty and Sal Campisi–two guys with admittedly “no branding or beverage experience”–VIDE has managed to expand across state lines and catch the attention of private investors and celebrities alike. In October, Olivia Culpo joined the brand as Creative Director after falling “in love” with the product.
This is in part due to Laverty and Campisi’s ability to create a canned cocktail with clear intentions. “We are a clean and health-aware RTD canned cocktail made for the modern drinker,” explains Laverty. “While we still see competition adding ingredients to their beverages such as sugars, which tend to be very sweet, our beverages are light and refreshing and steer away from these additives.”
In his eyes, “Because VIDE was started by us, two young guys, and not a global alcohol conglomerate, we are more thoughtful in not only our product, but how we are impacting the world around us.”
In this week’s Bottle Breakdown, we sat down with Ryan Laverty, Co-Founder and CEO of Vide Beverages, to discuss how VIDE came into existence, what sets them apart, how Olivia Culpo became involved, and the future of canned cocktails.
Spirited Zine: Canned cocktails are soaring right now, but what brought you to the category in the first place?
Ryan Laverty: We both had been working corporate jobs right out of college but always had entrepreneurial spirits and wanted more out of our day-to-day work. As canned cocktails grew in popularity, we noticed there was a gap in the market for a ready-to-drink cocktail made with real vodka, opposed to a malt-base. Together, we had a vision of creating a convenient canned cocktail made with clean ingredients for the modern drinker; this dream ultimately took shape and resulted in us launching VIDE. We are so proud to have tested, launched and scaled a product in the alcoholic beverage marketplace – competition like no other, going head-to-head with some of the largest global alcohol conglomerates on earth. Fighting against them and gaining market share, that keeps us going!
SZ: How did you come up with the idea for VIDE? Was there a “light bulb” type moment?
RL: Once we saw this gap in the market for a canned beverage made with real vodka, we started thinking about how we could make a product that our friends and families alike would enjoy: a drinkable, tasty drink, perfect for any and all occasions. We focused on using transparent ingredients and wanted to ensure that our beverage had some health-aware angle. We also noticed our category lacked transparency- many spirit-based alcoholic beverages don’t advertise nutritional information and ingredients (purposely). We opted to get ahead of that and show everything inside. It’s what the consumer deserves.
SZ: Vodka and Tequila are your base spirit for the VIDE range of canned cocktails. Where do you source yours from and how did you decide upon the particular Vodka and Tequila?
RL: We were very methodical in choosing our spirit partners. Our vodka is sourced from a private label provider in the US. We wanted something that was extremely high quality. Our vodka is corn-based and distilled six times; free of impurities and has a very clean finish. Our tequila boasts quality, much like our vodka. We source our tequila from the highest rated private distillery in Jalisco, Mexico.
SZ: Take us through the creation process. How does this transform from Vodka or Tequila, natural fruit aromas, and carbonation into a can of Vide?
RL: We worked with a notable beverage architect located here in the US. We spent countless months sampling products, which ranged from different alcohol contents, flavors, aromas, carbonation levels, etc. until we settled on the final product. Needless to say, the research and development was fun!
SZ: How did you decide on what flavors to offer?
RL: When choosing the flavors to kick off the launch of VIDE, we went through a tasting process, sampling a variety of flavors and landed on cranberry and watermelon, both of which weren’t too sweet or overpowering to the palate. We wanted just a hint of a flavor to keep the beverages clean and refreshing. We sampled countless different people and age demographics via focus groups and close friends. We’re grateful that the cranberry and watermelon flavors were loved by consumers and that we’ve been successful enough to expand to new products. You can expect to see flavors ranging from peach to pineapple in 2021.
SZ: The RTD category has grown 43% this year, but the competition is only growing more crowded. What sets VIDE apart?
RL: We are a clean and health-aware RTD canned cocktail made for the modern drinker. While we still see competition adding ingredients to their beverages such as sugars, which tend to be very sweet, our beverages are light and refreshing and steer away from these additives. We were also very meticulous about our carbonation level. We wanted a beverage that was highly drinkable and did not cause bloating. Because VIDE was started by us, two young guys, and not a global alcohol conglomerate, we are more thoughtful in not only our product, but how we are impacting the world around us. This is why in 2021, we will be launching a full-fledged sustainability campaign to work to offset our carbon footprint for our entire business.
SZ: What do you see ahead for 2021 as the world, hopefully, begins to open back up and people start returning to their old habits?
RL: Naturally, we’re optimists at VIDE. Much like everything else in this life, “this too, shall pass”. We’re excited for people to get out and begin living again. This year has been stressful for everyone, so we’re excited for venues to open up again. As this category continues to evolve, I believe consumers will become more focused on transparency and honest ingredients.
SZ: Recently Olivia Culpo stepped aboard as Creative Director. How did she come to become part of the company and what does she do to change the landscape of VIDE?
RL: Olivia tried VIDE before we met! She was introduced to the brand through a friend and fell in love with it. She saw where our category was going and loved the product. Ultimately, Olivia connected with us expressing interest in working together and after a few discussions, we knew she would be a great addition to our team, given her genuine interest in VIDE and that her audience and goals were in alignment with ours. She has become a great friend and we’re excited for the future as we work cohesively to build greater brand awareness, introduce new products, and more.
Additionally, Olivia brings her entrepreneurial spirit and a keen eye for creativity to our team. She is genuine and that comes through in so many ways. Not only does she have an interest in the industry and a belief in our product, but her influence is effortless, and her involvement in this short time is already being felt by the whole team. We couldn’t be more excited to have her on board. Olivia will lead our next round of financing alongside David Adelman and beyond that, Olivia is playing an active role in our 2021 strategy and is an integral part of the decisions we make about new flavors, new product lines and sustainability.
SZ: The challenges of growing a brand are immense. How have you managed to grow from a small beverage company to a regional and soon-to-be national player?
RL: We’re not going to lie, it’s been a hell of a ride, especially since we launched this business with little to no branding or beverage experience. But with our vision, dedication and drive, we have raised over $3,000,000 since launching VIDE. The product continues to gain interest and consumers are seeking it out in their local neighborhoods and bars. We ship to 44 states and can be found in stores in New York, Connecticut, and Georgia. In the new year, we are rolling out 8 new markets to increase our national footprint.
SZ: We hear you’re working on a sustainability campaign working towards zero carbon emissions. Can you give us some insight into that and why sustainability is so important to VIDE?
RL: The sustainability campaign is called REVIDELIZE. Within this program, there will be 3 phases where we’ll work to offset our carbon footprint. We are still in the build-out phase for this campaign, but our goal is to become a carbon neutral business by 2022.
SZ: What’s next for VIDE?
RL: The ready-to-drink beverage category shows no sign of slowing in 2021 and we have big plans to scale from a small beverage company out of Manhattan to a regional and soon-to-be national player in the canned cocktail space. In the new year, VIDE will be expanding with Tequila canned cocktails, additional Vodka flavors and increasing our retail footprint. With these initiatives in mind, and our efforts to become more environmentally friendly, we’re extremely excited for 2021 and beyond.