America's First Premium Cocktails Served in Cartons
Together, American beverage brand buzzbox™ and Tetra Pak venture into a new product category, filling cocktails into recyclable aseptic carton packages.
Dreaming of a classic Cosmopolitan, a Mojito or a Bloody Mary to bring wherever you go? Then premium cocktail brand buzzbox™ is your answer. The American company, named after the landmark Aston Martin car from 1925, manufactures ready-to-drink premium cocktails with top-quality spirits, juice and all-natural flavors. The cocktails come in 200 ml recyclable Tetra Pak® aseptic carton packages, which allow the drinks to stay safe and taste fresh without the need for preservatives.
“The quality of the package’s aseptic technology makes our product possible,” says Rod Vandenbos, CEO and founder of buzzbox™. “Without it, we could not focus on using fresh ingredients or offer a long shelf life (up to 18 months unrefrigerated). The carton package is also very durable, making shipping and transport more economical and sustainable.”
Buzzbox™ is currently distributed in nine states, has a national distribution agreement in place, and overseas shipping is also part of the company’s long-term ambition.
“Over the last few years, we have experienced fantastic growth, and we feel that the notion that alcoholic beverages in a box are poor quality is about to change. We are also seeing more commitment from the general public to look for products that are eco-friendly,“ says Rod.
Tetra Pak and buzzbox™ - A perfect fit
The company began its venture in 2012 with a vision to find a better way for people to get a quality cocktail during live concerts, film festivals, rallies and other big events.
“You have cans, bottles and plastic. But having worked within the entertainment industry for a long time, I recognized we really needed a sustainable packaging solution – something recyclable that could pass safety restrictions and is portable for sport fans and festival lovers – and carton seemed to be the natural choice.”
Instantly, Rod turned to Tetra Pak and presented his idea. He happened to know some members of Tetra Pak’s executive teams in California and believed that Tetra Pak’s cartons could be perfect for the kind of packaging he was looking for:
“Tetra Pak was very positive, but also a little reluctant as the market for cocktails at that time wasn’t really growing and it was challenging to find a co-packer with the proper license to pack a spirit-based cocktail. But together, we found a great solution and they have supported us beyond words.“
A new product category
The first buzzbox™ cocktail package was made in eastern Canada at a facility that was packing wine in carton boxes. The pilot was a success and paved the way for a similar Californian co-packer to take over production.
“It took a lot of paperwork, permits and time to get started, but it has all been worthwhile. As we were the first to launch carton-packed cocktails in the U.S., Tetra Pak ventured into a whole new product category with us,” Rod says.
Buzzbox™ drinks were promoted and sold at numerous entertainment venues. But in the beginning, premium cocktails in a carton didn’t resonate that well with consumers:
“With a slow start, many questioned if this really was a good product. But once people started to taste our cocktails and understand that they are made with just spirits and fresh juices, our brand started to take off.”
Tetra Pak helped build interest in the product by including buzzbox™ in some of their own advertising. They also helped create and support buzzbox™ social media campaigns.
“It meant everything that Tetra Pak was willing to take a position on our product and back us up on the promotional front. It gave us the marketing muscle we needed to build some momentum in the market.”
In 2018, buzzbox™ entered the retail market and today the carton-packed premium cocktails are available in a number of national chain stores like Whole Foods, Safeway, Ralph’s, Walmart and Costco.
100% licensed distillery
Rod attributes the success of the company to several factors, including the ease and the convenience of the product, the great taste and the packaging:
“The aseptic quality is truly superior, and the ability to make a package that takes fewer resources and is more energy-efficient compared to aluminium cans and glass just makes more sense.”
Another advantage is that you can print across the entire package – and it is easy to implement new designs. Buzzbox™ will definitely rely on this feature even more in the future as they have just purchased and installed their very own Tetra Pak line, and they expect their own facility to be operative by January 2021.
“The automation line doesn’t require a lot of staff and we now have the flexibility to create fourpacks, 24-packs and the freedom to add new flavours and roll out new products,” Rod adds and ends:
“Now that we have brought everything in-house, I believe we are the first fully licensed distillery and cocktail manufacturer with Tetra Pak carton capabilities in the United States. And we couldn’t be prouder."