Sydney distillery Poor Toms has teamed up with Melbourne soft drink maker StrangeLove to create a range of premixed drinks called Love Can.
Initially available in three variants – Gin & Tonic, Vodka Yuzu Soda, and Spritz – Love Can is a platform for Poor Toms and StrangeLove to combine their expertise.
“This was definitely a case of putting our egos aside and recognising that we could make a better product together than we could alone,” said James Bruce, co-founder of Love Can and StrangeLove.
“Developing soft drinks and spirits both require huge amounts of focus to get right. Making a delicious premixed drink is a balancing act, and you need to be ready to tweak both the spirit and the soda. Nobody has been paying equal attention to both the spirit and the mixer.”
With Australian craft spirits growing from $10.8 million in 2017 to $17.1 million in 2018, and with the Australian Distillers Association increasing in membership from 29 members in 2014 to 241 members in 2019, the Australian consumer is becoming attuned to premium, craft, locally-distilled spirits.
Griffin Blumer, co-founder of Love Can and Poor Toms said “the evolution of the premium spirits category from sensible glass bottles to an unruly canned, premix format seems a natural progression”.
“We are psycho about making the most delicious products we can,” he added.
“That’s what premium means to us. Beyond that we don’t take ourselves, or our brand, too seriously. We wanted to get past the idea that you need fancy glassware, garnishes, and destination venues to enjoy a great, locally distilled product. You can drink Love Can anywhere – family BBQs, raves, church, the beach. I took all three products to my dad’s annual Leonard Cohen memorial concert last weekend – even baby boomers love them.”
The drinks also take advantage of a general trend away from sugar towards better-for-you, low-ABV drinking. The Yuzu, Vodka Soda, has no added sugar whatsoever, just vodka with a squeeze of fresh yuzu and weighs in at 5% ABV.
Laura Boot-Hanford – who joined Love Can as General Manager after several long-winters as Global Marketing Director for Beefeater and Plymouth Gin – believes data coming out of the US supports the assumption that better-for-you, low-ABV premixed drinks are about to boom in the Australian market.
Hard seltzer – as it is affectionately known in the US – is currently worth $US550 million a year, but analysts from UBS are predicting that figure could grow to $US2.1 billion by the year 2021, with many consumers trading out of beer and wine.
Whilst the domestic market enjoys some nuances when compared to the US, the Love Can team is optimistic about the premix category in general.
“It has just exploded this year – alcoholic Kombuchas, seltzers, canned highballs, you name it,” said Boot-Hanford.
“It feels like the category is going through a total revolution and it is exciting to be on the forefront of that – we feel very fortunate to be able to deliver world-class innovation in this space, we have some pretty crazy things planned – things you wouldn’t have imagined would go into a can 12-months ago.”
Love Can is available for $23.99/four pack at selected BWS and Dan Murphy’s nationally.
All Love Can products are 5% ABV and 1.0 standard drink.