Imagine you’re invited to a pool party. You’re tasked with bringing cocktails, but you aren’t allowed to bring glass into the pool area. You spend 20 minutes funneling vodka into one plastic water bottle and tequila into another. After wiping up the sticky mess, you still have to pack up the juice and soda mixers. Thirty minutes later, you’re ready to hit the pool. And, since you live in Charleston, you get there just as a pop-up thunderstorm rolls overhead.
Now imagine all you had to do to bring quality cocktails to your friends is grab a couple of 4-packs of Yumix from your local liquor store. You’re out the door and in the pool with a cold cocktail in just a few minutes.
Yumix is a ready-to-go cocktail without all the calories and sugar.
Founder and CEO Alex Garner stopped by our offices last week for a taste test and to share his story.
After graduating from college, Garner worked in consumer packaged goods for a couple of beverage companies. One afternoon, he was in his backyard pairing juices with spirits and thought that someone should create a cocktail product that isn’t premixed.
That someone turned out to be him.
He started researching the packaging options and learning about flavor houses while he was working at his full-time job. Developing new formulations and doing research is necessary, but in order to make this concept a reality, Garner needed to take a risk.
“I realized I needed to jump off that cliff and become a full-time entrepreneur,” Garner said. “I had some money saved up. I had a great runway to live for six months to a year and find a way to commercialize a product.”
At first, he thought it would only take six months to a year to get his company going and his product into the stores. But, like any entrepreneur can tell you, Garner ran into a few ups and downs, and it pushed his timeline back a few years.
“The major hurdles were getting the packaging right to where you could get these bottles to fit together and open it consistently,” Garner said. “We had to make sure that the bottle maintained its integrity and its shape. Then we had to find someone who could actually put the liquid in it.”
Garner found a manufacturer in Hendersonville, N.C. that could hot-fill his bottles. After spending so much time in the area, he learned a lot about the Carolinas. Through his contacts, he met a distributor in South Carolina and they clicked.
The distributor “really saw where the consumer is going and where young people are going,” Garner said. “I think people are really looking for that single-serve packaging and he saw that.”
Yumix is in several local liquor stores including Bottles in Mount Pleasant. The best place to find out where you can purchase a bottle is by checking out their website.
Moving forward, Yumix will be available in several Wal-Mart stores across the Southwest and in Florida. Garner and his team were invited to an open call event to present their product to the Wal-Mart buyers.
“The buyers were both women, which was really great to see. Our product is for many people, but I think women really get it and are more receptive to the innovation,” Garner said.
With millennials constantly on the go and more people wanting to drink at home, Yumix is hitting the market at a perfect time. It’s easy to grab a low-calorie, low-sugar cocktail on your way to the golf course, beach, or anywhere.
Single bottles range in price from $3.49-$3.99 and 4-packs range from $12.99-$14.99. The liquor is 1.1 standard drinks or the amount of spirit that comes in an airplane bottle. The sugar and calories are clearly marked on the packaging and range from 25-35 calories and 6-8 grams of sugar.