Premixed cocktails are all the rage these days but Alex Garner saw a problem with them. They’re loaded with sweeteners, chemicals and preservatives and the alcohol is already mixed in, so it lacks the freshness of a just-mixed drink.
“When you put a high percentage of alcohol into juice, the enzymes in the juice break down,” Garner said. “There’s a window of time where the degradation period begins. A cocktail you make at home is best if you make it [at] the time you’re going to consume it.”
Garner, who has a background working for Coca Cola and ConAgra Foods, saw an opportunity for a new product that would have the same on-the-go convenience but would taste like a true mixed drink while also having healthier ingredients.
After two years of research and development, Garner came up with YUMIX, a two-part bottle with juice on the top and spirits on the bottom.
So far, Dallas-based YUMIX is being distributed in Texas and South Carolina in stores like Total Wine & More and several independents retailers.
When mixed, the drink is 8.3 percent alcohol by volume. Each contains 2 to 8 grams of sugar with 10 to 35 calories per serving.
Distributors like Michael Cohen, director of sales and marketing for Grapevine Distributors in South Carolina, are already excited about the product’s success but are anticipating higher sales this summer. Grapevine Distributors started offering the product to retailers about a month ago.
“YUMIX is perfect for the beach, lake, boat--anywhere people are on the go,” Cohen said. “We’re looking to have everything in place when the weather changes because that’s when it will really take off. There’s nothing in the market like it and there never has been.”
The unique nature of the product means there has to be some customer education at the point of sale. Garner has created a free-standing display with a small television monitor that shows how to mix the product. It’s motion activated so it plays when someone walks by.
A decade ago, a store display like that would have been cost prohibitive but advances in technology made it affordable.
“We put a lot of thought into both the bottle design and the concept, which is a superior cocktail without preservatives or added sweetners that weaken the flavor profile,” Garner said.