You might have already seen Owen’s Craft Mixers at your local Walmart or Publix, or perhaps on the menu at your favorite travel destination, but get ready to see it at the most-frequented concert venues and festivals.
Today, Owen’s has announced a $10M raise led by NBA All Star Jimmy Butler and Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company. Alongside the raise comes its strategic partnership with over 100 Live Nation amphitheaters, clubs, theaters, and festivals as the preferred mixer partner.
I sat down with Josh Miller, co-founder of Owen’s, and spoke with him about why he and brother in law, Tyler Holland, set out with the vision to make the best-tasting ginger beer. He also shared how he scaled a leading mixer brand from a NYC kitchen, to over 20,000 retail doors, concert halls, sporting arenas, and travel destinations across the US.
What is Owen’s Craft Mixers?
We are a fun, accessible and engaging brand that aims to innovate classic and trending cocktails and/or mocktails. At retail, and now with Live Nation as a key partner, we are setting out to reach millions of users with our bold packaging, versatility and flavors.
Tell me about why you and Tyler started the business?
We were always inspired by our great-great grandfather Owen’s entrepreneurial spirit. He owned a bar/general store in the 1800s that served cocktails in Portland, Maine. Pairing our family history with our frustrations of finding a decent-tasting Ginger Beer mule in our NYC neighborhood was really the idea for how Owen’s came to be.
When did you know you had the best ginger beer recipe?
We started in Tyler’s Greenwich Village kitchen in 2015 with many unsuccessful attempts. It wasn’t until 2016 where we had perfected it after hosting tasting parties and meetings with top mixologists to help direct us to the real ingredient concoction that would serve up quality you can taste, pour after pour.
How did you land a strategic partnership with Live Nation?
The traditional success story for Owen’s is based on the access and ease of continuous quality cocktails – for both consumers and bartenders. Live Nation was no different. Its venues began using our mixers back in 2019 and its concert goers and staff were thrilled with the cocktail experience. Now, with the return of experiential events, shows and festivals, Owen’s is coming on as Live Nation’s preferred mixer brand and will have a presence at leading festivals such as Tortuga this April.
Since the onset of the pandemic I see that Owen’s has really leaned into sports, especially golf. Tell me more.
Sporting and live events have always been at the core of the brand, but golf served as a strategic move during the pandemic. It was the only sporting destination that remained open, nationally, so we entered the market with a Transfusion Mixer in collaboration with Barstool Sports that immediately became stocked across the most established golf courses in the country such as Pinehurst, Pebble Beach Resorts, Kohler Golf, Streamsong, and PGA West.
Outside of golf, you’ll also find us at top stadiums like Citi Field in NYC, Levi’s Stadium in San Jose, or on site at the Miami Open or select PGA Tour events.
Espresso Martinis continue to trend. How are Owen’s making this cocktail more accessible?
We launched our Nitro-Infused Espresso Martini Mix in late 2022, and it has quickly become the most requested mixer amongst our retail fleet, and especially hospitality groups such as Groot Hospitality, Levy Restaurants Venues, Circa Las Vegas, and Venetian Resorts. Travelers across the country will also find Owen’s Espresso Martinis at their local airports via HMSHost, the largest airport concessionaire, and destinations such as Omni Hotel & Resorts.
For folks that aren’t traveling and are looking to mix cocktails at home, where can they find Owen’s premium mixers?
We have a retail footprint at national retailers such as Publix, Walmart, CVS, Kroger, Total Wine and Amazon that carry our core collection ranging from Ginger Beer to Sparkling Margarita, and American Tonic to Cucumber Mint.
How has travel inspired where Owen’s is stocked?
Ultimately our goal is to have Owen’s at every travel touchpoint there is, from local airport bars and concert halls to luxury hotels and resorts. We know that once folks try Owen’s, they are instant loyalists. Based on the simplicity of our mixer, paired with accessibility at retail, travelers have access to create those specialty cocktails in their own home.
What are your favorite travel destinations to sip an Owen’s cocktail?
A Transfusion at Cradle at Pinehurst Resort, an Espresso Martini at Green Briar Golf Course, a Paloma in the Strawberry Moon Pool, a Mule at Crypto.com Arena or an Owen’s G&T at our home bar in Portland Maine, the Porthole.
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