In under a week, Coastal Spritz became my girlfriend’s favorite drink to have in the house. She isn’t new to the RTD space. We’ve had dozens of various canned cocktails, hard seltzers, and every other kind of alcohol in a can you can imagine littering our fridge for the past year–the benefit (and curse) of writing about alcohol. She didn’t take to any of the previous offerings, but now, and for the foreseeable future, Coastal Spritz will be taking over the bottom shelf of our fridge–a place previously reserved for $15 bottles of white wine.
Canned wine has understandably gotten a bad wrap. That might be because many of the brands producing the stuff get their juice from the same place in Sonoma, says BJ McCaslin, Co-Founder of Coastal Spritz. Coastal, however, decided to go a different way.
McCaslin’s motto is “use the best premium ingredients,” which is probably what anyone will tell you about their product, including those heading to that same Sonoma shop. But McCaslin really did it. He headed up to Washington, where he now works with a premium vintner who sells their wines by the bottle. “The rose, the sauvignon blanc, and the chardonnay are all coming from the Columbia Valley.” To note, he gets his pinot noir from Oregon and California.
But why when everyone else is using the same base wine, would you want to spend the time and money it takes to bring something new into the picture?
“I’m 38 years old,” says McCaslin. “Like I tell the old lady, I’m all almost 40, l I’m not going to be drinking s***. I Just can’t.” As he puts it, “I drink Hennessy and Corona and sauvignon blanc out of the bottle,” meaning he, like everyone else, knows what he likes and sticks to it. “It’s so hard to change people’s poison in this space. To gain stomach share, you’re not going to change their poison because you have a cool label, you really have to have a good product.”
Established in 2018, Coastal Spritz describes themselves as “the pioneer of the 5% ABV in 12 oz. cans,” and in the RTD space, McCaslin truly is a pioneer. Previously, he created Coco Café, a coconut water and coffee brand that he eventually sold to Vita Coco. He’s taken his experience and knowledge of the space and created a brand that points towards both natural living and sandy beaches, things we can all get behind.
Coastal Spritz doesn’t use any artificial fruit juice or artificial sweeteners. Instead, it’s made with real fruit juice and a hint of monk fruit for that added sweet touch. The 12 oz. cans somehow come in at just 95 calories. It’s gluten-free, non-GMO, and a percentage of the brand’s proceeds go to benefit the Ocean Foundation, an organization that protects our oceans and beaches. Currently, it comes in six varieties: Pineapple Spritz, Classic Spritz, Watermelon Spritz, Chardonnay Spritz, Pinot Noir Spritz, and Sauvignon Blanc Spritz.
In a market space that’s getting more crowded each day and filling up with massive corporations and celebrity faces, McCaslin is counting on the quality of his product to make the difference in the end. “What do you want to market? How do you want to make yourself different?” he asks. “Because we looked at a celebrity angle and we have some celebrity investors and whatnot, but for us, we really want to focus on the premium nature of the product, where it’s cultivated, and then the offering, right. And the 12 ounce can and the 12 packs for that price point, because that’s really what I want to be about, I’m a consumer facing company. I want the consumers to really identify with this project. We give back. That’s always been our mentality as producers. We’re not doing it to make a ton of money. We’re doing it because this is a great product. We invest a ton of money into the product and we want you guys to actually have a great product.”
At the moment, Coastal Spritz is in 20 states, including the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. They are also for sale at Costco in Texas, and next month will be opening up the Pacific Northwest with Washington and Oregon. If you’re in California, you can find them on the bottom shelf of our fridge, assuming we haven’t already drunk our week’s supply.