How One Woman Is Winning the Canned Wine Market
The founder and CEO of a mission-driven vino venture reveals how she creates "buzz" in every sense of the word.
The canned wine industry piqued my interest back in 2018 when I first heard about the product's growing popularity.
Cans are for soda, not vino! What could possibly go right? Having heard of numerous brands since then, I figured that they’re all the same and they’re all up to no good — until I discovered Bev, and met CEO Alix Peabody.
After experiencing life-altering reproductive health issues at the age of 24, Alix started throwing ticketed pool parties to pay off her medical bills. Her gatherings became known for their inclusivity, positivity and female-centric energy. As a result, Bev was born: The female-first beverage brand on a mission to do it differently, do it better and #BreakTheGlass.
Tellingly, a recent study commissioned by Groupon aiming to understand the obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs found that over half of female business owners polled claimed men had an easier time starting their companies while women were held to a much higher standard than their male counterparts.
The upside, for Alix, is another survey conducted on behalf of the Idaho Wine Commission, which found that 68% of those polled admitted they can never remember the names of wines they like, so now is the perfect time to cultivate prospective fans of cans.
With sleek, unapologetic packaging and a female-forward voice, Bev has amassed a cult-like following. The company is unique because it’s a movement rooted in the concepts of empowering underserved communities and redefining the traditional adult beverage industry from the inside out.
Alix recently sat down with me to reveal details regarding her company, the mission and her values.
On being an entrepreneur"I was living in San Francisco at age 24 when I began experiencing some pretty life-altering reproductive health issues. Over the course of the next 18 months, I underwent 6 surgeries and was ultimately faced with the decision to freeze my eggs (which, unsettlingly, wasn’t covered by insurance). I quickly found myself drowning in medical bills and looking for creative ways to cover these costs. I started throwing ticketed pool parties in Sonoma with the goal of raising enough money to pay off the cost of freezing my eggs. The parties brought together an eclectic group of San Francisco millennials, and quickly became known for their inclusivity and female-centric focus. I soon became infatuated with the idea of recreating this social space on a larger scale and that’s when the light bulb moment struck: It occurred to me that alcohol is the lowest common denominator at every party, but there was truly very little out there that spoke to and about women in an authentic way. With the mission and vision of the product in mind, I cashed out my 401k, bought 300 gallons of rosé and decided to call her Bev!"
On the company's mission
"At Bev our values are our culture and our culture really is our brand. Internally we have seven pillars of culture: Vulnerability, passion, kindness, accountability, candor, integrity and inclusion. We use these to guide us internally, but they are also deeply related to our mission to 'Do it Different, Do it Better, Break the Glass'. We truly believe that who we are on the inside is who we are on the outside, so these values really are the guiding force not only of who we are as a company, but also who we are to consumers."
On the products
"All varietals of Bev are zero grams of sugar and we were actually the first-ever TTB approved zero sugar canned wine. Additionally, unlike many other canned wines on the market, Bev is made specifically for consumption from a can, with high-quality, CA grapes. Grapes are the only ingredient, aside from slight carbonation which we call 'a lil’ fizzy'. My favorite comment from consumers is 'it’s actually delicious'. Which is so true!"
On everything else
"We really believe that breaking the glass is a team effort. 'Made By Chicks' is on the can and represents who we are, but we also love our good dudes! We believe that real change will come when women, men (and everyone!) work together as equals."
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor