Press Cocktail Soda launches retail drive

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:40 pm

By Dec. 1, Press Cocktail Soda LLC, a Milwaukee-based company that started this year, will be selling its products in locally owned liquor and grocery stores. Within several months, the company’s four flavors of high-end beverages also will be distributed to chain grocery and liquor stores in southeastern Wisconsin through a new partnership with Edison Liquor Corp., a Brookfield-based wine and spirit distributor.

Press Cocktail Soda’s four flavors are: original, a blend of tonic water, club soda and a hint of lemon; raspberry; orange; and cucumber.

Press Cocktail Soda has been available in Milwaukee bars and clubs for several months. The company sells and markets its sodas, and outsources the production and bottling work.

The beverages are being marketed to drinkers of premium liquors looking for a quality mixer, said Joshua Gentine, co-owner of Press Cocktail Soda.

“Why screw up that fantastic liquor with a generic sodaω” he said.

Press Cocktail sodas can also be used as a stand-alone drink.

The sodas are sold for $5.99 for a four-pack. Each can is 10.5 ounces, enough for two tall cocktails, said Gentine and Alexander Morasco, who also is a co-owner of the company.

When the sodas are introduced in liquor and grocery stores, they will be positioned near the premium liquors they were designed to be mixed with – vodka and gin. In the early stages of introduction, Press Cocktail Soda will be working hard to convince people to try its products in stores where they might encounter it for the first time.

“We will have folks in the stores pouring samples and explaining the product,” Gentine said. “We will develop the brand one-on-one with customers in stores. It’s a case of getting the product in customers’ mouths.”

Press Cocktail Soda is working, through its distributor, to create partnerships for cross-promotions with the makers of premium spirits, Marasco said. Most cross-promotions will likely include specials on Press Cocktail Soda four-packs with the purchase of specific premium liquors, Gentine said.

Press Cocktail Soda is using southeastern Wisconsin as a test market before it begins selling its beverages across the country. The company and Edison are now in talks to bring the drinks to the Madison market.

A marketing plan to launch the mixers into the national spotlight will evolve once Gentine and Morasco see how drinkers react to the product.

“Once people start to adopt it as their mixer, we’ll go as fast and as big as we can,” Gentine said. “But we don’t want to jump into markets if we don’t have the dollars to support it.”

A third partner, Don Meissner, is less active in the company and maintains a full-time job elsewhere.

The trio has contracted with Brookfield-based Northwestern Extracts to create the flavors and syrups for their sodas. Currently, Sacramento, Calif.-based Norcal Beverage bottles Press Cocktail Soda, but Press Cocktail is working with local bottlers to bring production to the Milwaukee area.

Gentine and Marasco also are looking for a consultant who has experience with start-up businesses in the beverage industry to advise them as Press Cocktail Soda moves forward. They are preparing to hire several interns to run in-store tastings.

While Press Cocktail Soda has been available in clubs and bars for several months, Gentine and Marasco say their company will live or die by the success of its products in retail locations.

“This is our real launch,” Gentine said. “We’ve put our firepower to start the development of this, and this will be the determining factor of if we have a product or not.”

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