As Sam ‘Riggs’ Bozoian and Josh Miller played a round of golf while in Miami for the 2020 Super Bowl, they stumbled upon a natural partnership – another Barstool Sports beverage.
Bozoian, the host of Barstool’s “Fore Play” podcast, has long enjoyed a drink called The Transfusion, which is made with grape juice and ginger ale. While playing with Miller, the co-founder of craft cocktail mixer company Owen’s Craft Mixers, the pair sipped on Owen’s Mint Cucumber Lime and a new idea formed: The Barstool Transfusion Mix By Owen’s.
“I’ve been touting and discussing the Transfusion for three or four years now and at first people were saying, ‘What the hell is that?’ But now we’re getting all sorts of tweets of people drinking them,” Bozoian said.
The co-branded non-alcohol mixer is already available for presale on the Barstool and Owen’s websites and will roll out at retailers nationwide on July 8. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Normally mixed with vodka, Bozoian said the drink is popular within the golf community, but only within certain country clubs. Now he hopes to help bring it to the masses.
If the story sounds familiar, it’s because last year Barstool’s “Spittin’ Chiclets” hockey podcast followed a similar path, releasing Pink Whitney, a pink lemonade vodka designed after co-host Ryan Whitney’s cocktail of choice.
Made with New Amsterdam, a major Barstool partner, Pink Whitney has been a huge success for the company. Pink Whitney remains the No. 1-selling flavored vodka and has sold 500,000 cases this year. For comparison, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the top-selling vodka brand in the U.S., sold 8.8 million cases in 2019.
Seeing massive demand like Pink Whitney has could be daunting for a four-year-old company like Owen’s, but Miller said the company is ready. Owen’s spent two-and-a-half years concentrating on bars and restaurants – it can now be found in 6,000 retailers across the U.S.
“We’ve prepared for it, and if we have remotely that success [of Pink Whitney], everyone will be happy,” Miller said. “It’s very obvious it’s great for exposure, it gets your name out there, but that it wasn’t our focus for this. A true partnership comes to understanding each other’s strengths and maximizing reach.”
Bozoian said Owen’s built-in distribution network would get the cans into thousands of stores, while Miller said Barstool’s social media channels would work its normal wonders within a rabid fanbase. The two companies will work to secure entry into golf clubhouses across the country, Bozoian.
While one of Barstool’s pillars for driving revenue is merchandise, the beverage category is certainly hitting a soft-spot within the media company’s fanbase. Reportedly, 31% of the company’s $100 million in revenue came from merchandise and commerce, while 3% came from licensing.
“[Founder Dave Portnoy] has spent decades building the brand and building the relationship with our fans, and it’s strong,” Bozoian said. “People out there love the common man, common woman approach, and getting information and chatter from people just like them. We’ve built such a strong brand and have capitalized on that to provide them what we like.
A drink with a golf-origin story and cult following could be an even bigger hit. Bozoian said there’s a special synergy between drinks and golf.
“Golf is an escape for a lot of people, and having a good cocktail is similar,” he said. “You want it to be delicious and refreshing, not heavy. You’re outside trying to enjoy. So we’re trying to provide that for golfers, and outdoor activities in general, making it a little more flavorful and refreshing.”
Currently, there are no other plans for other collaboration flavors, but Bozoian said they’ll see where it goes. For now, the golf course is a great place to launch a new product.
“We’re confident it will do well, but we’re realists and will take it one day at a time,” he said. “The focus is golf season. Golf, throughout this terrible time, has risen as an activity that’s acceptable, naturally social distancing. Now is a perfect time to get it out and in front of golfers.”