You may 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 for the most frequented concert venues and festivals.
Today, Owen’s announced a $10 million raise led by NBA All Star Jimmy Butler and Live Nation, the world’s largest live entertainment company. In addition to the raise comes the strategic partnership with more than 100 Live Nation amphitheaters, clubs, theaters and festivals as a preferred mixer partner.
I sat down with Josh Miller, co-founder of Owen’s, and talked to him about why he and his brother-in-law, Tyler Holland, started with the vision of making the best tasting ginger ale. He also shared how he scaled a leading mixer brand from a NYC kitchen to more than 20,000 retail outlets, concert halls, sports arenas and travel destinations across the US.
What is Owen’s Craft Mixers?
We are a fun, accessible and exciting brand that focuses on renewing classic and trendy cocktails and/or mocktails. In retail, and now with Live Nation as a key partner, we aim to reach millions of users with our bold packaging, versatility and flavors.
Tell me why you and Tyler started the company?
We have always been inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of our great great grandfather Owen. He owned a bar/shop that served cocktails in Portland, Maine, in the 1800s. Linking our family history to our frustrations with finding a decent tasting Ginger Beer mule in our NYC neighborhood was actually the idea for how Owen’s came to be.
When did you know you had the best ginger ale recipe?
We started in 2015 in the kitchen of Tyler’s Greenwich Village with many failed attempts. It wasn’t until 2016 that we perfected it after organizing tastings and meeting with top mixologists to help us find the real ingredient concoction that would provide quality you can taste, pour after pour.
How did you form a strategic partnership with Live Nation?
Owen’s traditional success story is based on the accessibility and convenience of consistently quality cocktails – for consumers and bartenders alike. Live Nation was no different. The venues started using our mixers in 2019 and the concertgoers and staff loved the cocktail experience. Now, with the return of experiential events, shows and festivals, Owen’s is emerging as Live Nation’s mixer brand of choice and will be present at leading festivals such as Tortuga in April.
Since the start of the pandemic, I can see that Owen’s has really focused on 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 sports destination to remain open nationally, so we entered the market with a Transfusion Mixer in partnership with Barstool Sports that immediately supplied 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 remain trendy. How does Owen’s make this cocktail more accessible?
We launched our Nitro-Infused Espresso Martini Mix in late 2022 and it has quickly become the most requested mixer among our retail fleet, 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 through HMSHost, the largest airport concessionaire, and destinations such as Omni Hotel & Resorts.
For people who are not traveling and want to mix cocktails at home, where can they find Owen’s premium mixers?
We have a retail footprint with national retailers such as Publix, Walmart, CVS, Kroger, Total Wine and Amazon offering our core collection ranging from Ginger Beer to Sparkling Margarita and American Tonic to Cucumber Mint.
How has travel inspired where Owen’s is stored?
Ultimately, our goal is to have Owen’s at every travel touchpoint out there, from local airport bars and concert venues to luxury hotels and resorts. We know that once people try Owen’s, they are instant loyalists. Based on the simplicity of our mixer, combined with in-store accessibility, travelers have access to create those special cocktails in their own homes.
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 at the Strawberry Moon Pool, a Mule at Crypto.com Arena or an Owen’s G&T at our Portland Maine home bar, the Porthole.