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Member Spotlight- Five Drinks Co

Five Drinks is a company that makes high-quality, ready-to-drink (RTD) craft cocktails. Their cocktails consist of five high-end ingredients and are packaged in 100% recyclable aluminum cans. The company’s headquarters operates out of The LAB Miami and it was founded this year. The five friends who founded Five Drinks have a combined 100 years of beverage industry experience. While they’re growing quickly, currently they have less than ten employees. We sat down with Lucas Cravero, the VP of Sales and Marketing to get his perspective on the company.

FOUNDERS (left-right) Chris Cox, Jeremy Cox, Felipe Szpigel, Gustavo Souza, Roberto Schuback

 

How did the concept of Five Drinks get started? 

It started with the idea of five friends working together and quickly transitioned to five special ingredients in a great cocktail.

 

How competitive is the canned cocktail industry? 

Currently the market is much smaller than the main three categories, which would be wine, beer and spirits. But even though it’s a small category in terms of volume and sales compared to the other three, right now what we’re seeing is a huge influx of new competitors. So I think given the quantity of competitors and the fact that it’s very fragmented and regional at the moment makes it fairly competitive but also offers a lot of opportunities. This is because the companies that figure out the best way to deliver an amazing product with solid marketing to the consumer at a price that make sense have a great opportunity to rise to the top and gain a lot of share. In more established categories like beer, wine and spirits, however, you’re going to face a lot of large competitors with much more resources like Adagio or Pernod Ricard, but at the same time those same large players are quickly jumping into the RTD market as well. So you kind of have a great opportunity but also have to move very quickly and execute it at a high level in order to take advantage of it. So that’s what we’re we’re trying to accomplish with Five Drinks.

 

 

 

What makes your company different from other canned cocktail companies? 

We are the only true to style canned craft cocktail and we only use natural ingredients, not putting in any added flavors or preservatives. We are about honesty and transparency, not only in the way we make our cocktails but in how we communicate that. For example, we package our products in straight forward labeling and we partner with Miami’s community.

 

 

What has been your marketing strategy for gaining publicity in the market? 

So I think one of the things that excites the team and the founders is that spending most of our career in the alcohol industry we know exactly what we don’t want to do and we feel that the market in general has been saturated for years now with the typical cookie cutter marketing, especially with alcoholic beverages. You go on Instagram and it’s flooded with pretty people and influencers holding products over and over and over again in tons of pool parties and yacht parties. I think we all get it. So one of the fun things that we said was how could we do everything differently? How can we stay away from everything else we see on Instagram? So what really drives us right now is basically finding things that haven’t been done and trying to do things differently. So on Instagram you’ll see a lot of copy forward content. Also, Gustavo is leading the way in terms of using only film both for the photos and videos. Everything is shot on actual 35 millimeter, which gives it a really unique feel. I think it goes really well with our “less is right” slogan because there is really nothing simpler than using film, right? You cannot edit it or add filters. I mean, you could but we try to keep it as authentic and candid as possible on Instagram and then use a lot of very short copy, ideally five words or less. At the end of the day, it is basically that we want to try different things, we want to stick to “less is right”, we want to come across as authentic and tell our story in the simplest way as possible and hopefully people will see that and connect to the brand because of it. In terms of outside of social media and social media marketing, I think we’re just basically trying to do cool things with cool people as much as possible. So that pretty much is what guides us. So if there’s a cool party or someone in our network is throwing a house party, we want to be there, we want to drop our product, we want to stay flexible, and we really want to stay away from the typical cookie cutter, ad agency driven campaigns that you’ll see a lot of other RTD companies doing right now.  So if you know any cool people or cool events, we want to be there.

 

 

What are your main goals for Five Drinks in the future? 

We are planning to expand in Florida early next year. As far as national distribution, although we do not have a national strategy today, we are looking forward to a successful launch in Miami and Florida and a potential expansion to other cocktail cities.

 

 

What’s your background and position within Five Drinks? 

Straight out of college, I was recruited by Anheuser-Busch into a rotational management program. So I got an amazing opportunity to travel around the country and work in all aspects of the beer industry from production to sales and marketing distribution. You name it and I had a chance to put my hands on it. So those first five years were amazing. I got to move a lot. I worked primarily in sales and trade marketing in the field with our distributors, but after a while I felt that I really wanted the experience of building something new from the ground up and being able to work closely with a smaller team and have more control over what we’re delivering in terms of the product, strategy, etcetera. So basically a couple years ago I left to start a coffee and tea company. I have been working on that here in Miami for the last couple years. Our cold brew coffee is actually provided here at The LAB for the members. The LAB was one of our first customers actually back in 2018. So this brought me back full circle to now working with the team at Five Drinks, which has a lot of ex Anheuser-Busch executives as part of the founding five members. So it’s been a great journey and I’m super excited to work with them. They’re all very talented, both Felipe and Roberto with their past at Anheuser-Busch, as well as Gustavo with his career at Mother which is an award-winning creative agency. And then Chris and Jeremy Cox who have built breweries and restaurants. They’re just all-around beverage and hospitality entrepreneurs with a great skill set and allow us to create these amazing cocktails.

 

 

If you could give your past self advice on how to run this business, what would you tell him? 

Early on, just because of my experience with other startups, I know that the things that I did right in terms of joining this team is obviously choosing the right partners. So I think that’s the strength of this company. The founding five all bring a very unique skill set and they’re very good at that skill set, on top of being well-rounded in general. With Chris and Jeremy’s hospitality background, with Felipe in regards to business, finance, and scaling strategy, and then Gustavo with his eye for marketing and creativity, I think it really covers all the critical bases that you need for a consumer-facing brand and product. In order to compete in the marketplace today, you really can’t have a weakness. So having partners that cover all the bases really offers an opportunity to build something amazing and compete against players that have much more resources and people where normally that would be very difficult or impossible in an established market like alcohol beverage.

 

 

Learn more at https://fivedrinks.co 

 

Lucas Cravero, VP Sales & Marketing 
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