BodyArmor co-founder launches premium canned cocktail Casa Azul

Dive Brief:

  • Serial entrepreneur Lance Collins is launching Casa Azul, a tequila soda. The beverage is setting itself apart from other hard seltzers and ready-to-drink cocktails by using real spirits instead of malt liquor.
  • Casa Azul will first be available for purchase in California, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and Florida, as well as online. It will be sold in four flavors: Lime and Strawberry Margarita, Peach Mango and Watermelon at a suggested retail price of $12.99 for a four-pack. 
  • Collins is no stranger to creating successful beverage brands like BodyArmor, Core and Nos Energy, many of which have later been acquired by big CPGs for large sums.

Dive Insight:

Canned alcoholic beverages are infiltrating the market from upstart companies and large CPGs aiming to capture a slice of the fast-growing category. Increasingly, a trick to standing out is offering something unique, and Collins thinks Casa Azul does just that.

The brand differentiates itself from many traditional canned drinks by having a simple ingredient list that includes sparkling water, tequila, natural fruit flavors and agave nectar. It also contains only 100 calories per can and 1 gram or fewer of carbs. In a statement, Collins said that other canned cocktails made with real spirits have more than twice the alcohol and three times the carbs and sugar.

Similarly, the market is saturated with low-calorie, low-alcohol-by-volume hard seltzers that while convenient, are made with malt liquor. Coca-Cola, which is selling an alcoholic line of its Topo Chico with partner Molson Coors, was recently sued by a customer who said its margarita products are misleading because the seltzers don’t contain tequila.

“With Casa Azul, I saw an opportunity to develop an easy-drinking, delicious Tequila Soda that brings the best of both worlds,” Collins said. “Many traditional tequila drinks in cans today, like margaritas or ranch waters, don’t even have actual tequila in them. Even more confusing, they call out ‘agave’ but they’re talking about agave syrup.”

RTD cocktails ranked as the top adult beverage that respondents anticipate buying more of this year, according to Drizly. The alcohol e-commerce firm also found 73% of respondents said they would most likely enjoy RTD cocktails at home.

It’s no wonder companies have been announcing new drinks at a rapid clip. 

Brown-Forman and Coca‑Cola shared plans to introduce a RTD cocktail combining Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and the iconic soda brand; and Beam Suntory, which makes Sauza tequila, rolled out Sauza Agave Cocktails with Boston Beer. And Diageo is partnering with The Vita Coco Company on a line of premium canned cocktails crafted with Captain Morgan rum and Vita Coco coconut water.

While Casa Azul joins a long list of alcoholic beverages now on store shelves, consumers increasingly want choice and have flocked to the simplicity of a ready-made drink — both attributes that could benefit Collins’ new product.

Despite going up against dozens of other brands, many of which have the deep financial backing of large CPGs, it’s also hard to argue with the entrepreneur’s prior success. Coca-Cola bought Fuze in 2009, and Keurig Dr Pepper snapped up premium water brand Core for $525 million in 2018. Coca-Cola also recently spent $5.6 billion to purchase the remaining 85% stake it didn’t own in BodyArmor.