Early in the pandemic, Paul Owusu was one of many people who leaned into at-home cocktail making. But he turned that passion into a full-blown business…and it is making quite the splash in the canned cocktail world.
Owusu recently moved to Atlanta to be closer to his co-founders and those behind Preshly. Hypepotamus asked him a few questions about what it has been like launching an all-natural cocktail company. Here’s what we learned about Phreshly:
Q: How did you know it was the right time to launch Phreshly? How do you stand out in the canned cocktail space?
When the tweet went viral, I knew we could build and scale Phreshly based on the responses. We heard consumers things like “I don’t enjoy hangovers, I want honest ingredients.” We then did data mining across multiple social media platforms (Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram) to understand what consumers are looking for and what they’re sharing. Out of that, we interviewed hundreds of consumers before going into the formulation of flavors and eventually launching Phreshly.
Q: Tell us about the move to ATL? How does the city play into the story of Phreshly?
The move to Atlanta was somewhat a no-brainer. My co-founders both live here, and my wife’s company is HQ’d here also. Importantly though, Atlanta is (if not) one of the most important cities in America. There’s diversity and upward mobility for Black & Brown people. Culture happens here! So the decision was pretty easy. Sorry, NYC! Maybe next time.
Q: What are the most significant pain points in building a CPG company in 2022?
The CPG space is packed with lots of new brands, all of which are raising or have raised millions of dollars. So, as a new brand if you aren’t in this “cool kids club” it can very very difficult to gain any traction. Cash flow and supply chain are also some of the biggest pain points for most brands.
For example, as a majority Black Women founded company, fundraising has been difficult and borderline disheartening but we’re pushing on. We have 40% of our current fundraising goal of $2,250,000 committed. Our largest check came from a huge beverage conglomerate so, I guess we’re doing something right.
Q: Tell us a bit about your team.
I call our team Navy Seals. Mainly because we all have specific skillsets to build and scale Phreshly. Tai has a tremendous amount of experience in integrated marketing and media, and Ama has built a multi-million dollar lifestyle and travel company. I, a three-time founder, came from building and scaling early and late-stage startups in Silicon Valley. So, together, we’re quite a very strong team of founders.
Q: Phreshly is starting the summer off strong with the acquisition of Mix’d Roots, a unique alcohol infusion company based out of New York. We asked Paul to tell us about the recent addition of Mix’d Roots to the Phreshly family:
Ah yes! This part really excites me. When we set out to build Phreshly, we wanted an end-to-end beverage experience for our customers. From the woman hosting dinner parties and looking to style cocktails with new and exciting garnishes to the single guy in Old-Fourth Ward looking to infuse his cocktails and enjoy them during summer nights, or even the couple who has begun a journey of living a sober-curious lifestyle, the addition of Mix’d Roots has something for everyone.
From a strategic play, though, the acquisition also helps us expand our product catalog and the space for ready-to-drink beverages.