Cincinnati Business Courier 

A Northern Kentucky bourbon distillery is launching a new product line and spinning it off as its own company.

Boone County Distilling Co., headquartered at 10601 Toebben Drive, has created a line of canned mixed drinks called Canvus Cocktails and is spinning it off as its own company. The cocktails are officially launching May 27 but are currently available at Party Source and will be distributed to accounts throughout Ohio and Kentucky by Heidelberg Distributing.

Distillery founder Jack Wells, co-owner of Canvus Cocktails with his son Mike Wells, told me he’s seen the canned cocktail market, a segment called “ready to drink cocktails,” exploding in recent months. The ready to drink cocktail market was valued at $782.8 million in 2021, according to Grandview Research, and is expected to grow at a compounding rate of 13.4% from 2022 to 2030.

Wells’ problem though was that, as he put it, “most tasted like flavored water.”

“We came up with this concept, I wanted to make them higher alcohol content, make them taste really good and let’s do something creative with them,” Wells said.

That creativity was shepherded along by Rooted Creative, a local creative agency. Together they came up with Canvus, a portmanteau of “can” and “canvas.”

“The product itself is meant to empower local creators in the Cincinnati region,” Josh Staley, director of business development with Rooted, told me.

“All of the cans are designed by local artists, they all have a different personality and take to them. There’s also the opportunity for artists to submit their own ideas. We’re looking to do experiential art activations.”

Canvus is launching with four products, two vodka-based and two bourbon-based. There’s:

The bourbon-based cocktails retail for a suggested price of $13.99 for a four-pack of 12 ounce cans, and the vodka-based cocktails retail for a suggested price of $12.99 for a four-pack of 12 ounce cans. The cocktails weigh in at 8% alcohol by volume, higher than the 4% to 4.5% typically found in that product segment.

The decision was made to spin Canvus Cocktails of as its own company because while Mike Wells is the head distiller of Boone County, he is not an owner of the distillery. Jack Wells said much of what became Canvus was Mike Wells‘ idea, and he wanted to go into business as partners with his son on it.

The plan is to start distribution in the Greater Cincinnati market and expand outward from there, going up north to Columbus and eventually statewide throughout Ohio and Kentucky. Canvus partnered with Impact Brews Contract Services on canning the cocktails, made with Boone County’s spirits, but Jack Wells said they could build their own facility to bring those capabilities in-house if the brand gains traction.

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