Belle Isle Moonshine is expanding its products throughout the Northeast, and Northern Virginia is one of the first regions to get a taste.
When we think about coming home after a long day and cracking open a cold, fresh can on the couch, moonshine isn’t exactly the alcohol that comes to mind. Yet in the coming months, it can be that easy, as you’ll find canned cocktails from Richmond-based distiller Belle Isle Moonshine on grocery and liquor store shelves throughout the Northern Virginia region.
Of course, the cans aren’t full of just moonshine, but rather mimic a classic vodka soda with hints of sweet flavors for taste. Belle Isle officially launched the concept in Central Virginia in October of 2019 with three flavors: Shine & Soda, Ruby Red & Soda and Blood Orange & Soda, all of which contain black label moonshine, sparkling water, just 90 calories and zero grams of sugar.
The debut arrives at a time when ready-to-drink cocktails are dominating the adult beverage market, with sales climbing more than 40% in the past year, according to research from the Nielsen Group. The reasons why consumers (who are mostly in the millennial age group) enjoy the product is due primarily to convenience, according to the data, followed by flavor, percentage of alcohol and price.
“We didn’t necessarily know what the response or demand would be with canned cocktails. It has been mind-blowing,” says Vince Riggi, co-founder of Belle Isle. “We started to look at expanding, and Northern Virginia was a no-brainer because we bottle some of our products there too. And we look at it as just as much our home as the rest of the state.”
While the distribution process in the NoVA region first began in December at local Virginia ABC stores, it has since expanded to Total Wine & Spirits, River Place Market and designated Sunoco Gas Stations. In the coming months, Riggi hopes to put Belle Isle cans on the shelves of neighborhood grocery stores as well.
“The canned cocktail lineup allows us to experience a whole new distribution channel and customer,” Riggi explains. “At the end of the day, whether it’s a millennial, Generation X or baby boomer, you won’t have to step into an ABC. If you enjoy all-natural, convenient alcoholic beverages, then you’ll enjoy this.”
Belle Isle’s canned cocktails come in 12-ounce cans consisting of 5% ABV. Four-packs are sold for $9.99 in local stores.
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