From Lipstick to Liquor
Bringing the American Spirit to Spirits for Women
A proven entrepreneur who has created and sold five companies, Alisa Fogelman Beyer’s career has been grounded in the fast-moving beauty business, where for many years she helped both large and emerging beauty brands create iconic, award-winning products that women love. But in early 2019, she jumped from “lipstick to liquor” after meeting Karen Haines, founder of Spa Girl Cocktails at an event in Hollywood, California.
When Alisa sets out to do something, whether that’s leading innovative strategies for some of the world’s biggest companies to uprooting three teenager-ish children halfway around the world to taking the reins as one of the only female CEOs of a liquor company, she does so with humor, grit and the Good Old American spirit that she comes by honestly.
California based Spa Girl Cocktails, an award-winning supplier of premium craft spirits and “pop and pour” cocktails is known for its clean ingredients, innovative flavors, and infusions, and is Alisa’s first foray into running a company that she herself didn’t start. “I chose to enter this industry because even though women account for nearly half of the alcohol category’s total consumer base—women are still an underrepresented consumer within the overall alcoholic beverage marketplace. I wanted to build a brand that had a product ethos that represented the future, not the past, of the alcoholic beverage industry. It’s time for women to make their mark in premium spirits.”
Unlike the beauty space, where innovation and speed of research and development are the names of the game, the alcohol industry is still strongly defined by how things have always been done. For Beyer, that approach needs to make room for a large consumer base that is seeking new products and offerings that reflect the lifestyle they lead now, which is to say clean, healthy, and modern.
“When I worked in beauty, I learned very, very quickly that status-quo is actually the death knell for a brand. Beauty consumers were among the first to demand clean products: clean ingredients, clean formulas, eco-certified packaging, cruelty-free…yet in alcohol, few brands are talking about clean or better-for-you products. Women today count calories, worry about sugar content and want to know the origin of ingredients, and they need an alcohol beverage that reflects this need.”
With Spa Girl Cocktails, “at-your-service” and “better-for-you” product innovation are the ethos of the company. Becoming the market leader in defining the ‘clean’, ready-to-drink cocktail category, Spa Girl is creating the cocktail of tomorrow. Every Spa Girl Cocktail is low calorie, low sugar, low carb, gluten-free, vegan, and free of artificial sweeteners and colors. Flavors are handcrafted (selected, and tested) by the all-female team, and made in delicious flavors like Cucumber, Pear, and Peach.
“As wild as this sounds, we can all thank Prohibition for the cocktails we drink today,” continued Beyer, “Underground speakeasies and gin joints made cocktails like the martini fashionable as a way to hide the taste of homemade moonshine and bathtub gin, which weren’t known for their easy-drinking qualities. In fact, they tasted so bad, people started mixing everything from fruit juice to soda to bitters into their moonshine to help offset the bad taste and voila, our cocktail culture was born.”
Thankfully, today’s premium spirits are a far cry from the clumsy homemade attempts of the 19th century, and Spa Girl Cocktails is at the forefront of this evolution. “I love sharing the heritage and character of liquor with people and helping them create their own passion for the products.”
In keeping with their dedication to crafting innovative cocktails, next year, the company will launch a first-of-its-kind spirit: An Organic Vodka infused with Hemp. “I am so excited by the launch of our infused spirits,” gushed Ms. Beyer, “not only will we have the single spirit that can be used in modern cocktail recipes, we will also be offering our Organic Lavender Vodka as a ready-to-drink cocktail for consumers who’d rather just ‘pop and pour’ their Spa Girl Cocktail, or don’t have time to shake-up a cocktail. We are working with hundreds of women consumers and craft bartenders to help determine the final flavor profile and infusions.”
Industry excitement for Spa Girl Cocktails is also high. “The time is right for a woman-led liquor company like Spa Girl Cocktails. With their clean, 'pop and pour' formulas, the brand is right on-trend for consumers who want great tasting, better for you products,” said Craig Collar, Managing Director of Threadstone Advisors, a leading advisory firm in consumer and retail sectors.
“Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits is excited to be the exclusive distributor for Spa Girl Cocktails, not just because it is a great product, but because we believe the industry is stronger with more women driving change and growth for us all.” Barkley J. Stuart, Executive Vice President.
"We are thrilled to have the brand represented by Southern Glazer's, as they are proud supporters of women-owned and led brands," stated Bill Beyer, Board of Directors at Spa Girl Cocktails. "Alisa and her proven all-woman leadership team are ready to bring a real disruptive spirit to the market by combining innovative and clean products with a well-crafted lifestyle brand for women of all ages."
That the future is bright for Spa Girl Cocktails is an understatement. This month, the company is closing on a funding formation round and will soon share a list of initial investors including a partner in a private equity firm, an artist management agency, and several well-known female athletes and musicians, and Alisa Beyer couldn’t be more focused. “Spa Girl is on track to sell 40,000 cases of our premium spirits and cocktails next year, and I really think that is because we’ve applied everything my amazing team learned about innovation and product development in beauty to the slow changing nature of the alcohol business. Spa Girl Cocktails was founded by a pioneering woman, is run by an all-woman team, and will soon be a women-certified business. The company is dead set on creating a powerful, female-led business that is going to shake up the traditionally male-dominated liquor industry. You could say Spa Girl Cocktails are the bootleggers of today’s generation.