The Duchess has landed, Vancouver, and it’s time to give her a royal welcome.
Duchess Cosmo, BC’s first ready-to-drink bottled cosmopolitan, is officially here, and let’s just say you’re going to want to have some bottles of it tucked away for the holiday season.
The brand new Vancouver-born-and-made beverage officially launched on December 1, and Duchess’ sole owner, Olivia Lovenmark, told Dished Vancouver this product has been a long time coming.
Lovenmark has been religiously ordering cosmos for the past 12 years (her favourites in Vancouver are at The Lobby Lounge and Ancora, by the way), a sip she describes as a “delicious classic drink with a beautiful colour and a stylish history.”
“I’ve always loved cosmopolitans and have made a habit of ordering a cosmo in every place I visit,” says Lovenmark. “If I wanted a bottled cosmopolitan, there had to be other consumers who felt the same way.”
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During a time when the ready-to-drink boozy beverage market was quite saturated, Lovenmark said she saw the opportunity to create something that didn’t exist and to fill a gap with a product that suited a discerning demographic. From there, Duchess Cosmo was born.
After some product research and analysis of alcohol and consumer trends, Lovenmark, who’d previously worked in tech marketing, began building on the brand.
She aimed to create a product that felt more premium than a canned cocktail, which may seem simple, but Lovenmark came across many challenges during the year-and-a-half lead up to launch.
Finding The Perfect Cosmo
First, there was the search for the perfect recipe for Duchess.
As a cosmo aficionado, Lovenmark embarked on the lengthy process of nailing the beverage’s colour, taste, and texture.
“A great cosmo has to be made with real lime and cranberry juice, and the orange flavour profile has to be just right,” says Lovenmark.
“Our natural orange flavour was custom made to reflect a premium orange liqueur, and that really makes a big difference. For us, a great bottled cosmo needs to be refreshing and not sweet, which is what Duchess Cosmo is.”
With the help of a local food scientist to help source ingredients and commercialize the drink, the final Duchess Cosmo recipe was done by August, a few months later than initially expected.
Initial Push Back
But there were some additional challenges to overcome for this brand before it hit the production line. For one, the glass bottle, then, the alcohol percentage.
“I knew going into this that the product would have to be in a glass bottle, made with real juice, sparkling, and have a higher percentage of alcohol than what was available on the market,” says Lovenmark.
Lovenmark explains that most beverages are under 7% alcohol, so Duchess Cosmo’s 12% level combined with the glass bottle and a new style of bottle cap (no opener required) made it tricky to find the right production facility.
“I think this push back was based on doing something different they hadn’t seen before or didn’t have experience with, and many of the production facilities in Vancouver aren’t set up to do this,” says Lovenmark.
Another obstacle she had to overcome? Duchess is female-made and prominently geared towards women in general, something Lovenmark said didn’t resonate with people at first.
“Many of the products that are on the market and geared to women are produced by male-backed businesses, and I felt like a lot of those brands didn’t resonate with me, nor did I like the sweet taste of those drinks,” says Lovenmark.
“I pitched a female designed and backed beverage, and this didn’t resonate at first. One guy asked me if there was really a market for a product like Duchess Cosmo, which I couldn’t believe. A quality product in a stylish bottle, who doesn’t want that?”
Lovenmark also noted that she felt she wasn’t being taken seriously at first because the ready-to-drink market had taken off in the past couple of years, and many people ventured into the alcoholic beverage business without doing the research to understand what is required.
“I did the research and knew what I was getting into, and I was backing it myself. Frankly, the alcohol business is predominantly men. I found it challenging to be heard and understood,” says Lovenmark.
The Duchess Is In The Building
Duchess Cosmo is now officially available with speedy local delivery in Metro Vancouver and shipping across BC.
Lovenmark says this is just the beginning of her gorgeous new product’s journey, as new Duchess flavours are set to come soon as well.
For now, though, you can purchase bottles of the original cosmopolitan recipe in sets of 4 or 8, which are $24 and $45, respectively.
Folks can also find the new pink beverage in select private liquor stores in BC, including Legacy Liquor Store in Olympic Village.
Soon, the rest of Canada will have the opportunity to enjoy Duchess.