Spirited Hive Canned Cocktails Help Bring ‘Hives’ Together

Spirited Hive - All 4 Cans

Spirited Hive’s Founder and CEO Jack Espy is obsessed with honey. He puts honey on everything, and he’s really big into health and fitness. Using the all-natural sweetener went from daily use to a cocktail mixing-during-COVID experiment with friends. The result was a happy honey accident and a thriving business Espy never dreamed of concocting.

Tell us the story of when the lightbulb moment happened: a Moscow Mule made with honey?
Espy: When the pandemic hit, I was mixing up some canned cocktails for my buddies and I was making my two favorite drinks: a Moscow Mule and a Mexican Mule. They were like, “Jack, this is like the best thing I’ve ever had!” At that time the canned cocktail boom was just getting started. But what would we name it? What about the name Mint Bee? They thought it was the stupidest thing they’ve ever heard of because Moscow Mules do not have honey in them. Clearly there is not traditionally honey in either of those drinks, so it was a happy accident that started off this brand. And it all goes back to me being obsessed with honey as a sweetener.

Once you knew honey was the sweetener of choice, how did the rest of the R&D process go?
Espy: The one tricky thing about honey is that it’s viscous so you can’t just throw it into a drink. Some R&D that went into that was figuring out how to make honey into a syrup and have it not be too thin or too thick. How much water should you put into it? From there I wanted to add organic extracts and juices. Are we going to infuse those into the honey or add it on afterward? So that was a big process in the R&D development side. It tasted better when we infused the ingredients into the honey. Then we had to decide what honey to use. We landed on a wildflower honey, which gave it a better taste.

Canned cocktails are booming now. How does Spirited Hive differentiate?
Espy: At that point in time when I came across the idea there were no other canned cocktails with honey in them as the sweetener. Also, the quality of spirits — there’s a lot of canned cocktails that are using malt, or using a malt and saying it’s a spirit, which it isn’t. We wanted to have a quality spirit, and since we’re using honey as the sweetener, we didn’t want a malt base. Also, the unique flavor combinations that we’re using. I’ve never seen another rosemary flavor in the RTD space.

We have four different cocktails: Bourbon and Rosemary; Tequila and Lime being our take on a Mexican Mule; Vodka and Lime being a Cosmopolitan; and then our newest one, the Gin, which is Lemon and Juniper Berry — our take on a Tom Collins.

Can you talk about honey's functionality and the marketing aspect of it being an all-natural sweetener in Spirited Hive?
Espy: Since honey is the oldest and natural kind of sweetener, we market with that and also it being so different in the marketplace. The package design is very different; I haven’t seen anything out there that really pops off the shelf with the honeycomb packaging. The new Gin package design with that blue and the yellow really makes it pop, too.

Who is your hive? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Espy: That’s the most fun aspect of this brand. I kind of fell into this company by making those drinks during COVID. It was built on a happy accident, and I made it with my friends, my hive if you will. And your hive can be anyone you want to spend time with — work friends, new friends, old friends and enjoying time within the hive with your hive.