Sheboygan County, WI – Thanks to the sparkling response from consumers in Sheboygan County and throughout the state of Wisconsin, Glenbeulah-based SNFood & Beverage LLC is poised to share its Carbliss seltzer cocktail beverage with several new out-of-state markets in the coming weeks.
With the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-Green Bay playing a key role with the development and launch of Carbliss, Sheboygan County entrepreneurs Adam and Amanda Kroener have successfully nurtured their vodka-based seltzer beverage from the concept stage to a highly in-demand product.
“Over the last few years, seltzer beverages have become all the craze,” Adam Kroener said. “We felt that most of the products on the market were overly carbonated and lacked real flavor. Not only is Carbliss a low-calorie, no-carb, no-sugar cocktail in a can, but it is lightly carbonated and full of fruit flavor. After following the keto diet for several months and trying almost every low-carb, ready-to-drink cocktail in a can, our dream was born. We began mixing cocktails at home using vodka, water and some natural extracts. Eventually, we had a drink that people were asking for…not only did they love the flavor, but the nutrition panel won them over.
“We knew that our product was unique within the market,” he said. “After a year of development, planning and execution, Carbliss was launched.”
The upward trajectory of Carbliss began almost immediately after its introduction in fall 2019.
“We launched Carbliss on Labor Day weekend of 2019, and it sold out in about 90 percent of locations our first weekend on the shelves,” Amanda Kroener said. “A few of the local stores in Sheboygan County and Fond du Lac County sold out within a few hours. The community support was beyond what we could have ever expected.
“Our distributor, Badger Liquor, has verified that this has been a successful market launch, while having a very high re-order rate, especially for a new brand,” she said. Sales results in the initial launch exceeded projections. This has allowed for growing distribution, including select Walmart stores in Wisconsin. SNFood & Beverage is exploring new brands and ingredient variations that will appeal to new markets, while also focusing on advertising that highlights the gluten-free and alternative ingredients that Carbliss offers.
With an eye on gaining national brand recognition, the Kroeners are now preparing to launch Carbliss to new customer bases in the three states of Nebraska, Colorado, and Florida. As with many businesses, the current pandemic has caused delays in this expansion. The company has strong commitments in several other states but needs to wait for the virus to clear to move forward.
In addition to the new market expansion, the Kroeners are also gearing up to debut a fourth Carbliss flavor combination.
“We currently offer lemon, lemon-lime and black raspberry, which is the best seller in Wisconsin,” Adam Kroener said. The company hosted a ‘flavor panel’ to determine the next flavor that will be launching and will be announcing the winning choice on their social media sites soon.
Kroener is quick to note the key role SCEDC / SBDC Business Counselor Ray York has played in getting Carbliss off the ground.
“Ray has been a tremendous resource in connecting us with industry professionals, as well as business plan development, forecasting, and adjusting with growth,” Adam Kroener said. “His assistance was key in helping us gain funding from Max Scheuer at Denmark State Bank in order to build inventory and scale into the additional states.
“Ray also connected us to Jeff Glazer, Clinical Asst. Professor of the UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic,” he said. “We found Jeff to be such a valuable resource that we have retained his team for all of our legal issues. The liquor industry can be challenging to enter but having key relationships has allowed us to stay headed in the right direction.”
The Kroeners are eager to give back in support of other like-minded local entrepreneurs.
“The local community has really embraced startups and entrepreneurial ventures,” Amanda Kroener said.
“We have been able to mentor a team for Sheboygan South’s INCubatorEDU program, as well as getting involved with FreshTech Innovation. Starting our own business has given us an outlet to give back to the community. We truly understand what it means to support local and will continue to do so!”
In reflecting on the past eight months, the Kroeners have been thrilled with the customer reaction to Carbliss.
“We try to visit as many local establishments that carry our products as possible to return the support. The first time we walked into a bar and saw someone drinking out of a Carbliss can was unforgettable. We love seeing the reaction on peoples’ faces when they try Carbliss for the first time, and it’s fun to read our Facebook reviews and testimonials. As we like to say, ‘they finally found their bliss!’”
For more information on SNFood & Beverage LLC, email [email protected], call (920) 286-3159 or visit DrinkCarbliss.com.
For more information about SCEDC entrepreneurial services, email [email protected] or call 920-452-2479.