E&J Gallo buys Fishers Island Lemonade
The spirits arm of E&J Gallo has acquired canned cocktail brand Fishers Island Lemonade for an undisclosed sum.
The purchase was made through Spirit of Gallo, which also owns vodka-based canned hard seltzer High Noon.
Described as a ‘trailblazer’ in the ready-to-drink (RTD) sector, the flagship Fishers Island Lemonade (9% ABV) is a canned drink made with vodka, barrel-aged whiskey, lemon and honey.
The range also includes Fishers Island Spiked Tea (7% ABV), cranberry-flavoured Fishers Island Pink Flamingo (7% ABV), and the ‘lighter’ Fishers Island Fizz (5% ABV).
The brand was launched in 2014 by Bronya Shillo, who based the product on a popular drink served at her family’s bar.
“When I launched Fishers Island Lemonade nearly a decade ago, I never could have imagined the overwhelming love and support we received that allowed us to grow the brand from a single cocktail into a family of full-flavoured spiked lemonade craft cocktails in a can,” said Shillo.
Shillo grew up in Connecticut and spent summers on Fishers Island in New York. She worked at her family’s venue, The Pequot Inn, the only bar on the island.
The venue is known for its signature ‘Fil’ cocktail, which was handcrafted in 15-litre batches ahead of busy summer weekends.
Shillo decided to create a canned version of the ‘sell-out’ drink to allow the bar to serve customers quicker and bring it to a wider audience.
Britt West, senior vice-president and general manager of Spirit of Gallo, said: “Having known Bronya for over a decade, I have watched her bring the brand from a concept all the way to its success as one of the highest quality and best-tasting canned cocktails in the market.”
West added that consumers are “trading up” to spirits-based RTDs and “demanding more full-flavoured, higher-ABV products, reflecting the overall trend of spirits premiumisation”.
Shillo will remain onboard to “guide the brand” and act as a spokesperson, West noted.
“Spirit of Gallo has a proven record of innovation and success in the RTD category and there is no other organisation I would trust to take Fishers Island Lemonade to the next level,” Shillo added.
A four-pack of Fishers Island Lemonade is priced at US$15.99.
Last summer, E&J Gallo entered the American whiskey category after making a ‘strategic investment’ in Horse Soldier Bourbon.