Daniel Beres and Tripper Duval opened what is perhaps the hippest non-hipster cocktail bar in the city of Milwaukee, pioneering such things as cereal-milk-based drinks.
When the pandemic started, they pivoted to create cocktails to go from Lost Whale bar, and then pivoted again to open a tiki bar outside in tents in winter, and they’ve now pivoted again, creating a canned sangria line called Odyssea.
“I actually started working it back in 2015 when I was working for Stand Eat Drink (hospitality group), before Tripper and I opened Lost Whale,” says Beres. “Then I began to reformulate it, but then Tripper and I purchased our building, and finally, now it’s come out.”
Beres says that the pandemic gave him and Tripper the time to re-think things. “Our industry was hit harder than almost any other industry, and he amounts of pivots we had to make…if there was any indication that we should diversify, to not have all our eggs in one basket, this was it.”
“I’m just really grateful to have something come out of this mess,” Beres says.
Odyssea Sangria takes its name from the odyssey they took to actually develop, then make and take to market their sangria. Odyssea is a marine reference, like the name of their bar comes from an article published in The Onion, about a whale lost in Lake Michigan. Their goal, as their website proclaims, is to “produce the best damned sangria in a can.”
“The name Odyssea also tips a hat to the journey that sangria has made across the globe and how ubiquitous it’s become,” Beres says.
“I’m just really excited to get our sangria on the shelf and into people’s dads,” Duval says. “There’s absolutely no other sangria like it on the market. There’s no product I’ve seen that fits into a craft sangria the way we’ve done it.”
The sangria, which retails for $12.99 for a four-pack of 8.4 ounce slim cans, comes in three flavors – red, white and rosé. In the spring, they will also be selling their sangria in 30-liter-sized disposable, recyclable kegs for $225.
“Instead of a mixture, we’re celebrating the wine base rather than covering up the wine,” Duval says.
The sangria, Beres says, starts out with a higher proof wine instead of diluting it and then proofing it back up. “It has the backbone you’d want to get oomph, but it has super balance, and we didn’t add a tone of sugar,” Beres says. “It’s made with all natural flavorings, and it’s a beautiful, balanced, wonderful tasting product that has shelf stability, which is awesome.”
The two owners of Lost Whale teamed up with their mixologist friend Tom Dufek, who is a partner in Cullen & Harrison, Plain Spoke Cocktail Company and Young Blood Brewing, to bring Odyssea Sangria to market.
Beres says the wine base comes from California. “We looked into using wines from Spain, but after doing some research and after looking at what is going on with shipping and the broken supply chains, it didn’t make sense both financially or from a production standpoint.”
Right now, Odyssea is distributed in Wisconsin, and eventually, distribution will be expanded. They also may do some seasonal sangrias as well. “We’re already working on some seasonal or one-off skews, probably starting late next year because why not?” Beres says. “Let’s have fun; that’s why we’re doing things.”