On the beach, at a game, in the woods? Never get caught without a drink in your hand again. For the health-minded and style-conscious—we have found an alternative to the usual.
So you’re at an event, and your only alcohol options are limited to beer or wine. But what if you don't like either? You’re screwed or, even worse, sober. Not today, though. Meet TIQO, a mixture of tequila and coconut water in a minimalist bottle to give you, party animals, another option—but not another hangover.
“I think we are both very passionate when we get excited about something.”
Co-founders and current roommates, Sarah Pierce and GG Mirvis go way back—and we mean all the way back to 2012, their sophomore year at Columbia University. The idea of TIQO was generated by a trip to Guatemala during Sarah’s sophomore summer vacation. Sarah has never been a beer drinker, so when she got to Guatemala, “everyone was grabbing a six pack, hanging on the beach and I never had something that was easy to drink. I would get a bottle of tequila and soda and mix myself a drink. One day they were making these tequila and coconut water drinks on the beach and just hacking off a coconut and pouring some tequila in it. It was kind of the perfect drink. It was naturally sweetened, didn't make me feel bloated in my bikini…and that's where it kind of clicked. So when I got back to my apartment in New York, I was like OMG! I want to bottle tequila and coconut water in a beer bottle.”
Upon hearing Sarah’s brilliant proposition, GG was very excited and extremely supportive. So the two of them got to work. Obsessed with nutrition and health, GG wanted to add extra ingredients to the drink to appeal to the health and wellness space. “We came up with the recipe by going to Whole Foods and hand-picking out the ingredients ourselves.” Sarah and GG wanted to create a product that celebrated old Mexican culture while adhering to the young, edgy, minimal kids on the block. The black color packaging was chosen for gender neutrality.
Why The Name
They say if you want a store to sell your product, you should get your friends to inquire about it to stir up demand and buzz. Playing on this, Sarah and GG went to a liquor store near their campus to ask if the store had a new drink, Quila (they thought it was a cute way to shorten “tequila.”) The confused sales rep denied them bashfully. After the girls admitted they were just gathering market data and fooling around, the rep said, “Okay, well let me know when TIQO comes out.” Voilà, the name came into being.
“It was really hard to get production with a giant company because they didn’t take two girls seriously.”
“We were self-funded between sales from our first production round and then from friends and family. I think that there is a huge mentality out there right now that you need to go out to raise, raise, raise and that you need a ton of money to get things done. Yeah, you do need money to make money, but you can also be more creative about it and utilize your network and word of mouth. Hustle more and push it out there.” However, the girls would not have been able to launch TIQO without the help of their family friend’s grandfather, who was the chairman of a distribution company. “He really saw a gap in the alcohol distributors market for an alternative to beer.” From conceiving the idea in 2012, to designing packaging and product ingredients in their apartment, TIQO hit the market in March 2015.
“We have this thing called Brutal Honesty”
Optimistic and uplifting Sarah says she never takes feedback personally from her partner “because how are you supposed to improve if your partner isn't going to tell you? Go into a partnership with somebody that, at the end, you don't want to be at the finish line without them. At any moment in time one person is going to be doing more than the other. So it's a total give and take. Many people tend to let their ego get in the way.”
“Your company and the whole process only benefits from you learning how to do things yourself.”
“We initially thought that the hardest thing was going to be being two women in the alcohol industry, because there aren’t many women starting alcohol companies. As in, I don't know of any!” remarks GG. However, when you are launching a product, details are extremely important as well as the coordination amongst different constituencies. “People actually take us very seriously when it comes to what we are doing.”
“A lot of people come to our events alone because it has the atmosphere of openness”
Most of TIQO’s marketing revolves around partnering with upcoming DJ’s, musicians and artists, basically “people who are amazing but don't get recognized.” They focus on locations such as the Hamptons and Montauk. Their first event was held at Surf Lodge in Montauk during the 2014 Memorial Day weekend with a pop-up bar on the beach, as part of the inspiration that one can drink TIQO anywhere even without a full bar. They don't like to close out venues for their events because they’re not snobby like that, and they want to welcome new customers to join the party. “It’s really about bringing together new groups of people.” FYI for those of you who are single, GG and Sarah love setting up people at their events.
Want to start your own tiki bar or just kick back with your friends while watching a big game? Grab a four pack of TIQO for only $16.99 here. We promise delicious taste, no beer belly and most importantly, zero hungover mornings!