Photos courtesy of Davis Ad Agency
Enjoying a well-made cocktail once required either a trip to a local bar or a bottle of spirits, mixers and a shaker. That was before ready-to-drink beverages changed the game with an array of canned wines, hard seltzers and canned cocktails occupying the shelves of stores.
Among the burgeoning list of distilleries all over the country producing canned cocktails is Virginia Beach’s own Tarnished Truth Distillery. Convenient, recyclable and COVID-safe, Tarnished Truth’s Coastal Cocktails brand is elevating what goes into a canned cocktail.
When Virginia passed legislation allowing retailers, like grocery stores and 7-Eleven, to sell spirit-based drinks, Tarnished Truth co-owner and head of operations Andrew Yancey and his team saw an opportunity for a new endeavor.
“We really wanted to create something that was a little different than your typical canned cocktails or alcoholic canned beverages,” says Yancey. “We really wanted to do something that tasted like a handcrafted cocktail but with the convenience of it being in a can.”
Made with Tarnished Truth’s own AVA Vodka and High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Coastal Cocktails released four flavors to introduce the line in September 2020. The Whiskey Lemonade and vodka-based Cranberry, Grapefruit and local favorite Orange Crush come in at 7.5% ABV, the highest legally allowed in the Commonwealth.
“We wanted to keep it simple and convenient, but with a base of real vodka and real whiskey so that it didn’t taste like the other canned seltzers on the market that are typically malt based,” he notes. “This really tastes like you’re having a cocktail at a bar.”
Coastal Cocktails have a smooth finish with refreshing carbonation, but start with the not-too-sweet juices used in each canned cocktail variety.
“That was one thing that we were very particular about when we started creating these flavors,” Yancey explains. “We realized very quickly that artificial ingredients did not taste like you were drinking a cocktail either made at home or made at a bar. We decided then on that we had to go with a real, natural juice.”
The Coastal Cocktails team spent eight months figuring out how to add real juice to a can and make it not only taste good but remain stable for a long shelf life. The combination of real juice with the premium spirits sets Coastal Cocktails apart from more cloying, artificial-tasting products on the market.
Coastal Cocktails first started distribution on the Southside but has spread to the Peninsula, with the goal of expanding to the rest of the state by spring. Yancey shares that there are also plans in place to introduce new fruit flavors, like mango and pineapple, along with variety packs that feature all of the flavors.
“We’re working on something for next fall,” Yancey teases. “Our most popular spirit that we sell is our Bourbon Cream, and we’re working on a coffee and bourbon cream in a can for the fall.”
For more information on Coastal Cocktails, visit CoastalCocktailsVA.com.