Q&A With the 2024 Brand Battle Ready-to-Drink Category Finalist

RTD - BBT 2024
Jan 22, 2024
Washington, D.C.

NightOwl was the Ready-to-Drink category winner of WSWA’s 2024 Brand Battle. A classic made convenient, NightOwl is bringing high-quality espresso martinis to the masses in a single serve can.


Below is a Q&A with NightOwl, that will represent the innovation category live, on-stage in the 2024 Brand Battle Championship at Access LIVE.


Tell us about your brand. What was the inspiration to start this endeavor?


As a longtime hospitality entrepreneur, I have seen many trends come and go but one that has stood the test of time is the espresso martini craze. Let’s face it, people love espresso martinis! They are ordered contagiously, when one person orders one, the whole group orders them. While consumers love to drink them, most bartenders hate making them. They are time-consuming and annoying to make, especially when making multiple at once (which is usually the case!). 


NightOwl is bringing high-quality RTD espresso martinis to the masses in a single serve can. The "Classic" NightOwl is made with vodka while the "Original" NightOwl is made with tequila. No agave wines or malt liquors! We have an award winning recipe that leverages great ingredients in a simple & clean formulation. 


Our 200ml cans contain 12.5% ABV, double shot of espresso (equates to 100mg of natural caffeine), and a hint of vanilla for balanced sweetness. NightOwl is also gluten-free and dairy-free. 



What are your growth goals?


NightOwl officially launched in late April 2023, self-distributing with Park Street in NY, NJ, and FL. By the end of our first 8 months we saw great velocity in our retail business and we’ll be kicking off 2024 with new distributor partnerships in NJ (Allied Beverage), CT (Brescome Barton), & Nashville, TN (BountyBev). Our goal for this year is to continue to strategically expand our market footprint and surpass $1M in revenue. 



Successful distribution partnerships are key to brand building success. What can distributors expect when working with you and your brand?


In 2024, we plan to remain laser focused on the east coast markets, particularly the Northeast given the momentum and brand building done to date. The NightOwl team is committed to supporting our distributors and retailers with key resources including on-the-ground sales team, market visits,  in-store samplings, POS and social media geotargeting. 



Consumer connections are key. What sets you apart from other brands? Why will consumers connect with your brand?


We are a NYC based brand that embodies the work hard, play hard mindset of city living. We believe consumers will resonate with NightOwl because we are solely focused on the "coffee" and "alcohol" space and we can appeal to their “going out” ritual. We’ve been lucky enough to engage in conversation with our consumers through our DTC channels, sampling programs, and targeted social media ads. Furthermore, by introducing tequila to the forefront of the espresso martini recipe, NightOwl is appealing to a larger audience that is excited to try a new variation of a beloved cocktail. 



How was your Brand Battle experience so far? What feedback from the judges resounded with you and will it have an impact on your business going forward?


We are very appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the Brand Battle Championship. One key piece of the judges' feedback is the current white space in the espresso martini market. We believe NightOwl is properly positioned to become the standout winner in the market given superior liquids and our single serve cans that make it easy for consumers to enjoy espresso martinis anytime, anywhere! By competing in the Brand Battle, we are gaining credible exposure with distributors and retailers who are often looking for differentiated products in a crowded but growing RTD market. 



What are you looking forward to in the Championship or at Access LIVE overall?


We are excited to be considered among other great brands and are looking forward to presenting why NightOwl stands out in the market. As an emerging brand in a growing category, we are always looking to meet new distributor and retail partners who believe in our brand’s value proposition to the market. 



Learn more about NightOwl on Instagram @drinknightowl or on their website at drinknightowl.com.