Like many of us, entrepreneur Paul Owusu spent the early days of the pandemic indulging in new hobbies, including mixing cocktails. He shared his creations on social media, eventually connecting with area cocktail enthusiasts and now-business partners Tai Applewhite and Ama Marfo.
Alums of tech companies like Mailchimp and Twitter, the trio decided to leverage their start-up smarts and passion for sophisticated drinks to launch Phreshly, a new line of canned cocktails.
“Our cocktails have a distinct sense of place,” says Owusu of the drinks, which are inspired by the flavors of Ghana and Louisiana—places he and the other founders have lived.
The team tested over 100 drinks on family and friends before landing on the final recipe for the herbaceous and tart G’iddem: a rum-based drink made with blueberry, pineapple, agave, and lemongrass. It’s inspired by Sobolo, a traditional, berry-hued Ghanaian juice. The cocktail line also includes the fresh and floral Bay Lemonade—aged bourbon infused with strawberry, lemon, and lavender.
Owusu and team hope to capitalize on the ready-to-drink (RTD) market, a category that, according to beverage wholesale app Drizzly, grew by more than 100 percent in 2021.
“Consumers are looking for convenience and a modern twist on cocktails,” explains Owusu, who believes Phreshly’s sourcing, quality ingredients, and distinct flavors will help the brand stand out in a crowded market. “[They] care about where and how their products were made.” Phreshly’s vegan ingredients come from minority farms located throughout the country, including strawberries and blueberries from Applewhite’s great-aunt’s property in Mississippi.
Applewhite says the team plans to work with SAAFON, a regional network of Black farmers in the Southeast, as it develops and releases new flavors, with four more planned by the end of 2022
4-packs of Phrehly’s 12-ounce cans—clocking in at 152 calories and 6 percent ABV—can be purchased for $21.99 online at phreshly.co and will soon be available at Atlanta’s Bellyard Hotel and select package stores throughout Georgia. The brand also plans to expand distribution to additional states by the end of the year.