WINCHESTER – Brad and BeBe Parkes wanted to create an alcoholic beverage that people could feel good about drinking.
They didn’t want it to be stuffed with sugars or other ingredients that could tire, bloat, or have a hangover.
“I think every time someone talks about alcohol you kind of want to lump it into a certain category. But our whole thinking process is that we’re different and our product is a way to drink and feel good, ”BeBe said. “I always think about how we like to go out on Friday, maybe drink more than you should, then get up at 6 am and do something on Saturday morning. We wanted people to be able to have fun while feeling good. It doesn’t really fit into a category that exists right now. “
About two years ago, the Winchester couple started the process of creating Masq Hard Tea, an alcoholic beverage made from organic tea and organic fruit ingredients.
“We are health conscious, but we also love beer and love to hang out and hang out with friends and have a good time. We were sort of looking for the healthiest drinking options, ”Brad said. “There are a lot of options like no sugar or no carbs seltzer, but we haven’t found anything that has good ingredients in it.”
The name Masq Hard Tea, the couple said, is a play on the word “masquerade,” the idea being that it is an alcoholic beverage masquerading as a functional drink or vice versa.
They started experimenting with the recipe using an organic yerba mate (green tea) base and adding organic blue agave, organic monk fruit, and an organic adaptogen. Then they added alcohol.
“If you take the alcohol out, it’s a functional organic tea,” Brad said.
The flavor is more fruit-based and less of what someone might think of when considering alcoholic tea, BeBe added.
“It’s easy to drink. It is not heavy. I think the variety of flavors helps. They are all totally different. It doesn’t taste like sweet tea, ”she said. “The tea party was for well-being rather than taste. They taste very similar to their name, and it was on purpose. The quality of the ingredients is all about the taste of the real flavor.
The alcohol content of hard Masq tea is 4%, which is similar to a light beer or seltzer. “But tastier,” Brad said.
“We wanted it to be drinkable like a seltzer. These are really full of flavor but still drinkable, ”he said. “A lot of flavored things that come out look like a beer with natural flavors. But we have real tea, real agave and so on. They are real ingredients.
Once they determined which flavors and ingredients were essential to kick off the product launch, they took the process to a food and beverage lab to work on perfecting the concoction.
“The first batch was actually not as bad as I thought it would be,” BeBe said. “I was really surprised that the first batch was not that great. It wasn’t “that”, but it wasn’t horrible.
About 15 batches and hundreds of taste tests later, the product was ready to market.
Brad, who works in beer and wine distribution with Anheuser-Busch and whose family has been distributing with Anheuser-Busch since 1990 and with Stroh’s Beer about 15 years prior, knows the ins and outs of the distribution industry and has used local contacts to find opportunities to present Masq Hard Tea.
“The challenge now with any new brand is that there are so many new items on the shelves. Distributors are constantly inundated with new products, ”Brad said. “We really felt we had to create something that would stand out. “
Masq Hard Tea hit the market in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina in February and then hit Michigan and Wisconsin in May. It is expected to hit the shelves in some Virginia stores by the end of this week.
Hard Masq tea is currently available in three flavors: Blueberry Lavender, Dragon Fruit Acai, and Lemon Ginger. Other flavors are in development and it is possible to work on some seasonal local flavors, the couple said.
A pack of four cans costs around $ 9.99.
For more information visit drinkmasq.com.