New releases

Is this the future of RTD cocktails?

A new entrant to the RTD cocktails market is mixing its drinks in stylish pouches made from recycled goon bags.

Launched late last year, Sophisticated Cocktail Co hopes to redefine what it means to “drink consciously”. Founder Vicki Lyon created the range to offer Aussies the opportunity to imbibe while limiting the impact their drinking has on the environment.

“Aussies want convenience, innovation and practicality in their drinks,” Lyon said. “Picking on these cues, we are catering to them.”

Lyon (above) jokes that after spending “a lot of times in bars doing R&D while is the ad industry” she decided to launch the range. However, she’s very serious about wanting to reduce the carbon footprint of RTD cocktails.

“While researching sustainable solutions for packaging, I read a lot about the wine industry and why they were attempting to change the mindset of the consumer to buy ‘goon bags’ of wine as it was much more sustainable way to package it,” she explained.

“I thought it was an incredibly practical way to package cocktails. It would mean a larger volume than the standard bottle size, but also to keep ingredients such as lime juice fresh. The bags made more sense as the taps have a pressure flow outlet, meaning there is no oxygenation that takes place once opened, so the product stays fresher for longer.

“I walked into my local one day and saw this fabulous black pouch of wine and thought, this looks really cool. So I contacted the company who manufactures them and the rest, as they say, is history …  

“I love a challenge, and I knew there would be the typical mindset of the consumer thinking the goon bag was for cheap and cheerful. So I made sure my cocktails were very premium in nature and fabulous and went about using my social media channels to add the cheeky fun factor to the sophisticated cocktails inside the bag, while educating them about the sustainability of the bag. Consumers responded so positively it was overwhelming!”

Sophisticated Cocktail Co’s pouches have a carbon footprint that is 80% less than glass bottle equivalents.

“We believe in being an environmentally responsible brand,” Lyon said. “Humans produce 40 billion glass spirit bottles, generating 22 million tons of carbon emissions. With each bottle eliminated, there is a saving of at least 550 grams of carbon emissions, thus, every cocktail or spirit pour saves 30 grams of emissions.

“Opting to package our cocktails in AstraPouch stand-up pouches or ‘goon bags’ that are made using recycled materials, and have a lower carbon footprint is our step towards a cleaner business.”

The approach has already won over investors. The Sydney Northern Beaches-based start-up announced the closing of a successful seed funding round in May.

Backed by two investors: a venture capitalist from Los Angeles, and a high net worth individual from Sydney, Lyon is now equipped to execute on plans to have the cocktails stocked in retail stores nationwide. In its first six months of trading, Sophisticated Cocktail Co recorded rapid growth through its online eCommerce site, as well as through a number of independent liquor stores across NSW.

The Sophisticated Cocktails Co range features flavours including Espresso Martini, Pina Colada, Gin Martini and Cosmo Carrie. The mixes are sugar and preservative free, using locally grown fresh-pressed fruit, premium alcohol brands, and locally roasted, cold brew coffee.

“I am not a fan of sweet drinks, and love to get the actual flavours of the tequila, lime and Cointreau, so chose not to drown that out with any artificial sugars,” Lyon said. “We use premium products, which means you do not need to enhance the flavours with any sweetener. Obviously the Pina Colada is a naturally sweet drink so we add Monin flavouring in that, and for the Espresso Martini we added a caramel flavour.”

While Google data shows the Espresso Martini is the most searched cocktail recipe in Australia, Lyon has found it’s not the most popular with her customers.

“Margarita is our top seller, then the Cosmo, then the Espresso Martini, but sometimes that changes and we see the Espresso selling more than the Cosmo, it depends largely on the weather and audience,” she said.

The Sophisticated Cocktails range starts at $59 of per 750ml pouch. Visit for more information.

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