This Design-Forward Company Is Taking the Beverage World by Storm
An experienced co-packer and long-time beverage company guru walk into a bar—or this time, rather, they’ve come in to stock one. Loren Laguens and Bob Dittrich were introduced by a mutual friend, and the two soon had plans to take the beverage industry by storm. Their idea was to help beverage entrepreneurs create delicious libations unlike anything on the market and as beautiful by sight as they are by sip. As Laguens recalls their first meetup, “We first talked on the phone for an hour and met up when he [Dittrich] was in town, and I just remember seeing this goofy dude wearing a ‘Prestige Worldwide’ T-shirt”—a nod to the movie “Step Brothers.” Laguens was immediately sold, and the movie’s famous quote, “Did we just become best friends?!,” quickly became a reality for the business duo. As their shared love for comedies yielded immediate friendship, their career backgrounds made for a seamless partnership. Dittrich recounts, “As we spoke, we realized that there was an opportunity to merge Loren’s background in co-packing with my Fortune 500 beverage company network of the last 30+ years to help entrepreneurs enter this exploding beverage space.”
Shortly after that, the two decided it was time to get others involved if they were to bring their vision to life. They gathered a group together for an afternoon meeting at the Pendry San Diego, where Managing Partner at Argonaut Capital Partners and soon-to-be co-founder Brad Barlow and members John Thomason and Reza Mortazavi immediately hopped on board. They all signed on, and The Beverage Collective was officially born. As they continue to grow, so does their team: they’ve recently brought on a member and owner of their East Coast packing facility in Virginia.
Laguens and Dittrich were a natural fit as partners—passionate about leading a full-service import and sales agency in the beverage industry and determined to bring the best flavors to the shelves wrapped in unique, creatively designed labels. The Beverage Collective has helped several beverage brands (that are now highly recognizable) bring their vision to life, including Melograno Cocktails, Tigers Blood and Chelsea B Drugstore CBD Soda, to name a few. They have even helped establish the Hangover Cure, complete with a pregame and after-party feel-good pack, and have had a hand in the success of drinks like The Beach Boys’ Club Kokomo Spirits, Blk Water and many more.
One of the many things The Beverage Collective takes pride in is helping brands create an identity through design. Laguens describes the way packaging can elevate the drinking experience, “In my opinion, any time you have a beautiful can, you’re making the drinking experience that much better. It’s that first sip after grabbing your favorite can that makes it—the sort of ritual you have transports you to another place. It’s all in the details.”
Though they’re fully equipped to handle the initial formulation all the way to the shelves of stores, they’re just as happy to lend a hand in smaller needs, such as connecting existing brands to distributors they have an established relationship with. “We have brands that come to us that need something simpler like an introduction to a co-packer, and we connect them with brands that we have trusted relationships with.” No task is too big or too small; for Laguens, it’s all about connections and helping as many people as he can. “I like to think of myself as the dot connector—I love networking, and I love the interactions,” says Laguens. The passion lies in the people for the business duo, as Dittrich similarly describes his favorite part of what he does: “It’s great to work around smart and passionate people and help them along on their journey to start and grow a beverage brand. It’s very fulfilling to take a great story to the marketplace and watch people’s response, especially working in the alcohol space, where our brands are associated with having fun and enjoying life.”
As a team, The Beverage Collective embodies values centered around much the way a good beverage makes you feel: goofy and free to be yourself. When it comes to business, exceptional communication and organization is the goal. It’s a mix of the two that has gotten the company to where it is today. As Laguens puts it, “We’re a bunch of goofballs, but we know how to get stuff done.” The passion lies within the people: their goal is to help brands achieve their goals, whatever that means to them. “I love helping people build a brand to the point where we can look back and think, ‘How cool. We showed them the way, and now they’re here.’ It’s always a really proud dad moment for me,” he says.
If you’re lucky enough to work with The Beverage Collective, there’s a good chance you’ll experience the team’s passion for people face-to-face; handmade deliveries are a common occurrence for Laguens, who most recently packed up his truck and drove palettes of partner brand DIXX Hard Seltzer himself round trip from San Diego to Palm Springs for the massive Splash House music festival. It’s the above-and-beyond customer dedication that has built them relationship after relationship, earning them their trusted name in the industry.
Looking towards the future, the team at The Beverage Collective is most excited about continuing to develop new products with their partners—this time specifically with a focus on morning recovery! Their newest project, Replenish Beverage Hangover Relief, was formulated by a local San Diego medical doctor by the name of Dr. Reza Tirgari. With a background in biochemistry, he had been working on the idea for 15 years, and when he met Loren at a party, the research became reality. “Every member of The Beverage Collective Team has ‘field tested’ the product and can tell you for a fact that it works,” says Dittrich. They also have a one-of-a-kind beverage about to launch with their brand Oroma Cocktails, a line of coffee-infused cocktails that will be the first in the world to can their take on Mexico’s famous carajillo cocktail along with espresso martinis and Irish coffees.
Chances are, one of your favorite nights out (or slow morning recoveries) has had a taste of The Beverage Collective’s expertise. Next time you see a beautiful label paired with a delicious concoction to boot, don’t look so surprised—you now know where it all started.