Ten-time major champion buzzes into the ready-to-drink cocktail marketplace seeking to differentiate the product with honey and a philanthropic initiative
Many ventures Annika Sorenstam touches turn to gold — take her golf career and her foundation, for example. Her latest endeavor carries a bit more of a honey hue, but it aspires to become a gold standard in the industry all the same.
In March, Sorenstam, 51, and business partner Kathy Johanson launched Fizzy Beez, a ready-to-drink cocktail company featuring drinks sweetened with organic honey. Sorenstam’s husband, Mike McGee, inspired the name, noting Sorenstam is always busy as a bee, whether she’s mentoring young golfers, growing the game with her sponsors or (more recently) playing competitively herself.
The booming, $86 million canned cocktail industry is projected to hit $57.2 billion by 2032, and Fizzy Beez seeks to differentiate itself from its competitors in three distinct ways: the organic honey element; the Fizzy Beez Promise to donate proceeds back to nonprofits supporting bees; and the fact it's a female-owned and operated business.
“It’s very uncommon in this industry to be a women-owned company,” says Sorenstam. She knew Johanson, a family friend and her pickleball partner, would be the ultimate business partner because they bring different skills and experiences to the table. “I’m a numbers person and oversee the excel sheets and overall strategy,” Sorenstam says. “Kathy is in the field working with distributors and customers.”
Fizzy Beez’s initial ready-to-drink cocktail offerings are Cosmo, Margarita, Mojito and Moscow Mule. With all-natural ingredients and organic honey, Fizzy Beez is playing right into the sustainability and health-and-wellness trends.
“We love organic honey,” says Sorenstam, a 10-time major winner with 72 overall LPGA wins. “We have been using it for years for health reasons like reducing allergies, anti-inflammatory and digestion issues. We care about sustainability. Our packaging is recyclable and through our Fizzy Beez Promise, we will give back to beekeepers and farms to support their efforts to balance out the ecosystem.”
With Fizzy Beez’s differentiators and Sorenstam behind the brand, the company is ready to compete. “We are in it for the long-term and will do things the right way, every step of the way,” she says.
Virginia Mckee, a food and beverage manager at Dubsdread Golf Course in Orlando, Florida, notes the popularity of ready-to-drink cocktails, especially for those aged 21-45.
“The golfers enjoy them for the grab-and-go experience and our beverage cart attendants also love them for the quick sell so they can move around the course more quickly,” she says.
Sorenstam adds: “We are a convenient choice for consumers who demand quality. I think we will do well, and we won’t stop until we do.”
Expect to see Fizzy Beez throughout golf courses, from bars to beverage carts. The product will eventually be available at tournaments as well. Initial plans call for Fizzy Beez to be present at LPGA tournaments in Ohio this fall, along with the U.S. Senior Women’s Open — where Sorenstam is the reigning champion.
While Fizzy Beez is only available in Ohio for now, the company is hoping to end the year in Florida and start 2023 in California and Nevada.
Sorenstam wants to use her platform to give back to the community in another way. The Annika Foundation, which she founded in 2007, seeks to grow girls golf and empower the next generation. It creates playing opportunities in her tournaments, and it also provides education for off-course opportunities, from the physical and mental game to the importance of education and charity work.
Now, she has added the bees to her outreach efforts.
“I didn’t get into this business to miss the cut,” she says. “I want to win. We are a very determined group who works very hard. We have built a solid brand with our brand equity, our brand promise and brand fundamentals. In every endeavor, we will possess excellence, authenticity, community, taste and playfulness.”
Ladies and gentlemen, Annika Sorenstam and her team are on the tee. With her championship mindset, she is setting out to make her mark in this industry just like she did on the golf course.