In recent years, the U.S. has seen an explosion in consumer interest for cocktail culture, but on-premise has struggled to capture this opportunity and offset the losses from declining draft beer sales. The ready-to-draft craft cocktail mix keg from Craft Standard, developed over the last seven years, has solved this problem, enabling venues to efficiently serve high-quality, delicious, classic cocktails at scale, and take advantage of empty tap lines across the U.S.
In less than 12 months since launching, Craft Standard’s non-alcoholic keg mixes and ‘spiker’ technology has exploded, signing more than 70 distributors, winning 700 plus accounts in over 30 states across the country. This includes major venues like San Diego Padres’ Petco Park, New York Giants Metlife Stadium, Tennessee’s top attractions like The Nashville Zoo and Bridgestone Arena, and Las Vegas’ most recognizable resort, Luxor and its newest, Resorts World. Since Craft Standard’s launch in 2021, an estimated 2.4 million cocktails have been served, generating roughly $24 million in revenue for the industry.
Craft Standard has been revolutionary in helping accounts avoid the industry-standard 25% loss on a bottle of spirits and combat the massive staff shortages that currently challenges businesses. The ready-to-draft keg enables staff to serve high quality cocktails, crucially reducing the prep time of classic cocktails like Margaritas, Mojitos, Palomas, Spiked Lemonade and Moscow Mules down to a matter of seconds; the single hand made Margarita generally takes a bartender an average of three minutes to build and serve. Craft Standards Spiker technology allows accounts to add up to 9L of spirits into each keg and in minutes create roughly 160 craft cocktails on draft utilizing any US Sankey D draft system.
“In a category that sees little innovation, Craft Standard promises accounts the ability to make amazing cocktails fast, to boost profitability, increase efficiency and serve these classic cocktails at a large-scale,” says Don Ray, Head of Key Accounts & Co-Founder.
Born out of a bar for the bar, Craft Standard was developed by the methodical twin brothers, Don and William Ray, 25+ year bar industry veterans who’ve designed and built multiple venues in Arkansas. As bar owners, they were frustrated when they couldn’t keep up with demand for Moscow Mules orders, realizing they were potentially losing out on thousands of dollars in revenue during their busiest nights, “How to do a draft cocktail right?” was the question they kept coming back to.
By combining their respective bar backgrounds and knack for problem solving, the twin brothers began serving cocktails in kegs at their venues. Further tinkering enabled them to crack the ready-to-draft keg regionally, thus leading Craft Standard to become a game changer for local clients who received their kegs in the Ray’s customized sprinter delivery van. But Don and William were determined to help solve these bar issues nationwide. After a seven year experimentation process, they finally achieved it, developing Craft Standard’s patented keg ‘spiker’ technology and ultra premium keg-stable cocktail mixes.
Craft Standard has built a coveted executive team to help the company to grow and scale, which includes Former Pabst Brewing Company GM/President, Matt Bruhn, who has joined as CEO; Mike Vacek appointed as Chief Sales Officer, originally arriving from Adams Beverages where he once was General Manager/Vice President; and Sam Morrison, formerly Brand Manager of Olympia, who has now been named Head of Marketing. Additional key account manager hires include veterans Mike Doyle (Key Account Manager, South Central) formerly Director of Beverage Development – National Accounts, Bacardi; Neil Sullivan (Regional Sales Director, East) and Kevin Colvin (Regional Sales Director, Central), both formerly at Anheuser-Busch InBev; and Josh McCormick (Regional Sales Director, West) formerly Global Director of Military Sales at Monster Energy.