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Cocktails Get Canned 

Oregon brewers begin a pivot to convenience cocktails

Do you remember when Oregon-based Copa Di Vino and its on-the-go premium glass of wine was rejected on Shark Tank? It was 2011 and the idea of having a convenient glass of wine anywhere and anytime was fairly revolutionary. Back then, easy options—specifically in cans, were dominated by beer. Now, almost all of people's favorite alcoholic beverages come in a can, including cocktails. Entering the ready-to-drink cocktail category are Oregon brewers 10 Barrel and Rogue Ales & Spirits.

Mixed drinks to go­­—can you dig it?! - LISA SIPE
  • Lisa Sipe
  • Mixed drinks to go­­—can you dig it?!

"We love beer, but we also enjoy drinks that are not beer," said 10 Barrel Brewing Co-Founder Jeremy Cox. "Some people love beer, others don't, and some can't drink it due to gluten allergies. By adding cocktails (and cider!) to our portfolio, we're able to provide a wide range of awesome, high quality beverages for our drinkers."

10 Barrel went after popular cocktails in their offerings: Greyhound, Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule and Margarita. The vodka cocktails are made in partnership with Bend-based Oregon Spirit Distillers. All flavors, besides the tequila-based margarita (available in classic, mango and pineapple serrano) are available year-round. Campers, river floaters and backyard relaxers beware: these cocktails have a high alcohol by volume, ranging from 10% to 11.8%—so don't match your beer drinking buddies unless they're putting back something like a 10 Barrel Dub Double IPA.

On the slightly lighter side, coming in at 7.5% ABV, are sparkling canned cocktails from Rogue Spirits. "As brewers, we love the convenience of beer in a can, and as distillers we enjoy the complex flavor profiles of a good mixed drink," said Rogue President Dharma Tamm. "Launching a line of canned cocktails just felt right." With 16 years in the distilling business, the Rogue team had hand-distilled spirits from its 550-gallon still to use when developing its first three ready-to-drink cocktails: Lime Gin Fizz, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda and Ginger Lime Vodka Mule. "Our canned cocktails embody the spirit of the DIY ethos of mixology," said Rogue Director of Business Development Steve Garrett. "They allow us to celebrate our craft spirits heritage and can be enjoyed no matter the occasion." After Aug. 1, you'll be able to purchase Rogue's sparkling canned cocktails in Oregon liquor stores. Applicable to any spirit available in Oregon, if you can't find what you want, simply ask the liquor store to order it for you.

Having only tasted the 10 Barrel Greyhound and Moscow Mule, the canned versions don't compare to a regular mixed cocktail. Unlike beer, wine and cider, cocktails are made with fresh ingredients, prepared a la minute, and you can't get that same taste in a can. What I do like is the ease of use. With these simple canned beverages, I can plunge my hand into an ice-filled cooler while picnicking along the tropical blue waters of Clear Lake and get the satisfaction of a cold, refreshing cocktail.

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