A Little Bit of Sol

Larry Margolis has been in the wine and spirits industry for over three decades. His tenure shines through when I talk to him, as quick yet knowing references of RFPs and on-premise accounts flow freely from his verbiage like a baseball fan spouting off batting averages. When the conversation turns to Beso Del Sol sangria, the industry speak comes through not as an industry veteran, but with the effusive zeal of a young intern.

“Beso Del Sol is the easiest sell I’ve ever had in my 30+ years in the industry,” says Margolis, Beso Del Sol’s Partner and COO. “It’s really easy to present to retailers. All it takes is one presentation, and I’ll guarantee they’ll be on board.”

Such a statement may sound brazen, but Beso Del Sol’s impressive accounts almost make Margolis’ words sound like an understatement. Disney, AMC Theaters, Red Robin, Caesar’s Palace, and Norwegian Cruise Lines are on the list. It’s a beverage popular enough to draw unity amid hostility – the brand boasts accounts with the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This doesn’t even scratch the wide swath the brand cuts in the grocery store sector. All this makes Beso Del Sol’s status as the country’s highest selling premium sangria easy to understand.

These partnerships are impressive, if not a touch serendipitous – Disney was Beso Del Sol’s first big-league account, thanks in part to the opportunity Margolis and his partners had to present the brand.  Yet according to Margolis, the beverage’s proliferation onto the market is simply a case of filling a niche. “Sangria’s a popular beverage, but nobody was really fishing around in the sangria business,” he says. “We saw a need that wasn’t being met, so we went for it. We feel that we ended up way ahead of the curve because we did.”

LGPA golfer and Beso Del Sol spokesperson Belen Mezo turns heads in Times Square.

As the market for retail sangria grows, Beso Del Sol is poised to stay ahead of the game because of the way their sangrias are made. The beverage features 100% all-natural ingredients, and the grapes used to make the juice – airen for the white, and tempranillo for the rose and red – are sourced from the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha, an area renowned for its sangria production. “We’re calling ourselves a premium sangria, so we wanted to make sure we were putting out a premium product,” Margolis explains.

As one may hope, this adherence to production organically segues into Beso Del Sol’s flavors. The sangrias, particularly the rose and red, straddle the line between approachable and complex, where fresh fruit notes and the characteristics of wine co-exist in balanced fashion. Take the rose, for instance – an ideal choice since the sun’s out longer and the weather’s getting warmer. Floral aromatics swirl around a mélange of red and white fruit highlighted by peach and pomegranate, creating a slightly tart palate expression before exiting with a clean finish. It’s a casual beverage, but it has nuance – an aspect that prevents it from being something that should be hurriedly gulped down.

Of course, Beso Del Sol is still a sangria, a beverage best suited for relaxation and revelry. Margolis understands this – not surprising, given his tenure in the business. While Beso Del Sol is offered in bottles and 3-liter boxes adorned with vibrant, colorful graphics, his grasp on sangria’s status in the beverage world may be best exemplified by Beso Del Sol’s portable Tetra Paks. “Each unit in the Tetra Pak contains 500 ml, which is the equivalent of three glasses. It can be re-sealed after each pour,” he states. “Their portability and size make them great to have on hand for parties or barbecues.” He also says the product is a key component to help Beso Del Sol reach out to the ever-so-crucial Millenial market, a demographic that he’s confident in reaching. “I really feel that once they get a taste of Beso Del Sol, they’ll be back.”

Spoken like an industry veteran. Or maybe a newcomer full of vigor. Perhaps a little of both.