Who's That Gal: Kate Sturdevant, founder of Itz Spritz
Name: Kate Sturdevant
Occupation: Itz Spritz Founder
Hometown: Greenville, SC
Currently Reading: Just finished The Handmaids Tale and Big Little Lies
Go-to Brunch Spot: When I’m visiting Boston, Lincoln Tavern is a must
OK, let’s start with the basics. What exactly is Itz Spritz? How is it different from the sparkling seltzers already on the market?
Itz Spritz is a new gluten-free alcohol spritzer made with five simple, all-natural ingredients. Featuring the refreshing light effervescence of a classic spritz and a naturally delicious taste that is crisp and full-flavored, yet not cloyingly sweet, Itz Spritz uses no malt, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial flavors, colors or ingredients.
Compared to hard seltzers already on the market, Itz Spritz delivers a key component that we believe is commonly missing from the spiked seltzer category: a truly delicious and unique, satisfying flavor experience. Pioneering the alcohol spritzer category with a full-flavored spritz experience, Itz Spritz debuts with a dynamic range of unique and sophisticated flavors previously absent from the sparkling alcoholic beverage category – Elderflower Citrus, Cucumber Lime Twist and Golden Pear. As I like to say - It’s everything you want and nothing you don’t.
What inspired you to start your own beverage brand? What were you doing before Itz Spritz?
I think it’s safe to say this industry is in my blood! I grew up in the beverage alcohol business alongside my dad and my grandfather who owned and fostered successful beer distributorships. As a former college scholarship athlete, I have always been mindful of what I put into my body. As an adult and an active consumer of beer, wine, and cocktails, I couldn’t shake the frustration that I was always having to sacrifice something whenever making happy hour beverage decisions. From flavor to calories to artificial ingredients, the sacrifices were plenty and the alternatives nonexistent.
Never one to sit on the sidelines, I decided enough was enough and started down the path of research and development to create a delicious, guilt-free drink with no compromises. With the help of an amazing team of industry veterans (nearly all female, I might add) and a common goal of creating a wholly new product that fills, what I believed to be, a gaping white space in the market, Itz Spritz has quickly gone from dream to reality.
How did you go about sourcing your ingredients and perfecting your formulations?
Inspiration is all around us! From the spa to the craft cocktail scene to the non-alcoholic sparkling soda aisle, our original research and development phase cast a wide net for unique flavors and combinations that didn’t exist in the category that I wanted to break into. I wanted the premium flavors I expect from a craft cocktail experience, without the hassle of sourcing, muddling and shaking and straining. After several rounds of testing, combined with consumer insights, we arrived at our final three flavors that we are so proud to finally be able to share!
What was the biggest challenge to starting the business before your launch in May?
Honestly, the biggest challenge was probably the amount of time it takes to get everything done! There’s so much to think about from the flavors, product name, packaging and logo design, website, production, launch markets etc. So much goes into getting a business and a brand off the ground! I just needed more hours in the day to get it all done!
Why did you choose Massachusetts as one of your places to distribute?
I wanted to launch in markets where there were consumers looking for and embracing innovative new types of products. Massachusetts was one of the very first markets to embrace hard seltzer because there is a large base of sophisticated, discerning consumers looking for products that are high quality and deliver benefits that they are looking for, like all natural ingredients or being gluten free.
What we found in talking to a lot of these consumers (as mentioned in the first question) is that many hard seltzers are missing a key component that they crave when choosing an alcohol beverage—a truly delicious and unique flavor experience. We believed that Itz Spritz would fill the void that appeared to missing in the market. We knew that Itz Spritz would give the Massachusetts consumer what they are looking for with our fuller flavor and unique flavor combinations, which is why the market was an immediate focus for the launch.
What’s next for Itz Spritz?
Our number one priority for Itz Spritz right now is really getting the word out! Building distribution, trial and awareness are our key areas of focus. We are always exploring new and exciting flavor profiles as the tastes of consumers evolve, but are currently focused on our three inaugural flavors: Elderflower Citrus, Cucumber Lime Twist and Golden Pear.
This post was sponsored by Itz Spritz, who provided product for our Ladies Lounge event series. JUGS only accepts sponsorships from mission-aligned brands that meet our core values of compassion + fulfillment.