Eat

Friday, June 27, 2014

Columbia DJ launches club-ready malt beverage, sells out in 10 days

Get Happy

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 11:51 AM

click to enlarge Happy Juice Express - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Happy Juice Express
When you’re hitting the club twee cocktail mixes and artisanal bitters aren’t gonna cut it. That’s what South Carolina native, Brian Myers a.k.a. DJ B-Lord discovered. Back in 2008 the Columbia-based DJ found that ordering cocktails at gigs was starting to wear on his wallet. So to get his buzz on without going broke, B-Lord began toting a red gas can filled with fruit punch and vodka to clubs. On the front he slapped a happy face sticker. “Everybody wanted to know what was in the can,” says B-Lord. Which got his Lordship thinking, why not market his own drink? The result is Happy Juice Express, a magenta 24-ounce, 12 percent ABV malt beverage that was released June 9 and sold out all 10,500 cases in just 10 days.

“We had a big launch date set up, but our distributor accidentally released a few cases too early,” B-Lord says. “The response was overwhelming. People were lined up outside the gas station in Orangeburg.”

And the hype is building. The DJ’s Facebook page is filled with Happy Juice enthusiasts, like a video of a girl chugging a bottle with a friend in the background calling out, “I be on that Happy Juice!” The post is labeled #Testify. Incidentally the juice also made AdAge on Wednesday at the No. 2 spot in an article titled, “10 Sweet New Alcohol Products That Will Give You a Sugar High With Your Buzz.”  

B-Lord credits the initial success to his mentor Jim Irvin of Wadmalaw’s Irvin-House Vineyards.

“I cold called Jim just when his Sweet Tea Vodka was taking off,” remembers B-Lord. Not only did Irvin take the call but helped the DJ craft his recipe. “It went from a spirit-based beverage to a malt-based,” he says. That was also a strategic move. “We wanted to get it to the masses and not be stuck in liquor stores,” B-Lord says. “We knew we’d get it to way more people at gas stations.” It’s working. We’re told Happy Juice has already sold out of a couple downtown Charleston fueling stations.

So what’s it taste like? Like the saccharine love child of fruit punch and communion wine conceived during a cough syrup-induced fever dream.

Currently the suggested retail is $3.99, though due to demand many retailers are upping the price. The product is expected to be in more than 1,000 convenience stores, gas stations, and nightclubs in the state by month’s end. As to whether he’ll produce a theme song for the drink, B-Lord says Columbia band Weaving the Fate has already come up with one.

But he adds, “I might remix that.” 

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