Convenience and safety have reached a new level in the alcohol world thanks to innovators like Harford County’s own Itsara “Bobby” Ounnarath . His distillery, White Tiger Distillery, in Forest Hill is packaging its signature bourbon and blended rum daiquiris in eco-friendly pouches.
Once only available in glass bottles, these new pouches make taking your favorite beverage to the beach, a tailgate, the marina or a concert event practical, convenient and safe. They are creating a new market for straight and pre-blended alcoholic beverages. “Based on recent research, sales of alcoholic drinks in pouches are likely to remain on an upward trajectory”, says Danny Brager, VP of Beverage/Alcohol Practice for Nielsen Research. He adds, “12% of alcoholic-beverage buyers purchased a pouch product in last year, nearly twice the number of people who bought one in the previous year.” Customers typically ranged in age from 35 to 54. As the trend continues, it seems likely that more products will hit the market.
Bobbie took notice of this trend while vacationing in Puerto Rico and coupled it with his desire to build his own distillery. He did not have a background in the spirits business – he was a military veteran of the US Army as a medical lab officer. However, his entrepreneurial passion drove him to take the leap.
After retiring from the Army, Bobbie set up shop in Queen Anne’s County in the Kent Island area. His early days were tough getting the right ingredients and mixture perfect for his signature bourbon. An unlikely hero brought the solution to where it is today – his mother. Bobbie’s mom is from Laos and he learned that she had been moonshining whiskey since she was 10 years old back home. After tasting Bobbie’s product, she told him her secret of using “sticky rice” (a staple of the Laotian cuisine). White Tiger was ready for market.
In 2017, Bobbie moved operations to Harford County. Today, White Tiger has its signature White Tiger Bourbon and three blended Rum Daiquiris under the brand Fat Cock (flavored as Strawberry, Watermelon and Peach). White Tiger is also developing two new flavors planned for introduction in 2021.
Just last week White Tiger took another big step forward signing a distribution deal with Northeast Distributors to deliver their products throughout Harford and Cecil counties. Part of the success in making this deal was the packaging. Bobbie attributes part of the allure to convenience. “The pouches make it quick and easy and come in their own countertop display box, and that’s one of the things a lot of people like,” he says. “They are much easier to ship.”