Ginja9’s gingerbread brand will be in more than 100 US stores “in the coming weeks,” founder Alexander Dias, who has signed contracts for entry in Texas, New Hampshire and Tennessee.
The liquor coming from Óbidos will be in 28 Total Wine stores and in more than 30 other stores in Texas, “one of the four major alcohol markets in the United States” in addition to California, New York and Florida.
The brand kicked off in late 2016 in Los Angeles, California, where it is available in about 30 stores and is a regular presence at Portuguese parties and salons throughout the state.
The goal now is to “get into Total Wine and BevMo in California,” which will represent an additional jump from 161 stores and “could happen by the end of the year.”
Alexander Dias is also negotiating the expansion to the State of Massachusetts, with the Portuguese distributor Sarmento’s Imports, having arrived in Tennessee via Lipman Brothers and New Hampshire, “a very small state but with a good number of Portuguese,” through Horizon Beverage.
Entry into the new markets will allow Ginja9 to make a significant jump in annual revenue, which currently stands at around $ 100,000.
Next year, the estimate is that revenues will grow to 600,000 to one million dollars.
The Portuguese-American businessman is preparing the first round of financing, which is expected to be between $ 250-300,000 to support the necessary investment in marketing, merchandising and equipment in the new markets.
Investment firm REDangels, headquartered in Aveiro, has shown interest in the business and will decide in November it supports the California startup.
Ginjinha is imported from Portugal with product from Licóbidos, “the only Portuguese producer of ginja from Óbidos that is self-sufficient,” explained Alexander Dias.
“It’s all Portuguese ginja, which always guarantees the quality of the product,” he said, as the climate of the region leads the fruit to grow “sweeter than normal.”
The liquor is marketed in individual bottles or in boxes with chocolate cups from Belgium.
The interest in the ginjinha by the North American consumers has skyrocketed in the last years due to the greater tourist exhibition of Portugal and the work of divulging the drink by the Tourism of Lisbon emphasized the industrialist.
“With the wave of tourism that we have had in recent years has become impressive,” said the Portuguese-American, indicating that there are “thousands of ‘posts’ with the tag” #ginjinha “in social networks.
The next step will be to try to get into bars and restaurants, “because that’s where you can create a movement in relation to the drink,” since consumers taste the cocktail “and want to reproduce the same thing at home.”
For now, the Portuguese restaurant Adega, in São José, created a cocktail with whiskey, vermouth and Ginja9 called “Lisboeta”.
Ginja9 will be one of the companies to be present in November at an event organized by PortugalFoods in New York, with the aim of promoting Portuguese products for importers, distributors and retailers.
The brand was designed specifically for the North American market, with the signature “Crafted by hand, made with love”.
The 9 was included in the name because “it means peace and love in numerology”.