Emphasize Quality. It’s A Big Reason Why This Company Was Acquired.

+ Bronya Shillo, Fishers Island Lemonade


It’s been nearly 10 years since Bronya Shillo launched Fishers Island Lemonade, and even after selling her company to one of the largest beverage alcohol companies in the world, she’s still on the grind and promoting her brand one customer at a time. She wouldn’t want it any other way.

Fishers Island Lemonade markets premium canned cocktails made with a base of barrel-aged whiskey, vodka, lemon and honey. Lauded for its unique taste profile and commitment to high quality ingredients, the brand comes in several flavor varieties and is sold nationally at a suggested retail price of $15.99 for a four-pack of 12 oz. cans.

In May, Spirit of Gallo, the spirits arm of E. & J. Gallo Winery, announced that it would acquire Fishers Island Lemonade for an undisclosed fee. In a press release, the company noted that the purchase partly reflected consumers “trading up to spirits-based cocktails and demanding more full-flavored, higher ABV products.” Shillo remains on the Fishers Island board and serves as the brand’s official spokesperson. 

In this episode, Shillo discussed the brand’s origins, why quality of ingredients matters when meeting with retail buyers, how, after a variety of challenges, she aligned with the right manufacturing partners, why the adage “inch wide, mile deep” guided the brand’s distribution strategy for years and how she built and maintained a relationship with E. & J. Gallo leadership.

In this Episode

0:43: Interview: Bronya Shillo, Founder, Fishers Island Lemonade – Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Shillo about her participation in BevNET’s inaugural Cocktail Showdown competition, how her family’s business factored into the development of Fishers Island Lemonade and the complex path to formulating, packaging, and eventually selling, a canned cocktail. She also explained why she eschewed using a malt base and lower quality ingredients, her thoughtful pricing strategy, how she developed strong relationships with distributors and why it was years before she hired her first employee. Later, she discussed how growing interest in RTD cocktails spurred an upcoming evolution in the brand’s label design and why she was adamant about staying involved in the company post-acquisition despite constant travel demands.

Also Mentioned

Fishers Island Lemonade