Joe Isaacs has worn many hats in his 40-plus year entrepreneurial journey. From telecommunications to real estate, the hat that he is wearing today is connoisseur of frozen alcoholic desserts.
Isaacs is CEO of Buzz Pop Cocktails, makers of Italian sorbet push-pops with an alcoholic twist. Reminiscent of the Flintstones Push-Up ice cream, the 100-calorie push-pops mix fresh fruit and a shot of premium alcohol in each dessert.
“We are the world’s first and only 100 percent all-natural adult push-pop,” Isaacs said. “We are the adult indulgence with a healthy twist.”
Buzz Pop Cocktails started in 2016 when Isaacs’ son, Jason, accidentally froze alcohol in a sorbet form. The culinary mishap – which has since been patented by the company – allowed Isaacs to jump into an emerging vertical: frozen alcoholic desserts.
Isaacs marketed Buzz Pop to have a consistent taste and mix of flavor, with 10-to-15 percent alcohol content in each dessert. With 75 sorbet flavors rotated seasonally, Isaacs positioned Buzz Pop to take advantage of its vertical market while differentiating itself by critiquing its competitions’ uneven balance and lack of alcohol.
"They didn't have a process to freeze the booze," Isaacs said. "They're grainy, they're gritty, they're slushy and there's puddles and pockets of alcohol."
Buzz Pops originally targeted millennials with high spending habits as its main customer base. Six months after its initial market research, the company adjusted its marketing efforts to reach a broader demographic: anyone over 21-years-old.
However, do not expect to find Buzz Pops in the frozen aisle of a grocery store. Isaacs has purposefully targeted high-end venues within the food service industry – high-end hotels, pool bars, convention centers, sporting arenas and festivals – to maximize profit while avoiding brokers, shelving costs and other logistics hurdles.
"I want to be where everyone's not," Isaacs said. "I want to have the exclusive high-end product that was going to sell for three times more than anybody else, in a market where I had absolutely zero competition whatsoever."
Despite Buzz Pop’s growth and accolades, Isaacs said he funds less than $10,000 in marketing efforts. Instead, Isaacs attributes his brand’s success to grassroots marketing efforts that spurred from the company’s unprecedented spikes in free press.
The first spike occurred in June 2018, when digital media company POPSUGAR published an article and video reviewing the product. According to Isaacs, the media package received over 1 million views in its first day and drove over 500,000 visitors to Buzz Pop’s website.
“We were featured on over a thousand TV stations and over a thousand radio stations,” Issacs said. “The articles started rolling in and I was getting calls from all over the country [about Buzz Pops].”
The media avalanche surrounding Buzz Pops led to a partnership with Levy Restaurant Group to make Buzz Pops available to tourists in Disney Springs.
Isaacs and Buzz Pops are also working to market itself as an eco-friendly product.
Buzz Pops is developing a variation of its push-pop with a wooden stick and biodegradable bag to eliminate its single-use containers. The new changes – which Isaacs expects will be distributed in a few months – will allow the company to expand their market into cruise ships, which have banned single-use plastics in their fleets.
Isaacs has also discussed possible wholesale retailers to distribute the push-pops in their stores. According to Isaacs, Buzz Pops is in talks with Costco to distribute the product in their stores by the end of the year.
Until then, Buzz Pops is partnering with Ignite Miami Beach for Miami Swim Week, a fashion industry taking place today until July 14. The company will serve as a sponsor for the event’s fashion shows, nightlife and private parties.
“I’m probably working a lot harder than I ever thought I was going to do three years after retirement,” Isaacs said. “But I’m very laser focused on Buzz Pops.”
More information on Buzz Pop Cocktails can be found at https://www.buzzpopcocktails.com/