Friday, July 19, 2024

A Year On: Founders of R.I. Coquito Brand Face a Crossroads


At a Crossroads: The Journey of Rhode Island’s Coquito Entrepreneurs

Approximately a year ago, Victor Regino, alongside partners Luis Olmo and Travis Escobar, dove into the world of entrepreneurship with Papi’s Coquito, leveraging a beloved family recipe into a burgeoning business. This ready-to-drink interpretation of the Puerto Rican rum concoction found its way onto liquor store shelves and menus across Providence, signaling a promising start for the trio.

Despite their initial success, they now face familiar challenges in scaling their brand. Escobar highlighted Rhode Island’s limited support for growing food and beverage industries, stressing the systemic barriers that stand in their way. The trio is also considering rebranding to Island Coquito to reflect its cultural roots and aid in expansion efforts.

Finding investment has proven difficult for them, not only because they have to elucidate their business model but also due to the high startup costs associated with opening a distillery in Rhode Island. To mitigate these costs, the co-founders have resorted to partnering with a co-packing facility in Indiana, despite their preference to source locally.

Marketing their unique product adds another layer of complexity. Despite coquito’s significance in Latino culture, many potential investors are unfamiliar with the drink, impacting fundraising efforts. Additionally, Rhode Island lacks incubator programs suited to alcohol brands, putting them at a further disadvantage.

Yet, Island Coquito has demonstrated its market potential, boasting impressive sales across over 60 locations. Despite the challenges, its success has not gone unnoticed. However, the lack of supportive business infrastructure in Rhode Island forces the founders to consider relocating, a tough decision for the aspiring entrepreneurs deeply connected to their community.

As they stand at this crossroads, the path forward for Island Coquito is fraught with hurdles, but the founders’ dedication to their dream and their roots promises an inspiring journey ahead.

Alex Sterling
Alex Sterling
Alex Sterling is a seasoned journalist with over a decade of experience covering the dynamic world of business and finance. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the stories behind the headlines, Alex has become a respected voice in the industry. Before joining our business blog, Alex reported for major financial news outlets, where they developed a reputation for insightful analysis and compelling storytelling. Alex's work is driven by a commitment to provide readers with the information they need to make informed decisions. Whether it's breaking down complex economic trends or highlighting emerging business opportunities, Alex's writing is accessible, informative, and always engaging.

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