Changing the Way We Drink a Coffee Martini Thanks to Two Women Entrepreneurs
Changing the way we drink Espresso Martinis, Après Hours has entered into the fastest-growing segment of the beverage industry, canned beverages. But this one is unique in that it was founded by two female entrepreneurs from Dallas, Nicole Craven and Alexis Smith. After hopelessly waiting for someone to create their favorite libation, the espresso martini, in a convenient, ready-to-drink format, they decided to take on the task and make it themselves.
Après Hours, a new line of ready-to-drink, canned espresso martinis, is available in three gluten-free and dairy-free flavors — Salted Caramel, Classic, and Vanilla. Each 12-ounce can is 10% alc/vol and contains 40 mg of Colombian caffeine, slightly less than a standard shot of espresso. The brand officially launched in Dallas on August 1 and is now available in select liquor stores throughout the city and online with nationwide shipping to 39 states.
I really enjoyed all three flavors and appreciated that they made them both gluten & dairy free. Thank you ladies! If I had to pick a favorite flavor, I think I would say it is the Classic. I like my cocktails without too much fuss!
“We’ve always preferred our espresso martinis with tequila instead of vodka, which is where we got the idea to use agave-wine as our base,” says co-founder Nicole Craven. “It gives the entire cocktail a smoother, rounder flavor and allows us to be sold in grocery stores as well as liquor stores.”
“And also, we’ve always known that combining coffee and booze is a delicate balancing act and wanted Après Hours to make us feel refreshed, not jittery. We researched and taste-tested until we achieved the perfect balance we envisioned from the start”, says co-founder Alexis Smith.
However, Craven and Smith ran into multiple roadblocks along the way, especially with funding. The spirits industry has always been male dominated. (Only 2% of RTD brands are owned by women.) Hence Après Hours’ tagline, “It’s time to shake things up.”
“Raising money to get this idea off the ground was not what we expected,” says Craven. “We are two young, female entrepreneurs seeking to shake up the male-dominated alcohol industry, and many did not believe we would make it to the production stage. These initial difficulties made the sudden success and warm reception of Après Hours by Dallas shoppers even sweeter. Their first run sold out the day it hit store shelves. “We felt so validated”, said Smith.
With a commitment to help level the playing field and empower other women to do the same, Craven and Smith have also created the Après Hours Grant Program, a quarterly contribution to women entrepreneurs working to start businesses of their own.
Is it coffee or is it a Martini? It’s a whole lot of both, but if you love espresso, you will love, love, love it!
**Full Disclosure: I received product in exchange for my review, but not to worry, all opinions are 100% mine.
Après Hours is currently available in bars, restaurants and liquor stores across the Dallas area, including POGOs, Dallas Fine Wine and Spirits, Roots Market, Uptown Liquor, Monticello Liquor, Cafe Duro, Castle Spirits, Lucky’s Liquor, Buddy’s Booze, Jerry’s Liquor and Biagio Wine and Spirits. Retail prices range from $13.99 per 4-pack to $55 per 12-pack. For more information, visit drinkapreshours.com or follow @drinkapreshours on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.