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ABC to produce canned cocktail line for York entrepreneur

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Better World Spirits expects to start producing two spirit-based canned cocktails in the beginning, a blood orange peach ginger with vodka and a mango lime mint with rum. A citrus cucumber and gin cocktail will follow.
Better World Spirits expects to start producing two spirit-based canned cocktails in the beginning, a blood orange peach ginger with vodka and a mango lime mint with rum. A citrus cucumber and gin cocktail will follow. - (Photo / )

A York entrepreneur has contracted with Harrisburg-based Appalachian Brewing Co. to produce an all-natural line of canned cocktails.

Wade Keech, who started a crowdfunding campaign in January to support his Better World Spirits company, hopes to begin production at ABC's soda plant in Silver Spring Township by January.

The first two products will be made with vodka and rum, Keech said. He is still awaiting final license approval by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. He also is waiting for the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to approve his company’s recipes and can labels.

Better World will operate as a limited distillery, a license category set up in Pennsylvania in 2012 to help smaller distillers. A limited distillery is capped at making 100,000 gallons per year, while the full distillery license requires production of at least 100,000 gallons per year.

As a result of the license change, craft distilleries have been starting to pop up more frequently. A new craft spirits trail in Central Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is designed to help promote craft alcohol tourism.

Keech said he plans to sell his products directly to bars and restaurants, beginning in the Philadelphia market and also in Central Pennsylvania because of the ABC partnership. He also would like to get his products into state liquor stores. Many other alcoholic soda products on the market are malt-based and sold next to beer.

"Once we prove the concept, we can expand," he said.

Keech initially planned to open up a small distillery in Chester County to make the cocktails. ABC co-owner Artie Tafoya read a news story about those plans and contacted Keech about available capacity at ABC's soda plant, which is used to produce the company's own line of non-alcoholic sodas.

Keech said Chester County may still be an option for a future warehouse or tasting room as the brand grows.

For more about Keech's plan and a look at other new craft alcohol companies in Central Pennsylvania, read Friday's print edition of the Business Journal.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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