Buzzbox founder Rod Vandenbos shows off ready-to-drink cartons at the Indio facility.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRANDON HARMAN
Rod Vandenbos felt he’d wasted too much time waiting in line for weak cocktails during halftime at ballgames and intermissions at concerts. He knew there had to be a better way to serve high-quality, ready-to-drink bloody marys and cosmopolitans, so he established a company to create them: Buzzbox Premium Cocktails, produced in Indio and distributed as far as Rhode Island.
We spoke with Vandenbos to learn more about the boxed cocktail brand, its sponsorship of the Coachella Valley Firebirds hockey team, and its exclusive partnership with Acrisure Arena, which opens this month with a branded Buzzbox bar.
How do Buzzbox cocktails stay fresh and delicious?
I didn’t want to create an artificial product. When you think of a margarita or a paloma or a cosmopolitan, you make those with fresh ingredients, so obviously they taste that much better. We spent a couple of years working to make these boxes capable of holding a spirit-based cocktail, and we [achieved that] because of the technology. We now have this packaging that becomes synonymous with our name.
Why was sustainable packaging important?
We need to be responsible citizens, but we tend to be consumption junkies. When the technology came along, I realized it was a bull’s-eye, because it’s a product that obviously checks all the boxes for sustainability and eco-friendly environment.
How did the arena partnership and team sponsorship come about?
When we were presented with the opportunity, we jumped on it. The relationship is twofold: It gives us an opportunity to showcase our product, as thousands of people will go through that building every month to enjoy our cocktails. More importantly, it’s such a great place here in our community to give back, because there are so many events planned that are community-oriented, so we can reach out and hopefully make a difference.
It must be exciting to have your own branded bar in the arena.
That is probably the thing we are most proud of. Our full line of cocktails will be served, and it’ll be the only bar in the facility where you can see down to the floor. We think it’s going to become a gathering place, not just because of the products, but because of its location and the view.
What do you enjoy most about living in the desert?
Foremost, the weather is spectacular, but beyond the weather, it’s the lifestyle. We have a small-town feel, where you get to know everybody; yet we have the amenities of a larger city. I’ve got two teenage daughters, and to feel comfortable when they go out, that is a good place to be. We are so unusual to any other place in the world.