Right along side the growth of craft beer in overall total beer sales has been the growth of imports, with Mexican-style lagers leading the way. Entrepreneur Josh Zad has taken notice of both trends and founded Calidad Beer to try and ride both at once.
Zad’s success within the beverage industry first began with his founding of cult-favorites Alfred Coffee and Alfred Tea Room — with 14 locations spanning Los Angeles, Japan and Austin.
“I wanted to take a fresh and energized approach to beer. The concept was to take the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world, flip it upside down and put my own twist on it,” Zad said.
Strategic investors in the sports, finance and food and beverage industries quickly backed Zad on the idea, helping complete an oversubscribed raise pegged for production, marketing and distribution. Key players behind the brand include MLB star and Tijuana-native, Adrián González, who was closely involved in ensuring the finest quality and most authentic Mexican-style lager from inception. Other investors include founders of mega-startups sweetgreen and MeUndies who saw immediate potential in the company.
“I instantly thought [Calidad Beer] was a great concept — a locally-made Mexican-style beer with a great taste. I was also confident in Josh’s expertise and knew that he could create not only a high-quality beverage, but an entire brand to bring it to the next level,” said Calidad investor and MLB icon Adrián González.
For Calidad, Zad tapped award-winning Austin-based design house LAND to develop the brand’s logo, illustrations, typography and package design, and Venice-based web developers Herman-Scheer to create the website.
“I knew I wanted to create a full lifestyle package for Calidad. We spent a lot of time nailing down the color and details of the package design, developing the brand’s touchpoints and merchandise and of course ensuring the quality and taste of the actual liquid.”
Less than six months after launching, Calidad Beer is now available in more than 300 bars and restaurants throughout southern California as well as select liquor and retail stores, including BevMo! and Total Wine & More.