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Wisconsin-made Odyssea Sangria aims to make sangria more accessible and reliable — in a can

Daniel Beres
Audrey Nowakowski
Daniel Beres is a partner at Lost Whale craft cocktail bar in Milwaukee and is a nationally-recognized mixologist. He co-founded Odyssea Sangria along with Tripper Duval and Tom Dufek.

Wisconsin is known as a beer state — both in consumption and the number of breweries we have. However, local businesses are starting to make an impact in the spirit and cocktail markets, especially ready-made ones.

Daniel Beres is a partner at Lost Whale craft cocktail bar in Milwaukee and is a nationally-recognized mixologist. Recently he and fellow Lost Whale partner Tripper Duval, along with Tom Duffek of Plain Spoke Cocktail company, decided to join forces and enter the canned cocktail market with Odyssea Sangria.

Inspired by their cumulative experience as mixologists and recipes from Northern Spain, Odyssea makes a red, white, and rosé canned sangria that are developed and made locally. For Beres, making the product locally was key.

"It was a top priority mainly because I love Wisconsin. I'm from here, I bought a house here, I have no intention of moving," he says. "These recipes were developed here, the essence of the brand was created here. So yeah, it was intentional to do it here."

Beres' work history in hospitality and developing recipes, especially when he worked for Hotel Madrid, made focusing on sangria an easy decision for his first canned cocktail.

"Sangria kind of just became a passion of mine. I kind of got really into making different sangria recipes while I was [at Hotel Madrid] and it became something that I started to get known for," Beres recalls. "It got to the point where I started making it for parties and stuff and then I just kind of started realizing if I wanted to go buy it, I just didn't have a lot to choose from."

The ingredients of sangria typically incorporate wine, sugar, brandy, and fruit that is infused together for a day or more. However, the number of ingredients and the time it takes to make sangria is often a barrier for people who are more casual drinkers.

"I think the biggest issue is space and just the energy to have to want to do it, really," notes Beres. "Unless you've done this a whole bunch, it's not something you usually want to undertake on the fly... We wanted to have something a little bit more reliable for people and more accessible to be able to take on the go as well."

The red, white, rosé and seasonal wines offered by Odyssea carry both traditional and modern flavors. The process of making the sangria at Cullen & Harrison Company Packing in Sun Prairie, Wis. begins with a freight truck delivery of wine from California in 270 gallon totes. The wine is then filtered to remove any yeast and bacteria to prevent secondary fermentation, which can take up to a day or two.

"We don't have wine that's going into our cans that have any sediment, anything like that. We end up with this really clean, bright product at the end of the day," explains Beres.

Then, the remaining ingredients are added to steep and the entire mixture is cooled to temperature. After another day or two of the carbonation process, everything is canned or put into recyclable kegs and shipped off. No product is left in the production facility to oxidize.

Beres says he and his partners were motivated to create Odyssea Sangria by seeing other companies do it and wanting to put their expertise to work.

"We're a bunch of cocktail nerds," he says fondly. "Between the three of us, we have roughly 40 years of experience combined, and our pallets are our money makers — like we know how to balance things. We understand ingredients."

Seeking to create an enjoyable product, the positive responses from the community have been encouraging for Beres. "That's why I'm doing what I'm doing ... I'm really excited. I have a lot of fire and ready to keep, you know, putting out new cool seasonal things."


Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
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