Welcome to Belly Dragger Beverages! We're Chris and Gretchen Helsel Drumm. After years of selling other people's wines in the Napa Valley, we decided it was time to pursue our own dream in the world of wine. The industry has always been a fun part of us and the catalyst for our love story. We've met incredible people from all walks of life that are still friends today over a glass ... or three. We believe wine is a journey and would love to have you join us on the trip of a lifetime!
We take our wine seriously, just not ourselves!
Problems We Solve
- In January, the 2023 State of the Wine Industry Report was released by Silicon Valley Bank, a longtime analyst of the wine industry in the U.S. While the report was chock full of data, what stood out to many (including Eric Asimov at The New York Times), was that the greatest loss in consumption share is with young wine drinkers—consumers aged 21 to 40, i.e. millennials and Gen Z-ers.
- Ian Lokey, (Millennial), Beverage Director at Sushi Note and Sushi Note Omakase in Los Angeles, recommends: “The entire scale of what constitutes quality has to go,” stresses Lokey. “We can’t seem to get past the idea that if it isn’t in a glass bottle it must be trash. Sure, that fancy bottle with all its ceremony and pomp makes for a great date night at an expensive restaurant, but we don’t consider taking cans (which protect the wine very well!) of wine to the beach or while watching a sporting event.”
The wine consumer is craving authenticity they're largely not getting from the large-scale suppliers currently dominating the landscape. Today's consumer wants to connect with something powerful and meaningful and aligned with their values. They want to know who is behind the products they consume and what those brands are doing to help solve the big environmental problems of today so they can feel a part of the solution.
We believe this is why the wine category is losing the younger consumer to other alcohol categories, non-alcoholic beverage options, and cannabis. We see the effects of this in our sons and their friend groups. As a company who is invested in making the future of wine as fun and inclusive as we found it to be, we are motivated to bring people into the category and speak to them with the authenticity they crave.
The competition we have is from large-scale suppliers. They are not providing the consumer with a clear and full picture on the environmental benefits of aluminum versus glass wine packaging because they are still committed to glass. These companies have power brands that were established in glass and continue to be sold in glass alongside the new canned wines that serve only as line extensions. Also, the supply chains of these conglomerates often include glass companies as subsidiaries. Secondly, the marketing of the brands is focused on the consumer's demographics versus their psychographics, which leaves out a meaningful connection throughout the course of the consumer's life and how it changes. We feel this reduces the consumer to a pre-defined and over-simplified set of motivations.
According to Grand View Research, the U.S. portion of the canned wine market in 2023 is valued at $300M. Using this data set, the revenue opportunity for our company is $1.5M (this is one-half percent of the total U.S. market).
Our plan to acquire this market share is to promote ourselves as a wine company with an authentic story and an inclusive brand. We will target a wide audience by valuing consumer psychographics, and engage with our consumers using our maker's voice (versus that of a marketing department) by providing transparency on our production and championing aluminum packaging.
Our solution is supported by our nimble production model, in-market and digital marketing efforts that focus on visual storytelling and customer connection. Our mid-century brand design appeals to a wide audience. The production model is two-pronged: (1) two core wines (Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon) support wholesale efforts and (2) unique varietals (Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, etc.) made in limited quantities further support direct-to-consumer engagement.
We make money by selling cans of high-quality wine both to wholesale accounts and direct to consumers via our website. Currently, we produce the two core wines. The blended margin on those two wines is 58% in wholesale and 74% in eCommerce. We are soliciting event vending to add a third route to market and further connect with our local community before opening a brick-and-mortar tap room. Cans of wine sold during events will have a margin of 82%.
- $85K in revenue to date accomplished without meaningful investment in paid advertising or marketing, sold through first vintage made (2018)
- Sold into high-value wholesale accounts including PGA West (the Western home of golf in the U.S.), New Leaf Community Markets (West Coast regional retail chain), The Archer Hotel in Napa, CA and The Rowan Hotel in Palm Springs, CA (national hotel chain)
- Healthy capital structure achieved through bootstrapping and financially responsible production makes us poised for scale
"Tastes like Napa in a can!"- Andy Fagundes, Mariposa, CA; repeat eCommerce customer
"It’s a delicious, rich, structured California Chardonnay, and that just seals the deal for us! I also love their motto: To make wine accessible and fun ... for special occasions, like daytime." - Jana Rogers, Sommelier, Mulvaney’s B&L Restaurant, Sacramento, CA; featured in Vinepair article
Our team links complementary individual expertise. We met while attending Sonoma State University's MBA program in wine business (where Belly Dragger was conceived). The group also traveled together throughout wine regions of France and Greece.
Ralph Hurd focuses on winemaking and chemistry; his previous experience includes winemaking and winery general management on California's Central Coast.
Chris Helsel Drumm focuses on marketing and brand direction; his previous experience includes luxury wines sales for Napa Valley's top direct-to-consumer brand.
Gretchen Helsel Drumm focuses on business and sales operations; her experience includes regional-level sales management in wholesale distribution.
The team brings a combined 60 years of industry experience and the varied networks that come along with that longevity. There is a shared commitment to embrace new technology, innovate for a better future, and humbly disrupt. Most importantly, there is a lot of love and respect here. So far, we've produced two successful vintages together with plans for many more!
Seed money totaling $50K was raised via friends and family. These funds were spent on brand design and production of the first vintage (2018).
Since that time, co-founders Gretchen and Chris Helsel Drumm have contributed $80,000. These funds were spent on website development, marketing collateral, and production of the second vintage (2020). The co-founders have historically and continue to devote time spent selling wine, promoting the brand, and managing the LLC including licensing, legal and tax filings, and record-keeping.
Use Of Funds
We are investing in sales operations and brand awareness in order to gain regional chain business and event revenue, and create mid-century adjacencies in the marketplace.
Minimum Amount Raised - $20K
- Establishing wholesale sales broker network
- Event equipment to include beverage carts, canopy, signage, mobile payment processing
Target Amount Raised - $50K
- Improved logistics to include inventory movement and controls
- Targeted ad spend and email marketing campaigns
- Systems upgrade to include iMac and Adobe Suite
- Value-added packaging
Return On Investment
We achieve break-even when we sell $62,000 in annual sales revenue, which we are projected to do in the second half of 2024. Investment in direct-to-consumer sales efforts, and the improved margins that come along with it, accelerate this break-even point. Our projections are based on the sales revenues we have achieved since launching our first vintage and reflect a sustainable growth rate.
We will provide investors a return on their investment when the company becomes profitable and we distribute returns. At such time, investors will be given the option of converting their investment into equity via a convertible note.
As an early investor in Belly Dragger, you will receive a gift pack valued at $250. It will include something to drink, something to wear, and something to love.
You'll also receive special investor pricing on all vintages and varietals, including the new releases soon to come!
Welcome to Dragger Nation!
Would you invest in Belly Dragger Beverages?
Click "Pledge Now" to Indicate Interest. We'll contact you when the opportunity to fund pledges becomes available.
Disclosure: this page represents Testing The Waters materials.
No funds or other consideration is being solicited, and if money is sent, it will not be accepted by the company;
No sales will be performed or commitments to purchase accepted until the offering statement is qualified; and
A proposed purchaser’s indication of interest is non-binding.