Ah, summer…The season synonymous with trips to the family cottage, dips in the backyard pool, sun kissed bodies and quenching that summer thirst with the ultimate Canadian beverage!
Black Fly coolers have not only garnered international recognition with their beverages, but they are continuing to make history with their locally produced products.
With the reputation of being a ‘girly drink’, coolers have come a long way since its debut a couple of decades ago. However, consumer reports indicate that coolers are predominantly purchased by women as men tend to avoid them due to their fruity and overtly sweet flavours that unfortunately end in many cases with an all-too sobering pounding headache.
Coolers have suffered the ‘sweet’ stigma and in some cases rightfully so; that they can’t be consumed very often or in large amounts due to their high sugar content and if we are being brutally honest, the simple fact that most coolers just don’t provide the ‘punch or kick’ that many are looking for when purchasing an alcoholic beverage. However, times are changing and taste buds are evolving, especially with exposure to new products.
And with that, I introduce to you, Black Fly. Black Fly Beverage Company, Ontario’s first micro-distillery was founded in 2005 by husband & wife Rob Kelly and Cathy Siskind-Kelly after being awarded the first Distillery License granted in Ontario in over 100 years.
Just some of Black Fly’s beverages.
“The vision was to create MORE NATURAL and LESS SWEET premium spirit beverages using quality ingredients and innovative packaging. Like the iconic Canadian insect after which the company is named, Black Fly started small with determination to fly under the radar and deliver a mighty bite. Since that time, Black Fly has successfully developed and launched a lineup of unique premium spirit beverages that speak to what today’s consumers are looking for…innovative “NOT TOO SWEET” quality drinks.”
“In crafting new Black Fly mixed drinks, we always look to deliver authentic, classic flavours in the Black Fly style, which means we use quality ingredients, real juices, real spirits and always deliver what we promise – not too sweet, refreshing, ready-to-drink mixed drinks that are delicious all year round, – Cathy Siskind-Kelly, Co-Founder of Black Fly.
Like many start-up companies, Black Fly outgrew its original establishment as orders and demands grew for their unique locally produced products. Originally housed in an historic bank building in the heart of downtown London, Ontario, Black Fly Beverage Company moved its operation in May of 2008 to a state-of-the-art production facility located in the city’s leading industrial quarter.
Ten years after receiving the first distillery licence awarded in Ontario in 100 years, Black Fly Beverage Company has defied the odds of an Ontario start-up taking market share from the world’s biggest global brands. Having already captured 6% of the LCBO’s 240 million dollar ready-to-drink (RTD) market, and expanding distribution to nine Canadian provinces, three territories and four U.S. states, today Black Fly continues to innovate.
Being selective in liquor products, I was pleasantly surprised to see how much research and development went into both the flavour profiles and the packaging that Black Fly uses. When they say these products are not too sweet – they literally mean it. The beverages are sweetened with cane sugar as opposed to the standard high fructose corn syrup and it must be mentioned that for a typical ready-to-drink (RTD) beverage, the average sugar scale is normally between 9-16 grams per 100ml, whereas Black Fly coolers range between 4-7 grams.
The entire line-up of BlackFly’s mixed drinks include:
• Gin Tom Collins
• Vodka Cranberry
• Tequila Margarita
• Long Island Iced Tea
• Vodka Grapefruit
• Vodka Sour Grape
• Vodka Sour Raspberry
• Whiskey Sour
• Vodka Citrus
• Rum Punch
• Spiced Rum Mulled Cider
• Rum Mojito
• Vodka Blueberry
Aside from the fact that Black Fly’s 400mL bottles offer approximately 20% more volume than the typical 330mL bottles, the simple fact that you can actually throw these bad boys in the freezer and have your very own slushy libation is sheer genius! Think of your favorite flavour and now within a short matter of time you can have your very own slushy to cool you down during the hot summer months. No blenders, no ice to be bought and most importantly no precious time is lost making your drinks.
Their custom designed bottles are lightweight, non-breakable, BPA free, recyclable and re-sealable PET1 bottles that are quick to chill, convenient to enjoy straight from the bottle. PLUS, ice cubes fit right through the wide mouth tops; need I say more?!
The inspiration for the Black Fly name, the quality ingredients and real pure juices, Black Fly flavours, the unique packaging & lightweight non-breakable & convenient re-sealable bottles came from our roots in Northern Ontario cottage country and our love of the Canadian outdoors and Canadian values.
With their striving success, Black Fly has appeared on the successful Food Network show, Food Factory showing how their “all natural products” become their flavourful coolers.
Nothing pleases me more than to support a product that I enjoy and knowing that it’s locally made and one in which it “strives to work with as many local suppliers and trade partners as possible in an effort to support Ontario and Canadian businesses, celebrate Canadian talent, and reduce our environmental footprint by shopping LOCAL.”
Having the arduous task of being poolside, enjoying the hot summer temperature that Mother Nature provided me, I took it upon myself to try the various flavours that Black Fly offers.
And the verdict…Refreshing and delicious! But don’t take my word for it. Go out and enjoy their unique thirst quenching flavours!