Shay Mitchell’s tequila seltzer brand, Onda, launches its paradise collection with four new flavors, mango, pineapple, passionfruit, and strawberry. Onda was co-founded in 2020 by Mitchell and her co-founder Kelli Adams. The pair had this vision for a 90’s surf style tequila seltzer brand after struggling to find quality ingredient canned beverages specifically in the tequila space.
“Tequila sodas have always been my go-to drink, so for me, I wanted to make something that I knew not just myself, but a lot of people would love and enjoy. We also wanted to make sure Onda was made with premium, Blanco Tequila, and all-natural ingredients,” shared Mitchell. The name Onda means “wave” in Spanish which the team loved because it fits within their brand identity. “The brand was inspired by the nostalgic surf style of the 90’s, a true beach vibe, and the feeling of endless summer,” Adams said. Adams and Mitchell brought in two other co-founders, Noah Gray and Max Dworin, to bring the Onda to market. Currently, in 27 states and over 5,500+ retailers, Onda is one of the few canned seltzers on the shelves founded by females.
Beyond the bright packaging and 90’s nostalgia, one of the missions behind Onda is inspiring more women to get into the distillery industry especially in the tequila vertical. “While the alcohol industry has been primarily male-dominated, there’s a shift in more woman-owned brands entering the space which is exciting to see. We are proud to work with a woman-owned distillery and continue growing female representation in the industry,” said Adams. Onda works with Celia Maestri, the owner of the award-winning Casa Maestri distillery, which is one of the only two women-owned Jalisco.
“We chose this distillery because it was the best fit for the brand on a variety of levels. During our time in Jalisco, we learned that there are only 2 of 156 distilleries that are woman-owned, which made our decision that much easier. Plus, the tequila is award-winning,” added Adams. “As a female small business owner, it is of the utmost importance to support other women doing great things. As we honed in on a decision, the fact that this distillery was female-owned and operated, and the fact that it is one of the most awarded distilleries in Mexico, made the decision sort of a no-brainer. Since we started working together, we have had the opportunity to connect with the owner to learn more about her history and story….how she came to own Casa Maestri in the first place. It’s really such a special relationship and we are so happy to have them as our partner,” continued Mitchell.
Mitchell and Adams pride themselves on creating their flavor profiles with real juice from fresh fruit instead of artificial flavors. Their process includes several rounds of testing aiming for a refreshing but not too sweet flavor. The new Paradise Collection transports Onda drinkers feel like they are on a summer vacation with more tropical flavors compared to their Classic Collection such as lime and grapefruit. They often rely on the Onda community to help suggest and give feedback on flavors. The Onda community has been crucial to the brands success. This past summer the brand launched the Onda Beach Club, their social community that is meant to be a virtual vacation destination. Onda Beach Club members receive special access to events, promotions, product launches, merchandise drops, playlists, and they even get the chance to take part in research and development of new flavors.
“I always remind myself that we are doing it for our consumers. “We could be making the most delicious beverage in the world, but if we fail to enact that essential two-way conversation with our consumer then it doesn’t matter. Doing things like making merch and creating partnerships with other likeminded brands has given us the chance to advance that conversation even more, and we love seeing our community participate,” expressed Mitchell.
As Onda most recently entered the multi-million dollar benchmark its community continues to grow as fast as its retail expansion. Mitchell and Adams hope people not only enjoy their tequila seltzers but are also reminded of the strong female history that goes into making an Onda.