With over four decades of combined experience in bartending and hospitality, Tara Merdjanoff and Jeremy Cohen are serving up classic cocktails in a can.
The co-founders of QNSY (pronounced “Queen-sey”) Sparkling Cocktails decided to launch a craft beverage company after both lost their jobs during the pandemic.
The husband-and-wife team from Jackson Heights have spent the last four years conceptualizing and perfecting their craft cocktails, which come in 12-ounce slim cans and sixtel kegs.
“When the world shut down, instead of having to find the extra hours to work on it, we had time everyday,” said Cohen. “Frankly, it was good for our mental health to stay positive and have goals.”
The craft cocktails are available in three flavors: Mojito, Cosmo, and Lovely Rita (their version of a margarita). They are 5 percent alcohol by volume.
Cohen and Merdjanoff said they focused on creating high-quality cocktails that, when ordered at a bar, slow down service for even experienced bartenders.
“Busy bars and restaurants run on systems, and some kitchens don’t stock mint,” said Merdjanoff, referring to the classic Mojito ingredient. “Good bartenders can manage that and make it look easy.”
While developing and perfecting the flavors used for QNSY, the pair opted to use real fruit juice and pure cane sugar as the neutral alcohol base for their products.
The drinks are also regulated as beer rather than a distilled spirit, which allows QNSY to potentially be sold at over 19,000 New York-based businesses.
“We wouldn’t have introduced the product if it wasn’t as good as bar quality,” said Cohen.
The pair also credited the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QDEC) for helping them prepare a business plan.
QNSY was one of over 40 local vendors to be featured at QDEC’s recent “Queens Comes Back!” event, where drew over 1000 people.
“QDEC has been by our side the whole way,” said Merdjanoff. “Without their resources, we would not have been able to accomplish this.”
The business is represented by Bronx-based Sarene Craft Beer Distributors. QNSY Sparkling Cocktails are available at over three-dozen Queens locations and select bars in Brooklyn.
“It’s not easy to stand out in a sea of new canned alcohol offerings, but they’ve nailed it by being among the best tasting and highest quality canned cocktails available,” said Matt Schulman, founder and co-owner of Sarene Craft Beer Distributors. “We believe consumers will be just as excited to try these as we were when we first got our hands on them. We’re sure they will not be disappointed.”