Like so many great ideas, the idea for MANCAN—the nation’s first exclusive wine-in-a-can company—was born over a round of beers. Daniels alum Fisk Biggar (PMBA 2014) co-founded MANCAN with his childhood friend, Graham Veysey, and Graham’s wife, Marika Shioiri-Clark, following a night out at a bar. The story goes that instead of ordering another round of heavy, craft beer, Biggar and Veysey wanted wine, but didn’t want to sip on the dregs of an open, oxidized bottle behind the bar. They wanted something fresh, portable and easy to drink. “Why do beer drinkers have it so easy?” they lamented. “Why can’t we just get a can of wine?”
These questions ultimately led to the creation of MANCAN, a canned wine company based out of Cleveland, Ohio—Biggar and Veysey’s hometown. Although MANCAN’s headquarters are in the Midwest, a region not well-known for wine production, the company operates for part of the year on the West Coast with production and canning occurring in California. The company, which escaped the recent wave of devastating California wildfires, is about to begin its fourth production run since its inception in 2015.
In the beginning, MANCAN was a side project for Biggar. He had just finished the PMBA program at Daniels and had a full-time job in Broomfield, Colorado, when Veysey approached him about starting a canned wine company.
“Graham knew that I had just finished business school and wanted to use that skill set to build a business plan and come up with a model that we could scale and grow,” said Biggar, who now manages the sales and finance side of the business. “It took us about a year to get the value chain together. Then, by the summer of 2015, MANCAN had raised its initial friends and family capital and in September of that year, the first cans came off the line in Sonoma, California.”
When asked about the wine itself, Biggar noted, “We wanted to change the experience of drinking wine, make it more convenient and offer an awesome product at an affordable price point. We wanted it to be as approachable as possible. Not just in the packaging but also in the juice. [MANCAN wine] is intentionally non-vintage and non-varietal.” This means that different grapes from different years are blended together to create MANCAN’s three wine varieties: red, white and sparkling.
In just over two years, MANCAN has grown from bar banter to one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Best Buys of 2017. “We’ve always known that we had good wine because we enjoy drinking it, but it is nice to get the outside accreditation from Wine Enthusiast,” Biggar said. “We received two of the coveted Best Buy awards and an industry-leading 87 points for our ‘Fizz,’ which is our sparkling wine.”
Although MANCAN is based out of Cleveland, it isn’t limited to the Buckeye state. Consumers can find MANCAN in a variety of stores across 11 states (including Colorado), at retailers like Whole Foods Market, BevMo! and Total Wine & More. MANCAN was also featured at First Energy Stadium in Cleveland, as well as at Little Caesar’s Stadium in Detroit and Target Field in Minneapolis. Coloradoans can find MANCAN at Whole Foods (in Boulder), Argonaut Wine & Liquor, Molly’s Spirits, Applejack’s Wine & Spirits and Hazel’s Beverage World. For ski season, MANCAN is also available at Elk Camp on Snowmass Mountain.
When asked about the impact that his experience in the PMBA program had on his current role at MANCAN, Biggar noted the relationships he built with members of his cohort, the strong financial knowledge that he gleaned as well as a robust understanding of the lifecycle of a business.
“Ultimately though, I wouldn’t have had the confidence [to pursue MANCAN] without the [PMBA] program.”
Cheers to that.
For more information on Daniels’ PMBA program, visit https://daniels.du.edu/professional-mba/.