Cascade Holdings is disrupting South Africa’s liquor industry with three innovative subsidiary brands: Liquor.co.za, Cheeky & Salute. It is the birth child of Adam Chaskalson, Tyrone Lasarow and Shaun Duwe, who have 50 years worth of collective experience to shake things up. They opened up their doors to the local bar, events and liquor industries; offering a mobile bar service, a progressive eCommerce alcohol supply platform, and a “product development lab with a cheeky twist”.
We asked the team a few questions about their collective experience, ambitions and why they think now is the best moment to disrupt the events industry. The future is here with Cascade Holdings, read the Q&A to find out why!
You are three innovative founders with 50 years of experience. How has this prepared you to make a stir in the market?
Our experience in various facets of the bar- and liquor- markets, have brought us together. Through our joint experience we’re able to pinpoint areas in the market we feel are in need of (and ready) for new innovations and technological advances. We believe that together we have everything needed to really go for it and make some noise in an industry that has always been close to all our hearts.
Focusing on relationships, communication, positive energy and trust has always been a common theme between us over the years and has always brought us success. We are confident that if we stick to the principles that have brought us to where we are, we’ll continue to thrive.
What was the main inspiration that made you decide to rock the SA liquor industry?
Our staff! The past year has been devastating in our industry, to say the least. But we pulled together and fought to stay alive and managed to get our team to this point without letting anyone go. Now we want to create something bigger as the industry starts to slowly return to some sort of normality. We feel it’s our chance to create something special for everyone who has fought this fight with us.
Shaun, you have said, “now is the time” for such a project. What makes this global context appropriate?
In everything I’ve done in my career over the past two decades, alcohol has always been the glue. I don’t mean that in an insensitive way of course – please don’t read it wrong. I’m referring to the brands here, and the lifestyle(s) that they market. It’s sad then to see the South African alcohol industry – many close friends and partners – currently picking up the pieces post lockdown prohibition regulations.
It’s carnage out there. In saying that, it has also been a time of opportunity. Again, this is not meant to sound insensitive, rather the opposite; my team and I have been researching various developmental avenues into which to expand. While it might seem completely at odds with what is happening in the world, right now is the right time to invest and make moves in the liquor, drinks and on-premise (venues) market. Not to profit out of the loss of others, but rather to help those who have come through it, to take their next step(s) and to be well positioned to service the current needs (of smaller events and corporate functions) and then be in a strong position when things return to some form of normal. Normal in terms of live entertainment, festivals, clubbing and parties.
We have partnered with one of South Africa’s foremost bar designers to create a range of bespoke bars to suit various types of occasions. Our bars will be available throughout South Africa, for a range of functions and events.
What separates Salute from current holistic event bartending services?
Aside from the group’s years of experience in the industry (including staff and trainers who have been at the forefront of the bar industry for almost two decades), we will be taking it one step further with our bar designs, staff services, uniforms and skills sets. We have our fingers close to the pulse of the industry both locally and abroad to ensure that everything we do is to an international standard. We will also be constantly looking to innovate.
Adam and Tyrone, you both ran your own mobile bars. What made you decide to merge with Cascade Holdings?
The main contributor was the ability to grow in the distribution/eCommerce B2B and D2C markets and to further the product-development side with our Cheeky RTD business. Cheeky RTD currently has two hard seltzers in the market – Skinny B and Skinny M. With Shaun’s involvement we felt we could expand our reach to even more markets which would in turn assist in growing the three businesses under the Cascade Holdings umbrella. The bar and events business could grow nationally and be supported by the other two.
Cheeky is described as a cheeky twist on low-calorie refreshments. What is the best setting to enjoy Cheeky?
Wherever you are! Our Cheeky hard-seltzers – Skinny B (Vodka, Lime and Soda) and Skinny M (Tequila, Lime and Soda) – are aimed at fun-loving people who are also health conscious. If you’re looking to have a good time without the guilt of added calories and artificial additives (which often add to the risk of a hangover) the Skinny range is your perfect go-to for a fun night out or a day time session at home with your friends, without the following day being a write-off.
Shaun, what is the particular gap in the drinks market that you see Liquor.co.za filling?
There is definitely an opportunity to increase the consumer experience, from purchase all the way to delivery for both direct consumers and businesses. With the extensive back-end coding and systems we’re building, Liquor.co.za will offer this and more. We’ve assessed all the current stores out there and the Liquor.co.za experience will be one beyond anything that is currently available in South Africa.
Adam and Tyrone, how has the pandemic impacted on your music festival ventures? Do you have any tips to work around the current protocols?
Well, unfortunately festivals and big events probably won’t be coming back for a while, so on the events side it’s a matter of focusing on smaller corporate activations and events for 100 people or less. Our staff wear masks at all times and sanitizers are available by the bar for guests and staff to use, glassware and equipment are constantly being washed and garnishes are never touched by hand. Most of these hygiene protocols have always been in place as part of our premium service offering to our clients, so the change hasn’t been too drastic.
We’re certainly looking forward to seeing these brands flourish in South Africa, look out for the mobile bar at events and stay refreshed with a Cheeky seltzer.
Cascade Holdings is going to make a splash in the punch bowl!