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Q&A: CEO Tori Brodsky shares how Besa mi Vino is redefining the wine industry

Tori Brodsky smiles for the camera. The alumnus is currently the CEO of wine company Besa mi Vino. (Courtesy of Amelia Cohen-Smith)

By Lex Wang

Aug. 31, 2023 3:52 p.m.

Besa mi Vino is aging to perfection.

As the head of the canned wine organization, Tori Brodsky hopes to foster an inclusive community among women in a traditionally male-dominated industry. The Anderson School of Management alumnus has rebranded the startup to specifically cater to women’s preferences, including hosting a Barbie-themed party this past summer and introducing a “Spin the Besa” drinking game for consumers.

With plans to expand in the future, Brodsky spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Lex Wang about the growth of the women-oriented company.

[Related: Q&A: UCLA alumnus’s skin care company focuses on wellness, mental health advocacy]

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Daily Bruin: How would you describe Besa mi Vino’s brand?

Tori Brodsky: Besa mi Vino is an organic canned wine company. It started in 2018 by two brothers who saw white space in the canned wine market. There was a lot of canned wine out there, but there was no clean canned wine, meaning everything that was put in cans was not meant for cans and also not high quality. So they decided to become one of the first high-quality canned wine (companies).

In 2022, I took over the business as the new CEO and co-founder, and my job was to essentially relaunch the brand that had been offline for about a year. We got a small seed round of funding by a female celebrity investor, and we decided to rebrand everything – so (we) called it “Besa mi Vino,” which means “kiss my wine” because it’s so clean, you could kiss it.

We wanted to make it (the can) look a little bit more like a wineglass, so that was the first step in what I did to relaunch the brand – making the overall branding more akin to something you’d understand that was wine. We’ve had a very successful year. Our team is majority UCLA current students or recently graduated undergraduate students, and I’m very proud to have this be a Bruin-led company.

DB: Since taking over the business, is there anything in particular you’ve accomplished that you’re really proud of?

TB: Our Barbie party event, which we had in July, was an event we threw to not only celebrate this new “Barbie” movie but to also celebrate all the women-led companies and organizations in LA. We told all these businesswomen, “You’re going to walk down the runway and everybody’s going to cheer for you,” and, “What you’re going to do is basically dress like the Barbie that best represents you as who you are today.”

We had yoga groups, we had UCLA water polo and beach volleyball. We had women who have their own PR businesses, women who have their own publishing companies, women who have small businesses with CPG products. So, we had tons of women come through, walk this red carpet – people showed up, cheered for them. We celebrated Besa, we celebrated women-owned everything and we celebrated “Barbie” and it was a blast. That was just something really special and something that really solidified what the brand meant to people.

[Related: Q&A: Alumnus Zuhairah Washington talks role at Otrium fashion marketplace]

DB: How has your company elevated women’s voices?

TB: It’s (beer culture) something that has been really catered toward men. There hasn’t been something that is a good-quality alcohol product in a can that has been catered toward women, except for canned wine. Now, again, the first people who came out with canned wine canned really low-quality wine. The major demographic for canned wine is women, and we deserve something better. We want to make sure that we’re making products that women can have, that they haven’t had in the past. Canned wine represents one of those – and really good-quality, organic, sustainably-made canned wine is one of those.

Not just in our products, though, are we trying to raise up women. We also do so in our organization. So, the majority of our interns, ambassadors and employees are all women. When I was younger, there weren’t many opportunities for me to have a female boss or a female mentor, so I want to give that opportunity to as many young women as I can.

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Lex Wang | Enterprise editor
Wang is the 2023-2024 Enterprise editor. Previously, she was the 2022-2023 Opinion editor, and prior to that, an assistant Opinion editor. She is an Arts reporter and also contributes to News, the Quad, Sports, Photo and Video.
Wang is the 2023-2024 Enterprise editor. Previously, she was the 2022-2023 Opinion editor, and prior to that, an assistant Opinion editor. She is an Arts reporter and also contributes to News, the Quad, Sports, Photo and Video.
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