Briggs Original Boston Cranberry: Boston’s Best Spiked Seltzer
When Michael Kurson started at Babson in Fall of 2015, he took all his entrepreneurship education and acted, at only 21-years-old founding Briggs Original with friend Neil Quigley. Briggs Original is an alcoholic seltzer company, their first product is Boston Cranberry.
Boston Cranberry, launched in early June in the Greater Boston area, the cape, and the islands. They are making their beverage a lifestyle, not just a product, by hosting the first Briggs Fest, a music festival at the Lawn on D July 29, 2017. Their team consists of Kurson and Quigley along with Charles Morris ‘19 and Guillermo Gomez ’19 as their first investor. They also have support from their lead investor CFO of Gillette, Samy Zekhout.
The idea for Briggs Original came from a clear gap in the market. “Neil and I both observed the rise of Spiked Seltzer, which was recently acquired by ABinBev, and we realized that there was no authentic local option in the alcoholic seltzer market,” says Kurson.
Briggs Original uses real cranberries, the official fruit of Massachusetts, rather than ‘natural flavors.’ By relating the beverage to the region they have created an authentic and relatable brand to fill the gap that other alcoholic seltzer brands have left.
What makes them different is their focus on using real high quality ingredients that the local market can latch on to. They are competing with huge companies such as ABinBev and Smirnoff and needed to find their own niche.
As 22 year olds, Kurson and Quigley are two of the youngest players in the game, and they use that to their advantage.
To set themselves even farther apart from the competition the Briggs team decided to take their brand launch one step further, produce a music festival. Briggs Fest is a one day festival at Lawn on D in South Boston on July 29, 2017. It is hosted and curated by Briggs Original, the idea was created by Morris who runs marketing for Briggs. Artists headlining the event are Sammy Adams, Wacka Flocka, and B.o.B.
“This event is intended to bring the Boston community together around our beverage. We wanted to create the perfect environment for our consumers to enjoy our beverage in one of Boston’s new favorite places in the middle of the summer with music they love,” says Kurson.
They want to continue hosting music festivals as a part of the Briggs Original brand in the future.
The Babson Community
From his time at Babson, Kurson gives credit to the people, the programming and the connections.
“Babson gave me the tools and connections necessary to start this business. I was actively involved in the Butler Venture Accelerator which surrounded me with like-minded peers,” says Kurson.
The Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship also connected Kurson with Dana Masterpolo MBA ’01 who owns the local and thriving, Bantam Cider. Briggs is now co-packing at their facility in Somerville. The constant business stimulation and ‘just do it’ mentality at Babson really helped Kurson buckle down and commit to starting and launching Briggs Original.
The faculty also had a huge influence on Kurson. “The faculty is top notch. All of the professors I’ve had have been committed to incorporating Entrepreneurial Thought & Action into their classes,” says Kurson. “In specific, Dr. David Nerssesian has been a close mentor to me. He was my professor for both business law and international law, my two favorite classes that I’ve taken at Babson.”
With his ‘just do it’ attitude and his drive to succeed, Kurson is going to take Briggs Original way beyond Massachusetts.