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Sippers Celebrating the San Diego Lifestyle

Kove is crafting up unique, cocktail-inspired beverages offering a taste of home

Image Credits Vincent Knakal

As locals and tourists will readily — and boisterously — attest, America’s Finest City is an inspiring locale worth celebrating. Alex Montelbano couldn’t agree more. As the founder of three-year-old local business, Kove, he and his team are canning up unique cocktail-inspired beverages crafted for ideal situational sipping in a variety of settings across the county.

“We think about beverages the same way we think about music, food, and art. They should match your environment, boost your mood, and most importantly, capture the art of living,” says Montelbano. “When developing the flavors of Kove, we were inspired by daily life in San Diego. Whether you’re poolside, at a backyard barbecue, or catching a gorgeous sunset, we wanted to make sure there would be a Kove flavor to accompany all of your favorite moments.”

Those flavors cover a vast spectrum of citrus and tropical fruits, presenting bold, vibrant profiles in a plant-based, gluten-free, ready-to-drink package. On top of that, all of Kove’s offerings are purposely low in alcohol — coming in at five percent alcohol-by-volume each — making them ideal for enjoyment over lengthy stretches of fun times with friends.

“Beach Days” 12-packs include all four of Kove’s flagship beverages from a Dragon Fruit Margarita to a juice bomb dubbed Party Wave Punch, which Montelbano describes as an “instant mood-booster.” 

“We also produce a Desert Rose Paloma with balanced spice and a hint of rosemary,” says Montelbano. “And then there’s Beaches & Peaches, which is perfect for barbecuing and loves to be paired with meat and oilier foods.”

In addition to flavor profiles that sync with sunshine and warm temps, other quintessentially San Diego aspects of the business can be found in Kove’s roots and technique. A graduate of San Diego State University’s Business of Craft Beer certificate program, Montelbano initially set out to become part of the county’s world-class craft beer industry with his original beverage enterprise, Invoak Brewing and Blending, before pivoting to launch Kove in 2021. At that time, the company produced a line of hard yerba-maté, but over time and following the addition of beverage industry vet Koo Miyake as Partner/Head of Product, it transitioned to ready-to-drink tipples. 

The bases for those beverages begin in the brewhouse and leverage lessons learned from Kove’s early days and methods introduced by Miyake.

“When Koo joined our team, he brought a new way of brewing to light for us,” says Montelbano. “We produce an exclusive botanical infusion called tisane using the highest-quality organic ingredients, then ferment that to create our own alcohol.”

Kove’s 12-packs can be found at big box, liquor, and specialty grocery stores throughout the county as well as in the stylish, intimate tasting room at the company’s R&D facility. Occupying a suite at local developer H.G. Fenton’s Brewery Igniter campus in Miramar, it’s outfitted to match Kove’s vibe where its beverages are concerned — bright, botanical, and boozy. (Pro tip: Show up on the second Thursday of each month for “Bottomless Brews” night, an all-you-can-drink extravaganza where visitors can get especially familiar with Kove’s offerings.)

Kove’s tasting room in Miramar
Kove’s tasting room in Miramar

Also in tune with the local mindset is the company’s support of eco-friendly nonprofits like the Changing Tides Foundation and Foster the Earth, which benefit from Kove’s status as a 1% for the Planet organization. Beyond that, Montelbano and his team have made it their mission to work toward becoming a climate-neutral operation.

“Kove’s heart lies in San Diego. From our flavors to our ethos, Kove echoes the vibrant essence of this city we call home,” says Montelbano. “With Kove, you’re tasting San Diego in every sip. As we continue our journey, our commitment remains to always encapsulate and champion the spirit of San Diego.”


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