Yoni Reisman founded his startup Tip Top Cocktails in September 2019 with the goal of offering a premium cocktail experience efficiently in a can. Being from Atlanta, Delta Airlines was on his radar as a possible wholesale customer.
But it wasn’t until the middle of the pandemic when Delta was re-launching its in-flight beverage service that the conversation took off. And as of April 2021, Delta began serving Tip Top’s canned old-fashioneds and margaritas aboard its domestic flights.
Tip Top is one of several start-up food and beverage brands that Delta started offering when it reintroduced in-flight services following pandemic-era restrictions in 2021. By partnering with one of the country’s biggest airlines, the founders say that they have been able to raise brand awareness, hire more staff and bolster their existing business.
Reisman said recent customer surveys show about 20% of Tip Top customers discovered the brand on a Delta flight. Big Boi from Outkast shouted out the brand on social from a flight, as did chef Kevin Gillespie.
“Because we’re on Delta, a lot more people know Tip Top exists,” Reisman said.
Delta specifically focused on working with underrepresented populations and those that take a conscious approach to their businesses. Some are newer startups, while others more established. Mike Henry, the managing director of Onboard Services Operations, told Modern Retail in an email that when it was considering its new offerings, Delta sought out smaller, values-aligned brands with unique products.
“We really want to create meaningful relationships in addition to providing the very best customer experience.” Henry said.
But pairing bespoke brands with one of the world’s biggest airlines doesn’t happen overnight. Delta has more than 4,000 flights a day and serves roughly 200 million customers annually. That meant the brands had to figure out to scale up their production.
In Tip Top’s case, the company operated in…