We’re thrilled to introduce So Gay Rosé, a crisp, canned rosé that always goes down easy, no matter where you’re drinking – or who you’re drinking with. Founders Josh Campbell and Tim Chan are reclaiming the phrase “So Gay” to be “So Great,” embracing the joy that comes when you live your most authentic, colourful self. We had a chance to chat with Josh and Tim to learn all about this new venture and what makes their rosé so great.
Please introduce yourself, and your respective roles.
[TC]: We’re Tim and Josh, two Canadians who met in LA, where we both live. I’m originally from Toronto and Josh is from Guelph. I was a former TV producer at MuchMusic, and I founded an arts and fashion magazine back in the day called Corduroy. Josh is a serial entrepreneur that has built brands such as Starbucks, Saje, dosist and Human Improvement.
As for So Gay Rosé, we’re both co-founders and have our hands in all areas of the business. Since this is really just a two-person venture right now, we’re both actively involved in everything from product development to marketing to licensing – and anything else you can think of.
Tell us the conception story. What made you want to do what you do, and how did it come to life?
[TC]: I grew up in a very religious, conservative Asian household, and being gay was something that was always considered a “sin.” It just wasn’t something we talked about, and god forbid we had gay friends or influences that were seen as “too gay.” When I was growing up, the phrase “so gay” was often thrown around like an insult, or a negative thing – like that outfit is “so gay” or your idea was “so gay.” It took me a very long time to come out to my friends and family, and even as an openly gay man, I was very careful not to be “so gay” for fear of reprisal or being stereotyped.
But as I got older, I realized that being “so gay” is actually something that we should own and be proud of. We’ve all fought our own battles and have gone through our own journeys to come out as gay, and it’s time we celebrate this. So Gay Rosé is also about reclaiming the phrase “so gay” to be “so great,” making it a positive affirmation rather than a slur.
The name of this wine – So Gay Rosé – speaks to a greater political statement (IMO!) that is a celebration of self, and a nod to the LGBTQ2IA+ community and obvious impeccable taste. What is your mission, if you have one at all?
[TC]: At its core, So Gay Rosé is really about celebration – celebrating the ability to live life on your own terms, to live authentically and to be supported by a community of people. Of course, in my opinion, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a glass of wine, and so we decided to launch a fun, easy-drinking wine in a can, that you can bring to birthday parties, cottages, the beach, the park, wherever you celebrate with friends and family.
We’re also embracing things that were perhaps once seen as “so gay” – the pink can, the tongue-in-cheek branding, the “fruity” notes in the wine. This is truly about re-casting some of these so-called stereotypes in a positive way.
Worth noting: we’re donating a portion of sales every year to The Trevor Project, which is an incredibly important organization that has been a lifeline to me in the past, and continues to be a lifeline for LGBTQ2IA+ youth today.
How and where does one source wine? Did you approach a broker? Tell us your process.
[JC]: We source all our wine from small, independent wineries in California. It was important for us to work with local partners, and to also support these family-owned wineries, who produce amazing wine, but may not have the output or capacity to work with larger brands. We work closely with our partners, Eliqs, to source, can, and ship all of our wines.
What makes this rosé different or unique? What are the origins of this wine?
[JC]: In terms of tasting notes, we wanted a super light, crisp and refreshing rosé. It has hints of fruit (think strawberry or grapefruit) but it’s also dry and easy-drinking. We carbonated it too because let’s face it, having a little sparkling wine is always a nice way to celebrate!
What can you eat with this while you drink it?
[JC]: The wine is designed to be enjoyed poolside — we actually call it a “Poolside Rosé” on the can — and it always pairs well with food. We think it’s great for summer barbecues, paired with a great cheese board and for a boozy brunch.
What’s a fun or unusual fact about this rosé that people don’t typically know?
[JC]: It was actually pretty hard to source the wine at first, since the wildfires in California affected many of the vineyards we were using. But fortunately, we were able to find a couple of small-batch wineries that had the rosé we were looking for still available.
If you could detail the perfect scenario to enjoy this wine, what would it be?
[TC]: The great thing about a canned rosé is that you can drink it anywhere. It’s easy to pack into your backpack or tote for a day out, but you can keep a couple cases in your fridge too for when people come over. I really see So Gay Rosé as a fun party drink, but also for a post-work happy hour (even solo!) for when you want to enjoy a cold drink after a long day.
What, if any adversities, pullback or roadblocks did you have to overcome, and what do you attribute your success to?
[TC]: There is definitely a lot of competition in the wine and spirits industry right now, so we know we have our work count out for us. But I think what makes us stand out is our story. We aren’t Silicon Valley entrepreneurs trying to capitalize on a trend to make a quick buck. This is truly a personal project for me, and really speaks to years of being insecure and uncomfortable with myself. In a way, So Gay Rosé is like my coming out project. And I hope people will embrace it.
Tell us a secret about your job. (I’ll start: I too love rosé! So much so that I get to write about it!)
[TC]: We can’t wait for everyone to try the wine! We think it’s a fun product that everyone can enjoy, regardless of your age, gender, location or sexual identity. At the end of the day, it’s a delicious sparkling canned rosé. The fact that it’s also supporting self-expression and self-love? Well, that’s a pretty great bonus.
How can we get connected?
[JC]: You can find us @sogayrose on all the social media channels (yes, even OnlyFans)