Jack Shannon has deceptive advice for venture capitalists looking for their next investment.
“Adventurous people should pay more attention to the bands hanging out after their performances,” Shannon said with a laugh. “Because the creative juices of stupid business ideas really flow at that point.”
One evening after the show, Shannon and five of his local yachting rock cover band mates kicked off the idea for their latest project, Steely Can Wine.
The new wine brand launched last week, selling canned wines online with names that pay tribute to the songs of Steely Dan and other soft rock bands of the ’70s and ’80s.
The brand is not affiliated with Steely Dan, and is owned by Shannon and the five other members of Three Sheets To The Wind: Gregg Brooks, Marshall Norton, Micah Berry, Jay Calabro, and JC Kuhl as well as former percussionist Adam Stockton.
The group Three Sheets To The Wind began in 2009, as Steely Can Wine, as a joke.
“We said, ‘Let’s put this yacht kit list together and we can put on our jackets and sunglasses,'” Shannon said. “We thought it would be a bit of a laugh.”
But over the years, Three Sheets To The Wind has been played in 15 states across the country, often on gigs in the mid-Atlantic. Shannon, who serves as the daytime entertainment director, said they would typically play between 25 and 50 concerts a year, including weddings, fundraisers and other performances.
Last year, after a layover in Pennsylvania—where they drove on their tour bus, Steely Van—a band member thought up the name of the rock-inspired yacht wine.
“We started brainstorming and making each other laugh,” Norton said.
The yachting rock wine brand idea particularly resonated with Brooks, who works daily at Wine & Beer Supply in Ashland.
“What I do with my job, I can get wine. I buy wine in bulk and sell it to customers and build brands for hotels and restaurant groups,” Brooks said.
The band contacted a California winery to provide wine for an audition last winter, selling Steely Can Wine at a few local stores and restaurants such as Barrel Thief and Kuba Kuba.
“We did that to gauge interest and we sold it pretty quickly,” Brooks said. “That kind of moving the wheels to get more items and take them more seriously.”
Between performing on shows and working at their day jobs, the band ended the brand and concept of Steely Can Wine this year. The first three shows are Rosé Darling, Kid Chardonnay, and Deacon Red, a mix. Wine in cans is about 13 ounces.
They stock the wine in the same 1,000-square-foot space along Hamilton Street in the Westwood area where they train, and sell it primarily through SteelyCan.com. Brooks said they deliver it themselves in a 15-mile radius around town and eventually want to expand their offering.
Although a band started out as a joke, Brooks said they take Steely Can’s product quality very seriously, just like the music they play.
“It’s a great wine. It’s not just a gimmick. “We don’t throw some bad stuff in a can,” he said.
Shannon added, “We still think it’s funny to be playing this soft rock. We take music seriously, but the difference between us and a lot of other groups of friends who have silly ideas, is that if there’s something that makes us laugh enough We’re already following that up,” he said.
“We get our ABC licenses and bank accounts and make it legit. This is just one more story in our friendship history where we took a joke too far.”