— Story —
Chief Feline Officer
Apollo Peak’s rise and fall
In Spring 2015, after a tireless move from the midwest into the Colorado front range with my two cats Apollo and Hades, I decided to create a fun and unique gift for friends - a simple wine bottle purchased from a local wine shop and plastered with a newly made logo of two cats and a glass of wine - entitled Pinot Meow Cat Wine of Apollo Vineyards. This bottle would be the precursor to the original Pinot Meow designed for cats.
After returning for a trip with friends, for which I presented these unique bottles of wine, I took it upon myself to create a “liquid catnip” in the form of a bottle of wine that cat parents could serve to their cat and watch in amusement as their cat portrayed a type of cat wine drunk - a non-alcoholic and catnip infused excitement - that mimicked the fun enjoyed my humans after a bottle of wine. I peddled these original bottles across stores in Colorado as a passed through on my day job visiting veterinary clinics for a major pet food brand.
In late spring 2016, I was approached by a writer for a major news site and asked if they could write an article about this new and fun product designed for wine cat lovers. After an initial 20 minute conversation, I awaited the posting of the article in a meticulous but patient way - never knowing what would be ahead of me in the coming months.
In June, 2016 an article published by the Huffington Post created an immediate viral sensation that would cast a comical appeal to the Pinot Meow and MosCATo cat wines developed by Apollo Peak of Denver, Colorado. One video distributed by New York Magazine would reach over 35 Million views since its publishing in July 2016.
That same summer, I was approached by the casting producers for the ABC Television show Shark Tank to appear as an entrepreneur pitching cat wine to the guest judges for a filming in September 2016. After several weeks of negotiating and frankly, mismanagement of the entire process on my part, I decided to take part in the journey of a lifetime that would change the course of my life and business.
On April 7, 2017, ABC debuted the episode entitled “cat wine” to the world and Apollo Peak would go down in history as the weirdly comical product pitched to the judges on Season 8, Episode 20. Since the airing, Apollo Peak would produce over 100,000 bottles of cat wine in distribution all across the globe - forever changing the dynamic of wine and cats.
In Summer 2018, I took it upon myself to finally open up about the struggles endured throughout the evolution of wine and cats. From kitchen to manufacturing facility in 3 months, to failures with business partners and negotiating blunders, the entire process endured a sense of doom from day 1. It would seem that as far reaching as the product(s) have made it, it would all be over as fast as it began.
Today, Apollo Peak of Denver, Colorado no longer exists, instead followed by Pet Wine Shop of Brooklyn, NY where I reside with my two cats and a dream to continue the wonderful little business I had created in my time in Colorado.
— Brandon Zavala, Founder of Apollo Peak Cat Wine
From Then Until Meow is an evolving book memoir in the life and evolution of cat wine from idea to running product to closed venture. Release date Winter 2019.