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The Molecular Biologist Behind Kylie Jenner’s New Vodka Soda

Kylie Jenner Sprinter molecular Biologist

To make her new canned vodka soda, Sprinter, Kylie Jenner teamed up with molecular biologist Chandra Richter. We caught up with the beverage development expert to learn about what it was like working with The Kardashians star and what went into the summer sipper.

Last month, Kylie Jenner joined her sister Kendall in the celebrity spirits world when she launched Sprinter, a canned vodka soda. The new RTD comes in four flavors–Black Cherry, Peach, Grapefruit and Lime–and is set to be the latest hit from the Kylie Cosmetics founder.

To help create the line of drinks, she reached out to Chandra Richter. A beverage development expert with a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from CU Boulder.

Chandra Richter and Kylie Jenner
Chandra Richter and Kylie Jenner

We sat down with Chandra to learn more about Sprinter, Kylie, and why we should be sipping canned vodka sodas this summer…

What were you doing before you got involved with this project?

I have over two decades of experience in the food & beverage industry. I earned my Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from CU Boulder. Outside the lab, I was drawn to the food & beverage space. I spent more than ten years at E&J Gallo Winery where I immersed myself in flavor optimization, exploring the molecular intricacies of grape aroma and mouthfeel compounds. This journey laid the groundwork for my role at Drinkworks, an AB InBev and Keurig Dr. Pepper startup, where I spearheaded the development of a portfolio of over 80 unique cocktails. 

How did you get involved in Sprinter?

I was connected with Kylie and the Sprinter team early on in the development process. They wanted to create a delicious and juicy vodka soda in a can that blew the market competition out of the water. We taste tested together for over a year to get the perfect taste, and ultimately came out with the perfect, bold formula: premium vodka, real fruit juice, and sparkling water. With four flavors, 100 calories, and 4.5% ABV, Sprinter is delicious. 

Why did you want to be part of Sprinter?

I jumped at the opportunity to work with a strong female founder like Kylie. She has proven herself to be a powerful businesswoman with the ability to grow successful brands, and I was excited to hear that she was looking to create a delicious vodka soda in a can. I knew that I could offer my expertise and work with her to create something truly special.

What was Kylie Jenner’s level of involvement?

Kylie was and is very involved – it’s her brand! We did more than a year of taste testing, usually at Kylie’s house. She took part in every part of the process from branding to formulation and guided our ultimate flavor selection strategy based on her flavor preferences. She wanted to make sure they tasted as true to fruit as possible while still being juicy, refreshing and delicious. Kylie and I both have an enduring passion for hard work and brand development – we bonded very quickly.

How did you settle on Black Cherry, Peach, Grapefruit and Lime?

We spent several months researching fruit flavors that consumers know and want. We wanted to take fruit flavors we already loved, and then take them to the next level by making them true-to-fruit, with real fruit juice. Consumers already know and love these fruits, so we can really wow them by providing a taste that’s more delicious than what they’ve been drinking. With our fruits, we wanted recognizable and true-to-fruit flavors that delivered a bold, refreshing taste.

What does Sprinter offer that other canned cocktails do not? 

One thing that makes Sprinter stand out is how bold and fruit-forward our flavors are. Sprinter is also perfectly effervescent – it’s a refreshing and juicy drinking experience. I also think Sprinter offers a unique branding take on the category. The branding is as bold and fun as the flavors. 

What food pairs well with Sprinter?

For Lime and Grapefruit, foods that are light, salty, or spicy are great – think anything from bruschetta, to ceviche, to tacos! For Peach, something creamy, meaty, or acidic pairs very well – foods like empanadas, pickled vegetables, and slid