Lyda Hanson of Suntide: Five Things I Learned As A Twenty-Something Founder

An Interview With Ben Ari

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
7 min readNov 29, 2022


Gaining confidence. Growing up, I was really shy and rarely raised my hand in class. This process has instilled confidence in both myself and my ideas. I’ve had to get comfortable speaking up — especially in a male-dominated field!

As a part of our series called “My Life as a TwentySomething Founder”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lyda Hanson.

Lyda Hanson is the CEO and co-founder of Suntide. Hanson oversees the vision of the brand and is involved in all aspects of Suntide, including sales management, branding, marketing and product development. In her role, Hanson enjoys the social and creative elements of the brand and looks forward to meetings customers directly. Hanson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California Berkeley.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What is your “backstory”?

The idea for Suntide mimosas came to me during my senior year at UC Berkeley when I noticed a gap in the ready to drink (RTD) market. At the time, new RTDs were debuting on the regular, but I noticed there was not a flagship mimosa brand among them, despite the fact that mimosas are such a well-known and well-loved beverage.

When we were all locked down during quarantine, I decided to sit down and really understand how feasible a canned mimosa might be. I mocked up some packaging ideas and a logo as I had a background in design, and I eventually compiled a deck that I shared with my friends, family and anyone in my network that might have insight, including founders, CEOs and family friends in the beverage industry.

After seeing the thought and time I had put into ideating around Suntide, my two brothers — both students at Stanford at the time — hopped on board with me, believing there was serious potential in the brand and the idea overall.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company? What lessons or takeaways did you take out of that story?

While I don’t know if I have a funny story, I think the most interesting story was going onsite for our first production run. I arrived at the warehouse and saw the packaging for the first time in person — and it was everywhere. Not only did I see the packaging, the entire warehouse was full of people talking about Suntide. It was interesting — and incredibly special — to see the tangible product.

My key takeaway from the surreal moment was that we should follow through with dreams and see them come to fruition. It’s hard work and there’s tough moments, but you’ll have moments where everything comes together like I did.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Unlike a lot of the RTD brands on shelves right now, Suntide is crafted with all-natural, simple ingredients, which deliver a bold, authentic and refreshing taste. We use real juice and sparkling California wine, with no hard-to-pronounce ingredients, mysterious additives or preservatives.

On top of our standout tasting profile, Suntide is unique in that we are a family business through-and-through and are very involved and close to the product. Most spirits brands are owned by a larger company, but it’s really my immediate family offering the canned mimosas. Early on, my mother and I were the ones packing distributor sample boxes and painting handwritten notes for a personalized touch. These days, we’re still often the ones hosting the tastings with distributors and other retail partners. Suntide is ultimately a product of our hands-on family love and hard work.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My mother played an integral role in getting us up and running from day one and still plays a key role today. While my brothers were finishing up at Stanford, my mother and I initially got the company off the ground and the drink into a can.

During the initial days, we were getting frequent sample requests from potential future distributors. My mother and I turned our family home into a miniature packing facility. The two of us would spend hours assembling sample boxes, ensuring each one had a beautiful, personalized hand-painted note thanking them for their interest. My mother is an artist by career and has instilled in me the value of handmade, creative touches and personalization. I believe this went a long way, particularly when we were first starting out and introducing ourselves to distributors.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

We have a few fun things in the works! Not only are we expanding our market availability, we have some new product offerings in the pipeline that we’re excited to share more on in early 2023!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

While we want to offer a great product with Suntide, one of the core reasons we started the brand was to get people celebrating together and enjoying the present moment with their loved ones. We want to have our product help create moments that encourage people to put down their phones and enjoy each other’s company and the places they’re in with the people they love. If we can facilitate these moments — both big and small — we’ve done our job.

Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

I have a huge family, but my grandfather was dedicated to each of us! He bought over twenty copies of Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki for each of his grandchildren and other family members in between. As I was growing up, it was interesting to learn the idea behind money making money and how to make money work for you. I’ve taken tidbits of this book as I grew up and started a business of my own.

Can you share 5 of the most difficult and most rewarding parts of being a “Twenty-something founder.” Please share an example or story for each.

Gaining confidence. Growing up, I was really shy and rarely raised my hand in class. This process has instilled confidence in both myself and my ideas. I’ve had to get comfortable speaking up — especially in a male-dominated field!

Getting through the “figure it out” stage. I have always had a lot of ideas, but often wound up at the “now what?” stage. I’ve learned that you can have the best idea in the world, but no one is just going to give you money. It’s important to develop a gameplan. It was a really interesting and really hard stage for me. I entered into Suntide with no idea how to get a drink into a can, how to develop flavors, how to source ingredients, how to work with vendors and the legality of it all. It taught me to reach out to everyone I knew and to really invest myself into getting literate in the industry in every way possible.

Balancing your personal and professional life. Having a thriving personal life is core to my creativity. While there’s been busier times launching Suntide, I’ve learned to prioritize balance so that I can remain creative and focused in the professional realm.

Building and growing a network. As I mentioned, my network has been really key to building Suntide. It’s been rewarding to see years of networking pay off in big ways. I’m very thankful to the people in my circle for helping me in every way.

The power of persistence. As I tapped my network and as I identified ways to grow Suntide, persistence has been key. I’ve learned follow up emails are not annoying and that persistence is what it takes to move the needle forward.

What are the main takeaways that you would advise a twenty-year-old who is looking to found a business?

I have a few key takeaways, but two of my top ones are:

Be persistent. There’s power to a follow up email, to sticking with an idea and to pushing through challenges.

Tap your network. It’s humbling, but it can be important to recognize your naivete. Look at your circle and rely on people with tangible experience to help you learn, grow and develop. These people can help you overcome hurdles and help you develop into a leader and better business owner.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I would love to connect with Rob Machado, professional surfer, environmentalist, businessman and musician. He’s developed a great brand around himself that extends beyond surfing and represents a sense of community, especially in the San Diego area. I believe he’d offer great insight on how Suntide could interact with the San Diego community, and I’d love to hear his general long term career advice too.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!