Enterprising entrepreneur Lawrence Cisneros (JD 2014)

Julie Riggott • February 8, 2024
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As Lawrence Cisneros (JD 2014) tells it, Drnxmyth — the world’s first fresh-bottled cocktail — was a challenging and perhaps unlikely entrepreneurial venture. Luckily, he had a USC Gould education backing him up.

“I started a capital-intensive, intellectual property-heavy business in a highly regulated industry during a recession when I was 26 with no industry experience and no money,” he says. “So yeah, the degree was one of the only things I had going for me.

“In particular, having investors trust you with their cash at such a young age would likely have not been possible,” he says. Plus, his courses helped him navigate everything from patents and trademarks to alcohol regulatory law and venture capital financing; while professors like Michael Roster, Ron Goldie and Michael Chasalow have advised and mentored him throughout the process. “My VC law professor, Chris Schoff, ended up representing the VC firm that was our first VC investment. He invited me back to class one day, and we did a mock shark tank for the class, which was a blast.”

Cisneros’ initial interest was in criminal law and becoming a public defender, as a way to help the Latino community. “Over time I thought trying to figure out how to make a lot of money and give it back would be more impactful.”

Lawrence Cisneros (JD 2014)

While in school, he started a few unsuccessful ventures, and then landed on the idea for Drnxmyth, which he developed in 2013 with Brandon Schwartz, who earned his BS from the USC Marshall School of Business. Challenges included inventing new packaging — “a patented bottle technology that separates spirits from cold pressed juices inside a two-chamber bottle, so the consumer rotates the bottom chamber to freshly mix a cocktail.” Then, finding a new supply chain. “No distillery or alcohol manufacturer in the U.S. had the ability or regulatory license to handle fresh juices.”

Since fresh juice goes bad quickly, they use a pressure-technology to stabilize the cocktails for up to eight months without heat pasteurization or preservatives. “It’s a technology widely used throughout the world, but with its first application in the alcohol industry in our company.” Finally, they had to convince early investors they could pull all this off without a product in hand.

“A lot of ‘firsts’ but all were necessary to create what we initially thought was a simple but powerful idea — and something people in the industry only dreamt of and believed was impossible. They just didn’t have the fortitude to fight on,” Cisneros says.

Cisneros was invited in 2022 to speak on a panel on different paths in law. There, Cisneros met Lori Lilly (JD 1995), senior VP of legal at Live Nation, and gave her some samples. “I asked her if she could make some introductions to LiveNation people, and she did without hesitation,” he says. “Long story short, we’re going to supply cocktails, in a string of concerts over the next year, starting at Skyline, a 20K-person concert produced by Insomniac at Expo Park. Who knows what’s next?”

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