Two young entrepreneurs with central Ohio ties are hoping a wider audience soon will appreciate Sech's appeal.

Two young entrepreneurs with central Ohio ties are hoping a wider audience soon will appreciate Sech's appeal.

The adult-beverage company with an adult name was founded by Ohio University and Ohio State University students in 2014.

The duo currently live and operate the business out of New Albany.

OU student Mason Estep -- a 2011 graduate of Olentangy High School -- said the idea came to him after he noticed a trend of wines and other alcoholic beverages with slightly naughty names.

"They're talking about sex, but they're not really getting to the point," he said. "Our generation is very blunt."

Estep, 23, said he thought millennials would appreciate an alcoholic beverage with a more-direct moniker. He researched trademarks and found no one held the rights to Sech, German for six.

Shea Wilson -- a 2011 graduate of Dublin Jerome High School -- was eager to partner with Estep on a venture after the duo met at OU.

"We always had the common bond of wanting to be entrepreneurs," he said. "He thought up the idea and I thought it was great. I said, 'Let's go forward with this.' "

Estep and his partners registered the trademark, found investors and developed the formula for Sech's -- a berry-flavored malt beverage that approximates the taste of a Shirley Temple. After months of legal and regulatory wrangling, production began last fall and Sech's hit its first stores in December.

Since then, customers have purchased about 15,000 cans of Sech's.

Initially sold around OSU and OU's campuses, Sech's now is available at neighborhood bars and drive-thrus across suburban Columbus. Businesses that sell the beverage in the Lewis Center area include the 23 Drive Thru off U.S. Route 23 and Lazelle Beer and Wine Drive Thru on Lazelle Road.

Estep said pending a deal with a distributor, the product could be available statewide by the end of the year.

He said the company plans to expand to other states, with an initial focus on the areas surrounding schools within the Big Ten Conference.

"We've had multiple (industry) insiders tell us this is going to be a nationwide product within three years, but it just takes time," he said.

Estep said the first reaction to the product is usually a question about how to pronounce its name -- or a look of surprise.

"They try it and they're like: This is way better than the other stuff that's on the shelf," he said.

Wilson, 23, said the name is playful without being "too raunchy."

"Working with this company and developing it has been 10 times more valuable than any internship or any class I could have taken," he said.

Estep and Wilson said the quality of the educations they received in Dublin and Olentangy schools gave them a head start on success in college and business.

"That pushed us ahead," Estep said.

Along with wider distribution, Estep said a new flavor is in the works. He said the company conducted focus groups on various flavors at sorority houses and Morning Sech's Mimosa was the clear winner.

Estep said the new flavor could be available in the fall or early 2017.