Dearest friends, I apologize for the extended delay between posts! It has definitely been too long. Never a dull moment around here as it seems.
Since I last posted, almost everything has changed about our business. Sadly, after several months of partnership, Cocktail Kingdom Logistics shut down their entire juice/ice/glassware operation on February 12th after two years serving the spirits community in NYC…thus taking our partnership with it. Fortunately the timing of the split coincided perfectly with some big changes I wanted to make to the business model that would have been difficult to execute while partnered.
While there is clearly demand for cocktail batching on the B2B side, there are lots of challenges to executing custom cocktails for every single event. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for standardization for months, and am finally convinced that the answer is to launch B2C utilizing the same concept of ‘just add spirits’ to complete the cocktail. There’s a whole bunch of other elements in our secret sauce, but what I’ll share for now is the new objective, to be the ‘Blue Apron for cocktails’ (prototype packaging above)….More on this later.
Of the various actions I’ve taken to achieve this objective, the most significant would be that I applied to a food incubator called Brooklyn Foodworks and got in, and an accelerator called Food-X, which provides you with 3 months of mentorship, $50,000, and an opportunity to pitch to VC’s at the end of the 3 months. I’m days away from hearing a verdict, (we made it into the top 10% of applicants) but even if Swig + Swallow doesn’t get in, the experience has already been invaluable. I have had so many friends and acquaintances come out of the woodwork to help me prepare, not only am I incredibly fortunate (and grateful for that good fortune) but I’m also much more well informed and excited to learn more. I’ve had VC and founder friends coaching me through financial projections and comparables, friends who run food mail-order businesses talk me through logistics and refrigeration, and branding and cocktail folk talk me through the idea, poke holes, and experiment with my prototypes.
Additionally, and possibly most significantly, Food-X’s requirement for 2+ founder companies forced me to seek out a co-founder, and I am thrilled to announce that I found someone brilliant to come on as my co-founder. I can’t explain how exciting it is to find someone who also wants to build this dream, it’s truly a blessing.
So, I’ll keep you posted on Food-X. If we don’t get in, we’re still going to grow and build and find financing some other way. Adaptability is the name of the game.
Until then, a few other housekeeping items:
Finally we have a public link for a mailing list! To sign up for Swig + Swallow Updates click here, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email. For cocktail class updates please click here and enter your email.
MY UPDATED COCKTAIL CLASSES
I’ve been really bad about updating public classes on www.aprilwachtel.com, but finally entered those that are scheduled through March. Likely more will be added, but this is the current roundup.
If anyone is looking for some fun and informative Whisk(e)y education in the upcoming week, my friend Francine Cohen is helping organize the Whiskies and Spirits Conference on Tuesday the 23rd and Whisky Live on Wednesday the 24th. Industry friends save 20% on tickets for Whisky Live with the code tradeny !!
WHISKIES AND SPIRITS CONFERENCE
Expect no-holds barred conversations, tough questions answered with candor, and a roadmap to brand success. This is what takes place at the annual Whiskies and Spirits conference and explains why taking the pulse of the spirits industry at this annual gathering entices spirits industry leaders take the day off and gather here. Nowhere else during the year can they come together and so thoroughly explore the state and growth of their products along with challenges, successes and future plans for building, positioning, marketing and growing their brands. Attendees get full access to an unparalleled view into the world of whiskies and spirits at this trade-only conference; a place in which to mingle with marketing, branding and strategically focused colleagues as they take part of this unique and unvarnished conversation about the state of the whiskies and the spirits world. Whiskies and Spirits Conference. Tuesday, February 23rd at Chelsea Piers - Pier 59 from 8 AM-3:30 PM. Tickets: www.whiskiesandspiritsconferenceusa.com.
WHISKY LIVE NY
Come enjoy 300 of the world's best whiskies (plus exclusive pours in VIP), full buffet, master classes, whiskey cocktails, live music, chocolate pairings, and more. Warm up with whiskies in February at Whisky Live NY on February 24th, 6-10 PM, Chelsea Piers Pier Sixty. Tickets at: www.whiskyliveusa.com