Saturday, August 18, 2007

Enter the "Square Off" Organic Cocktail Competition


In case you haven't been paying attention, fake flavored, syrupy cocktails are out, and fresh ingredient cocktails are in! Our friends over at CHOW.com with the support of local San Francisco non-profit Om Organics are helping showcase fresh ingredient organic cocktails by hosting the 1st Annual "Square Off" organic cocktail competition. Online entry deadline is August 31st, so enter fast! Open to both professionals and amatuers, the winner from each of those two categories will come out to San Francisco in September to compete head to head in front of a live audience. To enter as a competitor or to buy tickets to the online event go to www.chow.com/squareoff.

As you've heard us say before, we are a small artisanal spirits company going up against the big brands with big dollars but we are happy to say that consumers out there are smart, and know when they see and taste an authentic and top-quality product that goes beyond marketing hype. That has been repeated back to us time and time again by our customers in the restaurants, bars and retailer across the country and the consumers too. Being entrepreneurs in a competitive space is tough, but thanks to feedback like that and the support of so many people out there like our Make Mine a Million and Count Me In supporters, we are winding down summer with a splash, heading into the fall season lots of fun things to do, like the Square Off cocktail competition. Come out and join us and visit our fair city of San Francisco at the best time of year (fogless) - September!

Cheers!

Friday, July 27, 2007

NOLA - Tales of the Cocktail - Whew!!!!



All you have to do is do a Google search for "Tales of the Cocktail" and you'll see tons of posts from spirits journalists, bloggers, consumers, mixologists and a few other fun folks who were all part of Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans July 18-23rd. All the "greats" in the biz were there - Gary Regan, Dale Degroff, Tony Abou-Ganim, David Wondrich, and more than I can mention. A lot of up and comers in the biz were also there, and might I say, a nice presence of awesome female mixologists, journalists and spirits lovers. It was a great time and we all felt that in our own little way, we were helping New Orleans by being there, and by tipping heavily of course . . .

Square One Organic Vodka, in keeping with our approach to Culinary Cocktails (something akin to bringing your kitchen skills to the bar) was a proud sponsor of a seminar entitled "From Farm to Glass, Greenmarket Mixology". Together with an incredibly talented Allen Katz, a NY-based mixologist and director of Slow Food NY, along with Ann Baker and Warren Smith -local Louisiana farmers - and Lorin Gaudin as our esteemed moderator, we chatted with the audience about organics (Square One of course) and the rapid rise of fresh ingredient cocktails. Apple martinis that taste like apples, not a Jolly Rancher for example! It was refreshing to hear the comments after the seminar that people now understand why we go to such painstaking lengths to make our organic rye vodka under such costly and restrictive standards. If you are going fresh (and hopefully organic), then you should go with top quality spirits as well, and we fit that bill.

Our Brand Ambassador and Mixologist, H. Joseph Ehrmann was all over town. He mixed some amazing cocktails under the guidance of Allen Katz and fellow mixologist colleague Francesco Lafranconi for a "Spirited Dinner" we attended at Giovanni's in the French Quarter. Drinks you can't even BEGIN to fathom. When we finally shut the place down and were all walking back to the hotel for our nightcap, Francesco wheeled out a "bar kit" that was bigger than most trunks. That is when I knew that the trend towards culinary cocktails is here to stay, and is no longer a trend!

H. (as all of his friends and fellow mixologists call him) was also an invited participant in a really fun Bar Chef competition hosted by Mr. King Cocktail himself, Dale Degroff, and Kevin Brauch from the Food Network TV Show "The Thirsty Traveler". Alongside 5 other top-notch mixologists, he gave it his all, but alas, did not come out on top. That honor went to Bridget Albert, one of the best mixologists from the Windy City. She made the girls proud! Be on the lookout for it on Food Network TV soon.

Heading into the fall, we have lots more going on, so stay tuned to our entrepreneurial endeavors in the world of spirits and cocktails!

Cheers!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Summer is Here - Time for Farmer's Market Cocktails!


With the arrival of summer comes the bounty of the amazing organic foods available at Farmer's Markets all over the country. In Northern California we get some things just a little earlier than others, so we've already jumped into the refreshing cocktail season. But with a firm foot in June, the rest of the country now can get their hands on great organic ingredients at their local farmer's markets.

Just like with my cooking, summer herbs start enticing me to cook up light, refreshing dishes. Mint, basil - traditional, lemon and Thai basil -, cilantro, thyme and a few others are my favorites. Most people would not think that these culinary herbs are also perfect for cocktails, but with very little extra effort, you can turn a classic (or almost classic!) cocktail into a unique culinary cocktail. Our current favorites are the "Spajito" - a cucumber-infused vodka riff on the traditionally rum-based mojito, the Basil Gimlet (you can use any variation of basil for a different taste. Try the Thai Basil Gimlet with Asian fusion cuisine!) and the Wild Berry Lemonade (with thyme). All of these easy recipes can be downloaded from our website at http://squareonevodka.com/TownSquare/TS_MixologyArt/TS_cocktailcreations.html

OK, now with the fun part of our business out of the way, since this is a business blog on the trials and tribulations of our entrepreneurial journey, I guess I should stop talking about cocktails and start talking shop! As this is a public blog, I can't give away too many details, but let's just say that things are pretty dandy right now on the Square One biz. The team has spread out and hit most of the country in the last month or two, kicking off new markets, attending high profile mixology events with some of the top mixologists from Portland, Atlanta, NYC, San Francisco, Philly and other cities, and attending a green event or two.

As we've said before, we try to go beyond organic and be a green company whenever we can. We announced a month ago that we would start tracking all of our airmiles and buy carbon offsets to help reduce our negative footprint on the earth from all the travel we've been doing. If the term "carbon offset" is new to you, please spend a minute or two learning about it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_offset.

Keeping with the green theme, and in support of the non-profits trying to do their part, we are a proud sponsor of the summer fundraising events for Trust for Public Land, Parks for People program. Events will be held in several Kimpton Hotel properties in major U.S. cities. Proceeds from the benefit events will help create and preserve public parks in urban areas. To learn more or donate to TPL, please visit their website at www.tpl.org

We also have some pretty fun things up our sleeve. While we can't reveal the flavor profile yet, we are soon to release two additions to our organic spirits line later this summer. We're pretty darn sure that what we have done has never been done by anybody else, and certainly not while remaining fully certified organic along the way. So we like to remind people that we are small, but we sure are mighty when it comes to new ideas, innovation and the sweat to make it happen. So stay tuned and check our an upcoming post for the reveal!

Enjoy your summer cocktails and don't forget to support your local Farmer's Markets!

Cheers,
Allison

Monday, March 19, 2007

Catching a Breath







It is funny how people tell you when you decide to start your own business about how time-consuming it will be, and you think somehow it won't be all that bad. The statement "ignorance is bliss" was created by some all-knowing being that the human race needed to be delusional if it were to take on all that we do! Honestly, I have never worked so hard in my life. But just as honestly, I am still having the time of my life. Thankfully the ignorance got me far down the path before I realized how much work starting your own business would really be, and now I wouldn't change it for the world. Better that I didn't know before I started or else . . .



This introduction was my excuse for not blogging in quite some time. As part of the great group of women who won the "Make Mine a Million" award, we are all asked to blog monthly and we try to show the competition's sponsors that we deserved that award by blogging about all our ventures as businesswomen and making our colleagues, family, friends and fellow entrepreneurs proud. It's just that there aren't enough hours in the day to do it all.

So here, trying to catch up on my blogging, and almost on the eve of our one year anniversary as a company, I am proud to say that so far, we have beaten many of the statistics of new businesses, and have not only survived, but flourished. Square One Organic Vodka is for sale in about 20 states and just named a distributor in Canada and continues to expand. We've added a marketing manager, a sales director and some other sales partnerships.
We've been fortunate enough to serve some delicious organic cocktails, using Square One and organic Numi tea, at such luminary events as Global Green USA's pre-Oscars party in Hollywood. I didn't get to go to the event as I was on the East Coast kicking off a new market, but some of my colleagues went and followed Salma Hayek, Leo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom and Penelope Cruz around while they sipped our Rainforest Green-tea-nis. Check it out!
So let's face it, we are working hard, but we are having fun too. Thanks, I'll have another cocktail please!