Collingswood-based bottled cocktail maker Brody’s Crafted Cocktails nabbed a spot in BevNet’s inaugural Cocktail Showdown slated for Aug. 12.
Owner Cristy Neunson launched the product in stores just two months ago and, after already winning awards for all five of its cocktail offerings, made it into the Top 10 of entrants to go head-to-head in a virtual competition judged by Tony Abou-Ganim, owner of bar gadget company The Modern Mixologist; Molly Horn, manager of cocktail strategy at liquor store chain Total Wine & More; and Heili Dillon Otto, managing director of global beverage investment company Distill Venture North America.
Neunson launched the line in May with her husband John Neunson and beverage professional Ken Dee. The 16% to 25% ABV cocktails are sold at liquor stores across New Jersey and online to 31 states nationally.
It all started a year and a half ago when Neunson was on the quest to find the perfect combination for her favorite cocktail, the French 75.
“I don’t drink wine or beer, so I was trying to find that cocktail that I could enjoy celebrating with friends. The problem is, my husband perfected it in my kitchen, but I couldn’t bring it anywhere,” she said. “I’m sure there are many people like me who would like to enjoy this out with friends or by the beach or something like that, so Brody’s was born.”
Launching was a team effort. Both her husband and Dee worked in the beverage industry, and their connections and knowledge came in handy in regard to sourcing and talking to the right people. Her daughter, a graphic designer, designed the label.
Neunson worked in the nonprofit sector and she knew as soon as Brody’s was created that it had to be a mission-driven business.
“Brody is a combination of all our founders’ dog’s names, and 5% of our proceeds goes to animals,” she said. “Our product’s a lot about connection, celebrating the little things in life. When we think of who’s been with us through thick and thin, it’s our companions, our dogs.”
Turn the bottle over and on the back, you’ll see photos of all the founders’ pooches: Penny, Tebo, Bernard and Rocco.
Shaken or stirred
Brody’s offers five flavors. The minted mule is their take on the popular Moscow mule and is minty and gingery with both vodka and lime. French 75 has notes of bright juniper gin with tart lemon and star anise. Air Mail is a rum cocktail infused with honey, lime and aromatic bitters.
While those three are twists on classics, the Black Orchid and Touch of Grey are John Neunson originals. Black Orchid is a vodka cocktail with black raspberry, citrus and violet; and Touch of Grey is a gin cocktail with black tea, bergamot, black raspberry and honey.
Neunson’s sipped some of the competing cocktails, and plans to try them all before competition day.
“We’re excited to be in this competition with the companies we’re in it with. We’re proud to have made it to the finals, I’m nervous but excited, and I can’t wait to do it,” she said.
The winner of the Cocktail Showdown gets a $10,000 advertising package with BevNet.