Check out the full shop at: jackrudycocktailco.bigcartel.com
BC: What is the story behind Jack Rudy Cocktail Co?
JR: Jack Rudy began as a no-named side hobby of making my own tonic. When it began, I never once considered selling it. I’m a huge fan of a great Gin & Tonic, and couldn’t find, at the time, any great, artisanal tonics. Moreover, I am a southern boy, and the southern heat in the summer can be stifling. Nothing beats it back and keeps the soul alive like a cold G&T on a porch.
I researched tonic, its history, and the ingredients that are common in most tonics. What I found was the presence of a lot of junk that I didn’t want to continue putting into my body. I developed my own recipe and began serving it at the restaurant I was managing. Overnight people really latched on to the experience - and this was before the idea of “artisan tonic” was really a thing. It became a cornerstone of the beverage program and one of the most popular drinks on the menu.
People started asking to buy it, and we would occasionally sell it to them in a plastic container. When the requests grew, I thought: why not try to bottle it and see if any other restaurants would want to sell it? My expectations were as low as you can imagine, but before I knew it, we were selling to a few restaurants in town. From there, we had some interest from some press outlets, and it just grew organically into this very wonderful little start-up.
BC: With such a unique product, what do you do for marketing?
JR: This always comes as the biggest shock to everyone. We have been featured in NY Times, Wall Street Journal (Twice), Garden & Gun, Bon Appetit, Wallpaper Magazine, Time Out New York, and tons of other amazing press outlets - all without any marketing. The company is literally myself and one other person, and we both still have full time jobs. We don’t have time to do any marketing, so I think it’s a testament to the quality of the product, that so many amazing people have sought us out to share us with their readers. And the crazy thing is - it hasn’t stopped. We have a ton of other great things in the pipeline - awards we have won and such - all without any marketing efforts. It blows me away.
BC: Do you have any other products in the pipeline?
JR: Yes. We have developed a bar towel in collaboration with Alabama Chanin, that we will sell through our website. We have two other syrups in the making, as well, but we’re keeping quiet about those until they are perfect.
BC: You have just one product in a beautifully customized store - can you talk about putting so much effort into selling the one product?
JR: The branding and packaging of Jack Rudy is a very important part of the company, and we are very careful that everything surrounding the product gives a sense of being classic, time tested, high quality and carefully considered. When we were putting together the website, I encouraged the designers to reach for simple, classic, clean design that showcased this quality bar staple we were producing. We had so many people interested in purchasing the tonic from outside of South Carolina, and I wanted that web experience to give them a sense of the company.
BC: How did you choose Big Cartel for powering your online shop?
JR: A friend with another great company, Proud Mary, recommended it, as she uses it to power her store, as well. It’s been easy to use, well designed, and interacted seamlessly with PayPal, which was important.