My friend and fellow blogger Robert Lehrman, knowing of my interest in matters dealing with Brooklyn and Booze, introduced me to Jack Summers. Jack and his partners, Tim Kealey and Alan Camlet, own a startup business called Jack From Brooklyn. You can find them here.
Just another start up, you say. That’s right, but unlike most, these guys have the street smarts and entrepreneurial drive to break away from the pack and become real winners. For those of you who doubt it, as we used to say in Brooklyn, “Wanna bet?”
What they have in common with the other micro distilleries, microbrewers and the like is a presence in a part of New York City that’s conducive to new ventures and the sense to avail themselves of the state’s tax and fee incentives.
But Jack From Brooklyn has way more going for it.
Let’s start with the product. Unlike all the others, they are not producing an artisanal vodka or whiskey. Their product is a brand called Sorel and it’s a liqueur/vodka specialty. In a review in Wine Enthusiast, it was referred to it as, “A hibiscus-spiked liqueur that evokes Caribbean spice and sunshine.”
Here’s how JFB describes Sorel:
The natives of the Caribbean islands have long known the hibiscus plant to be a potent spice. Renown for its curative properties…they would ferment its flowers, and serve on festive occasions. Each island enjoyed slight differences in their recipes, relative to their indigenous horticulture.
It is with great respect for its traditional heritage we present a modern twist on
an exotic classic:
The brightness of Brazilian clove. The warmth of Indonesian cassia. The heat of Nigerian ginger. The woody bottom of Indonesian nutmeg. The full, aromatic body of Moroccan hibiscus. Pure cane sugar. The finest 100% organic NY grain alcohol.
I think it tastes great, both as an aperitif and in a cocktail.
The other interesting aspect of their venture is the smart way they have approached marketing and distribution. In New York, a supplier can get a wholesalers’ license for their own brand. So, instead of being one of a bazillion brands in a salesperson’s book, they are masters of their own fate. And, hooking up with a delivery company, they are freed up to do the marketing and selling without running all over the city. Told you they were smart.
Here’s the thing. I’ve asked the JFB folks if I can “follow” them and report about their venture on a periodic basis. What I have in mind is a reality TV show via my blog. They have agreed, so stay tuned for more about the Jack From Brooklyn journey.