Hella Cocktail Co. leans into values to grow

Retail Gets Real episode 208: Co-founder and CEO Jomaree Pinkard on meeting customers where they are

While most people aren’t crowding bars these days, Hella Cocktail Company co-founder and CEO Jomaree Pinkard still believes it’s possible to create jovial drinking experiences with the help of our favorite beverages. Hella Cocktail Co. makes cocktail mixers and bitters that are sold online and through partner retail stores across the United States, and even offered on Delta Airlines flights.

Before the pandemic, at least half of Hella Cocktail’s business came from the foodservice and hospitality industry. As the pandemic began last year, Pinkard said the company took a step back and leaned into its values of diversity, giving and community to recenter itself. Hella Cocktail Co. leveraged online communities on Instagram and Facebook, talking one-on-one with customers to meet needs where they were.

“We're continually listening to our consumers, gathering data and insights, and then building a community around that,” Pinkard says.

Discovering that consumers value choice, Hella Cocktail Co. expanded from a bitters-only business to offering mixers and ready-to-drink beverages. During the pandemic, the company started a program called The Bar Chronicles, which paid out-of-work bartenders for a virtual shift teaching the audience how to make cocktails using Hella Cocktail products.

Listen to this episode of Retail Gets Real to learn how Hella Cocktail is creating a blueprint for other minority businesses and paying it forward through access to knowledge, tools and service.

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