Allison Evanow was sleeping one summer night when it hit her. She woke up next morning, turned to her husband and said, “I have this crazy idea.”
Already working in the spirits industry, Evanow had noticed a “sophisticated and energized cocktail movement.” Bartenders were using fresh, organic ingredients and taking a “chef-like approach” to making cocktails. All this, but they were still using “industrial-brand spirits.”
Evanow drew up a business plan that fall. Now her company, Square One Organic Spirits, works with an organic farming co-op in Montana that grows rye organically. The fermenting and distilling processes have to meet organic standards.
Because the spirits industry is highly regulated, Evanow’s biggest hurdle was distribution. Her best tactic was to introduce the brand in person at cocktail bars. Within six months, she had opened 100 restaurant accounts and gotten Square One named on menus, “all based on the fact that it was organic.”
— Adapted from “How to build a $1 million business,” interview with Jane Bennett Clark, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.