Episode 100: Big News for A Bar Above!

by | May 24, 2017 | 5 comments

The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode One Hundred

Listen in for an update on a new “baby business” as well as what to expect in future podcast episodes.

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The Big Announcement!

No, don’t worry – we’re not having another kid (as far as I know!) Today’s big announcement is all about a new project Chris and I have been working on for a few years now – and something you may have seen hinted at around this site!

What is it?

We’ve launched a bar tool brand, called Top Shelf Bar Supply. 

Why Bar Tools?

Good question! When we started A Bar Above and the Mixology Talk Podcast, we had no intention of starting a bar tools company. But we kept getting questions from our listeners, asking about which bar tools they should buy. I always wanted to refer them to Amazon because of the free shipping (and because, full disclosure, we get a small commission when we send folks to Amazon.) But there just weren’t any quality bar tools available.

So we waited. Years went by and still, we just didn’t see bartender-quality stuff on Amazon. So we finally decided to do something about it!

Find us on Amazon!

Right now we don’t have a storefront of our own – you’ll only find our products for sale on Amazon. That may change in the future, but for now we’re starting there. You can check out our full lineup of tools (so far) below!

So, what are we selling?

First, a really good stainless steel Boston Shaker:

This was my #1 pet peeve. Nobody on Amazon was selling an all-stainless Boston Shaker set. And nobody had the size and weighted combination that we preferred. After years behind the bar, Chris knew his preferred set was 18oz unweighted + 28oz weighted. It’s big enough for two cocktails, seals fantastically well and is still easy to open.

So we went ahead and got one made, ran it through the dishwasher about a thousand times, and sent it to Chris’ restaurant clients for testing. It passed with flying colors! So we liquidated a bunch of our (dwindling) savings and placed an order for 1,000 sets.

The sets were released on Amazon in August 2016, and we sold out in less than two months! It was a great sign. We’ve slowly been able to grow our order sizes to try to stay in stock – something we struggle with to this day!

Classy Stainless Cocktail Picks

Chris got a set of cocktail picks as a gift many years ago, but we couldn’t find the same set in stores or on Amazon. So we asked around and found a factory that could help us. Meanwhile I worked with a packaging designer to create a box design that would look nice and protect fingers from the pointy end of these picks.

The set came together nicely and we released it just in time for Christmas 2016. It’s incredibly rewarding to see all of the positive feedback we’ve received on these picks!

The Whole Shebang: A Complete Craft Bar Kit

There were loads of bar sets available, but not a single one had the components we’d expect for a craft bar to need: a julep strainer, a quality spoon, a boston shaker, and a fine strainer. So our third product (this one cleared out the rest of our savings completely) was this Craft Bar Kit.

Also, look at that sweet box! Once again, our box designer does an amazing job. This product isn’t designed for bartenders so much as bartenders buying gifts for their family. If you want to learn to make craft cocktails, this kit has you covered!

… We may or may not have given a few of these away as our own Christmas presents last year… #dontjudgeme!

Dressing up your Highball with 8″ Cocktail Picks

We took a bit of a chance on this one. As far as I know, this product didn’t exist anywhere for sale before we made them. But why not have longer cocktail picks for tall drinks? We spoke with our Pick factory and asked them to make a custom batch of longer style picks for us. Here’s the results! (Set of 6 and set of 12).

Chris has played with them a bit in cocktails and they are a really fun way to play up your highball garnishes. We’ll have to see if they catch on!

The Ultimate Bomb-Proof Barmat

OK, that might be a bit of an overstatement. But Chris always tells me how annoying the traditional rubber bar mats are. Over time, they warp, twist and crack and become unusable. Worse yet? I did some research and found out that technically barmats don’t need to be made with rubber that’s safe for touching food – and many aren’t. Personally, I’m always setting down garnishes and tools that touch my food!

Enter: This Epic Barmat

We solved both problems in one fell swoop. We made a super thick, heavy duty barmat with silicone instead of rubber. That makes it far more durable for long-term use, makes it completely safe for food contact, and also avoids that rubbery smell. Win-win-win. The one downside is that it costs WAY more to make the mat from Silicone instead of rubber. (like 2-3x as much in material cost.) So we’ve priced it accordingly.

I’m curious to see if people really want a high end barmat, and if they are willing to pay extra for it. Time will tell!

And coming (very) Soon: Our very own Custom Hawthorne Strainer

Our shipment is en route to Amazon as we speak! I expect this one to be available for sale in just a couple of days. Let me tell you: this thing is gorgeous. Chris designed it from scratch to be extremely ergonomic, fitting perfectly in the hand and straining beautifully without being any bigger than it had to be.

You have to admit, that’s a fine looking strainer, no? Bear with us on the photos, the professional product photos are still forthcoming. But I think you can get the idea of it!

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