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BittermensAG

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Everything posted by BittermensAG

  1. It sounds like a proprietary cocktail from a single bar. If I was going to guess - try making a Tom Collins, but switch in Raki (or if you can’t find that, Ouzo) for the gin.
  2. The Gentiane des Pères Chartreux is a great gentian liqueur - I think they probably use 40-50% more gentian in their maceration in comparison to products like Aveze and Salers, which feel very light and refreshing. It's got a great backbone and really stands up in a cocktail. The HB Gentiane de Lure is fantastic and one of the products I wish we could regularly get in the states. However, it's not a liqueur - it's a aromatized/fortified wine. So, it's more of an analogue to products like Cocchi Americano than a true liqueur like the Gentiane des Pères Chartreux.
  3. Psst... not to self promote or anything, but don't forget about the Amère Sauvage. We may make it here in New York, but the wild, organic gentian we use comes right from Eastern France as well!
  4. Regarding our "pricing strategy" - what we charge is just representative of what it costs us to both make the product and launch the brand. One of the things that people don't always know about when it comes to spirits is that every state where we ship requires us to register the brand and the labels at our cost. Many of these states also require bonds and monthly excise tax payments. Just to give you a round idea, we've put in over $15,000 just into registration fees (which we'll never see again). We're a self-funded company. There are no partners with deep pockets - which means we produce a batch and count on getting payment in from our distributors so we can pay off the bottles (which is an extremely high cost component) so we can put in another batch. When we've grown to the point that we're producing 10x the amount of what we produce now and we've paid off all of our starting expenses, it's possible that the price will start to go down. We certainly don't want price to be a barrier for folks to purchase our spirits, but at the same time, we have to make sure that we're pricing it in a manner that we can stay in business.
  5. The Peppercake is one of our experimentals and only made in very small quantities (mostly because it's damned expensive to make and a real pain to filter). We'll have some more available on December 1.
  6. Oh, and if anybody in Washington or Oregon is looking for our spirits - we can be ordered by special order from any liquor store. We won't be in the state systems until the first order goes through, but then orders will process pretty quickly!
  7. You can taste them at AyA and have drinks made with them, but AyA doesn't have liquor store license. I don't think you can actually legally hold a liquor store and a bar/restaurant license at the same physical premises (though you can hold a grocery/beer sale license and a beer store license... very strange). Luckily, Astor is stumbling distance away!
  8. By the way - thanks to the great folks at Astor Wines and DrinkUpNY.com, all of the Bittermens Spirits are now available and shippable around the country! Our CA/NV distributor has an allocation en route to their warehouses, MA will ship shortly (once our state certificate comes in). Next week, we should be ready to ship to our European and Asian distributors as well.
  9. OK, thanks! Definitely interested if I can find a source. So, the good news is that later this week, we'll be able to name a great online liquor store who ships to 46 states (sorry, TX, WV, NV and MA). For Nevada, our shipment to our distributor is heading out this week as we have received back our brand registration certificate from the state - and we should get clearance from Massachusetts to ship to our distributor there by next week at the latest. Any Texan bartenders out there have a recommendation for a good boutique distributor?
  10. How in the hell did I miss that drink? Time to do a little tinkering behind the bar with the new Bittermens Amère Sauvage Gentiane to see how it works in this cocktail. It's time for a night of inebriation in the name of research!
  11. I've always used a little bit of citric acid and the smallest pinch of salt when using the fast extraction with mint... I found it accentuated the mint flavor and stabilized it by preventing rapid oxidation.
  12. Sorry to sound a bit defensive, but I have no idea what point you're trying to make here. The product name is "Amère Nouvelle" - looking at the bottle sitting right next to me. It wasn't just pulled out of our asses - we worked with industry folks and journalists that are native Francophones, as well as our Parisian importers before deciding on a name and they all agreed that it was grammatically correct and preferred the name in the feminine instead of the masculine "Amer Nouveau". And for those asking why we killed the burnt caramel from the recipe, we aren't making a Picon clone. We are exploring the Alsatian orange/gentian flavor profile and worked to create a complex bitter liqueur that is designed to work in cocktails as well as on its own (or simply added to beer). Our take after many prototypes (some with burnt caramel, some without) was that, though it may result in a more familiar color, caramelized sugar made for a less interesting and useful product. I know I may sound a bit harsh here - maybe it's just fatigue from the regulatory issues of launching a liqueur line. I really do want to get feedback from folks that have tried the products, and I promise not to be defensive then!
  13. Dan, I couldn't have said it better myself. Avery
  14. Wait until you try the real Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters - it's our original grapefruit formula, now produced in Brooklyn, not produced under license by TBT.
  15. Wow - swing and a miss there. There's no tax or licensing loop-hole that is attached to the term "Bitters". In fact, "bitters" doesn't even exist as a category with the TTB on the nonbeverage alcohol side. Bitters fall under the designation of "Flavorings and Flavoring Extracts" from a tax perspective. If the formulation is either evaluated by the Nonbeverage Lab of the TTB to be not suitable for drinking, or if your formulation passes the self-assessment criteria, then it's considered a food product and taxed as such. Bitters, as the name states, are there to provide additional bitterness. The cocktail world has just confused the word "bitters" with "tinctures", which can just as easily qualify as nonbeverage alcohol as they can pass the unsuitability tests, even if they do not deliver bitterness. This just shows what happens when we are sloppy with language - we end up with engineers that don't work with engines and bitters that just aren't bitter. What's next? Apothecaries that can't dispense prescriptions? (and yes, that was meant as a joke, not a dig... I may be a bitters maker, but I'm not that bitter!)
  16. Hey, Adam - Refresh my memory, is the Rhubarb one of Fee's products that uses artificial flavorings as well?
  17. It is true. The TTB has established that if you follow certain procedures and include at least one ingredient from their nonpotable list at a sufficient concentration, you are not required to get TTB approval of your formulation before producing. You cannot quality for excise tax drawback and you can be required to submit a sample for analysis at any time if the TTB believes your product to be potable or beverage alcohol. However, all producers still need to ensure that they follow FDA requirements on GRAS/FEMA ingredient lists, labeling and production facility registration. You also need to have a food producer's license valid for the production of your formulations from the state where you produce in order to sell food products. - Avery PS: I certainly wouldn't say that sending a letter to a couple of fledgling bitters producers and one store qualifies as a mass email
  18. Hm... I never received anything from Ballast and Keel or Bengal Hot Drops. Might there have been another name that you emailed me under?
  19. It's great that there are so many new enthusiastic bitters producers entering the market. Unfortunately, many producers don't realize that they're actually putting the bars that use their products and the stores that sell them at risk of ATF fines and seizure for selling and using unlicensed alcohol products. Under the eyes of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, any product containing alcohol needs to be registered with their Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) before it can be sold. This includes commercial ethanol, beer, wine and, of course, cocktail bitters. The TTB must designate a formula to be nonbeverage alcohol before it can be produced and sold legally. It takes a while to work the process through - we've been through it for six different formulas! Last year, Dr. Adam Elmegirab and Bittermens formed the Craft Bitters Alliance (http://www.craftbittersalliance.com) to try and provide a list of bitters that have passed all of the federal and state requirements for production as well as to help new producers become legal. To produce legal bitters for sale, there are a few major steps that need to be followed: Formal 27 CFR 17.134 review of each formulation by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Label review by ATF (if requested) Label compliance with FDA regulations Ingredient compliance with FDA GRAS/FEMA lists FDA registration of your bitters production facilities NY State Food Processing Establishment License (since you're in New York) Personally - I love that there are so many new bitters coming out. However, with the TTB now taking notice of new producers, it's in all of our interests (as enthusiasts, bartenders, retailers and bitters producers) to make sure that the products that are out there for sale are legal. Avery Glasser Bittermens, Inc Founding Member of the Craft Bitters Alliance PS: We'd like to extend a big congratulations to Cocktail Kingdom, the newest member of the Craft Bitters Alliance, for getting all of the necessary approvals for their Wormwood Bitters! PPS: Ballast and Keel - if you've obtained your 27 CFR 17.134 designation as nonbeverage alcohol (also known as the infamous TTB 5154.1 form) - kudos! Let us know your status on the above items and we'll add you to the list of approved formulations!
  20. Quick item - it may be that what is causing the problems has nothing to do with oxidation, but with enzymatic reactions. Mangos, Papayas and Pineapples all have high amounts of protease enzymes, and I've found that it creates very unstable infusions. Cooking/Roasting the fruit first works most likely because it's denaturing the bromelain (it denatures at around 150 degrees fahrenheit). Just a thought...
  21. It is certainly worth playing with the Xocolatl Mole bitters in a 20th century, but the spice notes may be a bit in conflict with the Lillet. Honestly, it really comes down to your individual palate. I will say that the chocolate extract (which is not a bitter - but an extract for bakers) that we have put together for Taza Chocolate works extremely well in a 20th century. We cut down the Creme de Cacao by half and then supplement with the chocolate extract and it makes for a beautiful little twist on the classic.
  22. Thank you for saying something that really needed to be said.
  23. Getting the bottles to Adam is the best way to get them shared. He has a real passion for dissecting the classic bitters so he can reproduce them (or reproduce them as well as possible without having the original recipes).
  24. I don't think so. I hope I'm wrong, or at least that they're working on becoming legal - but to the best of my knowledge, they haven't received an executed form 5154.1 The thing is that many producers have received information that they want to hear from people who haven't read the appropriate sections of the civil code that refer to the TTB and alcohol use. Here's the most basic summary: 1) If you create alcohol or increase the proof of an existing alcohol product, you need to petition for a brewing/vintner/rectification/distilling license. 2) If you create a product containing alcohol, it is by default potable and requires approval from the TTB. Potable products need to be sold through the three-tier alcohol sales network, requires permits and bonding. You cannot sell a potable product without a TTB approval. 3) If the product containing alcohol is not for beverage purposes (spirits, beer, wine), you can petition the TTB to get the formulation to be evaluated and classified as a non beverage alcohol product. As a non beverage product, you can claim back some excise taxes and sell as a food item, though your labels, production facilities and GRAS status fall under FDA/USDA jurisdiction. This approval/classification is provided via TTB form 5154.1 There are lots of people under the misassumption that if you take, for example, Everclear that you have paid tax on when purchased retail - mix up a bitter using that alcohol, that then you can re-sell it because it used an existing alcohol product. That's just not true. In fact, in many states, it may be considered an "adulterated spirit" and considered to be forbidden. Bars and restaurants who make an intermediate product (e.g.: infusion or bitter) using commercial alcohol for use in a cocktail fall into a grey area. California, for example, says that technically infusing an alcohol and putting it back in the same bottle is expressly forbidden. I'm not a lawyer, but it looks like the law was written to protect consumers who see a bottle, for example, of Beefeater - expecting Beefeater to be in it, but instead, it's Gibley's. I bet that if it goes to court, simply putting the infusion in a generic bottle with a clear label/menu notation that says "house made infusion of XXX into XXX" should be legal. Essentially, it's the same thing as making a compound butter by mixing herbs into a commercial butter for use by the restaurant when making a meal. So, to get back to what you initially asked: I'm not sure if they are legal or not - but my suspicion based on what I have heard is that as of right now, they are not TTB legal and their labels don't seem to be FDA compliant. By the way - they make some absolutely great products. I really hope that they do become fully legal - and here's an open invitation for them to contact us. If we can be of any assistance so they can legally get to market, we'd be glad to help.
  25. First off, aww shucks. You're going to make us blush. Producing alcohol-containing product for sale without having the proper approvals is very dangerous. Not only can the producer be fined and prosecuted by the federal government, the bars that use unapproved products and the stores that sell them can be fined and prosecuted. We spent over two years giving products to bars under an evaluation-and-sample program without ever collecting a dime, but most of those delays were because we were doing some trailblazing on the processes for evaluation of bitters. Why? Because we didn't want to get any bar, bartender, shop or store owner in trouble because they chose to use our products. The biggest challenge is that there are potentially three different federal agencies that one needs to be in compliance with: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The TTB controls the registration and approval of all potable and non-potable formulations that contain alcohol as well as facilities that use alcohol. Cough syrup, perfume, vanilla extract, bitters and commercial ethanol for biodiesel all need TTB designations as non-beverage alcohol products. The FDA controls the Generally Recognized as Safe list and food production facility registration for interstate sales. Finally, the USDA gets involved with certain ingredients as well as any organic designations. There is no single authoritative source that can be contacted to provide a list of "which bitters are legal to sell and/or use?" Even worse, there is no public registry of approved formulas within the TTB, which means that there's no way to validate if products are legal or not. A few months ago, Bittermens reached out to all of the other domestic small batch bitters producers that we could find to see if there was any interest in forming a craft bitters organization with the goals of promoting bitters that have gone through the necessary TTB and FDA procedures and helping new producers get their needed government approvals so they can be sold legally. The plan was to set up a website that would basically walk people through the process - because though it is difficult to find out what you have to do to be fully legal and compliant, once you find out what needs to be done, the process is relatively painless and it's free. The website would also include a peer-certified list of products whose formulations held TTB approval and producers that were using an FDA licensed kitchen. Adam jumped at the opportunity to help put together the site and to help provide some information for US producers looking to sell in Europe. Most important, we wanted this organization to be free to join. We put up www.craftbittersalliance.com as a landing page that listed the only small producer bitters that we knew of that held the necessary approvals - Adam's bitters (the Bokers and Dandelion & Burdock, but not the Spanish ones yet, unless he finally got his forms back) and Bittermens - as well as all of the basic information about how to get all of the necessary approvals. We're hoping that more producers join on - even if they aren't fully legal yet - so we can help them as they through the process and let people out there know who is in the process! I'll get off of my soapbox now
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