This month, I had a conversation with another incredible founder — Johnna Rossbach from Mixly Cocktail Co., one of the best female founded brands on the market today that creates fresh mixers for amazing drinking experiences. These mixers taste great on their own but are perfect to use for easy, delicious cocktails. In fact, Inspiro Tequila did a collaboration and giveaway with Mixly last month!
I’m so curious as to how you got started with Mixly Cocktails. How did you develop Mixly to become one of the best female founded brands?
We launched four months ago, but it’s obviously been in the works for much longer than that. My background has always been food and beverage consumer packaged goods (CPG). So my business partner and co-founder Megan and I were working at a Minneapolis-based CPG company. We just started brainstorming different business ideas. She’s a big cocktail lover and maker. I love cocktails, but I can’t make them myself—too much hassle. It just spiraled from there. She had a best friend from college that’s a mixologist so we pulled him in to help make the recipes. COVID threw us for a loop for a little bit, but got things back on track. Since we’ve launched, it’s just been incredible. I don’t know if you feel the same way, but for me, it has to be full steam ahead, pedal to the metal. We’ve been doing that and the response has been awesome so far. Only four months in and we’ve gotten great traction here, locally and in retail stores. We’re looking to expand in the South. I have a sales rep that we’re bringing in to help us get into that market. Then we’re looking at a regional spring test with our Target market.
Well, you’re in the right location. Are you in Minneapolis?
Yes, exactly. People will ask, “Oh my gosh, how did you get into Target so fast?” I’m like, “a friend of a friend who knew the buyer.” It’s just the market we live in. All roads lead to Target.
I’m also curious about how the logistics, operations and supply chain is going for you because that has been really horrible for so many people. What issues have you had with co-packers and getting bottles? How hard was it to find a co-packer for your product, especially with what’s been going on during COVID?
Right now, we’re still making it ourselves in a rented kitchen space. What we’re doing is talking to a few different co-packers. We’re also looking at renting a bigger space and becoming our own manufacturers because there is some opportunity on the food service side. We’re exploring all of that right now. The quickest way to get online for our bigger distributors and for Target will be to go the co-packer route. That’s been tough just because, as you know, there’s not an easy directory to find them. So we actually just brought on a broker who’s going to help us find a co-packer. Most of the bottles that we use are made in the USA, so we’ve been lucky there. The fresh juices can pose an issue where we’re waiting on our supplies there. But so far, it hasn’t been that bad. I can only imagine as we scale that we’ll start to feel the pressure.
Why did you decide to use glass packaging? Obviously, you use all fresh juices so what are the issues that you face with shelf stability and things like that?
First, we were thinking we’re going to be refrigerated. Quickly, the logistics and costs of that while going into market was an uphill battle. It just was insane. Basically, the way it stays shelf stable is heat treatment, it’s like pasteurization. But even to figure that out, we had to get all these certifications and take all these food safety courses. That just took some time to figure that out. But we chose glass because it is a more premium product and environmentally conscious.
To watch the rest of my interview with female founder Johnna Rossbach, click here! We talk more about her experiences and business lessons during her journey building Mixly Cocktail Co.