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The Apothecary Bitters Company is a small batch, craft bitters company dedicated to creating unique and appetizing bitters. Read more

Vancouver, Canada Food
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This project was successfully funded on April 5, 2014.

The Apothecary Bitters Company is a small batch, craft bitters company dedicated to creating unique and appetizing bitters.

Vancouver, Canada Food
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About this project

What's this Apothecary Bitters Company thing all about?

Well, The Apothecary Bitters Company will be a small batch, cocktail bitters company in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia specializing in unique and complex bitters. Formulated to enhance spirits and cocktails, all of our bitters will be handmade using only the finest natural botanicals, spices, and fruits.

Our goal is not only to produce creative and delicious flavor combinations in our bitters but to do so in a way that the final flavor profile compliments and enhances cocktails and spirits. We believe that bitters should be a complex blend of flavors and aromas, not one dimensional or single flavored, so to add layers of depth and flavor to your cocktails. It is these aspects and our unique flavors that really make our product stand out.  

To start, we plan on releasing five core styles –

  • Spirit Fire, our cherry cedar bitters;  
  • Mystic Caravan, our smokey pear bitters;  
  • Tlalocan, our Latin lime bitters;  
  • The Darkness, our cacao coffee bitters;  
  • and General Ambrose's aromatic bitters, our unique take on a classic aromatic bitters.  

By creating our bitters in small batches, we will be able to create limited and seasonal offerings, a barrel aged bitters program (see Tiered Goals) and to be able to offer signature and collaborative offerings to bars, restaurants and spirits manufacturers. After all, the mixology culture loves experimentation and new ingredients, and so do we.

Our core line up of bitters.
Our core line up of bitters.

Wait, what are bitters?

Bitters, for the uninitiated, are an aromatic flavoring agent made from infusing barks, fruit and peels, spices, herbs, roots and other botanicals in high proof alcohol and then diluting down to a lower proof with water. Originally created for medicinal and digestive purposes, they've been incorporated into cocktails over the past 200 years or so. Extremely popular at one time and integral to many classic cocktails, bitters took a hit due to prohibition and most companies disappeared. 

Over the last decade with the gaining popularity of craft spirits, natural foods and high end cocktails, the demand for new and unique bitters has expanded quite extensively. Cocktail bitters, like the ones we make, are generally used in dashes and are to bartenders what salt and pepper are to a chef – they are the seasoning that ties everything together and despite the name, they won't necessarily make your drink bitter and they are also great for culinary purposes or in a glass of soda water as well.

What are you trying to accomplish?

We are trying to raise money to get The Apothecary Bitters Company into production so we can bring our bitters into the market and thus to you and for that, we need your support.

Our base goal of $4500 is the bare minimum we need to start producing packaged bitters. That amount covers our equipment, supplies, ingredients, leasing of a commercial kitchen and other start up costs.

With that said, we also have some tiered goals that would allow us to do some really cool projects:

  • $6000 or more - this would allow us to implement our Seasonal Release program and have capacity for other limited runs.
  • $7500 or more - this would allow us to implement our Barrel Aging program and bring some exciting bitters to the market.
  • $10,000 or more - this would allow us to increase our batch size and set up our product for export to an international market.

Our recipes are formulated, tested and approved and we've already got local bars, bartenders and shops wanting our product. We've designed our brand and packaging, our website and social media platforms, and done all of our research and development for the business operations.

All we need now is your interest and support Kickstarter.

Tell us more about your core flavors.

But of course! As mentioned, our 5 core flavors will be Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness and General Ambrose's Aromatic bitters.

Spirit Fire - In forests of old, the spirits burn...

Our Spirit Fire Cherry Cedar bitters are the flavor that really started this journey towards production. Fragrant and delicious, the bold primary flavors of dried cherry and cedar wood are supported by an undercurrent of anise, dark fruits and notes of the forest. 

The fruit notes combined with the darker, richer flavors allow them to work in nearly any application but they are especially good with rye, gin and sweet vermouth.

Try them in a Manhattan, a Martini or a Sazerac, for a classic twist.

Mystic Caravan - Intrigues from the caravan...

Our Mystic Caravan Smokey Pear bitters are a unique and intriguing blend of flavors that work wonders in cocktails. Rich and aromatic, these bitters use several varieties of pear for a complex fruit profile that is complemented wonderfully by a bold smoke aroma and taste. Combine that with an undertone of lemon, spice and tannins, and these bitters will take your drink to the next level. 

Extremely versatile and an excellent accent note for cocktails, these bitters work especially well with brandy, scotch and most amaro.

Try them in a Vieux Carre, a scotch Old Fashioned, or a Boulevardier.

Tlalocan - Worthy of their grand temple...

Our Tlalocan Latin Lime bitters are a bright and versatile bitters, bursting with fresh flavors and working well in many an application. A blast of fresh lime aroma and flavor is supported by floral undertones, a Latin flavor complexity and just a hint of spice. Use them in place of orange bitters for a new twist or just get inspired. 

These bitters are very versatile and fit in nearly anywhere but they play especially well with mezcal, rum, gin and pisco.

Try them in a Pisco Sour, a Dark and Stormy or a Gin and Tonic.

The Darkness - Embrace the darkness...

The Darkness Cacao Coffee bitters are a rich blend of flavors with a deep chocolate essence, strong notes of coffee and a complex undertone of dark spices. Add to that a pleasant, warming bitterness and just a hint of orange and you're ready for the darkness.

These bitters work particularly well in brown spirits but they also offer an interesting play of flavors with mezcal or tequila.

Try them in a Mai Tai, a Mint Julep or a Rob Roy. 

General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters - For with these bitters, the battle was won...

General Ambrose's Aromatic bitters are our personal take on the original style of bitters, taking inspiration from the classics but developing our own secret recipe. Pungent and complex, these bitters are aged on a blend of woods, giving them a unique depth and roundness with strong notes of spice, dried fruits, cinnamon, vanilla and tannins. 

These work well in place of any aromatic bitters and therefore any spirit, but they are especially good with bourbon.

Try them in an Old Fashioned or a Trinidad Sour, if you're really bold.

Who's behind The Apothecary Bitters Company?

The company is comprised of two individuals:

Cole Benoit - Co-Founder and Head Bitters Maker.

As a brewer, chef, mixologist and an artist of various mediums, Cole is in charge of recipe development, quality control and the visual aspects of The Apothecary Bitters Company. Constantly inspired, experimenting and scheming, his passion, curiosity and dedication is what makes our bitters what they are. He also happens to have management, sales and entrepreneurial experience, which helps with the company. As well, he really likes barbeque, loud music and smush faced dogs, to name a few things.
What you'll usually find him drinking: A Boulevardier or something with whiskey and amaro.

Selene Arden - Co-Founder and Operations Manager.

While maybe not as glamorous as Cole's position, someone has to make sure that the business runs properly and that job belongs to Selene. At The Apothecary Bitters Company, she's in charge of marketing and social media, accounting and operations and customer service. She's also a tea connoisseur and lover of all things cute.
What you'll usually find her drinking: A Horse’s Neck.

Cole Benoit, co-founder and head bitters maker.
Cole Benoit, co-founder and head bitters maker.

What were those other programs you mentioned?

Those would be our Seasonal Release and our Barrel Aging programs, which we'll be implementing if we can hit the tiered goals that we listed above.

Our Seasonal Release program will have us releasing limited edition flavors every quarter using seasonal and fresh ingredients that suit that time of year. Our first release will be "Heliotropic" a floral citrus bitters that is bright and aromatic, with notes of citrus, stone fruit, honey, elderflower and spring blossoms. 

Our Barrel Aging program will be a program where we age bitters, both core and specially formulated flavors, in different types of used spirit and wine barrels to impart a lot of depth and complexity to our bitters and produce a really unique product. We're really excited about this program and we hope we can raise enough money to initiate it. 

What do I do with these bitters, now that I have them?

Make a cocktail of course! Though they also go great with soda water, virgin drinks and in culinary applications too.

Here's a fantastic cocktail recipe created by award winning bartender Sean McGuigan of the Clough Club in Vancouver, BC featuring our Mystic Caravan smokey pear bitters. 

The Highwayman

1.5 oz Auchentoshen 12

0.75 oz Dubonnet

0.75 oz Averna

2 droppers Apothecary Bitters Mystic Caravan bitters

Pinch of ground allspice


Add Auchentoshen 12, Dubonnet, Averna and Mystic Caravan to a mixing glass with ice. Stir well, then strain into a chilled coupe. Sprinkle with a pinch of allspice and serve.

The Highwayman cocktail featuring our Mystic Caravan bitters.
The Highwayman cocktail featuring our Mystic Caravan bitters.

Watch the video below as Sean makes The Highwayman for you:

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See our website for more recipes and ideas.

Where can I find more information?

You can go to our website - www.apothecarybitters.com or follow us on facebook, Twitter (@apothecarybtrs) and Instagram (@apothecarybitters) for updates.

Risks and challenges

There are a few challenges that come with starting a bitters company - here is what they are and how we're going to overcome them.

Procurement of supplies: Due to the nature of the product and the variety and sometimes obscurity of the ingredients involved, it can be rather complicated to procure all of the ingredients needed for our bitters. We've found primary suppliers for all of our ingredients and have back up suppliers in case of shortages. We also plan on ordering many of the dry ingredients in bulk, to keep a stock of our own.

Procurement of alcohol: High proof spirits are only available for purchase in Canada with a permit, which we have to obtain from the government of BC. We've already pre-discussed our business idea with them and gotten tentative approval.

Finding a space: Due to the fact that bitters are a food product and therefore consumed, they have to be prepared and bottled in a facility that has been approved by the Health Authority. To avoid having to do this ourselves and to cut down on costs, we will be renting a share in a commissary style commercial kitchen in which to manufacture and bottle our bitters.

Product Demand: Bitters take a while to make, generally about 4 weeks per batch, before they are ready to bottle. As well, since all of our bitters are handmade, they are also labor intensive to make. Both of these things could lead to shortages in our product if demand is too great. We're hoping to combat this by doing larger batch sizes if we can hit our first tiered goal of $6000 and by allotting appropriate time for labor.

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    DONATION - A huge thanks for your support!

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    5 backers

    BOTTLE OPENER, COASTERS AND STICKERS - A stainless steel, credit card style bottle opener (engraved with The Apothecary Bitters Company logo) with coasters and stickers.

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    26 backers

    1 BOTTLE OF BITTERS
    - Your choice of any one of our 5 core flavors (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness or General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters)

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    1 BOTTLE OF BITTERS, 1 OLD FASHIONED GLASS AND COASTERS - Your choice of any one of our 5 core flavors (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness or General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters), an 11 oz old-fashioned glass (with The Apothecary Bitters Company logo) and coasters.

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    7 backers Limited (143 left of 150)

    SET OF 3 BITTERS - 3 bottles of our bitters: choose 3 flavors from our 5 core styles (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness or General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters).

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    8 backers Limited (117 left of 125)

    SET OF 3 BITTERS, 2 OLD FASHIONED GLASSES AND COASTERS - 3 bottles of our bitters: choose 3 flavors from our 5 core styles (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness or General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters), 2x 11 oz old-fashioned glasses (with The Apothecary Bitters Company logo) and coasters.

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    18 backers Limited (57 left of 75)

    THE COMPLETE COLLECTION + LIMITED SPRING RELEASE - A bottle of each of our 5 core styles (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness and General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters) PLUS a bottle of 'Heliotropic' floral citrus bitters, our limited edition spring release.

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    20 backers All gone!

    THE COMPLETE COLLECTION + LIMITED SPRING RELEASE + GIFT PACK - A bottle of each of our 5 core styles (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness and General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters) PLUS a bottle of 'Heliotropic' floral citrus bitters, our limited edition spring release PLUS 2x 11 oz old-fashioned glasses (with The Apothecary Bitters Company logo), an engraved stainless steel, credit card style bottle opener and coasters.

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    MIXOLOGY TOUR OF VANCOUVER + THE COMPLETE COLLECTION + LIMITED SPRING RELEASE + GIFT PACK - A tour of Vancouver's best bar's with head bitter maker and co-founder, Cole Benoit, where he shares his favorite spots and bartenders. (Travel, accommodations and booze NOT included).
    PLUS A bottle of each of our 5 core styles (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness and General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters) PLUS a bottle of 'Heliotropic' floral citrus bitters, our limited edition spring release PLUS 2x 11 oz old-fashioned glasses (with The Apothecary Bitters Company logo), an engraved stainless steel, credit card style bottle opener and coasters.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    CO-CREATE A BITTERS FLAVOR + MIXOLOGY TOUR OF VANCOUVER + THE COMPLETE COLLECTION + LIMITED SPRING RELEASE + GIFT PACK - Co-create a limited edition bitters flavor with head bitters maker Cole Benoit and join us for the production of it PLUS A tour of Vancouver's best bar's with head bitter maker and co-founder, Cole Benoit, where he shares his favorite spots and bartenders. (Travel, accommodations and booze NOT included).
    PLUS A bottle of each of our 5 core styles (Spirit Fire, Mystic Caravan, Tlalocan, The Darkness and General Ambrose's Aromatic Bitters) PLUS a bottle of 'Heliotropic' floral citrus bitters, our limited edition spring release PLUS 2x 11 oz old-fashioned glasses (with The Apothecary Bitters Company logo), an engraved stainless steel, credit card style bottle opener and coasters.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)