Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. is a family-run company named after the great-grandfather of the founders. Jack Rudy Small Batch Tonic and Small Batch Grenadine are artisanal mixers made in the U.S. and designed to mix a better cocktail—the way our great-grandfather’s would have made them.
Imagine peering into your great-grandfather's bar cabinet. What would we see? Brooks Reitz peered into Jack’s bar cabinet, and imagined the perfect tonic and grenadine.
“Jack Rudy was many things. He was a pilot who illegally ﬂew his plane under the Ohio River Bridge (on a dare), an inventor who created a mechanical device for pharmacists to count pills, and a craftsman who once built a houseboat out of an old city bus. After serving as an aircraft mechanic in WWII, he spent his working life as an engineer. He read Popular Mechanics and National Geographic cover to cover - a curious type who made his own bullets, and shot them into a dirt wall he constructed in his basement. In addition to being a ‘marvelous’ dancer, he LOVED to entertain and was known to overindulge in drink, smoke, and his wife’s gourmet cooking."
The company started out small, bottling very tiny batches in Brooks Reitz’s kitchen, and selling it to 2 or 3 restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina. Through word of mouth, great feedback and good relations, the company has grown to distribution in 30 states in three countries—all in less than 3 years. The company is run by Brooks and his cousin—it's still a small operation.
“There are a lot of people fighting to create new spirits brands and compete in a market that is run by these huge, billion dollar corporations,” says Brooks, “For us, we are a small operation that has carved out a very real niche in a market that is easy to access, and we've developed a customer base that knows they can trust us to produce a product with real integrity.”
Brooks Reitz was born in Kentucky, and was more or less raised on Bourbon, but Gin was always a kindred spirit. He created Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. to fill a personal need—there was no artisanal tonic on the market that would make a great Gin & Tonic.
Brooks says the company DNA is to slow down and do it right. “The guiding philosophy behind our products is this: we imagine peering into our great-grandfather's bar cabinet. What would we see? What products did he use that have become outdated, or have been bastardized over time? Can we recreate those products for a modern drinker? Can we craft a product to encourage our peers to slow down, entertain at home, and enjoy a well made drink with friends?”
Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. is a lifestyle brand, and they’re hoping that the appreciation of a nice drink will bleed into an appreciation for small, well-made American goods in general. They craft a product to encourage people to slow down, entertain at home, and enjoy a well made drink with friends. “I think the slow growth, which is what most business fight against, has worked in our favor to show our customer that we are taking our time,” says Brooks. “We don't want to release a bunch of different products because we "think the market requires it." We want to release products that fit with our ethos, and that make sense for our brand.” They want to slow down and do it right.
Brooks says that he and his cousin answer every email, every phone call and every inquiry. “It may take longer that way, but at this point, we love the connection to the process and are so overjoyed when someone notices.” Just like Great Grandfather Jack might have done it.