If you’ve tasted mezcal, you know there’s something special about the smoky, earthy liquid. Mezcal is complex, dark, and polarizing. This week for #IBuiltThis, we’re talking with AdrinAdrina, half of a self-described artist-alchemist female duo who turned their love of and respect for mezcal into a business that’s currently expanding across the United States. Along with her business partner, Elliott Coon, AdrinAdrina learned about the mezcal-making process in Oaxaca, Mexico. The two had already opened speakeasies together in Oakland and Oaxaca, and were infusing mezcal with damiana, a Mexican herb known for its healing properties.
By 2013, they’d launched GEM&BOLT, their own fair-trade, sustainable mezcal distilled with damiana. The brand started with the two driving mezcal across Mexico from Oaxaca to Tulum for parties and events, and last spring it expanded to Europe. The two founders have since joined forces with Lisa Derman, former COO for Stoli Group USA, and Jody Levy, a beverage industry entrepreneur. As of June, GEM&BOLT is available in select bars in Austin, Texas, including Justine’s, The Townsend, Whisler’s, Tobala and Odd Duck, as well as at liquor stores Twin Liquors and Beverage World. Later this summer it will launch in New York, Los Angeles, and other American cities.
Here’s what the journey has been like for the founders.