SaloonBox Behind The Scenes: Founder & CEO of Q Drinks
Inside some of the most high end bars, you will find Q Drinks bottles. Their quality and taste is why we've partnered with them on several of our kits. We had a chance to ask Jordan Silbert, the Founder & CEO of Q Drinks several question to get a deeper insight into the story behind Q.
How did you come up with the idea for Q soda?
It started on a warm summer night in Brooklyn. I was in my backyard for gin & tonics with a few great friends and couple of drinks in, my teeth felt strangely sticky. I picked up the bottle of tonic water and looked at the ingredients. I asked, “Do you know that tonic water is virtually the same thing as Sprite?”
In a gin-induced flash I realized I could make a superior tonic water. One made from authentic ingredients and good enough to mix with my favorite gins, vodkas and rums. I spent four years on it. I tracked down farmers for ingredients. Made the recipe in my Brooklyn kitchen. And agonized with a great designer to make a bottle as beautiful as the liquid it holds.
I came up with a superior tonic water. Immediately some of the world’s top restaurants, cocktail lounges, liquor stores, and gourmet groceries started buying it. Then we got a ton of press coverage and some larger chains joined them. And soon I was being asked for other sodas as tasty and high quality as Q Tonic.
For each new Q drink I agonize like I did with Q Tonic. I source the absolute best ingredients and then tinker with the recipe until I come up with something I love. I then work with our great designer to give each one packaging as beautiful and sophisticated as the liquid it holds.
What did you do before you started Q?
Post 9/11 rebuilding for the area surrounding the former World Trade Center site in NYC.
We noticed a hint of spiciness we don’t typically get in most ginger beers. Can you describe how Q ginger is made?
Unlike other ginger beers, I made Q Ginger Beer to be a mixer and mixer only. So it is more spicy, more carbonated, but less sweet than other ginger beers.
How has your brand changed the beverage industry?
75% of a drink is a mixer. In part because of Q Drinks, consumers are now thinking about what mixer they want to use rather than just thinking about the spirit.
What’s one of your biggest challenges?
Every step away from the consumer has been harder for us. From day one, consumers wanted to drink (and buy) better mixers to mix with better spirits. But it took awhile to first get retailers and then liquor distributors excited about working with us. Again, I don't come from the beverage industry. So I don't have years old relationships. I've had to meet people over the years and earn their trust.
What was one of the most exciting moments for your brand?
It's all been exciting - from my first delivery, which was to Milk & Honey in NYC at 2:30AM and I got paid in cash out of the register, to some of the huge placements we've gotten recently such as Safeway, BevMo! and Target.
You have made great inroads with mixology and bars/restaurants - we see Q in many high-end establishments; is there another kind of store or channel you'd like to take on next?
Yeah, literally the most discerning bars and restaurants proudly serve Q Drinks to their customers. We're now working to enable many more people able to enjoy Q Drinks, so that means selling to large conventional retailers. We are also starting to think about expanding out to other countries. We get requests every week from customers all over the world.
Any new trends you’ve spotted in the beverage industry lately?
The rise of craft spirits is really exciting. Each town now seems to have a handful of different local distilleries making fantastic spirits. And each one seems to be doing something either a little different, or a lot different than the other options out there. So it's a great time to be a drinker.