The process of taking Jack Rudy from a kitchen recipe to a serious product was an incredible challenge. I knew nothing of rules, regulations and approval processes before launching the LLC and digging in. It’s been amazing to look back at all we’ve accomplished over the last two years, and how the label has changed over that time. I was recently cleaning up our packing room and came across our very first bottle. The photo on the left is that bottle against our current label. On the right, you’ll see a snapshop from the official Jack Rudy Archivist, my dad, who has kept every iteration of every label. That collection has grown by two since the photo was taken, as we’ve added a Spanish label for our Spanish distributor, as well as the label that now reads, “Handcrafted in the South.”
We are actually in the process of a few small tweaks, as we get closer to launching some other products. Stay tuned as the Jack Rudy archives grow.
We recently participated in a quite an incredible evening with a variety of Charleston artists and artisans to host a Kinfolk Dinner at the beautiful Deux Puces Farm.
There is much to be said about the evening. First and foremost, the dinner was hosted by two very talented ladies: Olivia Rae James and Tara Webb. The setting, on Tara’s farm, exceeded expectations in every way. Olivia had prepared a long table for the 30 guests, and Tara had worked throughout the day in the kitchen preparing a stunning meal utilizing a variety of local purveyors.
When guests arrived, we greeted them with “Jack Rudy G&T’s” (from a keg, natch) – as well as our “Kentucky 75,” a riff on a “French 75″ with Gin, Jack Rudy Tonic and Champagne. The bar that Tara had built for the occasion was pretty special, and provided a damn fine base from which to sling some drinks. As a parting gift, I had prepared some pre-bottled G&T’s, and labeled them just for the occasion. I’d like to think they’ve provided some fun in the days following the dinner.
If you’re not familiar with Kinfolk, I’d recommend seeking it out. In their own words:
Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends, not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza, that anchors our relationships and energizes us. We have come together to create Kinfolk as our collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining that we love.
Every element of Kinfolk—the features, photography, and general aesthetics—are consistent with the way we feel entertaining should be: simple, uncomplicated, and less contrived. Kinfolk is the marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends.
I’m always following design firms around the country as a way to stay inspired, engaged and excited. One of my favorites, Official Manufacturing Company, out of Portland, OR, is always a blast to revisit.
I first found OMFGCO through the work they did for the always spot-on ACE Hotel.
Just today their Facebook feed led me to this story. It’s an incredible feature on their re-branding of a classic Oregon racetrack, Portland Meadows. The work is beautiful, fresh and lively; they stayed true to the roots of the experience but brought in a pretty fantastic aesthetic that is all their own.
Garden & Gun is one of my favorite magazines. It’s published in Charleston, SC, which is also the home base of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. We feel aligned with them in many ways, and as avid supporters of all things Southern, they too have become fans of Jack Rudy. They’ve written about us once before: Tonic for the Southern Soul.
When they asked me to head with them to Keeneland in Lexington, KY, I couldn’t resist. I went to college in Lexington, and would routinely skip class to head to the races with friends. It was a pretty grown-up affair: we would don the best gear we could possibly afford, pack coolers of shitty beer, and head to the track for an hour or two of tailgating, and then a day of racing and gambling. Keeneland is, in my opinion, the most beautiful racetrack in the States – and was the backdrop for the film ‘Secretariat.’ The young ladies of Keeneland, all Southern belles of the highest order, are always done up in their favorite sundresses and prove to be, consistently, the main attraction.
Last weekend Taylor and I hosted a morning cocktail brunch with Garden & Gun at the Keene House, a private club located next door to Keeneland. I got so excited when they extended the invite that I bought a new jacket from Billy Reid.
Then, on Sunday, I flew back to Kentucky to participate in their annual Field Feast that they host in conjunction with Lowcountry Local First and FIG. It was a great experience, as I served my first Gin & Tonic on tap. Look for a video in the coming months about how to keg your own G&T – and trust me when I say, it’s a game changer.
There are a handful of companies that inspire us here at Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., and people are often surprised to know that very few are actually in the beverage realm. I spend more time browsing the sites of Deus ex Machina or Makr to find inspiration.
Oddly enough, we take a lot of creative inspiration from clothing companies – chief among them Imogene + Willie in Nashville, TN. First of all, Carrie and Matt, the proprietors, are from my hometown, Henderson, KY. Second, they make incredibly beautiful jeans and clothing that is not rooted in trends, but in something classic, well-made and long lasting, something we aim to do at Jack Rudy with bar goods.
I found their recent talk at Ted X Atlanta very inspiring, and also similar to some of the challenges we’ve faced when growing Jack Rudy. Watch it here:
While you’re at it, check out my video about the birth of Jack Rudy – a little less inspiring – from Charleston’s Pecha Kucha, a Ted-esque exchange of ideas held throughout the year:
Here we will keep you – our supporters, customers and fans – updated on what we are doing, and what keeps us inspired, in hopes that we might in turn inspire you. We feel like it’s quite a lot, and feel the need to send a regular dispatch to those that might be interested.
When we began this project over two years ago, we certainly knew there was a niche that we would fit into, but never imagined the reception and support would be so great.
If you’re just joining us, welcome, and please follow along on the ride. If you’re new to Jack Rudy, please have a look around, and we hope to see more of you in the future.