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Queens Chronicle

Cocktail mixer biz shakes onto scene

Queens native launches Cocktail Crate, a line of drink mixers

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Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:56 am, Thu Mar 14, 2013.

It’s a classic story wherein after realizing that the career path he or she is careening down is making it hard to get out of bed each day, an individual does something about it.

Such was the case with Alex Abbott Boyd — Whitestone-born Astoria resident.

Abbott Boyd was a consultant for a beverage and snack company. He would fly abroad and tell businesses how to better ripple their chip or sweeten their drinks.

“I really hated it,” he said. “I wanted to do something I enjoyed.”

Beverages have always been his passion. While attending the University of Chicago he immersed himself into the craft beer scene as well as diving into the history of tea, spending time in Darjiling, India.

This drink passion translated into Cocktail Crate, a line of mixers made by Abbott Boyd at the Long Island City-based Organic Food Incubator, a certified kitchen that hosts at least 30 emerging and established food companies.

Once retiring his consultant tie, he started a page on Kickstarter, a website that allows people to back startups and projects. It not only solicits money, but allows entrepreneurs to test the waters and see if others think their idea is as brilliant as they do.

Abbott Boyd played with recipes and landed on three flavors: smokey hops, holiday old-fashioned and ginger bee, which can be mixed and matched with clear and dark liquors.

His first business model envisioned a company where consumers would order a crate of fresh juices and mixers the same day of their party. It would be rushed to them in just a few hours — in a wooden box, a homage to food crates of the early 20th century.

That idea has since morphed into bottles of mixes. Government recipe testers who certify commercial food products put the kibosh on the extra-fresh mixer idea because of PH, sealing and expiration.

From this official set of guidelines Abbott Boyd devised the recipes now in his repertoire with the possibility of a lavender and thyme mix to be launched in the spring.

He works six days a week from 7:30 a.m. until sundown testing spice ratios and mixing ingredients in 60 gallon kettles. Last Monday he had a big Band-Aid on his forearm from a boiling cauldron.

Three weeks ago he began selling to speciality beer stores and food boutiques including Queens-based Foodcellar & Co., Bier & Cheese, Bravo Supermarket and Superior Market. Eleven stores citywide are selling his products.

For now he hand delivers all his products to these spots.

“I get to see a lot of the city and I don’t need to go to the gym,” he said.

On March 10 his product will be on sale on Fab.com, a website like Groupon that markets discounted products and deals.

Moving forward he hopes to work with a distributor so he can focus on the creative side of his business as well as someday work out of his own kitchen.

But for now, Cocktail Crate is off to a good start.

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