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18.21 Bitters was a product of cabin fever during the infamous 2014 Snowpocalypse in Atlanta. Missy and Kristin Koefod spent that week in January hunkered down in their home, concocting bitters flavors. Pretty soon, the couple was experimenting with recipes for syrups and shrubs, too. They chose a name for their indie beverage line, 18.21 Bitters. And by November, they decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to see how craft cocktail aficionados reacted to their unusual bitters flavors, such as Japanese Chili & Lime and Earl Grey. The campaign earned $9,225, which was 23 percent more than their $7,500 goal. Things just, kind of, snowballed from there.
Both Missy, the CEO, and Kristin, the COO, are serial entrepreneurs, so setting up their experiment as a full-blown business instead of as a side hustle was a natural next step for them. After getting trademark approval for their label and finding a commercial kitchen, they flew out west, visiting bars and restaurants and selling their original mixers from a vintage suitcase. Their dedication paid off. Within six months, they had accounts in 15 states and three countries. 18.21 Bitters is now carried in 48 states and six countries and has a retail store in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market, where customers may sample every product they make.