For our latest profile, we sat down with Hoyapreneur Brandon Everett, founder of Cocktail Drops a company that is reinventing the modern cocktail.
1. What are Cocktail Drops and how did you come up with such a creative approach to "cocktails?"
Cocktail Drops are handcrafted classic cocktails transformed into solid drops that melt in your mouth—an entirely new cocktail experience achieved through molecular mixology. The drops have a smooth, custard-like consistency when first bitten into, and then melt into liquid sips. They are made with premium spirits and only the freshest pure ingredients, and are enjoyed one drop at a time in the same way a traditional cocktail is enjoyed one sip at a time. Each drop is roughly the size of an olive, and eight drops collectively contain the alcohol content of a single cocktail. Any cocktail type can be made into Cocktail Drops, and their distinct form enables them to be served in numerous innovative ways.
My goal when developing Cocktail Drops was to craft the perfect classic cocktail, and serve it in a radical new way. I worked to turn an ordinary product into an extraordinary experience, and Cocktail Drops was the result. Drops are currently made exclusively for catered events hosted between NY and DC, but a cocktail kit shipped to customers nationwide will be launched later this year.
2. As such a distinct product, what have customer reactions been when they try a Cocktail Drop for the first time?
Customers trying Cocktail Drops for the very first time often react with stunned excitement. They’re struck by the distinct, smooth texture of the drops and the bold, rich flavors that erupt from them as they’re savored. They also appreciate the practical advantages of drops, including the way they enable the easy sampling of different cocktail types. Industry professionals that have participated in Cocktail Drops tastings have described them as “cocktails like you’ve never seen before,” “providing an experience like no other.” The experience defies expectations, and customers are thrilled to recognize they’re encountering something truly unique.
3. What's the why behind Cocktail Drops and what is your mission that is driving your brand?
Cocktail Drops’ mission is to wake people out of the ordinary with extraordinary cocktails. Cocktail Drops surprises and thrills customers by enabling them to experience the timeless classic cocktails they love in a remarkable new way, crafted with the freshest, highest quality ingredients. With the upcoming launch of a Cocktail Drops kit, the objective is to additionally enable customers to do so anytime, anywhere.
4. Sweet Green was the pioneer and Misfit Juicery is also taking off. There are several other Hoyapreneurs in the food space as well ... Why do you think Georgetown has produced so many food and beverage startups in recent years?
DC has a vibrant food and beverage scene with a discerning customer base that demands quality, authenticity, sustainability and innovation. Each Georgetown F&B startup has a unique story, but all of them differentiate themselves from competitors with value propositions that embody one or more of those demands.
5. How did your time on the Hilltop help prepare you for a life as an entrepreneur?
I frequently took advantage of opportunities to meet and interact with entrepreneurs that came to speak at Georgetown. T. Boone Pickens, Kevin Plank and Seth Goldman were some, among many, that I met during the first semester of my freshman year alone. Repeated exposure to frank discussions regarding the obstacles founders face while pursuing their businesses helped me gain a basic understanding of the price you have to pay to succeed. That understanding has contributed to my willingness to persist through each challenge I encounter while growing my business.
6. How has Cocktail Drops grown and what is next?
I was still hustling for opportunities at the beginning of 2017 when Cocktail Drops generated its first national press, and within 24 hours I was contacted directly by the national director of events for The Patrón Spirits Company. Cocktail Drops was chosen to represent Patrón at a brand marketing event in NYC, and was subsequently showcased by Patrón at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen alongside cocktails prepared by celebrity chef Richard Blais. Growth took off from there, and I’ve since had the opportunity to work with incredible clients that have included hotel groups, Elle Magazine, People Magazine and Campari Group.
2018 will see the launch of a Cocktail Drops kit and subscription service available nationwide. The kits will enable customers to make the cocktails in their own homes, and will only require them to complete the final step in the complex creation process. Along the way, I’ll also be pursuing additional collaborations with bar & restaurant groups, performing arts theaters, stadiums and hotel & casino groups to introduce Cocktail Drops for on-site consumption at their venues.
7. What was your favorite class and/or professor during your time on the Hilltop?
My favorite class was a freshman seminar in the MSB called ‘Great Books in Finance’ taught by Professor James Angel. The course involved reading more than a dozen financial classics, including The Intelligent Investor, A Random Walk Down Wall Street and Too Big to Fail.
It was the perfect introduction to finance and business in general, and it set the stage for all my subsequent MSB classes. Dr. Jim is also just an awesome guy to know.
8. Georgetown is experiencing a bit of an entrepreneur boom. How has the Hilltop evolved to support entrepreneurs and what were some of the classes, programs or professors that you really appreciated and helped catalyze the idea for Cocktail Drops?
I was part of the Compass Fellowship (now Social Impact 360) during my freshman year at Georgetown, and it provided my first exposure to entrepreneurship. The program sparked my interest in pursuing innovative ideas and developing new products, and that interest has stuck with me ever since. More recently, Georgetown supported my business by becoming a client. Cocktail Drops was hired to cater the welcome reception for the MSB’s 2017 Graduate Alumni Reunion Weekend. It was an extremely rewarding experience.
9. Finally, how do you feel about Patrick Ewing as coach and the start to our new season? Is there a tournament bid in our future?
I have a lot of pride seeing such a legend at the helm of our program. Ewing is part of the Georgetown family, as was his predecessor, and that family aspect makes our team's success sweeter, and failure more painful. He deserves time to implement his brand of basketball with a couple recruiting classes of his own before any assessments are made, but I’m excited and optimistic. I’d love to see Ewing return us to glory in March and, unlike 2013, have us end up on the right side of the Best Upset ESPY.