Jim, Bob + Matt Pickett
Born in Cleveland, Ohio - The Pickett Brothers were raised in an era where the cocktail party was something you had not only at family gatherings and holidays, but also poolside in the summer with neighbors and friends well into the night by the fire pit. The adults would make their specialties like the Highball, the Moscow Mule, or a Boilermaker. The kids on the other hand were treated to vibrantly flavored cane sugar sodas and unique ginger ales. Many times mixing the flavors of the different sodas to make their own special cocktail. So it's no wonder that the three brothers show a love of good drink and culinary adventure, spending a combined 50+ years in the food and beverage industry, traveling the world, and seeking out the best in food and drink.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
Jim’s expertise in the Beer, Wine, and Spirits distribution industry in NYC since 1995 enabled him to see a resurgence in Ginger Beer drinks. He also realized that it’s an expensive mixer and takes up a lot of space with bottles and cans, that often need to be chilled, stocked by the dozens of cases, recycled, and often times left unused product that would need to be thrown out. Realizing that space is a premium in the city, he thought of the idea of making Bag-in-Box(BiB) Ginger Beer syrup for soda systems. Our initial offering was a 5-gallon bag of syrup that equals 13.3 cases of 12oz bottles/cans when diluted with bubbly water, required minimal storage, had zero wasted product, and a single cardboard box to recycle, and we used all natural ingredients. As he sampled his loyal clientele out of old liquor and wine bottles, they often were amazed and asked if they could keep his samples, which prompted us to then bottle the syrup in 16oz classic Boston round medicine bottles for consumer use.
Tell us about your products.
We offer 2 syrups currently; Pickett’s #1 Medium+ Ginger Beer – It’s #1 because Jim is the eldest brother and it was his idea, it’s “Medium+” because we feel the spice level is stronger than most the offerings out there. Pickett’s #3 Hot n’ Spicy Ginger Beer – It’s #3 because Matt is the 3rd brother and has a love of extra spice in all things food & drink. We feel our #3 is quite possibly the spiciest ginger beer on the market. A few things that set us above the rest are that we only use all natural ingredients, we designed our products as mixers as opposed to sodas, so they are meant to stand up to strong spirits, and an unintended blessing is that it makes an amazing culinary ingredient.
Why do you believe in small-batch products?
Mass produced brands, tend to cut corners and use garbage ingredients to keep it cheap. They don’t endure the hardships of hard work and sweat put into a small brand. Often the quality is far superior for a fraction of the cost more.
What makes your product better than the their mass produced counterparts?
We focus on high quality and exceptional taste. We refused to release our product until we thought it was perfect. Our spice levels exceed most of what’s out there. Designed as a cocktail mixer and not a soda, our products are bold and don’t get buried in the drink, they stand out.
What is your favorite small-batch treat?
I think we would all agree on Bourbon, it’s such a well-balanced spirit with rich, smooth, spicy, sweet enjoyment that reminds you of the good old days.
What Drew You To Food?
Growing up in a larger family with 2 working parents, we often times had to fend for ourselves when we were hungry. So, through years of trial and error we’ve all become really good cooks and eaters!
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Traveling the country and experiencing new cultures throughout college really sparked the desire to recreate and make the best things we could for ourselves based on what we found we liked from other people.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
Obviously, we are still working on Pickett’s #2 recipe which is very hush hush, for brother #2 Bob. We also want to expand our syrup line to include some more fruit based extracts that will go great in cocktails. We also have some very innovative ideas for the cocktail world that we can’t reveal at this time, but when they come out, they are sure to be big hits.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
I think it’s still Ginger. Given the vast usage of our product shows that ginger goes with just about everything. When drinking, you can use vodka, rum, tequila, bourbon, whiskey, gin, tea, lemonade, etc.. When eating, try it with chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops, salmon and other fish, veggies, and ice cream.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Homemade Ukranian Borscht
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Our father, who passed away 15 years ago, also a whiskey drinker, but provided us with a passion for cane sugar sodas as kids and of course his name is on the bottle.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Never put out a product you aren’t passionate about and love. Standing behind something you believe in can often eliminate some of the stress and doubt of trying to start a small business. Stay true to your values and if all else fails, you at least tried and hopefully made an impact on some peoples’ lives.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
BBQ, slow, low, smoked meat.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
We all just recently ate together at the Green Street Meats in Chicago.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
We all like to spend time with friends and family, play and watch sports, make cocktails, drink cocktails, travel, visit other peoples’ kitchens, entertain, and anything to do with puppies.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
We all have very different musical tastes, but I think we all can relate to classic rock.
Discover The Pickett Brother's Hot 'n' Spicy Ginger Beer Syrup In The Box from Chef Jennifer Jasinski
The FareTrade is a celebration of artisan food products made by real Americans, not corporations. We partner with Award-winning chefs to teach you how to get the most out of each product and make cooking at home easy and fun!