Dozens of new cocktail bitters have launched in the last few years, but one San Francisco duo is proving that there’s room for more. Tim Obert and Clint Potter from The Seven Stills of SF distillery are branching out into bitters, using the power of Kickstarter to fund the enterprise. And already their line of unique bitters comprised of local ingredients and sporting beautiful label artwork is resonating with the cocktail community.
Tim and Clint originally started the distillery to make whiskey from craft beer. After finding some success with their whiskey portfolio, they began to experiment with cocktail bitters. “We wanted to make bitters with ingredients that people weren’t already using,” said Tim. After a year and a half of experimentation, they landed on three flavors for their Kickstarter launch: Cranberry, Prickly Pear and Cocktail Bitters, a unique blend of aged rye whiskey and local blood oranges with herbs and spices.
Beyond the contents of the bottle, these bitters bring a little something extra to your bar: striking custom artwork. Working in collaboration with David Cole from David Cole Creative, the team designed the labels to tell a story about what’s in the bottle. For example, the artwork on the Cranberry Bitters bottle features a whale and its hunter. “Back in the day, whalers would keep cranberries in their pockets to prevent scurvy,” Tim explained. As for the other two bottles, you’ll have to ask Tim. He admits they’re a little secretive about the art.
The now fully-funded $8,000 Kickstarter campaign was designed to cover the costs of ingredients, bottles, labels and artwork for the first batch of 1,000 bottles. Now that their goal has been met, the team is looking ahead and attempting to reach two “stretch goals” before the campaign closes on December 16th. With additional funds they hope to purchase more equipment to produce larger quantities of bitters, and eventually purchase a new still for their facility in San Francisco.
If you’re looking to get a taste of Seven Stills’ new bitters, there’s still time to help support the project. Rewards range from the bitters themselves to limited-edition lithographs of the label artwork and private bitters-making classes at their facility in San Francisco.
Julia Tunstall is the co-creator of A Bar Above. Find her writing and recipes at A Bar Above.com or check out the Mixology Talk Podcast for cocktail tips, tricks and banter.