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Mixing It Up With Hella Cocktail Co.

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Instacart

Jun 21, 2022

In this brand story, we’re shining a spotlight on Hella Cocktail Co., an Instacart CPG brand partner and participant in the Instacart Ads Initiative, our $2 million commitment to amplify historically underrepresented brands. 

Hella Cocktail Co. is revitalizing the craft cocktail experience for the masses. 

Whether you want to explore the art and science of mixology, or sit back and enjoy a refreshing drink, Hella Cocktail has something for everyone – from their original craft bitters in innovative flavors like Apple Blossom, Smoked Chili and Eucalyptus, to their newest line of non-alcoholic canned Bitters & Soda. 

“The Hella Cocktail story is a story of friendship, and wanting to share the things you enjoy. The glue is sharing flavor. That’s what Hella is really about,” says Jomaree Pinkard, Co-founder and CEO of Hella Cocktail Co. 

The now national beverage brand started as a hobby among friends, sharing experimental bitters recipes in empty hot sauce bottles. To pursue building the brand, Jomaree and co-founders Tobin Ludwig, COO, and Eddie Simeon, CMO, each had to make a career change and push against their expected paths.

“Even if a risk doesn’t pan out perfectly, it will either open a door or unlock a new value. You have to take a risk to learn something about yourself and your path.” 

Jomaree Pinkard, Co-founder and CEO of Hella Cocktail Co.

Jomaree was ready to take a risk. 

“It’s so much easier to build on a big brand, a big logo, a big identity. But when it came to starting Hella Cocktail I thought, if we can make this niche product a little less niche, we can share something we love with even more people. That’s how we measure success,” he says. 

Hella Cocktail Co. has been sharing their products far and wide, partnering with Instacart to amplify their digital advertising campaigns. The team also measures success by embodying their brand values, revisiting and editing them more frequently than you might expect. For Jomaree, it’s important that the company’s values accurately reflect the team’s daily decisions and priorities. 

A brand is much like a human. It’s a living, breathing, evolving thing, so we treat our brand values that way.

Jomaree Pinkard, Co-founder and CEO of Hella Cocktail Co.

These values – celebration, diversity, roots and giving – also represent Jomaree’s point of view when it comes to the potential for change in the CPG food and beverage industry. 

“The VC investment thesis that’s been the norm for so long has to change if we’re going to encourage diversity and innovation in the CPG space. Investors need to understand the importance of making a bigger investment in emerging brands and underrepresented founders in order to see the ROI they’re looking for.” And from a business strategy perspective, he thinks they should be looking to invest more deeply in BIPOC-led brands.

“The demographics in this country are changing, and buying power in underrepresented non-white communities is growing. Store shelves should reflect the community they’re serving, otherwise it doesn’t make business sense.” 

Jomaree Pinkard, Co-founder and CEO of Hella Cocktail Co.

The brand’s newest value revolves around choice. 

“There’s always been a part of me that wanted to shape my journey, choose my own destiny. And being an entrepreneur has unlocked that for me. That’s why choice – elevated choice – is a core company value for Hella Cocktail. I tell aspiring entrepreneurs, figure out a way to represent your authentic values through the brand. Your brand has to be an expression of who you are – that’s what will guide you and your business on a sustainable path for the long term.” 

When asked about his favorite product from the brand, Jomaree chooses their newest release, a non-alcoholic line of Bitters & Soda. 

“It connects back to the idea that we need choice and flexibility. My kids can now participate in a shared family moment, enjoying seltzers while my wife and I mix up a drink. I love that I’m able to create that moment for us with Hella Cocktail products.”

Learn more about Hella Cocktail Co. here, and follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram. If your brand is eligible for the Instacart Ads Initiative, visit ads.instacart.com to sign up and learn more. You can read more about the Initiative and its recent expansion here!

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Instacart

Instacart is the leading online grocery platform in North America, partnering with more than 750 beloved national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to deliver from more than 70,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. To read more Instacart posts, you can browse the company blog or search by keyword using the search bar at the top of the page.

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