Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in cocktails but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matthew Lindner, owner and founder of Crafthouse Cocktails, located in Chicago, IL.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Crafthouse Cocktails are a line of authentic classic cocktails that taste freshly made from a high-end cocktail bar. Our cocktails were not created in the boardroom, but instead come from people who have dedicated their life to hospitality, the study of spirits and the history and art of bartending.  Our costumers are discerning drinkers looking for an occasion based beverage that is approachable, authentic, fun, Convenient and of course delicious!

Tell us about yourself

I am a service industry junkie!  I started working in the hospitality business at the age of 14 and never looked back.  Between the age of 23-45 I designed, built and operated 13 venues and was long considered a pioneer in the food and beverage space.  We came up with Crafthouse Cocktails over 10 years ago when we recognized that people were having a hard time enjoying a well balanced and perfectly crafted cocktail outside of the cocktail lounge.  There were no good alternatives to beer and wine at the time, and people deserved better.  That, and the fact that I love to creating something that I can see people's reaction to first hand, motivated us to launch Crafthouse.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We were literally the first people to ever make a pre-bottled Moscow Mule and Paloma and now you can find them on every shelf.  We believe we helped create the category of a spirit based premium RTD cocktail and that is pretty cool.  When we launched we spent all our time and money trying to convince people this concept was something real and needed, and now it is the fasted growing category in all of spirits.  We have also gotten some amazing partnerships in both the on-premise and retail space, I guess you can say we bat above our average.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There is lots of stress and highs and lows.  It's very rarely smooth sailing and to stay focused can be difficult during those rough times.  Also, you have to live and breath it until it gets to a safe place.  That can take years and can put a strain on your family and friend relationships.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

1. There are always obstacles that you will need to overcome, stay on course and get over or around them.  It takes thick skin and hard work but it's not impossible.

2. You need to be organized and manage your finances wisely.  Money comes and goes fast and cash flow is king.  Don't run out of money and always have a plan.  Especially in the liquor space it takes money to play in this world.  

3. You can always rely on yourself but you need to be able to rely on others as well.  Build a strong team around you that compliment your abilities. Also know that other's outside of your organization that you will need will never treat your business with the same level of priority as you do.  Make sure you can navigate those relationships as best as possible.

Where can people find you and your business?

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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