Tim Angelillo was exasperated. After spending hundreds of dollars and countless hours on arranging a do-it-yourself Margarita bar for his 2015 Super Bowl Sunday viewing party, only two Margaritas were actually made—both by him. “I had the complete set-up: limes, special salt, quality Tequila, even special glassware,” Angelillo says. “But I was the only one making drinks, and I watched as friends and family opted for inexpensive imported beer instead of approaching the bar. The mixology wasn’t accessible, and they were too afraid their drinks would come out wrong.”
Angelillo decided that something in cocktail culture had to change. Six months later, his Austin, Texas-based cocktail catering company Sourced Craft Cocktails was launched.
Sourced Craft Cocktails provides bartenders and cocktails for events ranging from small, private parties that host anywhere from 10-50 people to major music festivals that welcome tens of thousands of attendees. No matter the scale, the company’s core mission remains the same. “Our business is predicated on creating something memorable,” he says. “People want education and convenience, and they want it to be fun. That’s what we bring to the table.” All the company’s catered events include a trained mixologist whose primary role—aside from making the cocktails—is to teach guests about “The Trilogy”: The balance of acidity, sweetness, and alcohol in any given drink. “Part of what we do is source mixology knowledge,” Angelillo says. “We want our mixologists to take the mystery out of their craft, and actively teach our clients about it.”
While Sourced puts forth a number of traditional bar packages—including Old Fashioned, French 75, and Bloody Mary variants, with prices starting at around $25 a head for two cocktails—the company also relies on a network of around 300 mixologists to crowdsource custom cocktail menus for special events like birthdays and weddings. “We have very specific guidelines based on our clients’ needs that we send out to our bartender community,” Angelillo notes. “If a customer wants vodka-based cocktails, we’ll choose a menu that makes vodka interesting and educational.”
Sourced Craft Cocktails procures all the specialty ingredients, ice, glassware, and bar tools needed for its events through an in-house team; alcohol, meanwhile, comes from local, off-premise retailers with whom the company has developed close partnerships. Only certain brands make the cut. “We look for three things,” says Angelillo. “The first is good juice—if the quality of the spirit isn’t high, it’s not the right one for us. We also want interesting brand stories, which help us educate our consumers, and we want to support great people, like the minds behind Tito’s vodka and Leopold Brothers out in Denver.” Prominent brands featured within the Sourced bar programs include Bulleit Bourbon, Glenddich Scotch Whisky, and Hendricks Gin.
While many cocktail catering venues are focused exclusively on their local communities, Sourced has taken a more wide-ranging approach, expanding its services to markets including Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, and, come August 1, San Francisco. “After establishing our business model in two major Texas cities, we became confident in our value proposition,” Angelillo says. “We’ve learned how to make sure the business continues to grow and thrive, and so expansion into different states seemed like a natural decision.” And as Sourced has expanded, its revenues have grown accordingly. While the company brought in around $500,000 in 2016, that amount jumped to $2 million last year—a meteoric rise of 400%.
To maintain growth, Angelillo plans to add innovative product launches like the upcoming barrel-aged cocktail program, which features ready-to-drink cocktails packaged in portable wooden barrels. “We completed over a year and half of research and development before releasing the barrel-aged program,” Angelillo notes. “Now, all our customers will have to do is turn a nozzle and have a world class cocktail at their fingertips.” While the product will initially be exclusive to the San Francisco market, it will eventually become available across the company’s entire network.
Angelillo is ready for an evolution in cocktail culture, and hopes Sourced can play a role in making mixology more accessible to consumers. “The preciousness of the cocktail movement is what’s wrong with today’s bar scene,” he says. “At Sourced, we want to make cocktails more approachable. That’s why we bring the necessary ingredients and knowledge all the way from your phone to your door.”