1. Tell us about your business/for purpose organization (how long have you been in business, what is your specialty, products or services, how many employees you have, etc.):
I started The Boston Shaker in 2008 when I was looking for good quality bar tools and ingredients to feed my budding interest in craft cocktails. At the time I couldn’t find any locally or even conveniently on the internet. I’d spend hours sourcing items from manufactures websites and having restaurant industry friends go to special supply shops for me. Then I started getting “a few extra” for friends who’d ask me “Hey, where’d you get that?” A “few extra” turned into getting additional cases of hard-to-find cocktail bitters, and “for friends” turned into supplying local bartenders and bars.
So in the summer of 2008 I left my great day job and decided that I’d open a place where everyone from cocktail newbies to industry professionals could get quality bar tools, ingredients and books.
We’ve grown from just me to 11 employees and have a retail shop just outside of Boston, MA — a full ecommerce website at thebostonshaker.com — and now supply restaurants and bars all over the country.
2. What makes your company/organization leaders in your industry?
There are a few things that keep me getting out of bed and pushing this company forward every day.
The first is that we are very picky about what we carry. When I got started there was a LOT of cocktail related items that weren’t good. Most were designed by people who’d never made a cocktail before in their lives. The items looked great, but if you actually tried to use them they just didn’t perform. So from the very beginning I’ve tasted, looked at, tried, or used every single item that comes into the shop. I want to know it is well made and will perform and I like getting to know the folks behind putting those products out there.
A second is that I want craft cocktails to be accessible. When I got started I found it really intimidating— filled with units of measure I never used, terminology I didn’t understand, and ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. When someone shops with The Boston Shaker it should be an easy, comfortable experience. If you’re in the shop or contacting us via email or phone – we’re there because we want to answer questions and help folks make better drinks for themselves and their guests.
3. Who or what has influenced you (book, movie, person, other company/for purpose organization)?
I think it was the entire cocktail culture that was going on around the mid 2000’s. It was a small, enthusiastic group of bloggers, bartenders and enthusiasts who were all looking at how to bring back the golden age of the cocktail and move past the overly sweetened and chemically laden products of the 70s-90s. So it was really about community. We were all sharing so much information, tips, tricks, sources that I started The Shaker. I really just felt like I was doing my part for a community that I really cared about.
4. What key qualities do you look for in your employees/team?
I look for people who like to use their minds. I don’t want someone who will just push the button when I tell them to. I like hiring driven people who not only really want to learn, but want to share what they learn. Whether it’s cocktail knowledge with customers or some cool function from a piece of software we use to keep the shop running with their co-workers.
5. Words of advice for others growing their business/for purpose organization?
Know where you want to go.
If you have a good product or service you can ride the wave of interest for a while – but eventually you’re going to have to start steering the ship, and you better have some idea which direction to take it or you’re going to waste a lot of time and money.
- Adam Lantheaume, Founder and Co-Owner
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