CHICAGO (January 2018) – Milwaukee-based Top Note Tonics is aggressively expanding its presence in Chicago to meet the growing demand from the city’s discerning consumers for its award winning cocktail mixers. Founders Mary Pellettieri and partner, Noah Swanson created Top Note out of a desire to fill a gap they saw in the market for a high-quality, versatile, flavor first sparkling beverage. Top Note currently produces three tonics: a sparkling Ginger Beer and a Bitter Lemon Tonic, along with its core product, an Indian Tonic Water. Millennial interest in mixers, spirits, and craft cocktail culture is on the rise, making space for thoughtfully produced brands like Top Note. The mixer market has already taken notice, as can be seen from the brand’s recognition as a SofiTM award winning item as the best new cocktail mixer in the United States for 2017, a much-coveted honor from the Specialty Food Association along with a Tastings.com medal for Ginger Beer. Further, Chicago makes sense as a focus for expanded market share, as it already contributes to 25 percent of sales for the Midwestern brand.
While Top Note plans to strategically expand its Chicago footprint, many high-profile local retailers and restaurant partners are already utilizing the brand including Avec, Independent Spirits, Longman & Eagle, Northman Cider Pub, Soho House, Red Star Liquors and The Whistler. Pellettieri’s background as a botany major and 20-year veteran of the craft beer industry are apparent in the quality and complexity of the ingredients used to make each Top Note beverage. Retailers such as Caputo’s, Local Foods, Pete’s Fresh Market, Plum Market, Treasure Island, Standard Market and select Whole Foods locations have also recognized the appeal – adding value by encouraging experimentation among beverage drinkers of all stripes.
“A bartender’s secret is using the best ingredients to build a cocktail and many have discovered that the mixer matters. Finding a great mixer that is local, well crafted, made with real sugar and balanced is rare. So rare, it actually didn’t exist until we showed up. We’re thrilled to have accounts embrace that,” says Mary Pellettieri, Top Note Tonics owner.
Local accounts including Longman & Eagle and Soho House Chicago have embraced Top Note’s versatility with inventive cocktails that include :
Strength in Blunders (Very Old Barton, Ancho Reyes, Genmaicha, Maple Syrup, Grapefruit, Top Note Ginger Beer)
American Highball (Angels Evny Bourbon, Top Note Tonic Bitter Lemon, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Lemon Twist)
The Perfect Highball (Yamazaki 12 or 18-year, Top Note Tonic Bitter Lemon, Ximenez Sherry, Grapefruit Twist)
With so much potential on the horizon, Top Note and their advisory board (which includes beverage expert Greg Stroh of Izze Soda and Stroh Brewing) have significant ambitions for the Chicago market. Not only does the company anticipate doubling its sales revenue in 2018, but fueled by distribution gains in both on-trade and off-trade partnerships, they also expect to significantly grow the current estimated quarter of total sales being contributed by the Chicago market.
In the words of founder, Mary Pellitieri, Top Note is “a secret that’s about to get big.”