Founder Profile: Amy Atwood, Mary Bartlett, Freya Estreller, and Natasha Case, Founders of Future Gin - Los Angeles
Hi ladies! Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Amy Atwood is a prominent natural wine distributor and importer in California. Mary Bartlett is the National Beverage Director for Arclight Cinemas and has over 10 years in the cocktail and bar industry. Freya Estreller is Head of Operations at Tea Drops and co-founder of Coolhaus Ice Cream and Ludlows Cocktail Co. Natasha Case is co-founder and CEO of Coolhaus Ice Cream. Morgan McLachlan is the co-founder of the Spirit Guild and our distiller.
What are your backgrounds and how did you all end up meeting?
We're 5 ladies who have been friends for a while in Los Angeles with mutual passions and whose lives and businesses intersect with each other in the restaurant, food and cocktail world in LA. It seemed like a natural teaming up. Plus, we just really like each other.
What led you to start Future Gin and what drew you to all starting it together?
Firstly, we all love gin and we all love each other. We thought it would be fun to work together and make a delicious, everyday gin that represented our Los Angeles & California roots. Taste is such an integral part of our business and personal lives and we wanted to create something that we liked. We're also inspired by the fact that we are 100% female vertically integrated from distiller to distributor to owners. Plus, everything we love about gin, CA does very well.
What's special and different about your gin? What went into its creation?
We wanted to create a bold, versatile gin that tasted like California. It's based on a London Dry gin, with a lot of juniper, but rather than the traditional bitter orange, we went with Meyer lemon to incorporate juicier orange qualities. We added avocado leaf, which we plucked from the tree in our backyard to give the gin a richness, and also included grape leaf as an ode to Amy's background in wine. It took almost a year and numerous iterations to get it just right!
As a team of 4, each with other businesses and commitments, what are your different responsibilities within Future Gin?
Freya runs Social Media, Marketing, and PR. Amy runs sales and operations. Mary is R&D, cocktail development and our street cred in the spirits world. Natasha helps out with design, branding and anywhere she can - she just raised $12m for Coolhaus last year, so she's pretty busy with that. Overall, we all try to pitch in where we can, but it helps that we manage our own spheres.
What makes you passionate about the work that you do?
For us, it's all about having fun while creating something that people enjoy, whether it's ice cream, cocktails, or wine. In this case, it's our delicious gin and bringing people together! We also wanted to do something good for our community. We donate a % of our proceeds to the Downtown Women's Center.
What are some of the setbacks or challenges you face?
Alcohol is a very competitive and capital intensive industry. We want to stand out by being authentic and staying true to our mission of making a truly California spirit and to making a difference by having charitable and activist component to our business. One of our slogans is "We Believe in a Brighter Future."
At The Glossary, we believe in women working together and helping one another. Why do you think it is important for women to support each other? How have women supported you?
I don't any of us think twice about working with and supporting other women. It seems pretty natural to us in all of our years in the food and beverage business, maybe because it's been historically a male dominated field. We have seen incredible support by women and men in the industry, and on a very deliberate level, which is different than how it’s been. Men historically own the spirits brand, the distributor, the distillery. We want to change that and be an example for other women. It's equally important, now that there's a spotlight on women-owned, that we also work together with men and accept and celebrate their support. It's a time to build bridges.
What women bring you inspiration?
Natasha: Pamela Adlon and Andrea Savage.
Freya: my mom.
Mary: the next generation of badass women.
Amy: Kamala Harris and AOC.
What have you learned from creating your own business that you think can apply to any creative endeavor?
Freya: to not sweat the small stuff. Think big and have a strong vision.
Amy: to always remain curious
Mary: if you get stuck, you should have a martini
Tash: You can walk through a wall when you don’t know it’s there.
What are you trying to learn right now or what is something that you are wanting to learn?
Balance having two FT jobs (and a child! for Freya & Tash)
What are some of your favorite places in LA?
Botanica, Majordomo, Otono, Normandie Club, Here's Looking at You, Bar Franca
What's coming up for you?
The launch of our gin in New York. You should be able to find it soon at Astor Wine and Spirits and 67 Wine & Spirits, Olmstead, and Frenchette