Isn’t it in all of us to dream big? We have great ideas, and then find out that our great idea is a new product and think “if only we had done something about that.” Or we wonder what it would be like to be the guy who invented the cardboard sleeve that goes over every coffee cup everywhere every day. It takes a special drive to be an entrepreneur, to take those ideas and believe in them and have the guts to take that leap of faith. What we have here at Arty’s is a couple of entrepreneurs with the drive and determination AND belief in themselves to make this happen.
Timothy Pappin is an entrepreneur who used to own a bar & grill in Arizona 16 years ago that he put his heart and soul into, but after careful deliberation, he decided to move back home to Wisconsin. It was about that time for him to start a family which meant he needed to give the appearance of a responsible adult with a secure, good paying job. He worked for “the man” for those 16 years, all the while dreaming of his next entrepreneurial adventure. And what he has embarked upon, is an awesome endeavour.
Ryan Mijal, who is Timothy’s nephew, graduated from UW-Oshkosh and has gained some excellent experience in production planning and management. Despite enjoying the daily challenges of his job, he too was wanting something more.
It all started 2 years ago when Timothy and Ryan were out one night and Timothy suggested they have an Old Fashioned. Ryan, in his 26 years of wisdom says, “What’s an Old Fashioned?” Uh, only THE drink in the state of Wisconsin! Timothy introduces him to the Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet, and they have a good ol’ Wisconsin party into the early morning hours.
The next day, Ryan says to Timothy, “Hey, I could really go for another Old Fashioned. Those were great!” Timothy’s response was the same as we all think, “Yeah, too bad we can’t just grab one out of the fridge.” (For those who don’t know, an Old Fashioned requires an orange, cherry, bitters & sugar all muddled together, then add liquor & splash… not something you can make without all the special ingredients.) But being the entrepreneur he is, his next thought was, “Why can’t we?” And right there, Arty’s became a dream that would eventually come true. (That’s Ryan & Timothy, R & T for “Arty’s”.)
For the last two years, Timothy & Ryan have been working on a formula, government permits, approvals, and even a definition for what they are trying to do. This is not a beer… it’s not a malt beverage. It’s a distilled spirit. No one is doing this. No one. You cannot buy a pre-mixed, ready-to-drink Wisconsin Old Fashioned. As a wine distributor said to Timothy at a random meeting at a gas station (of all places… goes to show why you should ALWAYS be networking), “That’s a million dollar idea that no one has thought of.” It’s a pre-mixed, bottled, just pour over ice and add your favorite garnish Wisconsin Old Fashioned.
So, they took the leap of faith… they got all the necessary approvals, they bought the necessary equipment to get started, they created their logo, they designed their packaging, and they perfected their formula. And, people, this drink is DE-LISH-US!! If you haven’t had an Old Fashioned in a while, or have never tried an Old Fashioned, you need to get yourself an Arty’s!
And so you’re saying, “OK, where can I get myself an Arty’s?” That’s where the story gets a little sweeter. As they were getting close to final approvals, they contacted and setup a few meetings with local Wisconsin distributors to test the waters. The reaction was, “We want it, and we want it now.” Their response was, “I guess we’d better get the Whiskey Old Fashioned Sour ready to go, too!”
Final approvals came through for both formulas at the end of June, and second meetings with those distributors were setup for the first week of July. Orders were placed on the spot. In the second week, reorders were placed. They sold more than double their projected sales for the first month in the first 2 weeks. It’s in Wisconsin grocery stores now.
Yep. They created a formula for a drink, bottled it, and they SOLD IT. It’s a great story of Brandy Old Fashioned “Sweet” success.
So, what is the lesson here? If you want something, go get it. Period. Experience your own “sweet” success. And have an Arty’s while you’re doin’ it… because it’s not a party without Arty’s!