Top Notch Mixers Creator, Juan Tapia, was always built for entrepreneurship. From working multiple jobs throughout his adolescence and adulthood to doing side projects, it was only a matter of time before one of Tapia’s endeavors became a sensation. Recently, Tapia, a bartender and liquor consultant, has actualized his ambitious goals and created his own business, Top Notch Mixers. Top Notch Mixers brings the best aspects of the bar experience home: quality drinks crafted with expertise, creativity, and love. Further, Tapia personally crafts these mixers and delivers them to communities throughout Miami-Dade County and Broward County, demonstrating his passion, dedication, and appreciation for his creations.
How did you go from being a bartender to being an entrepreneur?
I have had a little bit of entrepreneurship in me. I was always trying to start businesses and come up with different programs. They weren’t very successful because I was young, inexperienced, and focused on other things. But, for the most part, this led me to learn from my mistakes and take my time. I learned to focus on one specialization which was bartending. I excelled in it and when it got to a point where I was getting compliments from big-name people, organizations, and owners, I had to take a step back, pause, think, and realize that I was doing something right. I thought that there was a way to make money out of this or at least start my own business and become my own boss…I’ve always followed social media influencers that were their own bosses and took mental notes. Most of these influencers have their pros and cons. I try to take the pros of everyone I meet. That is how I started this project, doing what I am doing now full, focus, and full throttle.
What inspired you to create Top Notch Mixers?
Through the years, you go from being a “drink maker” to learning science, chemistry, tools to help you alter the cocktail creation experience that people expect when they walk into a bar. I started considering Mixology. I saw people choose the Mixology experience over the basic quick drink experience. Sometimes people want a quick drink. They want to get in and out but most people want an experience, so that highlighted my work. I felt like I was doing something right, something that was not average. I had something on my hands and I started wondering how to take these high-quality bar experiences home. I have a bar where I work and a company that pays for everything: the produce, the equipment, the tools. But when I want to bring the experience home or show someone how to make a drink at home, I wondered how to make that possible. That was the question I asked myself many times. Then, I started developing concepts that would work. Coronavirus happened and that forced us all to either figure it out or quit and figure something else out. For me, the pandemic put pressure on me to figure it out. I came up with Top Notch Mixers and it’s pouring the love of making something with fresh ingredients, craft, high-quality products, and effort.
How do your mixers stand out from other mixers?
Top Notch Mixers does not offer alcohol. It’s just a mixer but the approach that I took towards it takes into consideration the bar experience. It’s called a “mixer” and people who usually think of mixers think about cranberry juice, pineapple juice, Sprite, or Coke. Top Notch Mixers are actual pre-mixed cocktail recipes that are just missing the alcohol. When I make these recipes, I take into account all types of ideas. I think: Is it exotic enough? Is it different? Am I opening their minds? Is it a new flavor that they have never tasted? Is it a flavor that they have never heard of? When the client reads the ingredients, I try to make their eyes open wide. I want them to think, “Wow, that sounds delicious!” or “I’ve never thought of those two flavors together, but I love those two flavors individually so I’ll try it.”
I also use fresh ingredients for these gourmet cocktails and we make our own garnishes. I do my due diligence to go around the city and get fresh ingredients that are 100% fresh. There is nothing artificial in anything that I put into these bottles. The mixers are also in glass bottling and since I am using fresh juices, there is a shelf life. My products have to be refrigerated and sealed tight. But what is the best part is the handmade feel to my mixers. There is a love that I pour into my mixers and you can tell when you look at the product because of its quality.
You cannot get the same quality of product at my prices. Usually, you’re looking at $10-12 a cocktail at a bar. My first bottle is about 18 oz so it accommodates 3-4 people for $30.00 (delivery fee included). I also offer a 33.75 oz bottle, I call it a party size, and it accommodates 6-8 people for $55.00. I also started creating shots for $5.00. If you want to do a flight, a sample of all four flavors, that is $15.00. For someone who wants to try the flavor first, or if they want to buy a specific product but also want to try another one without committing to buying a whole bottle, they can get a sample. This helps people try different things without breaking the bank, especially during these times.
What has been the most memorable experience so far?
The most memorable experiences have been the mistakes and errors I had to overcome as well as the walls and obstacles that I had to jump through. I experienced everything from finding a company that would deliver produce to me to figuring out how to manage a business. We’re a small business and usually, most businesses require a minimum amount of ordering so it was a process to do that. Then, we had to figure out a delivery schedule, figuring out the customer base, and coming up with a product. We also had to put our products together, make them look nice and authentic because they’re all done by hand. There’s no factory pumping out the product. That’s been the most prideful thing. I notice myself as I’m doing it and I’m excited. I’m cooking stuff and I’m excited as I look at all the ingredients. I look at my orders and the sales keep growing. It’s humbling. I didn’t think it would go as well as it has. I’m also eager to have strangers that don’t know about Top Notch Mixers find us and give our products a try. I want people to give it a try and if it’s not for them, it’s not for them. I’m very confident that the moment they try it, they’ll realize the product’s high quality and over the top taste. If this unmatched experience is something they’re looking for, Top Notch Mixers will be the company for them.
What has been the biggest challenge/reward of creating Top Notch Mixers?
The biggest challenge is staying consistent, especially during these times. Look at this week alone. We have a pandemic going on. We have even more requirements. Now, they’re fining people for not wearing masks. Then, on top of that, we just had a hurricane scare. I can’t take time off. I have responsibilities to do every week. Staying on top of things is one of the hardest challenges. The challenge is to stay consistent and consistently deliver the same product, the same taste, the same everything, which is difficult considering that everything is handmade. But the biggest reward has been all of the testimonials. People give me great feedback. Everyone’s telling me how incredible the mixers are. There’s nothing more rewarding than an authentic compliment. I’ve never once asked anybody to repost anything about our product and every single person is reposting. They’re taking amazing pictures and tagging us. I’ve even had a Tequila brand approach us. They wanted to work with us and do a giveaway for a bartender which we did.
What’s next for Top-Notch Mixers?
Every month, I am bringing in a new flavor. We already have something spicy, something that is fruity, something sour, and something exotic. I’m going to bring a new mixer that’s going to reflect a feel for the holidays. It’ll be something more dark and sweet. I cater to the client’s specific drink preferences. I suggest what liquor would go well with the mixer that we make. For example, the Funky Fresh goes better with Rum or Vodka. You can do Tequila with it but there are specific spirits that will match better. You don’t see the dark liquors as much in Miami but I don’t want to ignore the people who like those either. I’m always coming up with a new mixer for people who might not be a Vodka, Rum, or Tequila drinker. I have something that goes well with Scotch, Cognac, whiskey…The mixer that I am releasing soon will be good with either of those. I want to keep growing in that sense. As well as the evolving menu, I want Top Notch Mixers to grow to the point where we can start, shipping out nationwide and then internationally.
What’s another service you offer?
In addition to individually buying the mixers, Top Notch Mixers also offers a service in which small businesses, bars/restaurants, can buy wholesale from our company. Through the procurement service, Top Notch Mixers will provide small, private businesses with mixes every week to create a more elevated experience. These recipes can be offered however in another form of business if they want. If these businesses want to make the experience a step further, I also offer menu curation as the consultant and I will sit down with businesses to create an exclusive mixer recipe just for that establishment. If businesses want to pursue consulting, Liquid Chef Hospitality is the company that umbrellas Top Notch Mixers.
How do we order your product?
You can order our product on Instagram or our website: www.topnotchmixers.com
To contact Juan or follow his journey:
**All the images credits goes to @blazinvisualz