Q&A with Jordan Silbert, Founder & CEO of Q Mixers

Images: Q Mixers

For those in the bar, restaurant and nightlife world, Q Mixers is synonymous with high quality.

The brand is highly recognizable off-premise as well, from Target to Whole Foods to Amazon. Home bartenders make certain they’ve got Q mixers on hand.

CEO Jordan Silbert, a fan of a well-crafted Gin & Tonic, created Q Mixers in 2007 in his kitchen in Brooklyn. After realizing he and his friends had been mixing premium gin with bottom-shelf tonic, he asked himself a simple question: “Shouldn’t my tonic be as good as my gin?”

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We asked industry leaders to weigh in on what metrics they were tracking to ensure proper cash flow, increased profit margins, and operations setup for future growth.

Four years of perfecting his tonic water included finding the best ingredients—real ingredients—and pulling back on sweetness. Silbert puts that same passion into every Q Mixers recipe: if he doesn’t love it, it’s not ready yet.

We asked Silbert five questions about the industry, how it has changed in this year, and where it’s going in 2020.

How has consumer behavior changed, and how are you helping operators adapt?

Consumers are demanding better, healthier, more authentic products. They seek out brands they can relate to, and don’t mind paying more for a better experience. We’ve seen brands in many categories play into this trend. Not in the least spirits: for years we’ve seen the category become more premium with increased emphasis on differentiating brand elements. Mixers, however, until recently mostly remained commoditized. But today, consumers are starting to realize that mixing a premium gin with rich heritage and crafted with care, with tonic out of a soda gun or large plastic bottles, high in sugar, artificial ingredients and low in carbonation, just doesn’t make sense. We help operators adapt to this changing trend by supplying them with the world’s best mixers—fantastic, all-natural ingredients, highly carbonated and low in sugar. So, more and more operators are ripping out their soda guns and replacing their mixers with better ones, such as Q.

Check this out: View from the Bar: Lowering Turnover & Increasing Profits

What changes or disruptors had the most impact on the industry in 2019?

An increasing aversion towards artificial sweeteners. High Fructose Corn Syrup is rapidly falling out of favor. This was highlighted by the corn syrup beer wars that flared up after the 2019 Super Bowl. The negative sentiment towards artificial ingredients, especially among Millennials, is why more consumers are looking at labels and ultimately opting for those brands that stick to real, natural ingredients (like Q Mixers).

Costs seem to be rising on multiple fronts. How are you helping operators reduce them and maintain profitability?

Research is very clear about the consumer’s willingness to pay more for better quality. And operators who offer a better-quality experience can charge more for that experience and therefore actually increase profits. Specifically, a 2019 Technomic study showed that 83 percent of consumers are willing to pay $2 more for a drink with a premium mixer, especially if the bottled mixer is served alongside their drink ‘club-style.’

Q Mixers Tonic Water and G&T
The tonic water that started it all.

What new product(s) or innovations are you most excited about?

We are on a mission to make people’s favorite drinks even better. We do this by sticking to some core principles when creating our products: real ingredients, extra carbonation and less sweet. Crafted to be a mixer and to bring the best out of great spirits. Look for some exciting new flavors to elevate Mules, G&T’s and more.

Check this out: Q&A with Paul Hletko, Founder & Master Distiller of FEW Spirits

Looking at what's next, what's your forecast for your business and the industry in 2020?

The premium mixer category will continue to grow (Morgan Stanley expects it to grow by 700 percent in the next five years!), and Q Mixers will continue to lead the charge as the fastest-growing mixer in the United States.

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