Vincent Stipo wears — or can wear — many different hats.
Currently, he’s MSC Retail’s Real Estate and Hospitality Consultant, meaning he’s the guy they bring in to weigh in on restaurant build-outs, or find chefs and restaurateurs spaces which match their new concepts. But he’s also the guy who helped make Palizzi Social Club’s oh-so-magical front-of-house and bar what it is today. Before that, he was High Street Hospitality’s service director and AKA Hotel’s beverage manager, and before that he was a bartender making waves in Philly’s still-just-burgeoning cocktail scene at Vernick Food + Drink.
Now, his actual face is on a bottle of pre-made Moscow Mule mixer sitting on the shelves of a Walmart nearest you.
You see, Next Phase Enterprises has a longstanding relationship with the mega-retailer (and other mega-retailers like BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club, and Kroger). Market research revealed a demand for pre-made cocktail mixers and ingredients (especially since many of these big-box stores already sell liquor) so, Next Phase chose to release a new line of bartender “essentials” called Cocktail Artist. They partnered with different, notable “mixologists” — or “Cocktail Artists” — around America to develop mixers worthy of a spot on your home bar cart.
Here’s the line-up they launched with:
- Grenadine (375 mL) – Developed with Bonnie Wilson, Dallas, TX
- Lime Juice (375 mL) – Developed with Luke Andrews, Chicago, IL
- Lemon Juice (375 mL) – Developed with Tenzin Samdo, Boston, MA
- Simple Syrup (375 mL) – Developed with Sadiyyah Iddeen, Atlanta, GA
- Mint Syrup (375 mL) – Developed with Juyoung Kang, Las Vegas, NV
- Mule Mix (750 mL) – Developed with Vincent Stipo, Philadelphia, PA
- Old Fashioned Mix (750 mL) – Developed with Matthew Biancaniello, Los Angeles, CA
- Manhattan Mix (750 mL) – Developed with Robert Porter, Phoenix, AZ
As you can see, Stipo is among the chosen mixologists. There’s even a video. Please watch it.
Stipo tells Foobooz he chose the Mule Mix because it makes a simple drink even simpler to make. All you have to do is add club soda and a spirit (vodka is customary) to the mix (made with fresh ginger and pure cane sugar), and voila: a Stipo-approved Moscow Mule. Keep in mind, one bottle makes between 8-10 drinks. Time to load up on copper mugs.
“I love the craft of bartending and the creative canvas it provides,” says Stipo. “My partnership with Cocktail Artist Essential Bar Ingredients, and the development of the Mule Mix, has provided a much needed outlet for the home bartender and cocktail enthusiast.”
One would imagine a partnership like this could be very lucrative, this is Walmart money, after all. Stipo says, “We’ll see.”
And say what you will about the brand, or the Saturday Night Live-esque video above — at the very least, kudos to him for not being recorded on camera saying “I am a Cocktail Artist”, or maybe worse, being the new face of simple syrup.
Cocktail Artist [Official]