Auburn alumna founds America’s first bitters brewery. Check it out

America'S First Bitters Brewery
Check out America’s first bitters brewery. Photo via El Guapo Bitters & Syrups

The New Year is bringing on big and exciting things! Christa Cotton, an Auburn Harbert College Marketing Alumna, is bringing America’s first bitters brewery in 2022. Cotton received $1.1M in Seed Series financing for her company, El Guapo Bitters & Syrups. Keep reading for all the details on Cotton’s plan for El Guapo.

Introducing America’s first bitters brewery, El Guapo

America'S First Bitters Brewery
The CEO of El Guapo Bitters is an Auburn graduate. Photo via El Guapo Bitters & Syrups

Recently featured in Forbes, El Guapo is fully owned and operated Christa Cotton, an Auburn Harbert College Marketing Alumna. It is a vegetarian, non-GMO cocktail bitters company that is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to Forbes, Cotton got her entrepreneurial spirit from her father, Alton Darby, the founder of the first and still only legal distillery in Georgia, Thirteenth Colony.

Cotton helped her father with that launch while still in college at Auburn in 2009. Now, she is being recognized for launching America’s first bitters brewery. She spent two years refining the recipes and brewing processes she would need to establish an updated line of products.

After almost filing for bankruptcy in early 2020, Cotton switch to direct consumer sales through the website and Amazon after seeing a spike in website traffic. Revenue tripled by the end of 2020. Cotton plans to build a state-of-the-art brewing operation in a 35,000-square foot building. El Guapo is set to be functional in 2022.

What are bitters?

America'S First Bitters Brewery
What flavor bitters is your fave? Photo via El Guapo Bitters & Syrups

Love a good cocktail like an Old Fashioned? Bitters are what makes it, it. According to A Couple Cooks, bitters are small bottles of spirits infused with botanicals that are used to flavor cocktails. They are neutral alcohol infused with herbs, spices, fruits, roots, tree bark, and other botanicals. They are important in today’s mixology because they are made with so many different ingredients, the flavors are not easily recognizable.

Three of the most popular bitters include:

  • Angostura: has a spicy and bitter flavor with hints of clove and cinnamon.
  • Orange: has a distinct citrusy flavor from orange peel with hints of cardamom, caraway, coriander, anise and cinnamon.
  • Peychaud’s: has a sweeter flavor than Angostura bitters with hints of anise and mint.

However, bitters are not limited to those three flavors. You can also additional flavors that include:

  • Celery
  • Grapefruit
  • Chocolate
  • Peach
  • Lemon
  • Cherry
  • Rhubarb
  • Plum
  • Mint

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Tira Davis
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