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Like its history of ironwork, Charleston also has a rich history of entertaining and imbibing, so when Brooks Reitz, founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., was tapped to manage FIG, the foundational restaurant of James Beard Award-winning chef Mike Lata, he jumped at the opportunity. Reitz had developed a recipe for a tonic syrup that he served to his patrons at the Kentucky bars and restaurants he managed, and when he arrived for his new role in Charleston, so did the syrup.
It became an instant hit with those dining at FIG, and Reitz realized that he could turn the buzz around the syrup into a brand. In 2010, Reitz launched his company, anchored by the syrup and named for one of his greatest inspirations—his great grandfather Jack Rudy.
Rudy was an inventor and an engineer by trade, but it was his joie de vivre and passion for entertaining that stuck with Reitz and inspired the brand’s direction. To honor this, Reitz’s main goal is to reinvent classic staples for a modern audience using ingredients they would have found in Jack Rudy’s own bar cabinet in the 1940s.
Reitz also enlisted the help of his cousin and cofounder, Taylor Huber, to take the brand to the next level. While Reitz thrives on creativity, Huber is an operational mastermind who compliments him perfectly.
When Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. launched, the specialty food scene was sparser than it is today, and Reitz credits much of the brand’s success to the Charleston’s unwavering support during those times—a sentiment Reitz still uses to guide the direction of the brand.