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Meet the Maker: Liber & Co.

Meet the Maker: Liber & Co.

, by Amber Chase

Liber & Co products being made into a cocktail

It all started with curiosity for Adam Higginbotham. As college kids in Austin, he and Robert Higginbotham, and Chris Harrison were drawn to the budding craft cocktail scene. They set out together to try the best cocktails across the states. As they journeyed and tasted, they discovered that many renowned bartenders were using the in-house syrups and consistently making these by hand. This sparked the idea for Liber & Co. building off a desire to empower the home bartender and meet a supply need in the developing craft cocktail scene for bottled syrups made with the finest ingredients.

Bonded by an entrepreneurial spirit, the three co-founders reconnected and began developing their first recipe. They ordered some cinchona bark and started testing their tonic syrup. Once they had a recipe they liked, they set out to see if others shared their opinion. Harrison had a connection with a chef in Lawrence, Kansas, who let them make their first batch in his commercial kitchen. They made 40 gallons that day and began selling to local liquor stores and bars. 

Liber & Co Ginger Syrup

Their second syrup was a rhubarb and ginger shrub, delicious but too niche for the market. “We wanted to maximize what we’re doing; we were using the right methodology but  picking the wrong syrups,” he says. They noticed a bevy of bartenders relying on the same, basic syrups (ginger syrup, passionfruit syrup, demerara sugar syrup). The trio launched Liber & Co.’s classic gum syrup, a classic and versatile syrup used in countless cocktails that produces a silkier mouth feel than regular simple syrup adding a layer of luxury to a cocktail. From there, they had found their market: making what craft bartenders want to use, and what people want to taste. 

Liber & Co.’s commitment to quality has been their driving force as they’ve grown their product line. Higginbotham states, “Our products are used as a platform, they’re a versatile base to develop seasonal menus, a powerful tool in the tool box.” 

Liber & Co keeps to a loose ratio of every three syrups they create: two should be upgrading quality on a classic syrup (think: strawberry syrup), and the third should be pushing the bar on what’s available in the market. For instance, their caramelized fig syrup was a bit of a stretch when it first launched, but has quickly become a staple for many home and regional bartenders craving a fig manhattan in the autumn. 

Liber & Co Fig syrup

Bartenders don’t have to compromise their quality and can utilize their time and creativity building with quality blocks provided. As their authority in the field grew stronger, Liber & Co. has been able to influence and spark trends within the beverage industry. Many bartenders started relying on them as steady syrup suppliers and will oftentimes readily try a syrup they haven’t previously purchased. 

Higginbotham’s mantra for the driving force behind Liber & Co. is to act as the bridge between bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts. “You don’t have to be a mustachioed, vest-wearing, hipster bartender to enjoy good cocktails–you just have to want a good tasting drink. It’s not about the pretension; it’s about the taste.”

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