Mark Anderson started Drake’s Organic Spirits with the goal of producing a spirit that went beyond the industry standard for sustainable ingredients. As consumers have shifted focus towards wellness and sustainability, the Minnesota-based spirits manufacturer secured $10 million in their latest financing round. Now Anderson is taking some time to discuss the philosophy that helped him build the brand.

Tell us about your business.

Mark Anderson: Our dream was to produce a spirit with the purest, freshest, and most sustainable ingredients, but we just weren’t satisfied with the current industry standards. It became our goal to travel the world in search of the best, and along that way, we were inspired to give back to the planet, and the people we met, through the practices we learned. We’re proud to create spirits for those inspired to do better for themselves, and the planet.

What sets your brand apart in the marketplace?

MA: Drake’s Organic is the only spirit brand to hold all 5 certifications including USDA Organic, Non-GMO Verified , Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Kosher with an annual capacity of 12 million cases.

Does your business have any causes it supports?

MA: Organic certification and sustainable farming.  A portion of our profit goes to support the Galapagos Fund and Long Lake Animal Rescue.

What’s the one lesson you learned during the pandemic that will stick with you?

MA: The ability to quickly adapt and survive no matter how bad it gets.

What is your best business finance tip for other brand owners?

MA: Raise more than you think is needed, keep burn rate as low as possible, and get rid of non-performers quickly.

What is your best advice for a mutually beneficial relationship with your distributor?

MA: Check expectations and don’t rely on a distributor to sell your product. That’s not realistic, especially for new brands.

What has been your most successful strategy for pitching a new retail partner?

MA: We have created a new category of health and wellness for bev alc that allows retailers to cater towards consumer shifts in wellness and living healthier lives. Drake’s Organic is better for the environment, better for you.

What are the resources you can’t run your business without? 

MA: Persistence and optimism are essential.

If you were starting a new venture today, what’s the first thing you would do?

MA: Exactly what we did when starting Drake’s Organic.  I interviewed people that succeeded and people that failed.  I found what they had in common and used that to move forward as fast as possible.