Andrew Rodbell introduces authentic canned cocktails to the Southeast from his West Midtown warehouse.
Andrew Rodbell just wanted a good Mai Tai. He was at a Yacht Rock Revue concert with his friend/now business partner, Charles Sain, and he couldn’t find an authentic cocktail. With 20 years of experience in brand management and product development for companies such as Coca-Cola and Cartoon Network, Rodbell decided to solve the problem.
In 2017, Rodbell and Sain launched Post Meridiem Spirit Co., a canned cocktail company that uses genuine ingredients such as barrel-aged whiskey, tequila, Italian maraschino liqueur and lime juice. Its Mai Tai, Margarita, Daiquiri, Old Fashioned and Vodka Gimlet come in 100- milliliter steel-walled cans to keep them fresh. They pack a punch at 23-27% alcohol by volume. Just pour and serve over ice.
“Post Meridiem is the next tradeup consumers are making,” Rodbell says. “It’s something premixed that tastes like your bartender made it.” Previously sold only at package stores, restaurants and bars throughout the Southeast, Post Meridiem is now available for purchase nationwide through its website.
We spoke to Rodbell about creating the cocktails and balancing startup life with time commitments to his wife and three children, ages 5, 7 and 9.
How do you choose the flavors?
We have a bench of ideas. We had a delicious Aviation with crisp, dry gin; imported Italian maraschino liqueur; creme de violette and lemon juice, but during our stability testing, we confirmed that the shelf life of [fresh] lemon juice is not long enough. We refuse to use engineered lemon juice or use any fake ingredient. Therefore, we had to cut a drink we loved because real ingredients taste better. We have additions to our lineup in the works, and we will introduce them in the not-too-distant future.
How did you develop the Post Meridiem recipes?
Thoughtfully. We chose recognizable cocktails and classic recipes, as people appreciate familiarity. We wanted to focus on real ingredients because artificial ingredients, widely used across the ready-to-drink category, really impact the integrity of the cocktail. We worked with an award-winning mixologist to get the perfect balance and taste. We worked with packaging engineers and food scientists to ensure the quality ingredients held up in our can over time. For example, our Mai Tai closely follows the original Trader Vic recipe with a blend of funky rums, orange curacao, orgeat and, most importantly, 100% real lime juice.
What’s a typical workday for you?
Part of the fun is not having a typical workday. I have my routines in terms of distributor management, sales and vendor management, but some days I am negotiating distributor contracts, and other days I am driving a forklift. [Now] I am glad to have more time to focus on strategic growth as we grow the team.
What do you tell your kids about your job?
They tell their teachers that Daddy makes cocktails. I assume their teachers think I am a bartender. Really, they know that Dad started a company that makes cocktails in small cans. They know I make delicious drinks that make people happy, and that’s good enough for me.
Do they ask to taste it?
They do, but they know it’s an adult drink. They think the can is very cute. My middle son is obsessed with trucks, cars and anything that rolls. The greatest day of his life was when I brought him to the office to meet the shipping trucks. He got to sit in the cab and watch me drive the forklift.
What do you do for fun?
Between a growing business and having a family with three kids under 10, I don’t have much time or energy for anything else. I love visual arts and music. I am on the board of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center. I also paint acrylic canvases, but nothing that will be shown at the Contemporary, I can promise you that.
PHOTO: Joann Vitelli
Foodie Tastemaker Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Contributing Editor at Atlanta Magazine. Restaurant Aficionado and Mother of Two.