Fellow woman entrepreneur Catalina Gaete-Bentz is an inspiration within the spirits industry. As the founder of Catan Pisco, Catalina has claimed the title of the first Chilean woman founder of a Pisco brand. If you’re not yet familiar with this South American spirit, Pisco is a light-colored fruit-forward brandy produced exclusively in Chile and Peru. While pisco is a staple in Chilean households, bars and restaurants, it's yet to find the kind of notoriety in the United States as other Latin-made spirits like tequila and rum. Thankfully, Catan is here to shake things up!
Q: What was it that first got you into cocktails?
Catalina Gaete-Bentz: I was raised knowing what the Pisco Sour was before any other cocktail. My father would always make these in the kitchen for any special event or family gathering while my mother cooked. The sound of the blender and my Dad in the kitchen was the sound that a celebration was about to begin.
Q: What new cocktail discoveries are you exploring right now?
CGB: I am in love with exploring every classic cocktail drink with pisco. For example, the Old Fashioned with Catan Pisco is one of my new favorites. Cosmo's with Catan, Martini's with Catan and even a good ol' Manhattan. Catan Pisco is so ridiculously versatile that any cocktail works with our pisco.
Q: Why do you think people at home might be intimidated by making cocktails?
CGB: With pisco or any high end spirit, I think consumers may be intimidated because of the complexity of certain recipes or how complicated they look by design. What's good and wonderful about Catan Pisco, especially since it's a "newer" spirit for most in the USA, is that you can sip on it neat or simply mix it with Top Note Tonic (which is my FAV!) and have a "two touch" cocktail that is easy-pisco-breezy!
Q: What are some of your favorite cocktails to make at home?
CGB: Catan and Tonic (With Top Note), and the Catan Old Fashioned lately. Catan Neat is always a go-to and when I have company, I love to invite our guests in with a Pisco Paloma or a Pisco Sour, of course.
Q: What do you take to a party?
CGB: I bring Catan Pisco, of course!
Q: Where do you think the cocktail and bar industry is headed?
CGB: The pandemic has made this a very interesting question to answer. I think since consumers are drinking more at home lately and exploring the spirits shelves more than ever, our bars and restaurants may find themselves purchasing more spirits from around the world that are not so "mainstream" because consumers will be asking for them. Supporting local during this time has also been a consumer shift, so having bars continuing to support the local brands I think will continue to resonate with the local drinkers.
Q: What has the pandemic taught you?
CGB: To be "semper gumby" - always flexible. My business - as with many smaller spirits and N/A brands around the world - was hit very, very hard. I learned to focus on the avenues that were not affected during this pandemic, and these were social media and all our digital platforms. Connecting directly with consumers vs. our on-premise retailer partners (which had completely closed down) helped me to shift my focus and start investing my time on social media through "lives," local FB group target marketing and collaborating with our off-premise accounts with deals and other efforts to bring brand awareness to our community.
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