Get to know Founder Mary Pellettieri of Top Note Tonics with VoyagerMichigan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Pellettieri. 

Hi Mary, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
The idea came to me to make tonic water better when I was pregnant with my first son. I was avoiding drinking but put a lot due to my career as a brewery quality control manager. What does an adult drink at a bar when they can’t imbibe? My choice at the time, 20 years ago, was tonic water and a splash of OJ. I liked the slight bitterness. Yet the bargun tonic was so bad. I decided then and their soft drinks in bars have to be fixed.

About 8 years ago, my partner and I started making tonic syrups for farm markets and bar programs. We started in Milwaukee and Chicago and have grown from there. We now have 7 classic mixers offered both as ready-to-serve bottled products and bag-in-box concentrates for the bar gun. We have a new lineup of traditional soft drinks on the way as well.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been smooth. Covid was a challenge since a lot of our profitability comes from the bargun products. We too are dealing with inflated pricing and slow supply chains. A challenging market became more so with the pandemic. But the customer craving for better has not let up, so neither have we.

As you know, we’re big fans of La Pavia Beverage Inc. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Our products are served in multiple Michelin-starred restaurants, sent to 10 states including Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, and Alaska. We are also in a store in the UK, where Jaime Oliver, the celebrity chef, personally shops at, and he has sent out Instagram stories on our tonic water. We seem to have a loyal following locally, and we are most thankful for that. But we are proud that our small Milwaukee brand is reaching further and further out while maintaining a stellar reputation. We are a tiny company of 2, so that seems like an awesome accomplishment!

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Entrepreneurs are mostly challenged with maintaining discipline and composure no matter the curveball and pressure. The best mentors understand that pressure. They are also more apt to teach their mentees to fish, and not fish for them. I like stoics and wise learned peers to lean on when challenged.


  • 6.99 4 pack

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S Achter
Top Note Tonic

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