Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer in Season

Summer is here and so is berry season! Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries...you name it. And when they're this sweet, juicy, ripe and plentiful, they can also be fabulous in cocktails. Below is one of my favorite recipes from the Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. It's also very festive for your 4th of July festivities.

Stawberry Ginger Fizz:
For this cocktail it is best to use fresh ginger rather than making a syrup. We use a Champion Juicer to preserve the true ginger bite without adding that cooked quality. Add a nice Reposado Tequila like Corzo and the ginger serves to balance any of the typical Tequila earthiness. The rounded flavors of strawberry compliment the touch of oak from the Reposado as well. Pour over ice with fresh mint, top with club soda, stir, and you've got the refreshing Strawberry Ginger Fizz.

1.5oz Corzo Reposado Tequila
.5oz Fresh Ginger, juiced
1oz simple syrup
2 strawberries
1 lime wedge
Fresh Mint

Add the strawberries, lime wedge, and simple syrup to a shaker glass and muddle until the strawberry is broken down and the lime oils have been released. Then add the Tequila and fresh ginger, fill with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Double strain into an ice filled cocktail glass layered with a few pieces of fresh mint and top with club soda. Stir to incorporate.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

GeekWires' Startup Spotlight features Corkz app

If you don't follow the tech media like I do, you may have missed GeekWire's Q&A with Corkz app founders Matt Kowalczyk, Brooks Talley and Jim Goodman. The app allows you instant access to CellarTracker's information on more than 750,000 bottles of wine. Scan in the bar code, or type in the name of the wine to find more than 1,000,00 notes and ratings from experts and the CellarTracker wine community.

It's a great app if you're a wine lover, by a great group of guys. Luke had the chance to meet Matt a few years ago when they climbed Mt. Rainer together for Climb for Kids, a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to raise money for fetal syndrome support organizations.

Below is the full article from GeekWire.com:
On a trip to China two weeks ago, Matt Kowalczyk ordered a top-notch bottle of wine from a fancy restaurant. But when the sommelier arrived with a different 2007 variety, the co-creator of the mobile wine application Corkz sprung into action.

“I laughed, opened Corkz on my phone and showed to him that both wines were indeed good and were for sale in China – however, the price between the years differed in China by $150 wholesale,” recalled Kowalczyk, who ended up receiving a 50 percent discount as a result of the confusion.

That’s the power of Corkz, a mobile app which the upstart says is “like having a sommelier in your pocket.” The $3.99 app — developed three years ago by Kowalczyk, Brooks Talley and Jim Goodman – is getting even better. A new version includes integration with FourSquare, so users can mark where they’ve tasted their favorite wines or see what other friends have liked at that location.

We chatted with Kowalczyk to learn about the company’s key partnership with CellarTracker and their very unique business model.

Explain what you do so our moms can understand it: Our mobile app provides instant access to information about 1,000,000+ wines from over 70,000 producers to help the average consumer become better educated about the wine they are about to enjoy. Over the last three years our app has become one of the best selling wine apps on iPhone, Android and soon to be Samsung (bada) platforms. Besides simply providing access to information, we also enable users to create and manage their own wine cellar too.

Inspiration hit us when: All three of us are friends and fellow wine geeks. We all have wine cellars and we each utilized Eric LeVine’s web service, CellarTracker, to track and learn about our wine. When the iPhone first came out, we saw a need to consume that information via a mobile device and voila, Corkz was born.

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: This has been completely bootstrapped, as we developed this app to fill a void in our own mobile experience. To that extent we haven’t needed funding because Apple has provided us with a lot of love (free marketing) by including us in a television commercial, running a three month advertising campaign in The New York Times and pushing our app in every Apple retail outlet.

The smartest move we’ve made so far: Partnering with (Seattle’s) Eric LeVine and CellarTracker. He has been a fantastic partner for us. We’ve also engineered our application so that we can manipulate the user interface without having to redistribute a new version of the app via the app store – that has saved us more than once.

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: Waiting too long to update and promote the Android version of Corkz

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: None of those guys, really. OK, maybe Jobs — maybe he already is and we don’t know it. But for us, we’ve all been around the block a few times. We just want a slick app that helps us with our wine habit, and to that extent if it helps others too, that’s great.

Our world domination strategy starts when: We won’t dominate the world, we develop wine software. That’s good enough for us and helps us feed our wine addiction problem.

We are truly unique because: We are the only consumer wine app that provides total access to the biggest wine database available – CellarTracker. We are also probably the only company that trades promotional space for wine. We promote wineries and wine events in exchange for wine, not money. This is truly a labor of love.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: Work on what you are passionate about. Solve a problem that is near and dear to your own heart.

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area statup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send a couple photos of the founder(s) and company logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.