Courtesy of Glenn Hettinger
The taste of a margarita might be great, but a blender, ice and salt don’t exactly fit in your pocket. Or maybe the Lemon Drop shot is delightful but not the assembly-required aspect and step-by-step process of the drink. Enter: Shot Dropz.
“Shot Dropz was designed for ease of travel,” said founder Glenn Hettinger. “It’s a small pack, you can throw a few in your purse or your suitcase.”
Hettinger said the idea for Shot Dropz came to him while on a cruise in September 2011. Plagued by the price markup of mixers and liquor on the ship, he imagined a one-serving, travel-sized solution that could be mixed with alcohols like rum, tequila and vodka.
“It’s still expensive for the booze, but then when you start adding cans of coke and things like that to mix … just cans are like $1.95,” Hettinger said. “I had the idea and had never heard of a shot flavoring … We said, ‘Hm, maybe we’re on to something.'”
Four months later the product was born, and it could be coming to Columbus-area stores soon.
Each packet contains a 0.5 oz. flavor shot that can be added to any alcohol. With about 10-15 calories per packet, the alcohol-free addition adds a sweet, “candy-like” flavor that doesn’t overpower a typical 1 oz. shot of liquor.
“Like the Lemon Drop, we wanted it to be like the lemon drop candy,” Hettinger said. “It has that coating on it that makes it sour at first, but then you get the heat of the vodka, and then in the end you get that sweetness that lingers.”
The syrup can be used with any alcohol but “works best with clear-based liquor,” Hettinger said. He said it’s good in baking recipes as well, citing that he recently used the margarita flavor in cookie icing.
Margarita, lemon drop, orange and appletini are currently available, but Hettinger said more flavors will be released as the business grows. Cinnamon and whipped cream will be among the first on the wait list.
The packets are available only on the Shot Dropz website, but Hettinger is in talks with several retail chains such as Kroger and other local shops to get the product in stores within the next few weeks.
The Shot Dropz website offers a 24-count of one flavor or a variety pack for $9.99, but Hettinger said they will explore the possibility of offering 6-packs, 12-packs and even large bottles that serve up to 66 shots.
Shot Dropz held its launch party in Columbus at Tavern on Front Street last June after several rounds of taste testing and tweaking. Hettinger said the event was a huge success and increased awareness of the product in the Columbus area.
Since then, Hettinger said the website has been taking more than 100 orders a month, and he expects that number to keep growing as customers recommend the product to their friends.
Hettinger said college students pose a good market for Shot Dropz, and he looks forward to getting the product into liquor stores and retailers around OSU’s campus area.
“(The college) demographic is perfect,” Hettinger said. “They’re going to be our most repeat customers because of the party atmosphere.”
Gary Ramsey, who does marketing consultation for Shot Dropz, said the business will attempt to team up with Greek Life organizations on campus to hold fundraising events as well.
Shot Dropz isn’t Hettinger’s first dabble in the business world. He is also the founder and owner of Wired Communications Solutions, Inc., a Columbus-based telecommunications business, and said he used his business knowledge to help get the new venture started.
Hettinger said he is excited to see where the company goes and stressed that his journey in both of his companies began by taking risks.
“My decision to create a business is part of the journey … the challenge of making a business happen,” Hettinger said. “Anybody can do it. You just have to have a good idea and take a chance.”
OSU students had mixed reactions to the idea of the new product. Paxton McDonald, a second-year in biomedical engineering, said the product sounded convenient.
“It would be handy. That’d be a little more (convenient) than buying a whole mixer and it just sitting in your fridge,” McDonald said.
MacKenna Roberts, a third-year in finance, said Shot Dropz sounded like a fun addition to a get-together with friends.
“It would be pretty cool to have the option of putting it in there, maybe decide when you get (the shot). All your friends could have different flavors,” Roberts said. “That sounds pretty cool.”
Other students worry the flavoring would mask the taste of the alcohol, making it more dangerous for some.
“Personally, I probably wouldn’t want it in the campus area because that would encourage people to drink, and I’m not a huge fan of alcohol,” said Laura Moseley, a third-year in English. “I feel like that would distract people from their studies … it would make it easier for them to drink or consume alcohol in more quantities.”
Laura Krajewski, a second-year in economics, said she would have to learn more about the product and what makes it unique for it to be interesting to her.
“It’s just Crystal Light or anything just marketed toward alcoholic beverages,” Krajewski says. “I wouldn’t go out to go get it.”