Behind the Bottle with the Founders of Bitter Feminist

Behind the Bottle with the Founders of Bitter Feminist

In this Behind the Bottle Founders Interview, we hear from the founders of the Cachaça brand Bitter Feminist.

Bitter Feminist Cachaça is a celebration of women's achievements, stories and contributions throughout history. At the heart of the company lies a trio of family and framily, each bringing their diverse skills and educational backgrounds to the table.

Meet the Co-founders:

Abiola Oriowo, Chief Executive Officer + Co-founder

Lanre Oriowo, Chief Operating Officer + Co-founder

Tony Adeyemi, Chief Technology Officer + Co-founder


Q: How did your partnership come together?

A: Bitter Feminist Cachaça is the flagship brand of Taburo Inc., a company inspired by two sisters, Abi (the older sister), Lanre and their (forcibly adopted) cousin Tony.

The name for the first product from the brand came before the actual product. We (Abi, Lanre and Tony) and two other friends were in a group chat, vigorously and hilariously discussing an Instagram post where a man was cautioning his future wife against hanging out with bitter feminists. Abi loved the moniker “Bitter Feminist”, thinking it would make a great name for a rock band. And then, bolt of lightning, Abi said it would be a great name for an alcoholic beverage that focused on sharing fun stories about women.

In truth, it is almost like the alcohol industry was the natural place to situate this brand and its aims. For the most part, the spirits industry is marketed at men even though women participate wholeheartedly. We wanted to turn the tides. We wanted women to stake their claim.


Q: What has been one of the biggest highlights for the brand so far?

A: One significant moment was when we won our first medal at a spirits competition. It was a bronze medal. I mean, it was significant when we held our bottle in our hands for the first time but winning that medal was confirmation that we indeed had a good product. I (Lanre) remember calling Abi after I got the email about the win…let’s just say all Abi heard was me screaming (LOL).

Other than that, we are always excited to connect with people who are inspired by our brand and share about us to their friends and colleagues, people who are diligently searching for brands like us, Black-owned brands. When we entered this industry, I don’t think we were fully cognizant of what it would mean to others, to ourselves, to access quality Black-owned products. It humbles us to be a part of this growing awareness.


Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you all have had so far?

A: The obvious challenge is funding. We have poured in our own funds and we’ve been blessed to also have family support. We’ve learned to be creative, and we have always been scrappy, willing to roll up our sleeves and put in some work. I would say that attitude has kept us trying, persisting.

Navigating the 3-tiered system (manufacturers, licensed importers and distributors and retailers) is quite the learning experience. The more we learn, the better we are at having a more focused growth strategy. Our resilience is rewarded when we encounter people within the system who are genuinely willing to be helpful.


Q: How do you strike a balance between innovation and stay true to your brand?

A: An important mission for the brand is celebration. The spirit of celebration invites creativity and levity, with a sharp focus on the reason for the brand: recognizing the contributions of women, across time and around the world, to the many things that we all use and rely on today. That's the litmus test for our ideas, whether in planning for future products and partnerships, or in social media content.


Q: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

A: Take a chance. Carve a space for who you are and what you value. That essence is what sets you apart. It matters.

When we started out, we discovered other Black-owned brands and did some reaching out. We were honored to speak with and learn from the first brand owner we reached out to - Redd Rose Vodka. She kindly gave us some direction on working with controlled states and was encouraging. That’s community!


Q: What trends or development do you anticipate in the spirits space?

A: A large part of the movement in recognizing and patronizing Black-owned spirits is the empowerment of consumers of color to ask for these products at local bars and restaurants. Black consumers are powerful contributors to the economy and wield more influence in this space than we realize. With more influencers exposing us to more Black-owned brands, we are better armed to claim more space at various levels of the 3-tiered system.


Q: Where do you see yourself and your brand in the next few years?

A: Growing the retail presence of our brand is high on our priority list. This requires access to distributors in various markets. Bitter Feminist Cachaça is our flagship product and we have other products that we can’t wait to present to the market…in the fullness of time.


Q: How do you like to enjoy Bitter Feminist? What’s your favorite cocktail?

A: Abi - I love trying all the recipes. Bitter Feminist is so versatile-it’s fun to experiment and be creative with what we put forward. My favorite recipe so far is the Brazilian buck. I love ginger ale and the Cachaça pairs so well with it.

Lanre - My personal favorite is The Brazilian Sunrise (a cachaça version of the tequila sunrise). I love being able to create that ombre sunrise in a glass, and it tastes wonderful. I like to get creative with the yellow color too, sometimes I use pineapple juice and/or mango juice in place of the orange juice.

Tony - I am a big fan of the classic Caipirinha. It's really refreshing, the muddled sugar and lime unlocks the Cachaça.

Bitter Feminist Cachaça is more than just a spirit; it's a celebration of women's strength, resilience, and contributions. Through their passion and determination, Abi, Lanre, and Tony have created a brand that empowers, breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry. As we toast to their success, let us all be inspired to support and celebrate diversity in the world of spirits. Cheers to women and the spirits that celebrate them!