By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Jun 09, 2021 at 2:31 PM

After over a decade, Bittercube founders Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz have made the decision to go their separate ways.

“This decision was not an easy one,” says Koplowitz. “And it’s taken place over the course of months. We’ve spent 10+ years concepting and building some amazing brands, consulting on unique projects, and continuously pushing each other to be better. Ultimately, Nick will always be a founder of Bittercube and Heirloom and I’m excited to see where our other brands go under his leadership.”

As a result of the split, the owners have divided their brand assets. Kosevich, based in Minneapolis, has assumed ownership of the Garden Variety brand (which launched as a bloody mary mix in 2019) and On the Fly Elixirs, both of which he has rolled up under his new company, Drinks Apothecary. Kosevich will also continue to consult on various projects in Minneapolis and beyond, including the forthcoming Malcolm Yards Food Hall and Mr. Paul’s Supper Club.

In turn, Koplowitz has purchased Kosevich’s shares in the Milwaukee-based Bittercube and Heirloom (a liqueur brand which launched in 2018) and will continue work on projects and consulting in both his home state of Oklahoma and the Milwaukee area, including the upcoming North Avenue Market, the forthcoming food hall and community gathering place at 5900 W. North Ave..

Koplowitz says the two former partners will continue to blind taste Bittercube bitters to ensure maximum consistency for the brand they founded together. The two also expect to work together, albeit in a lesser capacity, assisting one another in building their respective consulting projects.

“I am proud of what Ira and I have accomplished over this last decade,” says Kosevich. “What a ride it has been! I look forward to seeing Bittercube and Heirloom continue to grow under Ira’s guidance. And I’m excited for Garden Variety, On the Fly, and the other projects I’m working on. With a fresh start, I know these brands will flourish.”

On the horizon

Both entrepreneurs have exciting projects on the docket moving forward. On the Fly Elixirs has partnered with Earl Giles Bottling Co. to produce the 16-ounce elixirs for national release, as well as over 75 flavors of elixirs, citrates, and essences, all customizable by utilizing the Drinks Apothecary Library of Botanical Extracts.

In the coming months, Drinks Apothecary will also launch two new products under the Garden Variety brand: Sour Mix and Pure Cane Syrup. In collaboration with Earl Giles, Drinks Apothecary also plans to open a new distillery in Northeast Minneapolis before the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, Bittercube – a company which produced bitters for over 12 million cocktails in 2020 – will continue to create its nine varieties of slow-crafted bitters. The Heirloom Liqueurs line will also continue to grow, adding a fifth liqueur to its line-up. Two canned cocktails are also expected to be released this summer with an additional two expected in the fall.

The Bittercube Bazaar also remains open for online ordering and pick-up at 4828 W. Lisbon Ave. The Bittercube Bar will remain closed for the time being, but is expected to host some in person events as time moves forward. For updates, follow Bittercube Bar & Bazaar on Facebook and Instagram.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.