Blogger turned business owner, Ashleigh Evans, started InBooze infusion kits in 2018, based out of Grand Rapids, MI. Seeking all natural, chemical free mixes, and being disappointed with what was on the shelves, Ashleigh created InBooze using dehydrated fruits, veggies, and herbs. I had the chance to chat with Ashleigh about Inbooze and her small business journey. Check out the interview below.
Can you explain the concept of Inbooze?
InBooze is a line of alcohol infusion kits made from dehydrated fruits, spices and herbs. Each kit has a tea bag style pouch to infuse 2 or more cups of alcohol…mason jars work great! It takes about 3 days to infuse, then you have up to 6 months to enjoy the infused alcohol. I like to pair it with sparkling water or tonic.
Where did the idea for Inbooze come from?
I have always loved to make fun cocktails, but I found many people were intimidated by making drinks in their home bars. I wanted to make it easier, plus healthier–most kits are completely sugar free. When you infuse alcohol with real fruits and spices, you don’t need any extra funky ingredients.
I started making fun combos with a dehydrator and the tea style pouch was an idea to eliminate the need to strain after. Once infused, you can use the soaked fruit for garnish…or even eat it, if you want. The cherries from the Old Fashioned are delish!
How do you come up with the flavors for the kits?
My most requested recipe was for my red wine sangria. For years, my sangria was a go-to cocktail that I would bring for parties or gatherings. I knew that had to be first on my list to make. Since I went to college in Wisconsin, a great Old Fashioned had to be on my list too. They’re hard to find here in Michigan!
Initially, InBooze started with 3 flavors: Old Fashioned, Mulling Spice and Red Wine Sangria. I’ve quickly come up with new varieties based on my favorite drinks, what’s popular, or customer requests. Once I started playing around with different fruits and herbs, some flavors just come out of the blue. Last summer, I introduced Berry Lavender Lemonade on a whim and it’s now my most popular kit!
Where do you get the ingredients/where do you source from?
I am currently the only employee of InBooze (help me!!!), so I do everything from sourcing to packaging. Seasonally, I stock up on items from local farmers. Luckily, once you dehydrate something, it is good for quite some time. Since citrus and pineapples aren’t found here in Michigan, that is one item I have to buy from Florida or California.
My number one goal is to support Midwest owned businesses as much as possible. Aside from ingredients, I use local printers for packaging and signs, if they’re not handmade by me. Moving forward, when I do have to hire help, I hope to keep this a woman owned and employed business.
I was fortunate to find another local business who rents their commercial kitchen space to me. Be sure to check out Good Life Naturals for sugar free ketchup, amazing salsa and granola!
What are some of the challenges you face?
Being a woman of color in the alcohol business world is such an anomaly…which is a good and bad thing. Right now, funding is the most essential thing I need to be able to keep up with this business. I’ve done pitch competitions here in Grand Rapids, but it seems I’ll need to start a crowdfund in the near future, as well.
Having a unique idea like this means I have to protect it as much as possible. I’ve trademarked InBooze and we are working on a patent for the way I am packaging. Overall, I only have a handful of competitors, all small businesses as well. No one is doing quite what I am….yet. I want to keep it that way!
Any wacky/unique flavor ideas in the works?
I always try to keep an eye on what’s popular in the market, but put my own twist on it. My go-to drink when we have a date night is always a spicy margarita. I knew I had to figure out that one quickly, but make it my own. The InBooze Spicy Margarita has a little sweetness from pineapple and grapefruit, but also a kick from jalapeno. It is quickly becoming a top seller, although some people are intimidated by the word “spicy”. Once they try it, they fall in love.
Since infusing is still a new concept for many, I haven’t gone too wacky…yet. I do have quite a few ideas for next season though! I love herbs in my drinks, so I hope to introduce more options using things like basil or sage. The Bloody Mary has rosemary, which adds a nice layer to the infusion.
Anything exciting to look out for?
For Spring, I’m releasing 4 newbies: Citrus Cucumber, Blueberry Orange, Very Berry White Sangria and Caribbean Rum Punch. These have been perfected all winter and I’m very excited to unleash these. The Rum Punch is essentially a hurricane, with MUCH less sugar.
In the future, I plan to have options to “build your own” kit and I always take requests. The only cocktail that I can’t quite master is the Mojito. Mint is very hard to work with once dehydrated, but I think I’ll have it perfected by summer! Most flavors are year-round, but I do have some seasonal. Mulling Spice is an October to March release, as well as the Spiced White Sangria.
What’s it like creating the infusion kits?
It’s very fun to be a mad booze scientist and play around with different ingredients. I test each variety about 5-7 times to get the portions just right. My friends and family love the testing period…so many samples to try!
Thanks, Ashleigh! I loved learning all about InBooze and getting an inside peak into what’s to come.
Each infusion kit is $15 and makes 8-10 cocktails. Dietary restrictions? No problem. 8 of the 11 kits are sugar free and perfect for those low carb and keto diets. These kits can also be made without booze for a delicious mocktail!
And now…..we drink! I infused three different InBooze kits which was super easy. The hardest part was waiting 3 days until they were ready to enjoy. Here’s my review:
Berry Lavender Lemonade
Dehydrated lemon, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and lavender. When I was infusing this the pouch of fruit smelled so good I almost couldn’t wait the 3 days to taste it! The lavender is subtle, but it’s just enough to add a little something extra. The berries are sweet and delicious and the lemon pulls it all together. Light, refreshing, and perfect for Spring/Summer.
Dehydrated orange, lime, pineapple, grapefruit, and jalapeno. The perfect balance of sweet and heat. The pineapple balances out the tartness from the grapefruit and pairs well with the spice from the jalapeno. Bold citrus flavor without all the added sugar. I really liked this because sweet margarita mix does a number on my stomach.
Spiced White Sangria
Dehydrated peaches, Michigan apples, orange, cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and a cinnamon stick. The combo of dehydrated fruit was perfect. You get the crisp apple, sweet peach, tart cranberry, sour pomegranate, and a touch of woody spice from the cinnamon. It was warming, yet light and refreshing.
Visit www.inbooze.com to place your order today. Enter discount code BITETONIGHT at checkout for 20% off your order.
Be sure to check out the InBooze Summer Stock Up Flash Sale event June 25 7-9 PM. https://facebook.com/events/s/inbooze-summer-stock-up/236381744473606/?ti=as