We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Elizabeth Hines and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erin Elizabeth, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
The most important decision I made for my small business that has contributed to it’s success has been to learn when to say no. I have never wanted to grow faster than I am able to keep up with, such as making commitments to orders that I wasn’t going to able to fill in time with the quality product that I maintain. Due to the fact that I grow my own seasonal ingredients to produce bitters, there is only so much that I can make that will maintain the ‘farm to bar’ quality that makes my product what it is. It’s always hard to have to pass on an opportunity to sell and make money, but better to remain true to your product and vision and not over-commit yourself. This has allowed my business to grow in a healthy and steady way. Although it has taken longer to become a larger producing business, I have stayed committed to quality product and self sanity on a daily basis.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I produce small batch bitters from homegrown and locally sourced ingredients. I have been in the service industry for most of my life and have spent 18 years working behind bars and creating cocktails. I am proud of the fact that I am still doing it today. It has been over 8 years since I started the business. I have worked as a full-time bartender and boot-strapped the business all by myself. And I am a single mom. I think that most challenging part has been staying in it. When it’s just you, you are your only motivation. You have to be your own success. You don’t have a boss telling you what to do or when to keep going. There were many nights of bartending until late and then coming home and bottling until early morning. But it didn’t get done if I didn’t do it. There are many times where I wanted to give it all up and just work my bartending job. But I stuck with it and now I am signing a lease on a warehouse space, ordering a bottling line and making the jump to being a full-time business owner and operator.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Petaluma is a small town with big vibes. I would take them to Barber Lee Distillery for cocktails. They use Bitter Girl Bitters exclusively. Dinner and drinks at Easy Rider across the street. This is owned by two of closest friends and soon to be business partners. They feature Southern Style Food with a California Influence. We would head over the Hanson Distillery in Sonoma for some more cocktails and vodka tasting with their organic grape made vodka. They also use and carry Bitter Girl Bitters in their tasting room. While in Sonoma we could stop by Gundlach Bundschu. They are the oldest family owned and operated winery in Sonoma and also big supporters of Bitter Girl Bitters. They have a beautiful outdoor set up where you can catch an amazing sunset. Head to downtown Sonoma on a Tuesday night for the Farmer’s Market in the Square featuring different local food vendors. Thursday night over at Henhouse Brewery Palace of Beer to have a cold one and a fried chicken sandwich by Belfare. Then cross the street to Lagunitas Brewery. They really put Petaluma on the map. Swing by my house for a cocktail or two. Check out the garden and go home with some farm fresh eggs from the chickens and ducks.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom. I wouldn’t be where I was if it wasn’t for her. I am a single parent and she is always there to help take care of my son when I need to be focused on the business. She has also been the inspiration for my love of gardening that influenced what my product is. I have a flavor named after her called ‘Mom’s Prickly Poms’ for the Prickly Pears that she picks for me every season.

Website: www.bittergirlbitters.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bittergirlbitters/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BitterGirlBitters

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