Entrepreneur Spotlight: Kaleena Goldsworthy

"LAUNCH was an incredibly helpful resource for me. It reminded me why I wanted to do this business in the first place."

An aha moment for people can be as simple as remembering where you put your keys or something bigger, like a business idea. The latter is exactly what happened for The Bitter Bottle owner Kaleena Goldsworthy.

      Kaleena’s journey to entrepreneurship began as a thirst for knowledge. New to bartending, she felt far behind in the craft and began reading, taking classes and traveling to different distilleries to learn everything she could. While a manager at The Flying Squirrel, she was driven to utilize more local products into their bar program and began studying herbalism and volunteering at Crabtree Farms. Kaleena then proceeded to make allergy tonics and was reminded of the importance of using local botanicals and honey for this. She noticed the world was flocking to California, Oregon, and other states for allergy remedies and thought, “ Well this won’t work...we need something from HERE.” In realizing these herbal remedies mirrored cocktail bitters and no one in Tennessee was making them, Kaleena had her aha moment, “I realized that no one was making bitters, which meant no one was working with local Tennessee products to create something authentic to our region and manufacturing it on a large scale. I decided I would do it.”

      Kaleena’s company, The Bitter Bottle is a cocktail solutions company that creates herbal-based products using the techniques of modern herbalism but curated for the palates of the food and beverage industry. With a BA in music business and voice, Kaleena says she never would have considered herself someone that would get into this industry, let alone own her own business. Although she admits, “I think I've always had a characteristic deep within myself that craved the sort of independence and leadership that entrepreneurship has to offer.

      Along her journey to making The Bitter Bottle a reality, she heard about LAUNCH through the startup community, and more specifically Ella Livingston of Cocoa Asante, a LAUNCH alumni. Ella recommended the program and with the belief that when you start a business you need all of the help and guidance you can get, she signed up for the Business Entrepreneurship Academy. 

      Although Kaleena found LAUNCH after working on her business for almost 2 years, she says the program was what she needed. “LAUNCH was an incredibly helpful resource for me. It reminded me why I wanted to do this business in the first place. It's really the community that is created within that experience that does something to you. I still talk to people from that class and it means so much when they check in on you and see how you're doing.  It's almost an accountability thing - while there is no pressure, it's a great driving force to think about others in the trenches with you when you fight the good fight to make your dreams come true.”

      With the full launch of the company set for fall, Kaleena has two main goals. “First, I want to get The Bitter Bottle to a point where it is sustainable in a very methodical, thoughtful way. I want to use this company to be able to go out and inspire other people to follow their dreams - and help them achieve them with our services. On the product side, I have big goals that include taking our ideas to different cities all over the world and working with local farmers, bartenders, and distillers to create products that speak to their communities. At the end of the day, I want to find The Bitter Bottle at the best bars in the world - I think that is the ultimate dream.”

      In addition to offering bitters and tinctures, The Bitter Bottle has done work with startup bars, restaurants, and distilleries on beverage consulting, menu development, staff education, etc. Kaleena also teaches educational cocktail classes for the community - for enthusiasts and professionals. “Whatever it is the community is looking for, we have a solution, a person, or an idea to help.” Looking for any of these services? Reach out to them below!