Bittercube was founded by Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz in 2009. Nick and Ira began developing bitters before Bittercube was formed and brought their ideas, techniques and recipes together. For nearly a year, the duo formulated, tweaked and developed the lineup that is now the six varieties of Bittercube Bitters. Bittercube began macerating larger batches of bitters in July of 2010, and now has distribution and wholesale accounts around the country.
Beyond bitters, Bittercube has consulted with a number of restaurants and bars, creating unique cocktail programs throughout the Midwest. Bittercube has lent its cocktail prowess to a number of trade shows as well, including facilitating the libations events at Wine & Dine Wisconsin 2010. Bittercube has found success putting on speakeasy events, guest bartending nights and cocktail dinners around the Midwest.
Bittercube has been featured in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, Playboy, Imbibe Magazine, Timeout, Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, GO – AirTran Inflight Magazine, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, NPR, and Daily Candy, among other publications.
Nicholas Kosevich began his career behind the stick at Palomino Euro-Bistro in downtown Minneapolis. After a five year stint there he left to tackle a new concept opening on East Lake Street: The Town Talk Diner. Nick helped open this restaurant with mentors Tim Niver and Aaron Johnson and as soon as the historic diner opened its doors, Twin Citizens knew they were in store for something special. Nick took the locavore movement seriously, crafting as many house-made products as possible, including a number of bitters and liqueurs. For three and a half years, Nick helped transform the collective palate of the Twin Cities from reserved sippers to educated imbibers. Kosevich won nearly every bartending award in Minneapolis while at “TTD” and went undefeated en route to winning the first annual Iron Bartender Competition in 2009.
Ira Koplowitz began crafting cocktails in Boston in 2006. Koplowitz worked for more than two years at the Violet Hour in Chicago — referred to as “ground zero for cocktail culture” by Details magazine — where he developed a number of house-made syrups, tonics and bitters. At Violet Hour, Ira worked as a bartender and a manager, and contributed cocktails to more than a year’s worth of seasonal cocktail menus. Ira had two cocktails published in the well-received Rogue Cocktails book. Beyond bartending, Koplowitz has traveled extensively, eating and drinking his way across forty countries, spanning five continents. His passion for travel and the delights of eating and drinking well have inspired his continued passion for the craft cocktail movement.
Marco Zappia dropped out of middle school because everyone was dumb, was accepted into Stanford’s advanced placement program, promptly got into too much trouble and ran away from Palo Alto into the patchouli scented bosom of Berkeley, where he studied Sartre, Derrida, and Plato. California girls didn’t like Marco, so he went to the east coast to Bard where he partook in many dinner parties, drank a lot of Yellowtail and tasted super exotic cheeses. Being the all-star philosopher that he thinks he is, the only logical solution to life was to drop out of college and bus tables. His grandmother was very proud. Marco met his mentors Nick and Ira of Bittercube when the Eat Street Social was beginning to take shape, and they forced Marco to start bartending and proceeded to use him for free labor until they felt guilty and decided to make him a managing partner — more free labor! Then he won best bartender in the Twin Cities (grandma, I’m looking at you). Marco spends his days writing emails, drinking gin, figuring out ways to reverse engineer lime juice, and making drinks come true.
Toby Cerqua went to college to be a musician, where he realized he would be rather do something else for a living. He became an IT and marketing professional for more than a decade, working as a programmer and graphic designer at Milwaukee-based agencies. During this time he also helped to found Bacon Interactive, a four-man venture which created interactive art installations, as well as Fellas Creative, a creative consulting partnership. Cocktails and bitters were a personal hobby at the time he met Nick and Ira, and they hit it off; Toby worked with them to develop the branding and design of Bittercube products, and continued to assist in various capacities for four years before joining Bittercube full-time as a managing partner. He currently sits on a throne made of Variety Packs and bubble wrap.
Marco Zappia, Managing Partner
Toby Cerqua, Managing Partner