Long Story Long
Settle in with your big drink in a small jar and stay for awhile!
Like many of the best ideas behind some of the world’s most beloved products, Edwin + Sons Cocktail Co. was the result of a ‘happy accident’. Russell Schaumburg, Hollywood screenwriter turned medical student turned accidental mixologist, found himself empty-handed on his way to a dinner party and was forced to get creative on the spot. Without a bottle of wine or six-pack of beer in sight, Russell recalled a quote he once heard (or possibly made up that night):
"When life hands you lemons, make some cocktails."
So, that’s what he did…
After spending more than a decade working as a screenwriter and unscripted television series creator in Los Angeles (with credits that include TENNESSEE, produced by Oscar-nominated film producer, Lee Daniels, and several original lifestyle series for Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and TLC), Russell moved back to his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee in 2010 to raise three little girls and follow a long-forgotten dream of becoming a physician.
Between working as a stay-at-home dad, writing during naptime and attending night school to complete his medical school prerequisites, Russell had little time (and less money) to go out for cocktails with friends. Instead, he started experimenting with several classic cocktail recipes at home and was instantly attracted to the blend of art and science required to make (or attempt to make) the perfect cocktail. As it happens, making cocktails was a recipe that appealed to both his creative mindset and scientific skillset at the same time.
Over time, Russell gained confidence in his real-world, trial-by-fire mixology skills. But he had never made a cocktail for anyone else, to him it was just a hobby. That was all about to change…
After mixing up a batch of Classic and Elderflower Manhattan cocktails to take to the dinner party, Russell faced a new problem: Finding a container large enough to handle the volume of liquid, sturdy enough to prevent spillage and special enough to give as a gift to the hosts. In his quest to find the perfect pitcher or plastic bottle, Russell rifled through every cabinet in the kitchen before finding a pallet of four-ounce Mason jelly jars stashed behind a row of cereal boxes. Problem solved.
It turns out, twelve jelly jars was the exact number needed to hold all the drinks he had made. Besides that, the jars were sturdy and leak-proof. Plus felt far more intimate and personal than showing up with cocktails in a plastic yellow milk jug (that may or may not have been retrieved and repurposed from the recycling bin on the street).
The little Mason Jar Manhattans were a big hit at the party. Guests raved about the cocktails and praised the packaging even more. (They even liked the blue painter’s tape used to label each lid.) When guests asked Russell how he came up with the idea to put ready-to-drink craft cocktails in single-serve jelly jars, he just told them the truth: By accident.
A few months later, the ‘happy accident’ became something more purposeful when Russell sent a few dozen cocktails to his brother Zach, a commercial real estate developer/investor in Atlanta, to serve at a birthday party. Zach had been a big fan of the drinks, having enjoyed them at several family functions over the years, but he had never witnessed the experience of others enjoying them first-hand. After fielding the final question about the cocktails from friends and family (and even the bartenders), Zach called Russell to share his enthusiasm and insight about the product and its necessity and novelty in the marketplace. By the end of the call, Edwin + Sons Cocktail Co. no longer felt like an accident; but instead, like an accident that was always waiting to happen.
We chose the name Edwin + Sons Cocktail Co. in honor of fallen patriarch and patron saint of the Schaumburg family, Edwin W. Schaumburg, M.D. An orthopedic trauma surgeon in Knoxville, Tennessee, “Easy Ed” (so nicknamed for his easygoing manner) was everything a good doctor and a good person should be: kind, caring, humble, fun-loving and generous. Dad was an uncomplicated man who loved the simple things in life: family time and Tennessee football.
Our dad also loved a good cocktail from time to time. In fact, the first cocktail we remember making was a drink he invented while on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin using ingredients that happened to be on-hand: Vodka, fresh cherry juice, and lime. He called his cocktail a “Wisconsin Wallbanger”, and over the years, it became a mainstay of family gatherings at our cabin along the coast of Green Bay, serving as a forever reminder of the man who had such a positive impact on the six people he loved the most: His wife, Joanne, his daughter, Devin, and his four sons, Russell, Zach, Eddie and Bennett.
To us, Edwin + Sons Cocktail Co. is more than a cocktail company; it’s a celebration of simplicity and goodness; a family business infused with the spirit of our dad and the qualities he embraced and embodied.