For the latest episode of Built in Brooklyn, we visited a locale that’s particularly close to my heart — a liquor store.
That store, located in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, is run by Mouth, a startup that sells food, alcohol, and “tasty gifts” from independent producers. While the business mostly revolves around its online marketplace, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Sam Murray told us that opening a brick-and-mortar location gives Mouth a physical presence in the community, and a place to interact directly with customers.
Along with Murray, we interviewed his co-founders Craig Kanarick (CEO) and Nancy Kruger Cohen (chief creative officer) about where the idea came from, how Mouth actually packages and delivers the food to customers, and the broader independent food movement.
Given its focus on foodies and indie producers, Mouth might seem particularly appropriate for what someone suggested as an alternate title for this show — “Hipster Startups.” But Kanarick argued that Mouth was inspired by broad, growing interest in this kind of food.
“People were taking a much larger fascination in food — you know, the farm-to-table movement was starting to build a little bit of power, the green markets were getting more popular, so people were really spending their interest time, right?” Kanarick said. “Their hobby became food, like it used to be music or film.”
He added that “it became very clear to us very quickly that everybody was interested in the new indie food revolution, indie food movement,” which is why Mouth expanded beyond New York-based food producers.
By the way, even though Kanarick is now the CEO of a food startup, and he has some training as a cook, he was previously the co-founder and chief strategic officer at digital marketing agency Razorfish. You could probably see some of that background coming through when he talked about how Brooklyn has evolved.
“Brooklyn is a brand now, and part of that brand is what’s cool and what’s hip and what’s interesting and what’s new,” he said. (I imagine some long-time Brooklynites are rolling their eyes at this, but I’ve definitely stolen that line a couple of times since we shot the episode — and happily or not, I always get nods of agreement.)