I had just completed my MFA in fiction and was working on a novel, when our world tilted: the company where my husband Jeff worked abruptly closed—28 days’ notice, no severance.
Once the shock wore off, we took the opportunity to reimagine our lives. We rented out our place and spent 6 months house-sitting in the San Juan Islands, where we spent every day, all day, brainstorming business ideas (and also watching otters frolic, and ferry boats glide by). Some sort of beverage company was an obvious choice, due to our passion for flavor and all things drinks.
After a spectacular whale-watching trip with friends, I became ill with a rare neurological malady with a fantastic French name—mal de debarquement. I was constantly swaying; it was as if I was falling-down-drunk. That health challenge led to a commitment to healthier choices for both of us. We committed to mindful drinking as a permanent lifestyle change, and For Bitter For Worse was born.
I love how we’re affecting people’s lives. We make drinks, but our mission is inclusion. As a longtime activist, mission is crucial to me. It’s rewarding to receive thanks for what you produce, and we get so many heartwarming thank yous. Also, for years, Jeff was the primary breadwinner; it’s gratifying for me to lead our next chapter. I love working closely with Jeff. We’d efficiently compartmentalized our life, and now at midlife, it’s rewarding to shake it up.
Portland! Our heart’s home is the Siskiyou, but the Portland food and beverage scene is among the most vibrant in the nation. We spent a week there doing two holiday sales and found ourselves with ardent fans and two retail accounts (Market of Choice and New Seasons). We moved to service those accounts, to make restaurant and bar connections, and to hang out with other makers.
We do! For any wholesale inquiries, please feel free to get in touch with us and we can discuss further.
We do everything differently ;)
First of all, we make our drinks ourselves, rather than hiring a contract manufacturer. This way we control the entire process, including ethical ingredient sourcing and uncompromising attention to quality.
We don’t take lab-made shortcuts! Nearly every other nonalcoholic brand uses either “natural” flavors (which are FAR from natural), preservatives, or undisclosed additives. Since we don’t use lab-made compounds or extracts, you know you’re not getting anything sketchy. No propylene glycol solvents or Velcorin in FBFW drinks.
A cocktail is generally made with a base spirit, a modifier (often another spirit), and a mixer. Most mocktails hit just one of these"notes," and it's usually the sweet juice/mixer component.We use an actual still and a proprietary distillation method of "reverse bootlegging" to craft our spirit-free base. We hand blend that base with modifiers containing our house-made botanical blends, and Northwest ingredients, such as Douglas fir tips and Saskatoon berries.
Yes! All of our varietals are made without gluten or animal products.
Sediment is natural, just like our drinks. We don’t use gums or emulsifiers, so “dregs” are expected.
Absolutely! Our reverse bootlegging process removes alcohol from the herbaceous base spirit. Our drinks are less than .5% ABV. Kombucha and ripe bananas can contain the same amount of alcohol. If you’re concerned about consuming trace amounts of alcohol, follow your intuition or seek medical advice.
Everyone has their own recovery process, and triggers are unique to the individual. Please make the choice that’s right for you. Cheers to your health and recovery.
While For Bitter For Worse uses only the highest quality botanicals that have rich culinary traditions and have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, we recommend that people who are pregnant follow the advice of their medical providers.
Eva’s Spritz: 25 calories, 5g sugar, 7g carbohydrate per 4 oz serving
The Saskatoon: 35 calories, 8g sugar, 9g carbohydrate per 4 oz serving
Smoky No. 56: 30 calories, 7g sugar, 7g carbohydrate, and 0.7 oz caffeinated black tea per 4 oz serving
Each 750 ml bottle contains approximately six 4-oz servings.
And yes, some people do report a placebo effect. You may experience a loosening-up, increased sociability—a feeling you just put on your party pants. Associations and sensory stimulus are powerful and fascinating. We don’t make functional claims, but we do know you won’t be intoxicated or hungover after consuming our cocktails.
We formulated the flavors to be complex and satisfying without alcohol, but you do you. We're not gonna judge. And if you create an incredible concoction, let us know about it!
We designed our cocktails to be ready to enjoy straight out of the bottle. However, dilution is personal—if our flavors are more concentrated than you prefer, simply add sparkling water to taste.
And while our drinks are ready to go, even on the go, if you want to get fancy with the shaker, head over to our recipes page for an evolving roster of riffs.
Once opened, bottles should be refrigerated. They will last several weeks in the fridge, but as with any carbonated beverage, the spritz will lose its bubbles after a time. Add a splash of seltzer to regain the sparkle.
Sorry about that! We buy top-grade fancy French swing tops, but they recently changed their manufacturing and some caps are really stiff. We have a temporary solution (and yes, we’ll switch to a different bottle, but we won’t bore you with everything that entails). You’ll need a DULL butter knife and a large tablespoon. Please be sure to hold the bottle steady with your other hand. These videos show you how to gain leverage and operate a stiff closure.
Right now, we only ship within the continental U.S. But we are in the works of expanding our destinations - thanks for your patience!
We offer free UPS ground shipping on two or more bottles. Rush shipping is available at UPS rates.
We ship UPS ground, and usually pack orders within a day of receiving them (UPS ground doesn’t pick up on weekends). We’re a family business that packs shipments ourselves, so we appreciate your patience during extenuating circumstances (such as blizzards or order avalanches from glowing national press). Typical transit times range from 1 day within Oregon and parts of Washington, to 4 days to most of the East Coast, winter conditions excepted. If you have a special shipping need, email us and we’ll try to make it happen. BTW, we like the fact that UPS is a union company, and our dog Forest is obsessed with Chad, the great guy who drives our home route.
Please remember to count shipping days for ground and express delivery starting with the shipping day, not the order day.