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Meet Nicole Castleton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nicole Castleton.  

Hi Nicole, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.
It all started at a small bistro in Alpine, CA 2003. The current Bloody Mary mix just was not up to par. In fact, any Bloody Mary mix I had tried up to that point was pretty blasé. 

After years, nineteen to be exact, of perfecting the mixes, I finally decided to bottle. I don’t know if it was because I was constantly asked by friends and family to make mixes for gifts and parties or the fact that I knew it was time. 

I was approached by a friend and co-worker at Burning Beard Brewing to sell in-house and here we are at the beginning stages of a budding journey. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I would say starting a business is never a smooth road. 

Many obstacles to overcome especially during an epidemic play heavily into your business. 

One of the struggles is not being able to grow enough produce for base mix so outsourcing with elevated pricing has been very difficult. 

I have my full-time job as an aesthetician, my side job as a bartender, and my side hustle with The Last Cocked Hat Mixes on top of being a mother of two beautiful young kids is definitely a juggling act. It’s a good thing I have ADHD to help me. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
With over 21 years of bartending, 15 years as a certified Pernod mixologist, and 24 years in the service industry. Starting as a dishwasher at a steak house to a hostess, server, bartender, beer tender, taproom manager, restaurant manager to general manager throughout the San Diego area. 

My love and passion has always been understanding the art in craft cocktails and beer. I think that’s what really sets The Last Cocked Hat mixes apart from anybody else. 

My background being at Alpine Beer Company (now McIlhenney Brewing) Coincidently also working at a bistro for 13 years. After that, I was a general manager for a casino running up to 9 venues at once. I helped open Mikkeller Brewery and ran the tasting room, beer clubs, and events. 

I have worked with some of San Diego’s great chefs, Deborah Scott and Brian Malarkey. 

I have found my happy place with fellow misfits at Burning Beard Brewing with their support of The Last Cocked Hat Mixes. 

We are the mix that other mixes run from 

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
My advice to anybody for networking, in general, is to keep pushing, keep promoting yourself, and keep being honest about your product and who you are. 

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