DC Stories: A Tale Of Two Tins
Clouds often come with silver linings—or in this case, beautifully crafted cocktails. Former wardrobe stylist turned bartender, Bianca Cerise, saw an opportunity to bring ideas to life and started A Tale of Two Tins. Cerise creates something special for her customers with each bottle, syrup, or garnish made. Expanding from local pickup to nation-wide shipping and pop-ups around DC in a matter of months, A Tale of Two Tins is truly a labor of love with plenty of vision (and flavor)!
How did the name and brand come to fruition?
Bianca Cerise (BC): The name, A Tale of Two Tins, has been floating around in my head for a while! I used to bartend at a pretty fast-paced restaurant and specialized in high-volume craft cocktails, which meant constantly having two tin cocktail shakers going in both hands. I created the logo and some of the branding a while back, but never did anything with it until the pandemic hit.
The pandemic was definitely a catalyst. With everything scaling back, I saw an opportunity to also take a step back and invest in myself. There was just so much more free time to think about and create what I wanted A Tale of Two Tins to actually be.
I officially launched in October 2020. From March up until then, it was a constant back and forth of not feeling ready, thinking I needed to have a ton of products lined up, and that everything needed to be perfect. Finally, one day I thought, “Okay… if I keep doing this back-and-forth thing, I’m never going to take the leap and launch.” So, it really felt like a now or never moment!
Celebratory Black History Month cocktails pack in flavor, style, and joy!
Tell us more about the ethos! Also, what does the production for craft cocktails look?
BC: A Tale of Two Tins is driven by a question of how to get people excited, put them in a good mood, and expose them to something new that disrupts the everyday same-old. Even if it’s just something as simple as a delicate garnish that adds a special touch to their day, I wanted to create something beautiful, unique to each customer, and with a story behind it.
As for production, it’s definitely a one-woman show (with the occasional assistance of my very helpful boyfriend)! I make everything from scratch and try to source locally wherever I can. Quality is definitely key—I’m always at farmer’s markets looking for the best local ingredients possible.
I started out with doing only local pickup, and eventually branched out to shipping. Shipping took a while to add because I was afraid of the costs and how that would impact people’s decision-making. But it actually turned out to not be as bad as I thought and it’s working smoothly so far!
Cerise aspires for her creations to bring a touch of luxury to your everyday.
How are sales going? Where are you most successfully finding customers?
BC: The reception has been really great—turns out the cocktails I make are as good as I thought they were. But in all seriousness, it’s awesome to see people really like them and keep coming back. I definitely see a wave in support for local small businesses across the board, which is awesome!
Sales started off with just people that I knew or who found out about my products through word-of-mouth from friends or family… so there was always a tie. Instagram has been helpful because new customers come from seeing someone else posting about the gift sets they ordered for the holidays.
For example, an acquaintance of my boyfriend in North Carolina saw the gift sets I was making through his Instagram, asked him a few questions about it, and then ordered 13 sets as holiday gifts for family and friends. Her order arrived early, and she contacted me to tell me how much she loved everything, that everything showed up still chilled and in great shape, and that (I kid you not) her mother went ahead and ordered six more gift sets! So, clearly word-of-mouth has been effective.
What’s next for A Tale of Two Tins? What are some upcoming collaborations you’re excited about that people should check out?
BC: I’m excited to start thinking broader, bigger, and about what else people want to experience! I’ve always wanted to open my own lounge bar—even with the pandemic, I still want to explore what that could look like. The hospitality landscape has changed so much, and things are going to unfold really quickly once the pandemic is over. So, I want to be ready for that: I want to create a beautiful space where people can come, sit down, and have the whole experience around enjoying their cocktails. Until then, it’s all about releasing new rounds of cocktails and syrup flavors for both Black History Month and spring!
I’m also doing a pop-up with Common Thread DC at In Seven Words in Union Market throughout the spring. People can come check out work from local artisans, as well as sample and pickup bottles from me while they’re browsing! It is definitely a fun vibe, so people should definitely drop by to sip and shop!
Bianca Cerise Founder, A Tale of Two Tins