If you are looking for a saporous spirit that reminds you of the comforts of a southern home, look no further than Southern Edge Fine Spirits.
Dr. Ashley Scott and his wife, Trina Scott, are the co-founders of the liquor brand rooted in history and culture. Ashley, an Oakley, South Carolina native and expert chemist, wanted to create spirits and mixers that can be enjoyed by folks who appreciate distinct flavors and quality ingredients.
Ashley was inspired by his childhood memories of drinking sun-dried tea at his grandparents’ house and family gatherings. It was a highlight at family reunions and Sunday night dinners. Tea bags, sugar and water were always accessible. The culture of sweet tea is a southern staple.
During his college years at the College of Charleston, the entrepreneur would use his academic major, chemistry, to formulate alcoholic concoctions for parties and gatherings. He understood how to make delicious drinks not just using his taste buds, but also using accurate chemical equations.
“Once you understand chemistry, formulations and distillation processes, it helps you create one of the purest products. Chemistry is in nature, especially in fruits. Once you understand how to pair different flavors, it makes it easier to make something that tastes delectable,” he says.
Ashley would go on to receive his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas in Dallas. He worked for a number of corporations in positions of leadership as a chemist. Impressively retiring at the age of 42, he opened small businesses, including a cigar lounge. He now owns a technology company that contracts with various for profit and government agencies.
Delving into Entrepreneurship
The first product prior to officially launching Southern Edge was a passion berry mixer. A delicious mixer perfect for cocktails, shots and even mocktails. “This mixer can be mixed with every and any kind of alcohol. We can mix it with rum, vodka, cognac, beer, anything,” says the chemist turned entrepreneur.
The mixer was so popular to the point that they couldn’t supply enough for their public events. The attention it received from national brands made the Scotts want to branch out into spirits, but not just any spirit. A spirit that can stand on its own with just a bit of ice. Immediately, Ashley thought of sweet tea and whisky. Soon, Southern Edge Fine Spirits was born.
The Scott family has worked at national festivals and events across the country including the Superbowl and Sundresses and Seersuckers in Atlanta, Georgia. Ashley believes the essence of Southern Edge is about confidence and grittiness. It’s about the ability to think outside the box and having the audacity and boldness to chase your dreams and aspirations.
Expansion and Growth
Currently, Southern Edge offers two spirits, a Sweet Tea Vodka and a Salted Caramel Whisky. The vodka pairs well with lemonade and fruit infusions, while the whisky pairs well with coffee, cream liqueurs and decadent desserts. Southern Edge will soon be releasing a non-alcoholic passion fruit mixer perfect for mocktails and cocktails.
The road to releasing Southern Edge to the public came with obstacles, just like with any business. Distribution, registration, and understanding licensing has been a challenge.
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“It’s more challenging to get your products out in other areas than it is in your home state. I have tried to get Southern Edge in South Carolina since 2015. There isn’t really one source where you can go to get all of the information. Every single state is different, and the laws and the pricing are different. It’s definitely not a straightforward process. It takes a ‘keep pushing’ attitude to make it happen,” he shares. Southern Edge has officially been available in stores in South Carolina since this summer.
Ashley is a huge proponent of Black entrepreneurs making a name for themselves in the spirit and beverage industry. He shares, “I think it is important to come into the industry with our own spirits and use our creativity to build legacies for generations to come. We can take those dollars and reinvest in our communities.”
Ashley and Trina envision Southern Edge to become a staple spirit not only in the South but nationwide. Southern Edge in the next few years will go global with plans for the products to be served in bars and restaurants as well on flights, cruise ships and more.
In addition, one of their primary goals is to create a distillery in South Carolina. The distillery would be the business hub of Southern Edge and create jobs for folks who are interested in working in the industry.