By Cara Aungst
Michael Tedesco working the Happy Valley Nomadic Spirits mobile bar.
If you’ve had a great cocktail in Happy Valley in the past few years, there’s a good chance it was made by Michael Tedesco. He enjoyed bartending and making inventive cocktails from scratch, creating fresh flavor combinations that blended the best of locally grown finds with great spirits. Then, in 2020, the pandemic hit and his customers couldn’t sit at a bar for the next 16 months. So Tedesco launched Happy Valley Nomadic Spirits, a startup that delivered his inventive drinks to them.
“People told me, ‘I wish I could enjoy great cocktails at home,’ and it started an idea for me,” he said. “What about creating a subscription box, similar to Hello Fresh or Blue Apron, that included everything someone needed to create great cocktails from home?”
A quick search found that there was only one other company in the market, and it did not create its own recipes — something Tedesco had been doing for years. From there, his idea took shape, in a uniquely Happy Valley way.
We decided to do our own take on the subscription box,” Tedesco said of the business he launched with his wife Amy. “And to support local growers and makers while we do it.
“We decided to do our own take on the subscription box,” Tedesco said of the business he launched with his wife Amy. “And to support local growers and makers while we do it.”
They created Happy Valley Nomadic Spirits, a subscription box containing everything to create an at-home cocktail party: Three new recipes a month with enough fresh, local and handcrafted ingredients to craft 12 cocktails. Every month is based on one spirit that the customer provides, and the spirits rotate each month.
Tedesco peruses local farmers' markets for fresh ingredients like thyme or basil or introduces his customers to brand-new varieties of peppers and then tells them how to use them in his recipes. “Working with local growers allows us to make our subscription really fresh,” he said.
The Happy Valley Nomadic Spirits subscription box.
Fast forward three years, and Happy Valley Nomadic Spirits is expanding. In addition to its subscription service, it has added a mobile bar that serves cocktails (and mocktails) at events like weddings, bridal showers and retirement parties.
Tedesco also offers cocktail and mocktail-making classes and is partnering with other local companies to create community events. He’s also working on a new subscription box that will offer mocktails that can be paired with non-alcoholic gin, mezcal and other spirit alternatives to create artistic beverages without alcohol. “There are many people who don’t drink alcohol, for a variety of reasons, and we didn’t want to exclude them,” he said.
It was a great opportunity to launch it here in our own community. It’s a chance to be part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s what Happy Valley is about. Everyone is willing to support each other.
As the company continues to grow, Tedesco said that there is no better place for it to take off. “There are a lot of individuals here who enjoy the food and beverage scene,” he said, “So it was a great opportunity to launch it here in our own community. It’s a chance to be part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s what Happy Valley is about. Everyone is willing to support each other.”
Tedesco said Ben Franklin Technology Partners is one of Happy Valley Nomadic Spirits’ biggest cheerleaders.
“Ben Franklin has provided so much mentorship,” he said. “Everyone who I’ve met there has either built something or been part of a startup. They are still in the community, still giving back, still giving expertise to this community… and all with a smile on their faces. There is so much knowledge at Ben Franklin, you can’t really soak it all up.”
He said that being part of the TechCelerator program opened his eyes to more aspects of his business. “They showed me how to roll it back, how to build it the right way, and we are going to help you all along the way.”