“I was collecting these drinks for my own bar in my apartment, and I realized I had this whole portfolio,” said Crist, 43, who moved to Chicago in January.
There was Japanese shochu, cachaca from Brazil and spirits unheard of or unavailable outside of their native countries. Gatherings at Crist’s place, whichever country he was in, were never dull.
“But in my mind, I was thinking about brand,” said Crist, whose career has gone from Silicon Valley venture capitalist to global director of marketing for Newell Rubbermaid (now Newell Brands). “Like, no one can really name a sake brand or a cachaca, whereas in America, it’s Starbucks and Nike and so many brands.”
So three years ago, while in Tokyo, he created his own brand, Mesh and Bone, focused on those elusive spirits he couldn’t find stateside.
Two weeks ago, the first four Mesh and Bone products started trickling in to shops, restaurants and bars around Chicago, from Sunda in River North to Masa Azul in Logan Square to Gene’s Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square.
The drinks are some of the world’s most distinct and obscure, veering all over the map.