Harvesting sage from our native plant garden. Photo by  Angela Nunnink Photography

Harvesting sage from our native plant garden. Photo by Angela Nunnink Photography

 PHILOSOPHY

By using fresh, locally grown herbs, citrus, and roots to make our bitters and tonics, we are able to bring you potent flavor and health to your drinking rituals. Our products do not contain any artificial flavors, oils, preservatives, chemicals, colorings or dyes. 

Our process is based on whole plant maceration. This means we are using the entire plant; leaf, flower, stem, roots in our infusions and brews. This captures the flavor and vibrancy from the whole plant but, it also minimizes waste material from our process. There is a life force in plants which we try to capture by processing our selected herbs into bitters, tonics and syrups within 24 hours of harvest.

Whether you are using Golden Bear Bitters for wellness drinks or happy hour enjoyment, we believe drinking local can have the same positive impact on a community and culture as eating seasonally and 'farm-to-table'. 

#drinklocal #bitterseveryday

Use our bitters and tonics to drink with the seasons, explore the flavors of California and bring health and enjoyment into your drink rituals. 

 

 Organic Dandelion root and leaves, ready to process into bitters and tonics.

Organic Dandelion root and leaves, ready to process into bitters and tonics.

INGREDIENTS


The herbs used in our bitters and tonics are grown at our homestead farm in the hills of Carmel Valley. We source organic citrus from the Eichorn family farm in Big Sur who specializes in growing lemons, and our dandelion root comes direct from a woman-owned and operated organic farm in Carmel, Serendipity Organic Farms.

Our ingredients are selected because they are seasonal, easy to grow in the California coastal climate, and possess time-honored health virtues.

MEET THE FOUNDER 

Golden Bear Bitters was founded in 2016 by me, Katie Shea.

I also own and operate Bar Cart Cocktail Co. a craft cocktail catering company serving the California coast.

I grew up in the Salinas Valley in a house my parents built named Casa de Osos (house of the bears) We grew a big garden, which also grew my curiosity for plants. 

This led me to pursue a degree in Agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Instead of taking the typical path and going to work for a big agriculture firm after college, I wanted to work on a farm so, I went north and spent two years at the Swanton Pacific Ranch in Davenport, tending to their herb garden and managing the organic apple orchard. This 3,000 acre ranch is situated on the edge of the coast about 15 miles north of Santa Cruz. After 8 seasons there, I moved back down to the Carmel area and started working farmers markets for Serendipity Organic Farms, a woman-owned organic farm based in Carmel. This allowed me to connect and create relationships with the local network of organic farmers and people who support small farms in the Monterey Bay community.

While working for Jamie, I took a side/side job working at the local neighborhood market in the herbal remedies department. An entire world opened up when I began learning about the benefits from including herbs into the daily diet. I began studying in every spare minute, reading and taking work studies with an an elder woman who taught me how to make tinctures and salves from common herbs in her garden. 

When my time was up at the farm and at the herbal shop, I joined a local company, The Ginger People, where I started at the entry level, as a wholesale coordinator selling ginger products to retail shops. The health and wellness virtues of ginger are endless. I spent 8 years with The Ginger People, working into a role of VP Ingredients where I served many small and large food & beverage companies/r&d departments and product development in domestic and international markets. I connected people to the ginger ingredients they wanted to use for their food and beverage products. It was through this invaluable experience helping others create products from global ingredients where I started asking myself why were all of these companies using ingredients sourced from all over the world when there are so many ingredients and flavors here in our region. So, I set out to create a product line using only local ingredients; ingredients which represented the special terroir of the California coast. Like wine, I wanted to create a terroir-driven line products to enjoy daily.

The purpose with Golden Bear Bitters is to bring California flavor from small farms and native plants to the category of drink mixers - bitters, tonics, and syrups. These mixers have the ability to bring not only enjoyment but, health to your daily drink rituals. 

I have worked with ingredients for most of my adult life and truly believe fresh is best. Fresh for flavor and fresh for potency of medicinal compounds contained within plants. There is a life force in plants which starts to diminish from the time of harvest, this is why we process our selected herbs into bitters, tonics and syrups within 24 hours of harvest.

I hope you enjoy our products and I would love to hear from you. Send me a note at katie@goldenbearbitters.com. Cheers!

 
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artist illustrations

 Emily Underwood is our neighbor and friend who creates all of the wonderful illustrations for our labels and packaging. Emily is inspired by the landscapes that surround her and everything that lives and grows on them. She creates art to convey her enthusiasm for the natural world. We hope to bring a bit of that to you each bottle.

 Follow her studies on Instagram