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Inspiring Conversations with Toni Gilliard of Tipsy Lady

Today we’d like to introduce you to Toni Gilliard. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Tipsy Lady™, the Home of Premium Quality Caribbean-Inspired Canned Cocktails

Toni Gilliard, CEO of Tipsy Lady™ will be launching a specialty Caribbean-inspired Canned Cocktail line January 2022. The launch products are Rum Punch, Sunrise Mimosa (w/ mango vodka), and Mint Mojito, all at 12% ABV. We will be shipping direct to consumer (DTC) in 30 markets in the USA and also available to retailers via Distributors that service liquor stores, grocery, and specialty stores licensed to sell alcohol as well as resort/hospitality industries and airlines. The goal is to launch nationally and internationally.

Process of Becoming

Over the past two years, it was essential to invest in astute legal, operations management, business development, and formulation teams. The Research & Development (R&D) process to formulate the perfect products, went through multiple stages of trial and error, until “EUREKA!” (I found it). We achieved the proper formulations that are true to all-natural/organic ingredients, and authentic to culture. Now, Tipsy Lady™ is ready to launch January 2022!

Toni Gilliard founded Tipsy Lady™ in 2019. Toni first envisioned the concept of Tipsy Lady™ while visiting family and touring the rum factories in Barbados, West Indies. During her tour, she recalled connecting with her ancestors by hearing a faint voice whispering the word “legacy.”

This connection felt almost instant for Toni, who is of Caribbean descent. She recalled her feelings at the time:

“Being able to stand on the soil of the world’s first commercial rum distillery three centuries prior, was a blessing and a gift from my ancestors. I could not ignore the voice and began the journey of formulating my Rum Punch and other Caribbean-inspired cocktails.” Charleston, Toni’s home town has a strong historical connection to Barbados as they serve as sister cities as well. The legacy connection was immediate.

Rum originated in the West Indies as far back as 1650. The first island to record such details is Barbados. In 1650, rum was known as “rumbullion.” By 1667, it changed to its current name of rum.

Toni Gilliard a former immigration lawyer, has held a long-standing passion for creating memorable consumer experiences and honoring her heritage. Despite her background in Law, Toni felt compelled to turn her talent towards cocktail creation. Toni is known for her forward-thinking, creative flair, and process-driven orientation. These talents propelled Toni to make a natural, organic, and eco-friendly canned cocktail line, with a strong emphasis on style, elegance, and authentic taste.

What to Expect

Tipsy Lady’s Ready to Drink (RTD) Caribbean-inspired cocktails celebrate heritage, culture, and flavor. The results of our formulation ensure a distinguished, smooth, fruitful, and sophisticated taste. Our cocktails are made with premium spirits and natural flavors at 12% ABV, perfect for a day at the pool, boating, golfing, brunch, special events, or staycations. You can expect our drinks to provide an authentic, high-quality experience on the go.

Join The Party!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The road wasn’t easy! For two years I wasted thousands of dollars on formulation and consultants who told me an organic and all-natural product could not be done. I had some consultants decide along the journey that they wanted equity in lieu of consulting fees to assist with building the brand. In 2018 RTD in a can was gaining popularity and I got a lot of “no” this isn’t going to work as a canned item. Then Covid-19 hit and sales soared in the canned cocktail space. I also found a formulator who could indeed execute my vision and authentic taste.

As a divorced mom of 2 teens and limited financial resources, financing the project was extremely challenging. Many banks denied funding, yet I got creative and executed the plan. I know this was an assignment from my ancestors and I had to push through it! The vision was very clear! There were times that I asked myself if I was crazy! I asked myself what I was chasing? But along the journey, spirit guides told me not to quit. I know that this legacy brand will inspire so many for years to come.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We launch online in January 2022. I am working on getting Tipsy Lady on international flights to the Caribbean.  Being NMSDC and WBENC certified is a plus in gaining momentum in this industry. I am proud that I created authentic-tasting products that celebrate heritage and flavor.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
I love the climate and its historical connection to Barbados. Aesthetically, Charleston is a beautiful city and changing daily as many are moving here. I am witnessing the evolution of Charleston in a beautiful way.

What I like the least, is the painful past of slavery. But with the opening of the International African American Museum soon, to honor the untold stories of African Americans, it give a sense of solitude knowing my history isn’t forgotten.  What a way to make space at this time! With my very own legacy brand.


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Image Credits: Nfinity International LLC

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