If you are a Jacksonville local, you may have stumbled across The Glass Bottle Society – a stunningly unique cocktail supply store that carries everything from premium bar tools and vintage glassware to bitters and recipe books. It’s basically a mixologist’s dream.
Owner and founder, Jina Paolillo, opened GBS in January of 2019. Since then, she has been sharing her 20 years of industry experience with fellow libation enthusiasts alike. We sat down with Jina to find out what sparked her love for cocktails and what inspired the idea for GBS. She discussed her challenges and shared some words of wisdom for aspiring female entrepreneurs.
What originally sparked your interest in the cocktail supply, mixology and entertaining industry?
I’ve been in the service and hospitality industry since I got my first job at the age of 15. I’ve worked in grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, concert venues, craft cocktail bars, fine dining, you name it. It’s a passion that I just can’t ignore. I’ve been given the opportunity to watch my industry blossom in new ways over the past few years and that’s what’s given me this opportunity to share my passion in a really unique way.
Cocktail-culture has traditionally been dominated by men. What challenges have you faced, as a woman, starting your own business in this industry?
I wish I could say that there weren’t any, but I think sometimes people don't take me as seriously. At least not at first. I’ve definitely had to do some things that I didn’t enjoy doing, but were necessary for my business. I feel that people may tend to underestimate me more than they would a man.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I was an Art History major in college, so I’m always drawing inspiration from different places: culture, music, art, travel, design, history. And, of course, from what all of my colleagues in the industry are doing every day, we all inspire each other in different ways. I’m pretty much obsessed with all-things food and drink on a moderately nerdy level.
What is your vision for The Glass Bottle Society, long term?
To put it simply, I’d like to see it continue to grow as a really unique retail and learning environment. I want to bring culture, creativity, and cocktails to both my community and my industry.
What advice can you give aspiring female entrepreneurs?
I want to share two thoughts with you that I heard recently while listening to the radio. It might be kinda cheesy, but they struck a lightbulb when I heard them and gave me new strength and focus. I would love to give credit to the speakers, but I’m truly not sure.
Either way, these two things summarize my advice: “Don’t let your frustrations cannibalize your goals and your missions." And, “If you believe in it, then nothing can stop you.”
Of course we want to know, how do you get cozy?
Pretty much any kind of drink with a good friend is all I need. And peace, love, and cocktails of course!
Check out our previous blog post for a cozy crafted cocktail recipe we created with Jina.
Xo, Team SipCozy