Our Roots

Quinn and Michela

Rootside began its life in 2015  in a small apartment in Vancouver after getting laid off and struggling to find a path in life. Michela and I (Quinn) felt we needed to set off on our own if we really want to make it in the world of food and drink. Starting Rootside was the way forward. We both got jobs in catering to pay the bills and began testing our first recipes with makeshift DIY equipment in our apartment kitchen. The first batch of Ginger Beer Mix was only 20 litres, sold exclusively to restaurants. We used that money to fund the next slightly bigger batch and dreamt about a bigger stock pot. Now, years later, we have a wide variety of Bitters & Mixers sold across BC and a wee bit in the rest of Canada. We have a small production facility in Esquimalt and a big shiny 2,000L tank. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us along the way! We couldn’t have done it without you.

Rootside is all about flavour, tailored to your personal preference. It’s why everything we make is a concentrated syrup or botanical extract. It lets you choose how strong or light you want your drink to be, it lets you dose flavour into anything you want, be it bubbly water, a cocktail or even while cooking. Rootside is about versatility of flavour. You do you! 

Most of our production equipment we’ve still custom built ourselves; a walk-in cooler, bottling line and our pasteurizer. That means when something breaks (and it does!), we know how it works and can fix it right away to ensure our product is always made well. Every bottle that goes out the door is filled and labeled, by hand, one at a time. We use a mix of ingredients that are fresh, whole, local and organic. We use the variety of ingredient that tastes the best. For us, taste is king. It’s what makes our mixers the most delicious products available. Every ingredient is grown or made by producers just as passionate about flavour as we are. The farmers who grow our tonic’s lavender, on Vancouver Island, focus on nothing but that single ingredient. It’s grown to perfection. Everyone we choose to work with is an expert in their field. Literally.

Along with Rootside, in 2019 we also started the Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs, a honey winery (mead) focused on aperitif style wines. This was a project we’ve been chipping away at for the 3 years in the background before we launched; learning how to make wine, perfecting a vermouth recipe and getting our winery licensed. Our first product, Rosso Vermouth, is an Italian style sweet Vermouth. This was quickly be followed by a Dry Vermouth and many other herbal wine styles. In 2023, our Rosso vermouth won World's Best Semi-Sweet Vermouth and our Dry Vermouth won World's Best Dry Vermouth at the 2023 World Vermouth Awards in London, UK.

Thanks again so much to everyone who have made this possible. Every customer that comes to our farmer’s markets, it’s because of you that we’re able to do this. We’ll always be grateful.

- Quinn & Michela