When Chaunci King first started Royalty Spirits back in 2014, she often struggled to get her products placed in stores, restaurants, and bars.
But just recently, her Portland, OR-based company completely sold out of Rex small-batch rye whiskey, practically overnight.
“It’s tough being a woman, and it’s tough being a Black woman in this industry,” King says. “It’s a very male dominant industry. To be totally honest, I had to play the game where I would have to send in someone who didn’t look like me.”
Despite these challenges, King persevered, an now her Miru vodka and pear vodka, her whiskey and line of CBD-infused mixers are sought out, and her business is growing. “I did a lot of this by bootstrapping, budgeting correctly and just saving and making my way,” she says.
As support surged for Black-owned businesses, King’s industry colleagues began sharing her social media posts, and her online sales at www.royaltyspirits.biz began to pick up. They especially promoted her posts and her products on July 7, Blackout Day in which people were encouraged to buy products and support Black-owned businesses. “All of a sudden, I kept hearing my phone ting, ting, ting, and I had 20 orders before noon,” she says. “My friends shared my posts, and their friends shared my posts, and then, suddenly, I’m sold out of my whiskey.”
King’s whiskey is back in production, and the stock of her number-one-selling product is being replenished, to be sent out to waiting customers. “I’m beyond grateful, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” King says. “We need to hear and see such positive things in the midst of so much negativity.”
With the whiskey selling out, she hopes more customers will try her other spirits, her Miru vodka and pear vodka, as well as her line of CBD-infused mixers, which she just debuted in January just before the pandemic hit. The line of three mixers – exotic berry, sweet and sour, and vanilla ginger are already infused with CBD oil, as well as all-natural ingredients. “CBD is not a trend,” she says. “It’s something here to stay.”