News and Press

Burn Off That Turkey With These 41 Incredible Black Friday Sales

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If you'd like to score some deals this weekend but don't want catch an elbow to the face from an aggro mall shopper, our Black Friday sales roundup is for you. After the jump, you'll find 41 sales from the Philly's areas coolest boutiques, designers, and makers, many of which extend through Cyber Monday. Change out of those turkey-eatin' pants; it's time to get shopping!

· Art in the Age: Black Friday: $20 off all denim in-store; Small Business Saturday: 20% off the entire store; Cyber Monday: 15% off site-wide with code MONDAYFUNDAY

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Botanical Liqueurs

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Today I started three small batches of botanical liqueurs, experiments all. Thus the small batches.

The first one I made is an adaptation of SNAP, made by Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. I measured a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, rooibis, clove, astragalus  and vanilla beans, then covered it with brandy. The molasses and sugar will be added after these herbs have macerated for 6-8 weeks and I've had a chance to taste test without the sweetness.

After I got this going I looked through my shelves of dried botanicals and intuitively picked out herbs that might be interesting together. This throw-em-all-in-jar technique is "new" to me. I tend to make such things as "simples," one herb at a time, and then blend the finished products together to create libations. I have to admit that the risk in this approach is quite exciting! In any event, this blend held goji berries, cardamom seed, fennel, astragalus, vanilla beans, orange peel, lemon peel and, of course, brandy.

In the third jar I lovingly combined cocoa, banana chips, astragalus and vanilla beans, topped it off with the brandy, checked my notes, made sure they were all labeled, and shelved them in a place of honor, with lots of love and offered them a blessing before going on withmy "weekend" tasks.

That's what I made today.


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Quaker City Mercantile: 19th century mercantilism meets 21st century branding artistry

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STEVEN GRASSE, 49, of Society Hill, is CEO of Quaker City Mercantile, a Center City branding firm that serves as the hub for mostly craft-spirits brands Grasse develops, brings to market and manages. He also acquired a 72-acre farm in New Hampshire and plans to open a micro-distillery there in 2014.

 Q: What does QCM do?

A: We're a branding-management company. We create a brand, find a partner to distribute and then stay on to manage. We sold Sailor Jerry [rum] but signed a long-term contract to manage it. We did the same with our flagship store Art in the Age. We also created Hendrick's Gin, which, along with Sailor Jerry, are probably the most famous spirits brands in the last 20 years.

Q: To whom did you sell?

A: Sailor Jerry started as a clothing bran, and later we made the rum which we sold to William Grant & Sons in 2008. Art in the Age started as a gallery, then became the flagship store for craft spirits, also sold to Grant. Art in the Age stores are in all 50 states. Sailor Jerry became the fastest-growing rum in America and the world. Grant said "We want to buy this from you, "so we sold it.

Q: For how much?

A: I can't say, but it was a life-changing event.

Q: How so?

A: We stopped advertising for others and began focusing on our products. Now, we're creating Art in the Age Spirits. There's four different craft spirits now available at our stores, and we're about to add a fifth one - all 80 proof, certified organic. We're an investor in Narragansett Beer, and we have a new brand, Spodee, a mix of wine and moonshine.

Q: What's been the biggest challenge growing the business?

A: The latest one was the federal government shutdown because the TTB [Tax and Trade Bureau] approves labels for spirits. The approval process takes 60 to 90 days and liquid recipes also need approval. Now we must wait to get new products approved.

Q: Do you support Corbett's plan to privatize state stores?

A: We love the Liquor Control Board. The LCB is very helpful to small businesses. It would be a mistake to dismantle it. Small guys get squeezed out because spirits are for sale in Costco and Walmart and only big guys win.

Q: How big is your business?

A: We are the leading spirits-branding company in the world.

Q: How many employees?

A: Just under 50.

Q: Why are you building a micro-distillery in New Hampshire?

A: Pennsylvania has fracking, and fracking destroys water [quality]. New Hampshire has the best water, and making really great [spirits] depends on good water. New Hampshire is also a [liquor] control state.

Q: How will this effect the biz?

A: Right now, we do all the [spirits] recipes in house and contract to have someone make them. Now, we'll be bringing it in-house.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

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Roundup: Where to Spend Black Friday And Small Business Saturday In And Around Philadelphia

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It’s the time of year to start checking names off your holiday shopping list.

Philadelphia and its surrounding towns are packed with incredible shopping experiences including pop-up holiday villages, independent boutique shops and top-rated shopping malls.

On the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season with door-busting sales, extended shopping hours and more.

Turning the official start of the holiday shopping season into a marathon weekend-long affair, many stores are opening on Thanksgiving, too, offering up more than 26 hours of uninterrupted shopping.

For those who prefer to keep it local, Small Business Saturday is a national initiative spearheaded by American Express that devotes the Saturday after Thanksgiving to supporting the local small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Last year, more than 100 million people across the country came together to “Shop Small.” This year is your chance to do so right here in Philadelphia.

Not sure where to start? Check out our guide to the many retail events and store happenings in various neighborhoods around the city on Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30.

And for even more ideas on where to shop this holiday season, check out Philadelphia’s top holiday shopping destinations right here.

Shops & Markets


• Art in the AgeOld City, 116 N. 3rd Street. Purveyors of craft spirits, Philadelphia-inspired apparel and generally interesting goods, Art in the Age offers $20 off denim on Black Friday and 20% off of the entire store on Small Business Saturday. Plus, score 15% off the goods online on Cyber Monday.

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Be A Maker AND Taker in Philadelphia Reinvigorated Neighborhoods

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WHY GO: From its inception, Philadelphia has been a city of diverse “Makers.” Founded as a center of commerce rather than a religious colony, newcomers didn’t have to pay that irksome Church tithe, so strivers from all backgrounds sought their fortunes here. By 1740, Philadelphia was the largest city in the colonies, an engine of industry. One German observer wrote in 1754, “Pennsylvania is heaven for farmers, paradise for artisans, and hell for officials and preachers.” This “paradise for artisans” has gone through a rebirth in recent years, revitalizing Philadelphia’s flagging neighborhoods, bringing a distinctive creative energy to each. You can explore each of 14 identified neighborhoods – none more than a 15 minute walk or drive from Old City – through hot restaurants, attractions and shops.  Or, become a “Maker” yourself in one of the many studios cropping up all over the city.  Highlighted here are a few neighborhoods to get you started.

SHOP: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. “Art in the Age” began as a T-Shirt line and now stocks all manner of handcrafted items, aka “stuff made with thought.” Shop for jewelry, artwork, clothing and books, including upcycled accessories from wunderkinds Walter and Margeaux Kent’s Peg and Awl.   Art in the Age has also partnered with the group that created Henricks Gin to distill 80 proof spirits. Though you can’t purchase bottles of these robust liqueurs named Root (from root beer), Snap (gingersnap) and Rhubarb, in the shop, you can taste them for free during Thursday Night Happy Hour and then buy them from local liquor stores.

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Cranberry Sage Martini

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The husband, Rick Pipito, is back at it again.  The martinis just keep getting better and better.  I wanted to share with you this delicious holiday drink.  My husband has been to a couple different foodie events with me and we had the pleasure of trying some amazing foods, but this liquor really captured our attention.  It’s a local place here in Philly called Art in the age . They have 4 different flavors of spirits: Root, Sage, Snap and Rhubarb.  I love them all and I hope the hubby comes up with different martinis with these other flavors. 

Anyway for this one we used my all time favorite… Sage.  So many people use Sage right now for their cooking during Thanksgiving.  So why not take the other top seller around this time, cranberries, and make a martini.  It’s super easy to make and so tantalizing to your taste buds.  I hope you try this delicious cocktail at your next holiday party.


Ice Cubes

4 Shots of Cranberry Juice

2 Shots of Art in the Age Sage Spirit

Martini Glass

2 Cranberries, Garnish

2 Sage leaf, Garnish


In a shaker mix cranberry, ice and sage. Shake vigorously and pour.  For the garnish, take 2 sage leaves and fold them onto a toothpick.  On either side of the leaves, place a fresh cranberry. (It should look like a small holly branch that will float in your glass)

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