Coolest Crowdfunded Food Projects

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Five by Five Tonics Co.; Online

Pitch: Informed by his training as a professional herbalist and inspired by the nuanced flavors in cocktails, Jesse Smith set out to make his own line of bitters.

Campaign: Smith’s monthlong campaign was an obsession for him. “I ran through so many emotions on a daily basis that I was a wreck! I would go from elation to terror within minutes,” Smith recalls. “I could get all the updates and new backer alerts on my phone, so I would wake up in the morning and check my phone before my eyes were barely open.”

Success: In the end, 229 backers pledged $9,942—more than $6,000 above Smith’s original goal—which allowed him to create aromatic bitters and aged-citrus bitters, a style made with citrus fruits of varying maturity for a complex, savory flavor.

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