In a surprising turn of events, Vena’s Fizz House, which originated as Portland’s first mocktail bar in 2013, announced in a heartfelt post on social media that they will not be reopening their physical venue. Founders Johanna and Steve Corman explained their decision in a statement filled with passion, nostalgia, and a deep sense of gratitude for their unique journey in the world of beverages.
Vena’s Fizz House started as a place for those with a passion for mocktails, a venue where the art and science of beverage making were embraced with a fervor for balanced and well-crafted drinks. Not too long after, in response to subtle hints from their customers who had begun adding spirits to the mocktails, they ventured into the cocktail territory, successfully blending both worlds under one roof. The love for old-fashioned ingredients and natural flavors made their offerings distinct, and over eight years, they meticulously incorporated bitters, shrubs, switchels, and botanical infusions into their creations.
However, the pandemic led them to make the difficult decision to close their physical location in 2021 and pivot to e-commerce. They focused on marketing and creating brand awareness for their own brand of beverage-making ingredients, such as Spirit Sipper & Nipper Infusion Jars, Bitters & Tinctures, Syrups, and Bitters Infused Sugar Cubes. Today, these products can be found on the shelves of over 700 retailers nationwide.
The Cormans had purchased a property on Congress Street in Portland with the intention to eventually return to the physical scene. It was previously reported that this new location, a historic building originally built as a church in 1889, was set to be an expanded version of the Fizz House. However, the journey through e-commerce has reshaped their priorities, personally and professionally, leading to the realization that they have found a healthier work-life balance in this business model.
The Cormans emphasized that while the decision not to open the new venue was difficult, it was made with careful consideration, professional advice, and a deep sense of gratitude. They are proud of their role in the mocktail movement, and their dedication to authentic beverage making where mocktails and cocktails are treated with equal importance will continue. This unwavering commitment is now carried forward through their mixology classes and bar services offered in Westbrook, Maine, as well as through their product brand.
Although this announcement signals the end of one chapter, it’s far from the end of Vena’s Fizz House. The Cormans express openness to new opportunities and pledge to continue contributing to the beverage world in innovative ways, carrying with them the wealth of experiences, knowledge, and memories they have gained over a decade in the industry.