Eric Prum with boxes of Mason Shakers.
The W&P cocktail kit: BYOB
UVA grad and Charlottesville native Eric Prum, creator of a Mason jar cocktail shaker, has what could be the perfect gift for Father's Day: a high-end cocktail kit that looks like something out of Williams-Sonoma. Which it is.
W&P, the company Prum founded with his UVA roommate, Josh Williams, launched in February in Brooklyn, and the W&P cocktail kit just became available in time for summer drinks on the go. And it's already picked up press in the New York Times, Garden and Gun, and CNN.
"We're packing, packing, packing," says Prum in a phone interview from his Brooklyn studio.
Prum, a former professional paintball player, works on his other business– paintball clothing and equipment– called Style Supply from 6am to 10am, skyping to Germany, where the company is based.
At 10am he switches gears to W&P, which raised capital last fall with a Kickstarter campaign. "It was incredibly successful," says Prum. "We asked for $5,000 and raised over $70,000."
The $29-Mason Shaker is carried by Williams-Sonoma-owned West Elm, as well as 300 or so boutique stores across the country. Prum says W&P just closed a deal with Sur La Table, another premium dining-ware purveyor.
The inspiration for the Mason Shaker came from the roommates' undergrad days of infusing peach bourbon in Mason jars. "We always had them around," says Prum. "We were always entertaining. We had impromptu cocktail parties after the bars closed, and we were mixing cocktails out of Mason jars."
After college and working in design, "I got to the point I could design a product like [the Mason Shaker]," says Prum. "We take a Southern aesthetic with a vintage Mason jar and with industrial function," is how he puts it.
The $279 cocktail kit is another marriage of aesthetic and function, he says. The canvas-and-leather carpenter's bag has an aluminum frame and pockets that protect your bottle, and comes with a Mason Shaker, four glasses, linen napkins, a jigger, and a muddler.
The W&P team jumped on the locally grown bandwagon to come up with seasonal cocktails. A new drink recipe is on their website every week, and those are "building into a 52-recipe book for the holidays," says Prum.
"He seems like a pretty entrepreneurial guy," notes Steve Belcher, co-owner of the Happy Cook, which carries the shakers. "He has a paintball business. He's kind of an original character."
The 27-year-old son of writer Debby and ophthalmologist Bruce Prum majored in politics and sociology at UVA on Tuesdays through Thursday, but spent Fridays through Monday playing professional paintball on the West Coast. "I majored in paintball, to be honest," says Prum.
The drink he recommends for Father's Day? The Hop Skip, described on their Facebook page as the "perfect union of highbrow and lowbrow": "good" summer beer, "good" vodka, cane sugar, and fresh lemon juice. Serve in a pint container.
A Mason jar, perhaps?