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Seek & Thrive: With 21 SEEDS Co-founder & CEO Kat Hantas

A conversation with Kat Hantas, Co-founder & CEO of the all-natural real fruit-infused tequila company 21 SEEDS, on why life’s too short to follow the rules when you can call all the shots.

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Monica: Thanks so much for sitting down to share what 21 SEEDS is all about! I love that you’re on a mission to make drinking tequila as easy and delicious to drink as a glass of wine.  How did the concept first come up?

Kat: About 8 years ago, I started having night sweats. I was way too young to be going into menopause so I paid a visit to my doctor. He suggested that I stop drinking Wine and Beer and switch to blanco tequila because of the organic matter that’s in fermented spirits that’s not in distilled spirits. As you get older, it becomes harder for your body to process and can manifest in symptoms such as night sweats. Pretty cool doctor in my book, at least he didn’t ask me to stop drinking altogether! 

So I quit wine at the end of my day and guess what? The night sweats stopped! Great news right? Yes, but now I had to drink blanco tequila instead. I found it to be way too harsh, not smooth like my wine. The smell reminded me of college parties gone wrong and I just missed holding my wine glass. I didn’t want to simply have a drink for the sake of having a drink, and I missed actually enjoying my glass of wine. I was faced with a problem, “How do I make drinking blanco tequila as smooth, delicious, easy and great smelling as a glass of wine?” 

The answer: Infuse it. I did just that and it worked! It smoothed it out, imparted a hint of flavor but didn’t make it sweet, and it smelled even better than my wine. I would keep a bottle of infused tequila in my fridge and, at the end of my day, simply pour some into a wine glass filled with ice topped with a little club soda and a slice of orange. Easy, simple, delicious. Problem solved and 21 SEEDS tequila was born.

Monica: That’s amazing how it was born out of something that you needed in your life, and in your own kitchen!  Was there anything surprising that came out of all of this since launching your company?

Kat: It’s weird to think that I am helping people with their health problems by having created 21 Seeds tequila, but the truth is I am shocked by how many folks have contacted me sharing a very similar story to what I shared above. 

We’ve heard from so many people that since making the switch, their symptoms went away similarly to how mine had! I love hearing and sharing stories like this so folks out there are informed to make the best decision for themselves. I also love to create delicious cocktails using our infused tequila that are all-natural without all the added sugar that most cocktails often have.

Monica: It sounds like you’ve really found your calling, something keeps you balanced and lets you define your own version of health and happiness.  How does that continue to play a part in your everyday life?

Kat: Let’s start with happiness. Hearing music makes me happy so I play it as much as I can all day long. My kids and husband make me happy so I try to spend as much time with them as I can. Seeing fresh flowers in the house makes me happy so I try to have them in the house every week. I could go on, but I guess the point I am making is, it isn’t one big idea of happiness. It’s a bunch of tiny little moments that add up to a happy day. I just try to fit more of the moments that make me smile into my day than moments that don’t. 

Now onto health. I think stress has a lot to do with health, probably more than most people realize.  

My first rule on health is to not sweat the small stuff. 

A life full of hard rules is too stressful and not worth it in the long run.  Who are we doing it for anyway? After those first few minutes, our outward appearances are no longer seen, and it’s about the conversation. Nothing screams a healthy lifestyle more than confidence.  

Monica: Well said! How have you been able to keep things in life and business in balance?

Starting a new business is very stressful. You never stop thinking about it, which takes a toll on family life and your own wellbeing.  It forces you to prioritize and create healthy boundaries. I now run, as I find that to be a great stress reliever. I also turn my phone off for a couple hours around dinner time with the kids so I am not distracted. I have learned that texts and emails can wait.  

I’m still working on the perfect balance with all of this. Turns out it’s much easier to make a well-balanced cocktail! Guess the good news is when you own a tequila company one of the perks of the job is you get to finish your day with a perfect cocktail, which certainly helps take the edge off!

Monica: In many ways, 21 SEEDS goes beyond just tequila for you – it’s become a way of life.  How do you see this impacting others who are trying out your brand?

Kat: I believe in the power of connection. Bringing people together, sharing our stories and really connecting in meaningful ways has always been my passion. I like seeing people happy.  And while many people think good times just happen, I don’t believe this to be the case. Someone has to take the fun seriously and put a bit of thought and planning behind it. I have always been that person in my friend and family group, which I continue to enjoy doing.

One of my favorite ways to bring folks together when I go to someone’s house where I don’t know many people is to bring all the ingredients to make a special cocktail. It NEVER disappoints! The host is never bummed to see more booze arrive and it immediately breaks the ice, gets everyone involved, and talking about a neutral subject.  I encourage everyone to try it, and the good news is, we’ve made it really easy for you with our infused tequila!

Monica: One of the things I love about 21 SEEDS is that it’s women-powered – you founded it with your sister and best friend, and your partner distillery is also owned and staffed by women. Any advice to share with women on how they can call the shots in their own lives?

Kat: As women, we can have it all, but most likely, not all at once. Keep that in mind as you hold yourself to a standard that may be unrealistic. You’re only human so if you need a nap in the middle of the day, take a nap. Whatever it is you’re running to finish will still need finishing when you wake up.  

Take time for yourself and gather up as many good stories as you can, so one day, when you’re old and hanging out on that front porch in your rocking chair, you’ll have a chest full of good rocking chair stories to share with your grandkids. In the end, nothing beats a good story!

Learn more about 21 SEEDS at: www.21seeds.com & @21seeds, or shop at Total Wine & More and BevMo.

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