2024 Renegade Craft Tour! →

Renegade Craft Fair

November 9, 2015

Cecil and Merl

Maker Spotlight


We’re celebrating the holidays with bitter crafter extraordinaires, Cecil and Merl. They will have the perfect holiday gift options for you at our New York Fair this weekend!

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

Cecil & Merl is named after Deborah’s grandfather (Merl) and Bryan’s great uncle (Cecil) both of whom were great guys with a huge appetite for life.


Have you always been passionate about design?

We started bottling our own bitters in 2012 which led to the birth of Cecil & Merl. Our bitters and goods are inspired by our daily work at our restaurant James in Brooklyn. The bitters are hand-crafted, hand- bottled and made with all natural ingredients in our shop. So on any given day, we’re busy batching beautiful containers of cherries, apricots, lemons, cucumbers and herbs.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

We’re always learning, trying, growing, playing with new ideas…. it’s all a part of the process and we’re curious and passionate about food, cocktails, apothecary, foraging and re-purposing to reduce waste. It’s what we love do.


Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

Personal life… what’s that? Just kidding…. this work is 24/7 so you have to love what you do and keep the greater good in your mind. We try to stay focused on the now and live in the moment while producing the best work that we can. The rest will be what it’s going to be. No regrets.


What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Seeing our goods in stores is always a thrill but we get really excited when we hear feedback from customers who love our work. That’s really what matters at the end of the day.


How does the city you live in influence your work?

We’ve been in Brooklyn since 2003 and it’s transformed into the juggernaut of creatives and industry but the heart of soul of Brooklyn is inspiring. We’re honored to be a part of community everyday and love it here.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Running a farm-to-table restaurant has been an invaluable experience in so many ways. There’s nothing really like it.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial and love creating a world of my own. It feels natural and I can’t imagine doing anything else.


What are some inspirations for your work?

Nature. Farmers. Farmers markets. NYC. Upstate New York. Rural life.


Every recipe Cecil & Merl offer sounds simply divine! Don’t miss out on our New York Fair, where you can pick up stocking stuffers for your friends (and yourself), and find Cecil and Merl online here: