Ivy Mix — an award-winning bartender and owner of acclaimed Cobble Hill cocktail bar Leyenda — has opened a wine store in Crown Heights that’s looking to showcase wines and spirits made by women- and BIPOC-owned businesses.
Located at 1148 Union Street, at Rogers Avenue, Fiasco — which opened March 17 — is a partnership between Mix and two wine industry veterans: Conor McKee, who previously was a co-buyer and ran operations at Tribeca store Frankly Wines, and Piper Kristensen, the beverage director and a partner at Prospect Heights vegetable-centric restaurant Oxalis.
“We’ve all been in the industry a long time and we’re committed to having a store that highlights producers that echo our commitments to social justice and the environment,” Mix says. “And most importantly they all make really delicious stuff.”
Among the wines and producers showcasing Fiasco’s commitment to diversity is Château de Béru, a winery from Béru, in central France, where winemaker Athénaïs de Béru is carrying forward her family’s 400-year-old winemaking legacy. Fiasco stocks a chardonnay and a pinot gris from the winery, Mix says. The international roster of wines includes bottles from Eastern European countries, including Hungary, Mix adds, and the price points span a wide range. “You’ll be able to get an expensive bottle of champagne, but you can also get a $10 bottle of pinot grigio,” Mix says. “It is important to remain accessible.”
Aside from the wine selection, there’s a sizable spirits selection, too. There’s a mezcal produced by Real Minero, a family-owned business from Oaxaca, in Mexico. Graciela Angeles Carreño now runs the business — which was founded by her great-grandfather in the 19th century — along with her brother Edgar Angeles Carreño. Fiasco also carries whiskey by Uncle Nearest, the company named after the first African-American master distiller in the U.S., and founded by historian and investor Fawn Weaver.
In addition to wines and spirits, the neighborhood shop will carry canned cocktails by the Social Hour, the company started by Mix’s mentor and business partner at Leyenda, Julie Reiner, and a variety of canned cocktails that Mix will prepare herself.
And it doesn’t stop with the alcohol. Fiasco also has a whole selection of cocktail and wine books, and a host of items for the home bar including wine decanters, wine glasses, martini glasses, and more. “It’s kind of like a one stop shop for all your imbibing needs,” Mix says. Fiasco is also a member of a new bottle recycling program called Good Goods, that’s looking to eliminate bottle waste, and customers can get up to $2 per bottle returned to the store.
In the near future, Fiasco will begin offering virtual wine and spirits education classes, and when it is safe to do so, Mix is hoping to bring daily wine tastings to the shop. The collaboration on Fiasco is the culmination of a years-long friendship between Mix, Kristensen, and McKee. Kristensen and Mix are childhood best friends, she says, and McKee is her fiancé’s cousin. One night — over a bottle of wine, of course — the trio decided to go into business together, figuring each would bring their own unique expertise to the venture.
They signed a lease in February 2020 and were set to open in April before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their plans indefinitely. Mix says they’ve now leaned into the chaos of the opening by calling the wine store Fiasco; incidentally it also means “flask,” in Italian.
Mix says Fiasco is committed to hiring locally and will pay for employees to take a WSET Level 1 wine education course — a respected wine and spirits certification program — after a year of working at the store. Fiasco is opening amid some changes in the neighborhood, with a new fish market set to open across from the wine shop, and the redevelopment of the Bedford Union Armory a block away. Mix, a longtime Crown Heights resident herself, lives a couple of blocks away from the wine store, and says her neighbors have expressed excitement about the opening.
“We’re open, we’re accessible, and we all have a background in hospitality,” says Mix, referring to her partners at the wine store. “We want to try to get everyone drinking better.”
Fiasco is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 to 9 p.m., and on Mondays from 2 to 9 p.m.