I’ve the reached the point where I feel “sophisticated” enough to invest in nice drinkware. Don’t get me wrong…I will never turn my nose up at my collection of Young Avenue Deli cups. There’s just something so satisfying about sipping from a glass, or a straw, or a tumbler that’s made to make your refreshments more refreshing.
I’m sure Ashley Butler, founder of The Ashe Bar would agree with me. After all, that’s why she’s created her own line of drinkware—to elevate your beverage experience.
“We taste with our mouths, but we also eat with our eyes” Ashley said.
Ashe Bar is built off both sensory experiences. What originally started off as a mobile bartending service launched by the Soulsville alum in 2019 relaunched in April 2021 as a barware brand, upon her return to Memphis after graduating from UT Knoxville. Her first drop showcased an assortment of reusable straws featuring a variety of mixed metals, and she hopes to add a line of insulant cups to pair alongside the OG Ashe accessory.
“People don’t realize how simple it can be to enhance their favorite spirits,” Ashley said. “Just maintaining the proper temperature can make a world a of difference to the taste. My experience with bartending has given me a high level of appreciation for mixology—and I don’t just mean understanding what pairs well with what. I’m actually reading a book right now that talks about the magical properties of ice. I’ve done a lot of research and I’m still learning every single day.”
That’s what got her interested in the biz in the first place—she just wanted to know what was up in her cup.
She’s a woman who loves wine, but there are so many varietals. She’s a lover of bubbles, but when does a drink call for champagne over prosecco? With endless options and opportunities for experimentation, she’s slowly but surely dipping her straw into every cup of cocktail culture.
“I don’t want to stop at just bare ware or drink ware,” Ashley said. “I don’t want to stop a mobile bartending. I want to dive so deep into this that, one day, I’ll have made my own wine and spirits—to be sold at my own craft bar where I can bring creatives in to really wow people with what cocktail-making can be.”
Between all of her current favorite local stomping grounds—the Hen House in East Memphis, Beck and Call in the Hyatt Centric on Beale, Tiger and Peacock in the Memphian hotel, and more—she’s got plenty of places to look to for libation inspiration.
And the beauty of this business is that the sky is the limit!
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There’s no right nor wrong way to create or consume a cocktail. It’s all about crafting the right experience for the person, whether that be keeping things cool or adding that extra garnish.
Technically, a similar strategy was used to bring Ash back home after college.
When she had no intention of returning to the city, she needed to be sold on the idea that Memphis was the missing piece to her story as she was writing her next chapter.
That’s where the Choose901 Alumni team stepped into the picture. Thanks to their devotion to keep graduates within their cohort connected to fruitful opportunities that will lead to their local success, Ashley came back to sprinkle her brilliance around the Bluff City.
“This city is full of local talent, but a lot of them don’t believe Memphis is the place where their professional dreams can come true. ” said Joi Taylor, Choose901 Alumni Director. “That’s where we flip the script. We remind each side of aisle [both budding professionals and local organizations] about the success this city can have if young Memphians are given opportunities to make moves.”
With each new generation comes a powerhouse of people who will continue to carry on Memphis’ legacy—and not just locally. They are building upon the soundboard that amplifies our collective action to put Memphis on the map. Now, whether she’s here for a long time, or just a good time to get her going on the her next venture—the 901 is where Ashley found her footing.
Click here to shop her products.