Meet Johanna Corman, the Co-owner and the Chief Product Inspiration Artist at Vena’s Fizz House – a bar and a beverage making house that serves the customized beverage needs of all.
An entrepreneur at heart, Johanna’s passion is producing clean, natural, beverage-making products. She loves working with flavors and is the creator of over twenty liquid alchemy products. Besides being the perfect co-founder who loves and inspires all her staff, Johanna is a loving wife and a mother to two children.
Johanna grew up on an apple farm where she would experiment with apples and create as many products from them that she could think of. She says, “My appreciation for flavors and product making began on this farm. It was a family affair with both my parents and siblings working to sustain our livelihood.”
Before starting this venture with her husband Steve, she and her husband were teachers. He lost his job after 19 years and they needed to find a new source of income. Johanna’s “Old Port” worthy idea came to their rescue, and within a day of Google searches, arguments, and ideas, the foundation of Vena’s Fizz House was laid. Johanna elaborates on her business idea; “Our idea was to create a business model that has two parts – a bar and a retail shop. Creating such a plan allows us to not have all of our financial eggs in one basket. In addition to this, one part of our business model serves the other and vice versa.”
Vena’s Fizz House is a bar and mixology shop located in Portland, Maine, that began business in 2013, specializing in old fashioned, all-natural fizz sodas, and “mocktails”. When Johanna obtained a liquor license in 2015, they created a custom cocktail menu using bitters and hard-to-find nostalgic ingredients, like shrubs and switchels. Their special mixes have made them a paradise for beverage enthusiasts.
Johanna and her husband’s business is two-fold. Their line of beverage-making products are made from clean, all-natural ingredients, and the bar side of the business allows them to create beverages (with and without) spirits with these products. When people enjoy a well-crafted beverage in the bar, they can then purchase what they need to make these beverages at home in their retail shop. Commenting on this perfect business model, Johanna says, “It is helpful by taking the intimidation out of craft beverage-making and teaching people about it by giving them the tools of the trade (bar tools) and a series of ingredients to choose from, experiment with, and find their own flavor preferences. It has helped our business grow while taking care of our customers and their needs“.
Vena’s Fizz House is popularly known as “The bar that got famous without serving alcohol”. When they had begun, they were strictly a non-alcoholic bar, but added alcoholic drinks two years down the lane, so that everyone could enjoy a natural, complex, and well-crafted beverage. The tagline at Vena’s Fizz House is “Where Cocktails & Mocktails Are Created Equal”, and they have been voted “The Best Bar in the State of Maine”.
Johanna has had her own set of challenges on her way to becoming the owner of the best bar in Maine. Initially, it was finding a work-life balance in raising two children while simultaneously launching a new business. Her current challenge is COVID-19 and how it has impacted public gathering spaces. They had to temporarily close their venue and focus completely on their eCommerce product lines to increase sustainable revenue. Today, Johanna is focused on expanding her business in Portland and is all ready to enter the next phase.
Johanna has learned many life lessons that she wishes to share with other women – “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because they make you better and teach you to make better decisions. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to explore it and think about the absolute worst that can happen. Then fight the fear, step out, and pursue your idea to make it a reality.”