Sad news for the spirits world today: The creator of the wildly popular St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Robert J. Cooper, died Monday at the age of 39 in Santa Monica, Calif., according to the New York Times. The cause of his death has not yet been determined; he leaves behind a wife and two children.
Cooper launched St. Germain, packaged in a distinctive Art Deco-style bottle, in 2007 and it found near-instant success. The Times notes that it became so ubiquitous, some took to calling it "bartender's ketchup." The sweet spirit is made from hand-picked elderflower blossoms that only bloom for a month each spring in France; it has been heralded as one of the most influential new cocktail ingredients of the past decade.
His brand Cooper Spirits also makes Crème Yvette, a violet liqueur brought back from obscurity, and serves as the U.S. sales arm for Ilegal brand mezcal. The St. Germain brand was acquired by Bacardi in 2012.