Sometimes we unlock our underlying ambition and entrepreneurial spirit in the face of adversity. Native Texas, Lamar Romero, crafted Dragon Spirits Marketing as a way to rally against his tumultuous tech career. Now 5 years later, Lamar has expanded his team and tastes Texas on some of the finest spirits produced in the world. How does this talented dancer, charismatic public figure, and spirits lover define success? We chat mezcal, Zamir Gotta, San Luis Potosi, and more.
Rallying against the ignorance, hatred, and lacking compassion in the world today. Zamir Gotta is a man with a mission. Known to most as the guy that mended Anthony Bourdain's opinion of Russia on No Reservations, Zamir has now translated his love of learning, teaching, and traveling into a bottle. Peacemaker Vodka is the embodiment of Zamir's life and serves as a symbol for optimism. Driven by sharing this bottle of love one sip at a time, Zamir is traveling the states with one simple message: peace and love. We chat Russia, Dragon Spirits, war, filmmaking, and Vodka.
Native Alabaman, Steva Casey has traversed all areas of the hospitality industry. But without her thirst for language, learning, and the cultures of the world, her career might not be as decorated. An astute reader and writer set off into the world of academia, Steva entered the world of hospitality to pay a few school bills, but the richness of the industry quickly turned into a full time gig. Years later, she is expanding her talents and working with Tiki by the Sea. We chat France, Brit Lit, Instagram, and more.....
As if Polite Provisions, Boilermaker NYC, and the Simple Serve consulting group weren't enough, California's Erick Castro is now becoming a film auteur. His successful video series Bartender at Large has now transformed into a feature length film. Erick is a monumental mind in the shaping of cocktail culture and hospitality trends. But more importantly, he's connecting with the bar community on the road and in studio to shed light on the problems plaguing this industry. Part journalistic endeavor and part humanitarian effort, Erick's film and series are only a modest piece of his career. The desire to learn and take on new projects in unavoidable. We chat the Beatles, college, Marvel, and more....
Wes Henderson, co-founder and CIO of Angel's Envy Bourbon, is a man of the world. The well-traveled, articulate, business savvy, and adventurous man's man translated a family tradition of whiskey into a successful empire. After a long career with Brown-Forman, a sudden layoff set a fire to Wes' entrepreneurial spirit. After creating businesses in many different industries, a focus on his father's legacy and dedication to whiskey became the ideal opportunity. Years later, Angel's Envy is one of the leading brands in whiskey and has enlarged its operation with the help of Bacardi. What's left for the pilot and aspiring actor? Expansion and new adventures. We chat Queen, R.E.M., and day drinking.....
When the world thinks about who they'd most like to drink with when voting for a president, if Beam Suntory's Adam Harris was running; he'd be the undisputed winner. Both gracious and insightful, Adam is one of the brightest personalities in the whiskey industry. From humble beginnings in Texas to an education trek in Kansas, he has seen many aspects of the hospitality world. Once whiskey became the spiritous love of his life, the future became riddled with opportunity. We chat DeNiro, pool, hollywood, and more.....
Cuban born, and Chilean by heart, Jorge Balbontin is no stranger to the cultures of the world. With scattered bartending experiences throughout the globe (including the Agave mecca Café Pacifico), Jorge now travels the world speaking about the Spanish Gin, Gin Mare. How did an early connection with nature and counterculture manifest into brand work across the globe? We chat pigs, Barcelona, and love.
Australian industry vet Benjamin Carlotto has traveled the world speaking about spirits and flavors for decades now. His transparency and openness to the world around him has drove his career into very interesting directions. Whether for Bacardi, or Royal Dutch Distiller's, his mind has expanded and his knowledge of the industry has evolved profoundly. As the years continue to tally and the drinks keep flowing, where does health fit into the equation? We chat flavor dissection, sugar, and Scottish accents.
Emerging from a strict religious upbringing seasoned with world travel, Jeanine Racht, National Sales Manager for Clear Creek Distillery, was always driven to learn. An inquisitive reader and learner, Jeanine's first opportunity out of college was working for Oregon's Clear Creek distillery. Over 10 years later, she has continued to educate herself about the larger world of spirits and wine while also sharing sips of the finest Eau De Vie's ever produced. What's next for Jeanine and how does Clear Creek maintain such product integrity while expanding? We chat pears, Black Mirror, TOTC, and more.
With a deep appreciation for sports, kinesiology, and health in general, Baltimore's Amie Ward is at the intersection of hospitality and health. After a culture disparity in big medicine, Amie sought new avenues for education and found herself diving into the hospitality industry. Years later, and lessons learned, Amie is quickly becoming an industry expert about health and repetitive injuries in the bar community. She shares some tips and tricks to health success behind the bar. We chat The Wire, La Crosse, and Amari.
Noah Rothbaum is the author of "The Art of American Whiskey" and "The Business of Spirits". As a native New Yorker, the resurgence of cocktails unfolded right in his backyard. A Vassar educated writer having dipped his pen in many industries, Noah serendipitously found his home within the spirits industry. Now years later and the current senior food and drinks writer for the Daily Beast, how has journalism changed? Where is modern whiskey going? We chat bbq, bourbon, Trump, and book signings....
Omaha native Dan Crowell is a man of the universe. Often analyzing and refining his essence in this world, the music and scotch running through his veins are most defining. Dan's drum studies in his youth evolved into a touring gig with moderate success. Between love, hospitality, and the touring life, the crossroads began to appear very clearly. Years later, Dan now travels the states sipping and teaching about the fine Ardbeg and Glenmorangie lines of Scotch. We talk The Police, frequencies, and the decision to not have kids.
The celebrated author, comedian, personality, Whiskey Prof, and patron saint of bottled-in-bond, Bernie Lubbers is a Kentuckian through and through. Embracing a worldiness and openness not necessarily expected in the bourbon community, Bernie travels the world speaking the praises of Heaven Hill and Bottled-In-Bond. Whether a guitar or microphone in hand, he loves people and aims to educate. With charming anecdotes and masterful historical knowledge about whiskey, he is truly the whiskey prof. We talk Frank Sinatra, Parker Beam, Mellow Corn, and more.
Heaven Hill's Lynn House has traversed academia, constructed masterful cocktails, and shows no signs of slowing. An Ohio native, Lynn was a studious child with deep interests in poetry and the sciences. The military strictness of her upbringing allowed for a unique blend of introspection and emotional actualization to percolate. This blend of passions ultimately led Lynn into acting for the stage and screen. But as many creative minds do, Lynn soon found herself in the hospitality industry to pay the bills. This was ultimately the perfect stage for her to demonstrate her deep talents. Now, as the National Brand Educator for Heaven Hill, Lynn still captivates audiences and demonstrates her deep technical understanding of processes- this time with spirits. We talk classic Hollywood, Chicago, science, and more....
Tim Murphy is a prankster, midwesterner, and now a whiskey hero of Austin, TX. Tim mans the landmark Austin bar, The Grackle; a bar filled with functionality and delicious bourbon. Much like the unassuming decor of The Grackle laden with a surprisingly elegant section of whiskey, the bar is a metaphor for Tim. Raised on VHS and an inquisitive mind for film, Tim moved to Arizona on a whim where his hospitality career began to take foot. Utilitarian, no frills, and concerned about quality, Tim is the consummate working bartender/bar owner. We chat David Lynch, Winona Ryder, and Apocalypse Now.
From early days of rejecting popular culture and toxic substances in Dallas, Chad Dolezal has rose to the top of Austin's culinary scene with The Hightower restaurant. Just 3 years after opening to the public and a career as a touring musician, how has the vision for The Hightower changed and is Chad the same man as before? With some of the most accessible and delicious food in Austin, Chad focuses on his customers and what the community wants to see. In effect, The Hightower is unparalleled in its lack of pretension and fluff while maintaining culinary innovation. We chat Hot Water Music, Fugazi, France, and more.
Richard Betts, founder of Sombra Mezcal and My Essential Wine is a master sommelier and a master of mastery. As an inquisitive young kid in Arizona, a punk rock attitude and passion for detail set a successful academic career in motion. After leaving his legal degree pursuit for hospitality, Richard fell in love with wine; the root of his voyage into spiritous culture. After being a successful master somm, importer, and author, what's left to achieve in this sea of opportunity? Agave sustainability for one.... We talk Black Flag, soil, fibers, and Mezcal.
Judah Kuper's lust for life and passion for the world's cultures have taken him to many places. The serendipitous moments in Oaxaca were his most influential. This Colorado native enjoys adventure, action, and intense learning. It's no surprise that these passions culminated into the globally distributed Mezcal Vago. With continued years of sales growth that have led to the expansion of his Mezcal producers, how does Judah see this adventure now? We talk Rhum, violence, surfer, and more...
Missouri native Ryan Maybee has been at the helm of the cocktail movement in Kansas City. Although a different career choice than most of his family, the roots of hospitality and hosting were imbued by his grandmother. He has amassed multiple, highly lauded cocktail establishments, including the pensive Manifesto. But as his ambition guided him into new projects, the historical Rieger name started to resurface via a hotel and now an amazing distillery. Ryan continues to man his KC staples but has now enlarged his resume to include a "traveling spirits owner". We talk grunge, whiskey, and subconscious symbolism.
There is no more accomplished Gin distiller in the world than Tom Nichol. From many Tanqueray creations, and a career in distilling that spans over 40 years, retirement has been a well deserved break from the madness. Tom has traveled the world as one of the world's foremost authorities on Gin, but all of those flights and photo ops have taken a great toll. Now back in Scotland spending time with his wife and sipping a beer now and then, how long can Tom stay out of a distillery? The answer is- not very long. With a beautiful collaboration between J Rieger and Co and Tom to create a new midwestern style Gin, the creator is returning to fine form. We chat celebrity, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the proof of Gin.
Christopher Ware is a modern renaissance man. His pursuits in the military, higher education, law, and construction have created one of the most well-rounded people in this industry. After an impetuous move to San Antonio, his career trajectory was forever changed. Starting green to cocktails and hospitality, Chris has built his reputation and career into one of the most revered in the hospitality industry. With the greatest opportunity as bar owner and constructor falling short of expectations and leading to potentially irreparable friction, Chris now travels Texas sharing Seersucker Gin. However, the oasis of creating his dream bar follows in his rear view window. We chat bourbon, construction, rhetoric and more.
From early political strife and violence in Philippines to an academic pursuit in San Antonio. cocktail consultant and writer Jonny Yumol has seen a lot of different shades of the world. After taking a reprieve from academia and trekking into hospitality, his formative chapters were beginning to be written. Jonny was on the roster of San Antonio cocktail starters and years later the momentous scene has been touched by his deep interest in spirits. His influence and ultimate gig with Paramour transitioned into disenfranchisement, but more importantly a return to his love, writing. Where will the writing and cocktail consulting take Jonny next? We chat Canada, the dream team, and SACC.
The road to Rhum is the path less traveled, but for Spiribam's Kiowa Bryan, the rum relationship was forged long ago. Originally hailing from the East Coast, Kiowa loved the ice (for skating), but loved people even more. Starting in shot and a beer spot, the cocktail revolution was unfolding before her eyes. After a pursuit of acting and comedy took her to LA, her cocktail talents started to emerge. Now years later and a noted writer, host, creator, and rum aficionado, Kiowa is finally dedicating her career to the single love of her life- Rhum. We chat La La Land, hockey, and Chairman's Reserve.
Sometimes unknowingly, the hospitality gene rears its head at unexpected times. For Mixwell and Altos Tequila brand man Daniel Warrilow, an early janitorial stint at a Chinese restaurant paved a very influential path. Now after learning about cocktails and everything spirits on both coasts, Daniel finds himself in the third coast of Austin, TX where the latest chapter now begins. The finer things in life are available now, but how do we sustain the knowledge and ethics to continue good drinking? We talk horoscopes, running through airports, and Mezcal.
Dragos Axinte, founder of Novo Fogo Cachaca is the prototypical entrepreneur. He's part inventor, part creative, and wholly health focused. For much of his life he spent time in communist Romania, from which his family ultimately left to venture to the states. Landing in LA, Dragos and his father continued the family trade, soldering. This mechanical aptitude transformed into multiple patents and ultimately the opportunity to start a new business. A curious affection for Brazil aimed the project towards Cachaca and now many marks later, Dragos travels to help people find health and great cane sips. We talk cancer, patents, the classics, and more.