Portland native Clayton Szczech leveraged writing, music, and civil service to the help the community around him. But as many stories twist and turn, (add disappointment with bureaucracy and a need for new horizons into the mix) Clayton found a new sense of purpose in agave spirits. Now the founder of such great curated tours like Experience Mezcal, and Experience Tequila, he is able to help invite people into the rich culture of Mexico. And to top it off he has also founded one of the only Tequila tasting bars in Jalisco, La Cata. We chat liberty, punk rock, agave sustainability, and more.
There are few more established and respected individuals in the hospitality industry than Jim Meehan. He has influenced a generation of bartenders with his cocktail havens PDT and Prairie School. His straight forward attitude and brilliant attention to detail make him one of the foremost cocktail experts in the industry. Now after an already successful career, he takes to writing his second book Meehan's Bartender Manual and offers an in depth look at everything bartending. We chat watches, Smashing Pumpkins, relationship, and ore.
Nicola Olianas eats and breathes hospitality. As an Italian native, his surroundings were always rooted in food and community. The lifestyle of learning, fostering communication, and appreciating nature were at the foundation of his journey. But as it can sometimes feel limiting, his insular Italian neighborhood couldn't satisfy Nicola's cultural and travel inspired appetite. After studying abroad and rooting his passion for hospitality with some academic feats, the greatest handshake yet occurred: forging his relationship with the Fratelli Branca family. We all know and love Fernet, but let's dig a little deeper. We chat fatherhood, health, hosting, and more.
The legendary Al Young has shared the beauty of Four Roses Bourbon for over 50 years. He's traveled the world, seen consumer tastes change, and now still stands at the forefront of Bourbon discussion as it returns to favor. Starting as a man of the stage, Al fully intended on studying drama, but love and commitment drove him to find a 9-5 day job. Starting with Seagrams in 1964, the impressive journey took foot. We chat actors, dedication, a fulfilling marriage, and good Bourbon tales.
Employee's Only's Dev Johnson is a LA native who's drift away from acting led to a massive dedication to hospitality. As many actor's find work far and few between, they seek out hospitality jobs to cover their expenses. Sometimes this empowers the career, and sometimes it creates a career change. Dev Johnson found that bartending became the perfect intersection of people skills and learning. Now years later, and one of the longest serving bartenders at Employee's Only, what does patience, dedication, and humility do for your career? Bonus: we chat Monkey Shoulder with Vance Henderson.
Esteban Morales Garibi revitalized craft cocktails, coffee, and culinary innovation in Guadalajara. His commitment to transparency, new projects, and sharing beautiful spirits with the world is a page out of an adventure novel. His introduction of La Venenosa introduced the world to Raicilla, a seemingly lost spirit that highlights the flavors of Jalisco. Likewise, his latest project Mezcales Derrumbes features beautiful mezcal from the states of Oaxaca, Michoacan, Zacatecas, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, and Durango. And the projects don't stop there.... We talk food, Sotol, Mexico, ambition, and more.....
The world of mezcal is growing in a very rapid way. The divide between bottle pricing creates many questions for consumers and bartenders alike. With all the market opportunities, what does a burgeoning brand do to captivate the market and consumers alike. Fausto Zapata, the creator and CEO of El Silencio Mezcal, used his interest in people, real estate, and culture to bring a cost-effective spirit to the market. And now, a few years later, the bottle can be spotted just about anywhere. So where does entrepreneurialism end and passion begin? We chat agave blends, terroir, family, and food.
The road to Scotch was a much larger one than you might think for Beam-Suntory's Johnnie Mundell. As a traveler, and semi-aspiring film maker, his creative roots were moving in many directions. But as life and love ultimately shaped the journey, Johnnie connected with his homeland and perspective on teaching as he became a whisky brand ambassador. Through a few other brands, Johnnie ultimately found one of the largest challenges yet, representing Japanese culture and history through the lens of Whisky with Beam-Suntory. We chat Ken Loach, school days, Cognac, Jordan Felix and more.