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.
With too many accomplishments to name, Daniel de Oliveira, or simply DDO, has traveled the world making a wonderful name for himself. After years behind the bars of Chicago, a shift to brand work has opened up countless doors. From Leblon cachaca, and most recently Jägermeister, DDO entertains and charms the industry. But with all the traveling and jet setting, where does the time to balance one's personal life come into the mix. We chat GNR, politics, love, and more.
Leaving academia has been the best decision yet for Teeling Whiskey's Kevin Hurley. The Dublin native has not only been at the helm of Ireland's cocktail resurgence, but he's quickly become one of the world's foremost authorities on Irish Whiskey. With such a creative lens of distillation, Kevin travels the world sharing the delicious labels of Teeling Whiskey. We chat sports, architecture, health, and how delicious the Teeling Single Malt is.
Most people don't realize that Thiene, Italy is a town known for innovation and entreprenurial endeavors. For Gra'it Grappa's Luca Fabris, this rich food/tech/and idea incubator set the foundation for the future. After traveling the world consulting and handling finances for many companies, Luca found his rich Italian heritage converging with the emerging cocktail world around him. Years later, the beautiful Gra'it Grappa was introduced to the world. A beautiful blend of crispness, floral essence, and light-handed grape flavor, Luca hopes to redefine the "less than stellar" notions about Grappa in the states. We talk Italy, accounting, and food.
From casual beer sipping to home brewing in small quantities, Ben Sabin has used his passion for beer in combination with a degree in communications to found the project Friends and Allies Brewing. These first few months of operation present a health challenge and a logistical keg-stacking one. What does Friends and Allies bring to the world of branding and Austin brewing? Their keen focus on flavor and aesthetic up the bar of standards in the brewing community. We chat history, Houston, and the recent Tullamore D.E.W. brewery collaboration.
Once a brewery tour guide, always a brewery tour guide. Tullamore D.E.W.'s Jane Maher is a touring monster. With the 2017 installment of D.E.W. and a Brew, Jane is traveling the US pairing Tully with the finest brews in the land. Whether it's a 12 year, 18, overproof, or the trusty standard Tullamore D.E.W., a nuanced boilermaker pairing is sweeping the states in over 60 US stops. From her small town Irish upbringing, to studies in architecture, how does Jane like the ambassador life and how is that memoir coming along? We talk the Southwest, rest, and hosting.
Zahra Bates of Courvoisier embraces all of the charm the world has to offer. From LA to London, she pays homage to the classics of literature and philosophy. Starting as a shy book worm, Zahra's now decorated career in hospitality has created a gregarious and cheery friend of the industry. Where will the next love of art and culture take her? We chat Minerva, Cognac, France, and more...
From a rich creative upbringing in the theater world of Nimes, France, Camille Ralph Vidal has split her artistic and business-minded personality into distinct tracks. After a career cleansing trek into the hospitality industry of Australia, her life was forever changed. Learning to speak English, learning the foundations of cocktail composition, and learning how to find her path in this cocktail renaissance collided into a chance meeting with late St-Germain founder Rob Cooper. Years later, Camille is known as Madame St Germain: the ultimate host. Beyond the travels and education, she's also found the time to write a book expressing her innate hosting nature. "How to Drink French Fluently: A Guide to Joie de Vivre with St-Germain Cocktails" We chat health, Instagram, and more.
An early coastal life in Cancun set an amazing precedent for Montelobos and Ancho Reyes' ambassador Camille Austin. Her interest of nature, people, and terroir began to percolate as she established her intense work ethic in the burgeoning Miami cocktail scene. A key competition further catapulted Camille into the limelight and her reputation as a brilliant mind in hospitality continued to expand. After an influential move to NYC, Mezcal ultimately changed her whole career. We chat seafood, salt, and the new Ancho Reyes Verde that hits Texas THIS week.
It's hard to say where Han Shan started his career in this hospitality industry. But suffice it to say, his rich background in art, music, and activism painted a perilous journey to get here. From Tibet to the Middle East, the winding road led Han to an interesting contest for brand ambassadorship. After a successful online campaign utilizing his knowledge of the world, film, and spirits, Han is now the national figure for Hudson Whiskey; the craft pioneer distillery that now has affirmed it's place in the narrative of modern whiskey. Who is Han Shan and where did he truly come from? We chat DC punk, Tibet, and Hudson Manhattan Rye whiskey.
Where is ambition and drive created? Is it innate, or imbued by those closest to us? For Bacardi's Gabe Cardarella, the people around him have driven him to greatness. From early days in promotion to tour managing members of Jackass in Mexico, Gabe has strategically made himself the key innovator in every industry he's entered. Now as a jet setting whiskey expert spreading the deliciousness of Dewar's, Gabe tries to craft unique experiences for the vast fans of Whisky. We chat truffles, on the spot questions, and relationships.
"Food Editor" is one of the most coveted positions in this modern food renaissance and for Austin Chronicle's Brandon Watson, it's both a blessing & a curse. Starting in small town Texas, and traversing through white collar jobs, Brandon parlayed a recurring lunch date into something bigger: Food Writer! Personal health issues, and many quasi-hip restaurants later, where is Austin's food scene going? We chat lights, Barflys, and health.
Erin Wade is a case study in ambition and learning. What started as an interest in Science turned into a Harvard English degree. Unexpectedly, this road dove into fashion and then completely mutated into the most meaningful chapter yet....farming. Erin's connection to the earth and people inspired her to craft a restaurant concept that embodied quality and health. A short time later, her breadth of talents converged and Vinaigrette was born. A celebratory year after she opened her Austin location, we chat Subway, Bastrop, degrees, and more....
In an exploration of love, sex, spirituality, and politics, this second chat with Tomas Estes explores the cerebral aspects of this living legend. How does love betray and free us? How is this modern era of segregation unfolding in stark contrast to the 60's? Where is the narrative of the world headed? Wherever the path goes it will be fraught with love and fear.
Tomas Estes has dove head first into every annal the world has had to offer. From many successful restaurants to the globally lauded Tequila Ocho, he has remained transparent and open to every opportunity in this life. This is the first of two chats with the worldly "Dali Lama" of Tequila. His achievements and impact on the world of hospitality will be forever felt. We chat Peter Fonda, fatherhood, and wrestling.
Robin Nance of Auchentoshan Single Malt Whisky could be considered a modern Whisky icon, but she has lived a few other lives before this one. At a young age, Robin was drawn to photography both behind and in front of the lens. This artistic spirit drove her to travel the world and ultimately end up in LA to pursue acting. Many stand up comedy sketches and auditions later, Robin entered the hospitality industry full time. With an emerging penchant for Single Malt, Robin's turn to the brand side was inevitable. We talk Flashdance, San Antonio, and being outspoken about your beliefs.
The road to spirits is often an unpredictable one, and as a predilection towards research turned its focus to distilleries, Dr. Nicholas Morgan's relationship with Scotch began. 26 years later, Dr. Nick is now one of the world's esteemed experts of Scotch serving as Diego's Head of Whisky Outreach. From an aspiring guitarist in Oxfordshire to a singular protagonist for Scotch whisky against Bourbon on one fateful night in Austin, TX, life has led to many exciting roads. Dr. Nick continues to be the epitome of class and transparency as he continues to educate the world about Scotch with a guitar strapped to his back. We talk Bowie, Brexit, and trouble similarities between the UK/US.