Cheech Marin is known for his comedy, wit, and unforgettable voice. But most people don't know that his career in the spirits industry has just begun with Trés Papalotes Mezcal. Cheech has clearly been a pioneer in the promulgation of Mexicano art and culture, but the path to Mezcal has been a fateful one. We sip, chat, and crack jokes about a few orange figureheads.
Like many shining personalities in this industry, music is an underlying theme and motivator. For Del Maguey's Evan Meeker, the fiddling road brought him to Mezcal. A creative upbringing in Colorado intersected with multiple hospitality jobs and the spark was then ignited. From behind the bar, to distribution, Evan's career has dipped into many facets of this industry, but has now dived in the culturally rich world of Mezcal. We chat Carnegie Hall, agave, and age.
2 teachers, 2 different paths. Bryan Winslow and Tim Bullock started in completely different areas with completely different interests, but a serendipitous meeting whilst working at Austin Beerworks spawned a beautiful working relationship. With style, nuance, and a wide creative lens, St. Elmo Brewing Company was born. The south Austin destination pairs great beers, ambiance, and delicious food with a bit of Tim/Bryan's down-to-earthness mixed in. We chat Daft Punk, Spain, and feuds.
Sometimes small town living causes a lust for culture that is rarely paralleled. Jeff Young has traveled the world seeking anything and everything in the wake of leaving Alabama. A love of detail and science matched perfectly with an interest in beer. Seeking brewing opportunities and a way to express his counterculture perspective, Jeff entered the brewing incubator Black Star Co-Op and developed a penchant for sour. As the relationships and knowledge accrued, Blue Owl Brewery was born some time thereafter. We chat sour, Scotland, and whiskey.
With so many great seminars and events happening at this year's San Antonio Cocktail Conference, it can quickly get overwhelming. In chronological order, here are a few of my favorites. Agave love, Bowie-dedication, and great whiskey talks...
All the details are contained below, don't forget to RSVP (when applicable)!
Remembering Bowie- Presented by Pioneer Spirits
312 Pearl Pkwy #2107, San Antonio, TX 78215
Lots of great brands, but how's about try an El Diablo with Wahaka Mezcal?
Seminar- The 5 W's of Drinking
Seminar- The Art of Pairing
3 - 4:15
Downstairs at the Esquire Tavern
155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Drink some Fortaleza still strength and talk mustaches with Guillermo Sauza
Martine After Dark
The Last Word
229 E Houston St #10, San Antonio, TX 78205
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Play with the monkey and try any delicious complimentary cocktail with this elegant Honeysuckle liqueur
Seminar- Tequila: From The Inside Out
Seminar- The Martini and the Discerning Palette
Seminar- How NOT to Create Your Next Mezcal Brand
Chairman's Rum Time
Downstairs at the Esquire Tavern
155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205
Try this new delicious rum entry in Texas. I'm hearing it's on a whole new level.
Evening Mischief #1
Wu-Tang Over Everythang
102 9th St, San Antonio, TX 78215
Willie G's and Campari spin the vinyl and pour some Glenfiddich cocktails. It'll be off the ______
Evening Mischief #2
Gin & Juice Vol II
The Last Word
229 E Houston St #10, San Antonio, TX 78205
Guest bartenders make things slang. Travis Tober at the helm.
2720 McCullough Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212
RSVP to email@example.com
Coffee, bites, and booze. A delicate way to close an epic week.
The wanderlust hit Geraldine's Lucas Felak at a very young age. Tending bar in Germany in his teens and growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Lucas has the prototypical hospitality DNA. Although, his additional pursuit of academic enlightenment makes him the perfect weapon. As love brought him to Austin, the best chapter yet started to unfold. Lucas has established himself as an expert on whiskey and an emerging mentor to the industry. We chat age, degrees, and dead distilleries.
Catch Lucas at his San Antonio Cocktail Conference seminar
Cocktail DIY: Mixologist Tips of the Trade
JANUARY 14, 2017 | 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Get tickets here
Texan at heart, and Oregonian at mind, Jacob Grier has had an amazing trek leading him to the publishing of his first book "Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer". What started as path destined for political lobbying in DC turned askew into the world of coffee. This foundation in flavors and terroir ultimately spawned a deep interest and chronicling of cocktail composition. Many years later, Jacob is an industry expert on cocktails and potentially cigars in the future.. We chat Trump, Aquavit, and Spring, TX.
Catch him at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference 2017 sharing his love of Aquavit.
And purchase his new book HERE
Most Scotland natives take advantage of the vast array of scotch resources while in the country, but for Glenfiddich's David Allardice, a circuitous journey to the states led him to the delicious spirit. David developed an early passion for hard core techno and turntables that now make him the ultimate brand ambassador. And as cocktail culture becomes more evolved, where does the traditional Scotch fit into the mix? David thinks the future might lie in Scotch cocktails and innovative branding ideas. We chat Trainspotting, health, loving your job, and working in the car.
Whiskey is known to bring communities together, but for Still Austin Whiskey Co's co-founder and CEO Chris Seals, it brought a son and father together. Still Austin Whiskey Co aims to bring back ancient flavors and hyper-local agriculture with a new vision on producing whiskey within the city limits. With an elegant new facility catering to interactive whiskey composition, Still Austin Whiskey Co hopes to collaboratively bring a new art scene to south Austin. Despite the heightened focus on local grains and production, Still Austin will enlarge the current narrative of whiskey in the US and create some highly innovative flavors in the process. We chat coming out, finances, prohibition, and more....
When a small town's ability to create careers and new opportunities seems bleak, you go off to study marketing at Texas Tech; or so the story goes. Scott Willis comes from a small Texas town, but has created a big Texas Tequila after he pursued the music business in Austin, Texas. Combining tech, promotional, and web experience, Scott answered an ad that quickly tossed him into the world of Tequila. 4 years later, Tequila 512 is a highly awarded triple distilled Tequila with Scott's flavor signature embedded in every drop. We chat kids, la casa, and the new Anejo expression.
First, David Suro extols the thought process and production methods for his innovative new project Siembra Valles Ancestral. The resulting Tequila is so vivid, dynamic, and supple that your thoughts on the flavor of Tequila may forever be changed. Then, the living legend Mr. Carlos C. Camarena talks about this life and how he was born into the tequila industry. A man of nuance, exceptional taste, and admirable transparency, Carlos discusses the future of Tapatio and how the entire future of Tequila may be hinging on our furry flying friend, the bat. We chat the cartel, Tequila Ocho, academia, and more.
Tis the season!
It's been a great year of creativity and distillation. Today on SDV I make 12 suggestions for great boozy gifts this holiday season. Let's look past the Pappy and BTAC to truly gift the greatest work in bottle today. In not particular order (and from left to right):
Copper and Kings Butchertown Brandy- $65 62% abv
Mezcal Vago Madre Cuixe by Emigdio Jarquin- $99 51.7 abv
Gracias a Dios Cuixe- $75 45% abv
Alipus San Andres Espadin - $45 47% abv
Siembra Valles Ancestral - $110 49% abv
PersonalWine.com - Vary$
Henry McKenna BIB 10yr SB - $35 50% abv
Pikesville Straight Rye 6yr- $50 55% abv
Treaty Oak Experimental Collection Whiskey- $50 50% abv
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked- $50 45% abv
Parce 12 Year Columbian Rum- $50 40% abv
El Dorado 15 Year Rum- $35 40% abv
Happy Repeal Day! To further celebrate and cheers to the progress of booze, why not buy yourself a bottle of personalized wine? Today's chat with PersonalWine.com founder Alex Andrawes dives into serendipity, the UT experience, and how a well traveled youth can lead to a deep passion with wine. This "oil kid" has traveled all over the world and leveraged his college broker gig to understand when to strike while the iron's hot. The resulting concept: buying wine that is branded and personalized just for YOU. As the project evolved, Alex needed a space to not only sip amazing wines but also do a little business now and then. The Red Room Lounge was then born; a cool downstairs wine bar to relax and converse. We chat The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dog, and the real value of high priced wine.
Looking for gift ideas? Head over to the Red Room gifting link below to explore some options for this holiday season.
We've all concluded our busy nights with a sip or 2 of the finest aperitif, Fernet. The late night favorite has established itself as one of the cult hits of the hospitality industry. And here, deep in the heart of Texas, Georgia native Megan Sparks carries the torch for the beloved spirit. Gymnast turned sculpture and cocktail mastermind, Megan has been dubbed the "Fernet Fairy" and no more apropos title has been conceived. With her career-centric business mind, Megan continues to shape a brilliant career evolving from one opportunity to the next. We chat public speaking, Italy, and bartender equality.
War, political turmoil, religion, and more with Diageo Reserve's Jorge Raptis. A true aficionado of all things agave, Jorge is both Greek and Mexican; an interesting combination that spills hospitality and cordiality. From early days in Mexico to the career influencing years in Houston, Jorge has been driven to learn, greet, and pair the best minds together. In the midst of a massive reorganization of the Diageo teams, Jorge now finds himself singing the praises of Don Julio Tequila and Zacapa Rum across the nation. We chat the "big guys", incubators, and Sotol Pechuga.
The cocktail revolution is upon us, but the coffee revolution is now intersecting perfectly. With amazing flavor combinations and coffee innovations, you would think Fleet Coffee in Austin, TX is the newest Texas cocktail haven. It is in fact an incubator for amazing flavor combinations constructed by the 2 least pretentious gentleman you'd expect. Patrick and Lorenzo both worked their way through the early days of coffee in Austin. After time working together at Cafe Medici and a brief spark of entrepreneurialism, Fleet Coffee was born. We talk fruity pebbles, closing drinks, and modern music.
Alexis Piotrowski is the perfect template for bar efficiency and no nonsense staff management. An early athlete and found object artist, Alexis found her destiny was in the hospitality industry. With varying experience serving shots, margaritas, and every other iteration of alcoholic beverages you can imagine, Alexis brought her impressive resume to Austin where she brought the original Jackalope into a new era of success and has been an integral force in constructing Version 2.0 Jackalope South Shore. We chat election results, being conscious of costs, and playing the right hits.
Jackalope South Shore's grand opening is THIS Saturday November 19th. Details Below.
Longtime guitarist and touring musician Aaron Beavers has been selling whiskey from the stage for years. Once he strummed his first guitar, he was hooked and writing hooks in no time. From Arizona to Colorado to Hawaii, Aaron has followed his passion for music and after years of writing, a pay to play gig in LA catapulted his music career. But as his rise to fame came to an apex, Napster was just around the corner redefining the operations of the music industry. Turning to hospitality to pay the bills and over a decade later, Aaron is still slinging whiskey. As a luxury specialist for Beam-Suntory, Aaron shares some of the world's greatest whiskies with some of the greatest minds in the game. We chat fatherhood, John Popper, and Wilco.
It's the one year anniversary of Austin's Infinite Monkey Theorem winery: a reinvention of the classic concept; reasonably priced, ethically produced, and completely transparent wine production all under a roof in the city limits. The wonderful couple Aaron and Meredith Berman are the masterminds behind the Austin landmark. They are business savvy, artistic, and sharing the great flavors of Texas terroir with their wines. With a child on the way, and the one year Austin anniversary of the winery on the horizon, how has this venture affected the couple's relationship and how difficult is it really to run a business with the person you love? We chat writing, third wheels, and wines in a can.
It's Martine-y time! To celebrate the launch of the Martine Honeysuckle Liqueur, today on SDV we talk to its creators and massive influences on the Texas spirits scene, Dee and Gary Kelleher. From Texacello, Dripping Springs Vodka, to Pepe Z tequila, Dee and Gary have been at the forefront of creating exciting products to firmly establish Texas as a haven for distilled spirits. What started as a cocktail waitress/bar manager romance over 35 years ago, has now transformed into a power couple that inspires and delights. They've seen the Austin cocktail scene at its every turn and now influences its future profoundly with bold new concoctions. We chat distilling, distributors, and maintaining a loving marriage for over 3 decades.
Texas rears its head again upon the global cocktail stage. From early days in the Houston music scene, to an academic pursuit of design, Claire Sprouse's shift to the hospitality industry was the perfect platform for her creativity, love of sociology, and passion for design. Unassuming and brilliant perfect illustrates Claire's level of perceptiveness and abilities behind the bar. A single Gin competition launched a career that now has Claire leading green efforts in San Francisco with her consulting group Tin Roof Drink Community. She's a mentor and innovator. We chat Fugazi, Hands Up Houston, fast food, and more.
Growing careers and opportunities are built on education, and for Collectif 1806's Emily Arseneau, her journey through the hospitality industry has led to amazing twists and turns. A Louisiana native, Emily can create, craft conversations, and inspire. Her blend of radio DJ antics and studio art sensibilities, make her a prototypical, hard working hospitality veteran. With a wide array of bartending gigs under her belt, she leaves a massive impact on the Dallas cocktail scene while soon venturing to New York for her largest opportunity yet, National Brand manager for Collectif 1806- a group dedicated to best practices and education in the hospitality industry. We talk "Dig", Cointreau, and crazy facts this day in history.
Sometimes pouring that first cocktail just opens up a gateway to flavor and opportunity. For Houston's Hal Brock, the hospitality industry always offered the creative and humanitarian sensibilities on which Hal thrives. When academia doesn't quite offer the flexibility and cash flow of the bistro down the street, serious decisions need to be made and in Hal's case, they led him through numerous avenues in the hospitality industry. From the cocktail haven Anvil to working in the distribution chain at Glazers, this winding road has uncovered many new narratives. The latest chapter finds Hal spreading the joy of Rum with Parce, a Columbian variety that uniquely demonstrates the terroir and processes of the region. We chat astrology, love, and symbolic imagery in bottle enclosures.
Sometimes playing trombone in school band is the perfect gateway into bigger and better things. For Houston's Alex Negranza, this modest start transitioned into promotions, coffee, and booze....for now. With few dollars in his pocket, Alex left his native California to start a new chapter in Seattle. Here he fell more in love with coffee, which (as we'd expect) led to a deep passion for booze, and now he not only evangelizes the delicious Scrappy's Bitters, but he bartends at the cocktail mecca Anvil in Houston, TX. Aspiring to always learn and educate, Alex also serves as education chair for the Houston USBG. We chat bourbon, coincidence, and barista-ness.
An observer of life and people, Alex Smith set on a writing journey that derailed due to academia and its creative confines. A long time California native, Alex has worked in all types of hospitality settings but found an affinity for Oakland very early on. The journey has ultimately led Alex to a deep passion for Gin, so much so that he now owns one of the the world's most amazing bar destinations for Gin, White Chapel. The idea was fortified on trust, arbitration, and ultimately Alex's reputation. We talk change, Trump, Gin, and more Gin.