The dynamic duo of Travis Tober and Brandon Hunt have created the modern legend of a bar Nickel City. At first apprehensive of one another, the 2 forged a long lasting relationship over a few Old Fashioned's. Nickel City is the apex of hospitality and accessibility in the cocktail movement. With inexpensive food, rare whiskey, and an unparalleled staff, the Austin staple has quickly become one of the most lauded bars in the United States. But the only way to truly understand Nickel City is to sip a dram and enjoy a burger. Thanks to Travis and Brandon a monument to community thrives in East Austin.
Wild Turkey's Benny Hurwitz has no problem working any gig on the totem pole. For him, mastering even the smallest of things, leads to a much better and well-rounded life. After realizing the suit and tie lifestyle wasn't for this skateboarding Maryland native, he entered the freeing world of hospitality. This land of little structure, no lectures, and a lot of creative freedom set his career on a whole new path. With his great experience at the Columbia Room and Jack Rose Dining Saloon, he attending his first session of Behind the Barrel. This connection to the Wild Turkey family continued to grow and now he travels the states sharing fine drams from the Wild Turkey distillery. We chat stepping, skating, family, and older vintages of Russell's Reserve.
Christopher Stevens of Craft Distillers INC flies under the radar. He doesn't have much in the way of social media presence and his humility directly mirrors that of the producers for which he works. Once a psychology student focused on going into practice, his connection with hospitality and initially, fine wine, set his path on a whole new direction. Now as a regional sales manager for Craft Distillers Inc, he shares the fine mezcales of Alipus, Los Nahuales, and the Mezcalero collection with intrigued palettes across the states. We chat Hawaii, fatherhood, San Andres, and more.
Dalla's Amy Flores started down the straight and accepted path of college and a "real" job. For some this is a fine and regular endeavor, but as Amy's mind grew more creative and sought out more diverse experiences, a desk job just wasn't enough. Enter Hospitality stage left, and then a connection between people, spirits, and stories enrich Amy's life forever. After years behind the bar, time in distribution, and now as an educational liaison for Collectif 1806, Amy shares some of the finest Remy Cointreau products to the masses while conducting roundtable chats about insights with industry legends. We chat Bon Iver, Cognac, community college, and more.
The man of many talents, Mr. Nico Martini has traversed numerous aspects of the marketing and academia industries, but his largest passion has stemmed from the modern cocktail movement. As the founder of marketing company Hypeworthy, and a co-founder of large event/mobile draught system technology Bar Draught, Nico has had many irons in the fire. However, his latest effort turned writer, Texas Cocktails chronicles the history of Texas cocktails and details some of the producers in this great state. With such an illustrious set of projects and achievements, what's next? We talk heart issues, fatherhood, public speaking, and more.
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.
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 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.