From a small French village, to teaching, to engineering, Sebastien Derbomez's career started off with little to do about hospitality. An incredibly influential move to London set Seb's hospitality career in motion. Quickly learning English and the many facets of a full working service, Seb's creative muscles began to flex. Some years later after love, more cocktail inventions, and some gin brand work, Seb finds himself in New York. The traveling life of Monkey Shoulder's US personality is fun, stylish, but often takes its toll on this dedicated husband/father. We chat thrones, hairstyles, Lolla, and Scotch.
From early days in San Francisco, the push from her family to follow traditional Chinese paths of family and college drove The Roosevelt Room's Sharon Yeung to different aspirations. A natural born host and culinary mind, Sharon is a hospitality veteran who values all of the tasks, no matter how small, that drive her career forward. As many moves involve love, Sharon ended up in Austin just 3 years ago and has had a self proclaimed "awakening" in the most influential role yet at Austin's Roosevelt Room. We chat press, expectations, Bar 5 day, and hosting.
With deep roots in the arts, it's no surprise that The Eleanor's Caer Maiko is creating incredible concoctions. Using her many hours as an animator and visual artist, Caer's creative mind is now shifting to the sense of taste to bring amazing ideas to life. Following love and new hospitality opportunities, Caer's career focus remains laser focused. We chat Peché, Japan, family, and more.
Insightful scientist, engineer, and overall brilliant mind, Ted Breaux made it his quest to uncover the lost components of pre-ban Absinthe. Using his chemistry and science backgrounds, Ted successfully recreated the Absinthe that so heavily influenced the artists of 19th century France. An arduous path and many years later, Ted crafted Lucid Absinthe, his personal sonnet to the beloved spirit. Now over a decade later, how does this beloved spirit still haunt and tempt Mr. Breaux. We talk guitars, Woody Allen, and syringes.
The spirits industry of Texas is growing profoundly, but the innovation in Absinthe is just now starting to gain traction. Matthew Mancuso and Jessica Leigh Graves sit down to chat about the trials and tribulations of starting a brand and a distillery all the while facing the challenge of consumer education. The initial interview just about a year ago is appended with an update about their new Violet Crown Spirits Absinthe. Jessica shares the new challenges, changes in brand, and htow funding really works for a startup business. We chat music, compassion, and lobbyists.
Jose Valdez is the brilliant operational and distilling mind behind Partida Tequila. As a child in Mexico he learned engineering basics from his father and after being guided into academia, Jose's true career took shape. As a well-spoken, highly educated spokesman for Partida Tequila and the rich culture of Mexico, Jose notes that no success can be gaged without the proper measurements. We sip through the 4 delicious Partida marks, talk about ambition, and an addiction to creating new things.
Through the lens of Mexican-American duality, Milagro Tequila's Jaime Salas uses his rich cultural upbringing in San Francisco to provide the best hospitality possible. With rich experience in psychology and live events promotions, Jaime's intellectual background paired perfectly with his roots in Jalisco to lead him to the world of Tequila. Now as the National Brand Ambassador for Milagro Tequila, Jaime brings community, the transportive nature of agave, and his love of culinary arts into one role. We sip 3 expression of Milagro, dive into psycho-analysis, and talk about sneaker collecting.
An interesting mix of right brain and left brain, Balcones Distilling's Michael Rogers has traversed many creative paths. From writing a pair of Zombie romance tales available here, to learning cocktail composition, Michael has an insightfully calculated approach to his career. Now in his most recent role as a peddler of delicious Balcones whiskey, will Michael complete the zombie trilogy, and will he finally open up his own establishment? We talk horror movies, Calvados, and overproof spirits...
From Mezcal, to drawing, to traversing the world, San Antonio's Benjamin Krick has a deep passion for exploration. His love of hospitality, the world's cultures, and having a good time are perfectly embodied at his staple San Antonio establishment Juniper Tar. His endearing lust for life and learning have taken him around the world in search of anything unseen before. But as these travels mount and Benjamin becomes increasingly positioned at the forefront of the cocktail culture narrative, where will these adventures take him? We chat art, mezcal, and collaboration.
From early days in Houston to a career in veterinary medicine, Michoacan's Emilio Vieira ultimately felt his family's tradition guide him home. The extraordinary mezcalero has been a spokesman for Michoacan and let his passion for tradition drive Mexico to recognize his native state's beautiful take on Mezcal. This contentious battle ended in victory as Michoacan is now sharing its wonderful spirits with the world under the recognized standard of "Mezcal". What has this journey entailed and how does the preservation of nature's balance fall into this mix? We chat Houston, Siembra Spirits, and more...
With a deep interest in the world, cultures, art, and filmmaking, Pedro Jimenez Gurria is a creative soul. Even as a child, he spent time behind an 8mm camera documenting family vacations and enjoyable getaways. After working for a local TV station, his vision for film began to take root on one of his country's most compelling subjects: mezcal. The resulting documentary Viva Mezcal shed light on the brilliant minds and families crafting the world's most beloved spirit. As the film used a lens to transport viewers into the world of mezcal, the universally lauded destinations Pare de Sufrir and Mezonte became the manifestations of Pedro's creative soul itself. We talk about family, art, and directors.
Defining the term "Third Culture Kid", Erin Kuschner's early travels introduced her to many tastes ands sights of the world. The desire to capture these experiences on the page was a light that ignited early. After accumulating a breadth of writing experience and a degree from Boston College, Erin's ideal culmination of talents came to fruition with Time Out. As of March, Erin's travels have led her to Austin as editor for Time Out Austin. How does the food and drink scene compare to those many others of which she's seen? We talk grandmas, drinks, sweltering heat, and more.
The public has embraced the hospitality veteran Charlotte Voisey. With web show The Proper Pour, countless TV appearances, and a notable expert stint on Iron Chef America, Charlotte has affirmed that she is one of the brightest minds in the business. Now as Director of Brand Advocacy at William Grant and Sons, how will all of the years of empathy, soft skills, and creativity behind the bar transform into a Phil Jackson kind of role. Chatting on a rooftop in Austin TX, Charlotte waxes poetic about inspiration, life, and the Time Out Austin Bar awards.
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.