Roberto Núñez has traveled the world and the seven seas. His past studies in the seminary exposed him to many aspects of philosophy and cultural diversity. One day, things changed, and his journey into hospitality began to take form. With a litany of academic and cultural achievements, Roberto joined the team at Patrón Tequila after a fateful cocktail competition. His perspective on immigration and being an outsider in America offer a compelling narrative for those trying to make a life in the United States. We chat tequila, love, self exploration, and more.
A lovely live podcast recording in San Antonio for Bartender's Holiday. Chatting about challenging elements in producing Still Austin with Jordan Kaiser, Starward (Jake Hukee), and Blair Ault (Milam and Greene) Lots of indie rock in the conversation and amazing interactive tasting with folks at Blue Box. We chat emo bands, wine cask treatment, and constant observation of whiskey conditions.
Ardbeg's national brand ambassador Cameron George has a lush career in Seattle's hospitality industry. The transition from agave to Scotch whiskey was all so natural given a childhood connection with the country. With a focus on intellect, inclusion, and exploration of one's self, Cameron remains a mentor and positive influence on the world of whisky. We chat lyrics, journaling, the rock of Islay, and more.
Ryan Chetiyawardana (Mr. Lyan) and his team are celebrating 10 years of bringing intrepid and bold bar concepts to the world. Starting with White Lyan, Ryan has redefined elements of hospitality and encourages patrons to think differently about flavors. What inspires him? What changes after a decade of creating? We chat below the Sea Containers hotel where the flagship Lyaness sits upstairs. Picasso, technology, and service just scrape the surface of this long-awaited (by me) chat.
Carlos Soto arrived in the United States at the age of 18 to pursue a college education. His art filled roots in Costa Rica set the perfect stage for his now 8 year journey in the hospitality industry. At first a rejected business idea in his college class, is now a flourishing business. Nosotros Tequila and Mezcal is expanding into multiple states and now Carlos is left to think- what's next? We chat John Mayer, influencers, strategy, and more.
Rachael Bloom Soto was destined to be in the hospitality industry. With a blend of food and nurturing, quite literally in her blood, she was destined to care. When a calculated move to Texas, for a different reason than you might think, ended up with her behind the bar at Rosewater She naturally transitioned into the brand role at Maker's Mark because after all, it was the only job she applied for. We chat Maker's blending components (as told through horror movies), motherhood, and robots.
Alberto Espinosa is pensive, hospitable, and superbly present. He has created a style of tasting for mezcal that is inclusive, thoughtful, and above all else, connective. His two Mezcal tasting rooms (one in Oaxaca and one in CDMX) are simply called Recia. These rooms are curated with every sense in mind and feature some of the best mezcales in the world. We chat about introspection, creativity, balance, and the absence of arrogance.
Jeff Duckhorn is the master distiller for Redwood Empire Whiskey. His career trajectory shows that sometimes if you're crunching numbers in the back of the room, they might eventually ask you to run the still. With a deep concern for the environment, balance, and attention to detail, Jeff crafts delicious whiskey in Sonoma County, California. As the whiskey markets become even more saturated with MGP marks, Jeff flourishes with unique blends and bottled in bond creations. We chat classical music, food waste, malt whiskey, and more.
Distributor, educator, importer, and more. Rion Toal has dedicated many years of his life to introducing amazing spirits to others, and creating a stage for many lesser known producers. Whether with his podcast, or co-organizing efforts for Maestros Del Mezcal, he continues to dive into the roots and scientific undercurrents of agave. Recorded in downtown Oaxaca, we talk about education, family, purpose, and more
Sergio Garnier has studied throughout the world to understand the inner-workings of business and operations. With a deep background in animal services and cattle ranching, the creation of a Mezcal brand seemed relatively incongruent. But an exploration of the region of Durango and utilizing the natural plants growing on his family's ranch, Sergio created Ultramundo mezcal. The rustic, peppery, and hauntingly fruity mezcal is beyond unique and is finally making its way across the United States. Sergio and I talk about music, art, design, and NASA.
Some years ago, I was able to speak with Niki Nakazawa of NETA spirits about her life, mezcal beginnings, and pop up life. Now that travel is back, tastings are back, and she makes her first trip to Austin, things are about to get good. We chat Oaxaca, rent, education, sustainability, and the beautiful town of Logoche.
Tequila Ocho is one of the most revered Tequilas in the world. The rich history of its founder Tomas Estes as a restauranteur and man of the people will remain at the root of the brand. But as the world rallies after his death, his son Jesse has taken the reins and lights up every room he teaches in. In a basement speakeasy, Kinfolk, we talk about life, his father's legacy, his paradigm on selling Tequila, and settle into a wonderful tasting of all things Ocho.