Pedro Camarena comes from one of the most esteemed tequila making families in the world. His new brand Tequila Primo 1861, enters the picture after many years of other entrepreneurial ventures. With projects in tech, nature, and real estate, how did Pedro finally realize it was the right time to enter the world of Tequila? Having an inventive uncle and close ties to extended family was certainly part of the recipe. We chat nature, loss, and legacy.
Kate Perry landed her dream job with La Maison & Velier after years of travel, years of pouring rum, and years of simply exploring the world. To many she is known as the Queen of Rum, but regardless of the moniker, she is certainly one of the foremost experts of Rum production around the world. But what has lined this serpentine road to rum? We chat about spontaneity, internalizing, and Hampden Estate.
Lynne McEwan is the global marketing manager for the outstanding Bruichladdich distillery. Lynne has grown up in the distillery and after some time away to explore the world at large, she returned to find her place on the team. A self-proclaimed "provocateur" Lynne's voracious love of reading and learning injects new ideas into the projects at Bruichladdich. In her first trip to Texas, we chat about technology, peat, learning, and more......
Although Cameron Holck might be new to Fidencio Spirits, he isn't new to agave. When a quest to find the source for his favorite Raicilla opened up new doors, as they say the rest is history. Cameron is a well studied and inquisitive mind that makes him the perfect companion for all of the delicious Mexican spirits of Fidencio Spirits. But now that the world is open, the roads are wide, where will he go? We talk biking, solitude, and van life.
The massive career of Ansley Coale can't adequately be captured in a mere 60 minutes, but we try. Ansley created Hanger One vodka, Germain Robin Brandy, and all of the amazing brands found at Craft Distillers A once professor turned spirits producer, Ansley lives so much in the moment that sometimes the brilliant achievements behind him are just a flash of a memory. With his new project Communidad, he dives even further into the notion that Mezcal is closer to its producers and terroir than any other spirit in the world. At 80 years old, the hits aren't stopping, and new projects are continually on the horizon. We chat 1950's, agave, lost cultures, and more.
Codigo 1530 Tequila's master mixologist Collin De Laval is as pure hospitality as it comes. He has worked as a bartender in Houston, San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland. His deep roots in serving bar patrons is accompanied by a deep compassion for people in general. He continues to explore the world of agave and self improvement. As a power lifter, he also understands how to balance the lifestyle of ambassadorhood and his physical health. We chat punk rock, the new Codigo Ancestral Mezcal, parenting, and more.
Hacienda de Chihuahua is the biggest Sotol producer in the world. They embrace cognac style elements of production and fermentation to deliver a very elegant result. But as the world of Sotol changes, what can be done for sustainability and continued growth of the category? Hector Amaya, commercial sales at Hacienda de Chihuahua, discusses the increased expansion of global sales, while detailing the popularity growth of Sotol in the United States. We chat basketball, travel, language, and more.
Jacob Jacquez is a 6th generation Sotolero in Janos Chihuahua. His family has been making Sotol for centuries and were the first to bring the delicious spirit to the US. His proper education and family history make him the one of the most knowledgable people in the world about the economics/sustainability on Sotol. Now with travel returning to normal, he's able to share his Por Siempre Sotol with many others. Further, as Texas starts to produce a Sotol spirit, the conversation around DO's and ownership of the spirit are becoming heated. We chat about colonizing, music, love, and what was once a flourishing industry of Sotol.
Even though Baijiu is the most popular spirit, by volume consumed, in the world, Americans don't really understand the category. Bill Isler, founder of Ming River Baijiu, took an interesting turn after studying in China for law. Setting out to work on business opportunities for folks coming into China, a shift into the hospitality industry came about. First starting as a volume bartender, a shift to focus on the tastier marks of Baijiu, led to a new bar project and the eventual creation of Ming River. This episode is a great deep dive into the category, where up is down, and left is right. The production details of Baijiu are unlike those of any other category. Bill and I sip through all 4 categories of Baijiu and learn about his life along the way. We chat about Beijing, cultural invitations, and funk.
The wonderful Read Spear of Cuentacuentos Mezcal offered to interview me over a chat with some coffee in Oaxaca. A month or so later, I'm hosting him and his mezcales for a tasting at my house. This is the chat we had before the amazing tasting. A bit about my life here, but for those interested, this is part of the story. So much more to come. We chat Snapple, seeds, Sotol, and more.
Asis Cortes has created some of the most influential brands in Mezcal including: Origen Raiz, El Jolgorio, Agave de Cortes, and most recently DIxeebe. His creative intuitions create beautiful flavors and aesthetics in his labels. At such a young age having accomplished so much, what is next for Asis? He balances tradition and push for new innovations, all the while staying deeply connected to his family. As the world of mezcal is constantly changing, Asis maintains integrity and inspiration. We chat Oaxaca, art, experiences, and social media.
Jack Murray has imbued Texas with his big Irish energy. With an energetic personality, partially fueled by Red Bull sales in Ireland, Jack has helped shed light on the category of Irish whiskey. As the point person for Tully in Texas, he created staple cocktails, shots, and a mainstay for Irish whiskey behind most Austin bars. COVID shifted his gears and led to some interesting situations as an Irish person with limited status as a citizen in the US. But now, he's back with a new brand and a new sense of purpose. Lost Irish is a beautiful whiskey that blends many global barrel components. From wine to sherry to rum, the resulting flavor is massive and a perfect entry into Irish whiskey. Jack and I chat about smiles, love, loss, and the world around us.
Ben Williams is not new to creating products, companies, or excitement in his community. His family has a rich history of entrepreneurialism in Houston, but sometimes you have to push yourself further. Ben's fascination with flavor and distillation led him to create the lush and delicious Highway Vodka. Learning how to distill from scratch and often under the cover of moonlight, he chose to use the highly nutritious and rich oiliness of hemp seed to ferment his Vodka. Made from scratch and batch distilled, the resulting distillate is really incredible. We talk about classicism, prejudice, Texas distilling, and more.
Alexandra Dorda has spent her entire life in the hospitality and spirits industry. Her family created and produces the much lauded Chopin Vodka. After a departure for academia and the finance industry, a healthy creative bug threw Alexandra back into the world of spirits. The resulting Kasama Rum is a homage to Alexandra's love and connection with the Philippines. A delicious rum with beautiful tropical notes, Kasama Rum launched right before the world changed with COVID, but now, the momentum is building back up as Alexandra travels the states sharing her beautiful spirit. We chat inspiration, art, and travel.
The world suffered a massive loss in April when the titan of life, Tomas Estes, passed. For those of you that had the opportunity to meet this larger than life soul, we have the stories and memories of being in his presence. A lover of life, agave, love, and art, Tomas' legacy will echo for decades to come. I offer a few parting words here and we revisit my favorite of the 2 interviews with the legend. We chat travel, choices, Tequila, and so much more.
Ben Scott has had an illustrious career in the hospitality industry. And as many of us have those "dark nights in a Mexican bar drinking Mezcal" stories, Ben turned this into a life changing project. As the importer for Mal Bien and Lalocura mezcales, he has built amazing relationships with families and is sharing spirits in the right way. But as the category continues to grow and prices continue to fluctuate, how do you continue to navigate such a treacherous industry? We chat whiskey, NY, change, and legendary drinking tales.
Alejandro Rossbach, CEO of Maguey Spirits, loves language, challenges, and paving the way for new roads. With a love for hospitality and the inclination to hustle, Alejandro returned to his home city of CDMX to start working with Mezcal. His love of Mexico further developed as did his passion to do different things. The signs and roads led him to Durango, where the delicious Mezcal Burrito and Señor Sotol are crafted. We chat about guitar, language, and doing things never before done.
Tyler Jay Wang is a personable, likable, and massive personality in the Agave industry. His years behind the bar transitioned into one of the best roles in Tequila, brand ambassador for El Tesoro. His rich experience in acting, theater, and arts bring a unique experience to the way in which he recants tales of the Camarena legacy. We sit down and chat after a year of not doing any interviews in person. We are back to a new beginning. We chat social media, superman complex, family, and of course El Tesoro.
As our previous lives trickle into the new reality post shut-down, what have we learned? Robert Björn Taylor is taking his learnings in stride. As one of the most formidable forces in Texas cocktails, his background as a creative gives him boundless tools. But what happens when life moves too quickly, and the vices around us push us into a darker place? For some it leads to self destructive art, and for others like Björn, it leads to a chapter of sobriety and freedom. We chat Hitchcock, BLM, emo music, and more.....
I always applaud transparency and creativity in spirits. And in the world of Scotch, sometimes a different approach is the breath of fresh air we all need. This is Compass Box. James Saxon, assistant whisky blender at Compass Box, has an interesting background and introduction into blending. As a literature student, he quite literally looked for alcoholic references in books and translated how that reflected a characters significance. Compass Box has recently created new packaging and new blends for their flagship Artist's Blend and Glasgow Blend. But why 2 blends, why 2 cities? James tells all as we sip through the 2 delicious marks. We chat colors, season, and the Compass Box way.
Juan Coronado has an exceptional resume of pursuits from behind and beyond the bar. With travels all the over world imparting creative cocktail expertise, and sharing that certain something over 25 years in the hospitality industry can provide, one could call Juan "accomplished". But as it happens with truly brilliant people, there is always a new frontier. Juan's creation Mijenta Tequila combines his years of spirits expertise with his love of Mexico. We chat DJ'ing, daq's, history, and more.
Roberto Contreras Jr is a 5th generation distiller in Sonora, MX. His family's legacy is capture in every beautiful bottle of Rancho Tepúa. With his new Vinatero series, Roberto captures even more nuance of the ranch with a beautiful Lechuguilla and Palmilla. His mix of rancher and academic balance perfectly pair to spread the beauty of Bacanora in the states. We chat Deftones, wrestling, education, and facing our age.
Read Spear is a determined, ambitious, and insightful business person. His thirst for ideas and bringing his projects to fruition are imbibed with great passion. So when he started to delve into the world of agave, it was just a matter of time until he'd bring some of the most amazing spirits into the US. His brand, Cuentacuentos Mezcal, is just NOW hitting Texas in a big way. The delicious marks demonstrate Read's commitment to wonderful flavor and quality. Back in January of 2019 we sat down and chatted about this journey and so much more, but the story is more relevant than ever.
Ranch20 founder Amerlia Lettieri learned entrepreneurialism from a hard working, and accounting-minded mother. When Amelia added her drive, a degree, and a fearlessness to make a dream a reality, she arrived at her delicious Ranch20 canned cocktails. Starting with the Ranch Water cocktail, a Texas treasure with tequila, lime, and soda, Amelia committed to using actual spirits in production. The difference in taste is incredibly apparent. We talk about funding, family, and fear. Raise your Ranch Water in the air on 4/11 to celebrate National Ranch Water day.
Sal Chavez has adapted beautifully to shut down. Despite all of the challenges in launching a brand during COVID, he finds a way to bring his Michoacán Mezcal, La Luna, to the lips of many. It's no wonder that he continues to bring amazing products to the hospitality industry because he grew up in it. We chat basketball, music, and returning to your roots.