From early days in Florida to college antics at Texas State University, Olamaie's Erin Ashford epitomizes hospitality and possesses a deep curiosity about people. A familiar tale of a college degree not providing the opportunity that the burgeoning Austin hospitality could. Years later, she's reaching a creative apex and is evolving alongside the Austin cocktail renaissance. We chat Rum, Contigo, biscuits, and more.
French spirits and food are steeped in tradition. The terroir of France has given birth to some of the finest wines, cheeses, and brandies the world has ever seen. However, this deep tradition often lies as an obstacle in the face of innovation and creativity. Francois Thibault leveraged his many years of winemaking, Cognac distilling, and public service to create one of the biggest disruptions in France, Grey Goose Vodka. Made with winter wheat and a sense of rebelliousness, Francois is the ultimate Vodka pioneer. We chat fatherhood, tradition, and pastries.
Hailing from Garland, Texas, hospitality was not the initial path for Grey Goose's Ian Reilly. With a deep interest in experiences, writing, and philosophical thought, Ian pursued his passion for people via the pen on the page. But as his path became clearer, his best work was done behind the bar. His shift into brand work evolved into a deeper connection with the hospitality community and with himself. New to the Grey Goose team, what challenges does Ian see in the market and how will he address them? We talk writing, Gemini's, Francois Thibault, and more....
A man of the stage, spirits, and culture at large, Sergio Mendoza is a invaluable mind in the world of agave. His family has been making Tequila for many generations and after traveling abroad pursuing the arts, Sergio returned with an amazing Tequila creation, Don Fulano. As Sergio continues to educate the world on sustainability, production methods, and 360 degree operations for Tequila, his latest project Derrumbes Mezcal shows that innovation is still possible for a Mezcal brand. We chat Marlon Brando, sustainability, and San Antonio.
Eduardo Orendein comes from a deeply influential family in the town of Tequila. The Orendein family is one of the founding families of Tequila. Their spirits have been available for over a hundred years and the flavors of their Tequila Arette line are remarkable. Eduardo found himself naturally continuing the work of his father and is now the master distiller for Tequila Arette. His shift to sales and being the face of Arette is a new one. Is it the challenge one would expect? We chat agave fields, Brown-Forman, autoclaves, and more.
With their daughter's mental and physical health as the main priority, Campari's Anne-Louise Marquis childhood was focused on learning about everything the world had to offer. This enlightened and inquisitive youth found ALM studying ancient cultures, science, and performance. Her fondness for the stage, both in terms of production and creation, ultimately led her to L.A. where her brush with hospitality became more impactful. Now traveling broadly sharing the fine sips and stories of Wild Turkey, Campari, Espolon Tequila, and more, what's next for the enlivening personality? We talk balance, sharing, oversharing, and tradition.
With a rich love of animals, travel, and creating, Leyenda's Ivy Mix remains one of the strongest female mentors in the hospitality industry. Being an identical twin raised by 2 deeply artistic parents, Ivy's trajectory was always influenced by openness and curiosity. After a life changing trip to Guatemala, the threads of hospitality started to take root in Ivy's career. Now as a force behind Brooklyn's Leyenda, what is next for Ivy and her fight for women in this industry? We chat speed rack, mezcal, Singani 63, and more.
The threads of hospitality and inspiration run deep for DC's Vance Henderson. An articulate artist who has had every job in the industry, Vance is a writer, a teacher, and a student of the world. As these traits combined with a deep connection to the historically poignant Drambuie, a beautiful match was made. Vance now travels the states curating experiences and creates the perfect groove for the moment; all in the name of Drambuie and conviviality. We talk Time Out Austin Bar Awards, cold brew coffee, Denzel, and more...
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....