• Victoria Eady Butler Continues a Forgotten Whiskey Legacy, 160 Years On

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    When Victoria Eady Butler blended the first batch of Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey, she did so armed with 31 years of experience working at the Department of Justice and exactly zero whiskey blends under her belt, professional or otherwise. Yet, as the great-great-granddaughter of the company's namesake Nathan “Uncle Nearest” Green, you could say whiskey runs through Butler's veins.
    Born in 1820 and enslaved in Tennessee, Green taught Jack Daniel how to...
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  • For Wilderness Trail, Extraordinary Whiskey Is a Matter of Climate Change

    For Wilderness Trail, Extraordinary Whiskey Is a Matter of Climate Change

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    As the relentless pandemic drags on, it would seem like our spirit of the year should be something endemic to this strange era: the canned RTDs that have allowed people to slug Margaritas and more from home; the non-alcoholic “spirits” that helped stressed folks reevaluate their consumption; even the wonderful array of esoteric liqueurs and modifiers that assisted McMansion mixologists in shaking and stirring their way to quality cocktails. Yet our spirits brand of...
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  • Gage & Tollner's Triumphant Return Sets a New Bar for Classic American Dining

    Gage & Tollner's Triumphant Return Sets a New Bar for Classic American Dining

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    Today's iteration of Gage & Tollner may just be the single greatest gift any divorce proceeding has given to American dining.
    The story goes that St. John Frizell, one-third of the restaurant's trio of co-owners, would regularly visit Downtown Brooklyn's Supreme Court during a split from his partner. Every time he exited the building, Frizell lamented the lack of options where one could enjoy a much-needed drink after such dealings. And so began a search to rectify...
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  • Aaron Polsky's RTD Cocktails Are Bringing Intellectual Property to the Bar

    Aaron Polsky's RTD Cocktails Are Bringing Intellectual Property to the Bar

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    It should come as no surprise to hear Aaron Polsky describe his RTD cocktail brand, LiveWire Drinks , using a musical analogy. If you caught Polsky walking out of an L.A. bar in the small hours of the morning - all 6 feet-plus of him, hirsute and decked in band-logo tank top, skinny jeans, and pointed boots - it would be impossible to tell whether he'd just waltzed off stage or clocked out of a bar shift.
    But beyond being a good fit for his character, Polsky's...
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  • Comfort, Happiness, and Social Impact: Yannick Benjamin Reimagines a Restaurant's Role

    Comfort, Happiness, and Social Impact: Yannick Benjamin Reimagines a Restaurant's Role

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    From a very early age, Yannick Benjamin knew he wanted to work in restaurants. A born-and-raised New Yorker of French descent, Benjamin would hear the industry tales of his two uncles, father, and cousin over Sunday dinners and think to himself, “That sounds so exciting.”
    Benjamin got his start young, taking his first restaurant job at 13 years old, but it was far from guaranteed that he'd still be in that industry some 30 years later. In 2003, while working as a...
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  • At Kindred and Ruffian, Sommelier Alexis Percival Takes Diners On a Wine Adventure

    At Kindred and Ruffian, Sommelier Alexis Percival Takes Diners On a Wine Adventure

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    If the past almost two years have taught us anything, it's that food and beverage industry professionals are not afraid to get creative. And there's perhaps no better example of such imagination than the ongoing reinvention of Kindred and Ruffian , two hidden gems tucked away in NYC's East Village neighborhood. The small restaurant and wine bar, respectively, boast some of the city's most exciting wine lists, all curated by sommelier and co-owner Alexis...
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  • Uncle Nearest's Fawn Weaver Is Using Whiskey to Amplify Black History and Diversify the Industry

    Uncle Nearest's Fawn Weaver Is Using Whiskey to Amplify Black History and Diversify the Industry

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    With bourbon's popularity continuing to surge, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is setting itself apart from the pack. Not only is it the best-selling African-American-founded spirit brand in history, it is the fastest-growing American whiskey of all time - and it continues to rack up awards.
    At its helm is Fawn Weaver, CEO and founder of Grand Sidney, Inc., the private investment company that owns and operates Uncle Nearest. Weaver, who considers herself a “serial...
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  • Winemaker Tara Gomez Uses Grapes to Connect With Her Roots

    Winemaker Tara Gomez Uses Grapes to Connect With Her Roots

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    Despite the progress of recent years, the global wine scene remains largely white and male. But there's a new emerging group of winemakers whose skills and ingenuity are proving that the future of wine is anything but homogenous.
    Hailing from the coastal Santa Ynez Valley in California's Santa Barbara County, Tara Gomez makes wine with culture and place in mind. Her winery, Camins 2 Dreams, focuses on natural winemaking using grapes sourced from the Sta. Rita Hills...
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  • Beer Kulture Is Bringing Black Communities to Beer, Not the Other Way Around

    Beer Kulture Is Bringing Black Communities to Beer, Not the Other Way Around

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    When it first began in 2017, Beer Kulture was a lifestyle brand that aimed to bring Black communities into craft beer spaces. By 2018, its blog and social media accounts were sharing some of the industry's most impactful stories, including the racism lawsuit against Founders Brewing in 2018. It amassed followers across the country who felt connected to Beer Kulture's message and mission: to create a craft beer “kulture” that includes and uplifts Black and minority...
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  • Julia Momosé Served Hope to Illinois Bartenders, in the Pandemic and Beyond

    Julia Momosé Served Hope to Illinois Bartenders, in the Pandemic and Beyond

    1 month ago - By Vine Pair

    This article is a part of our inaugural Next Wave Awards. For the full list of 2021 winners, check out the whole series here .
    From outdoor seating to large-scale vaccination rollouts and the return of full-capacity dining, there have been many glimmers of hope over the past few months that the pandemic's impact on the hospitality industry may be dwindling. And yet, with each beacon of light has arrived a new, unforeseen challenge for bars and restaurants, like vaccine mandates and staff shortages. All of which makes the efforts of Chicago-based bartender Julia Momosé and the grassroots...
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