Ian Burrell is the world’s first global ambassador for the category of rum. It’s not a title he was assigned or a position he was given — it’s a job he envisioned.
He is recognized as the GLOBAL Rum Ambassador and Founder of the world renowned UK Rumfest & the Annual Golden Rum Barrel Awards. Ian also leads the Rum Experience University training programs for rum ambassadors.
As Global Rum ambassador, Ian travels the world, training, lecturing and promoting rum & cocktails and with over 25 years in the industry, he is setting the pace for the promotion of the unique rum lifestyle globally.
His celebrated rum bar and restaurant in London, "Cottons Camden" attracts an eclectic mix of world travellers, celebrities, adventurers and rum enthusiasts and is a constant feature in the media.
In 2017 he was awarded “Rum Communicator of the year” at the Agile Media’s Think Rum trade event. But what is even more remarkable is that he is a 7-time final four nominee and 2018 winner of the International Brand Ambassador of the year at the prestigious Spirited Awards at The Tales of the Cocktail celebrations in New Orleans, even though Ian doesn’t represent any single brand, but a category.
As one of the original founders of Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival, Ryan has been active behind the scenes just as much as he's been in front of it.
Wine and spirits consultant for Bon Appetit Magazine and founder of aka wine geek, Steven Olson is dedicated to the education and consultation of drinks degustation. Olson teaches, lectures, and writes all over the world about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and virtually any other beverage under the sun, discussing their integral cause-and-effect relationship with food as he preaches the gospel of his mission: making tasting fun by removing typical intimidation factor and pretense.
In March 2006, Olson; Dale DeGroff; Doug Frost, MS, MW; Paul Pacult; and Dr. David Wondrich started Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) in New York City. (Andy Seymour was added as a partner in 2008). An independent organization, whose mission is to educate, guide, and propagate the healthy, enlightened, and responsible use of alcohol products, BAR is in a unique position to educate on the front lines, whether its students are service industry professionals, members of the media, or curious consumers. BAR was chosen as CHEERS Magazine “Beverage Innovator of the Year” in 2007, a well-deserved lifetime achievement award for Olson.
As Chief Innovations Officer of Angel's Envy, Wes Henderson has worked diligently to provide the clear and enthusiastic voice that Angel’s Envy has needed to succeed. Under his guidance, the company has grown both successfully and sustainably.
Before he co-founded Louisville Distilling Company with Lincoln, Wes served as CEO for Master Distiller Select LLC, where he was additionally responsible for distilled spirits consulting services. Before that, he was the President and CEO of Conecuh Ridge Distillery — a brand that enjoyed favorable mainstream recognition. He received his education from the College of Aeronautics at the Florida Institute of Technology.
Bartending is something of a family tradition among the men in the Kenyon family. Born in suburban New Jersey, both Sean Kenyon’s grandfather and father owned bars, but his dad not-so-secretly hoped that he might choose a different career path. Fast-forward 30-some years: Kenyon was awarded American Bartender of the Year by the Spirited Awards in 2014, and his first bar Williams & Graham was awarded Best American Bar by the Spirited Awards in 2015. He also just opened a successful second bar right next door. Now a world-class bartender who runs world-class bars, it doesn’t seem like he will be changing careers anytime soon.
Because of this success, Kenyon is in high demand attending industry events, teaching classes, and consulting at bars around the world.
Jeff Donahue &
Leisure Activities is a collaborative hospitality company, specializing in bar concepting and management, beverage consulting, events and content creation.
After graduating from Northern Illinois University, Jeff found his calling in hospitality through eating, drinking and working his way through the myriad layers of Chicago’s bar and restaurant scene. That passion for singular and genuine hospitality has driven his pursuit of inspiration through travel and exploration locally and abroad. When not behind the bar, Jeff enjoys jumping rope, model ship building, hot cocoa and creating fake hobbies.
Wade grew up in Phoenix and attended the Harvard of the West, Arizona State University. After graduating he spent time in New York City learning how to be cool (he still hasn’t quite figured it out) and how to make good drinks in hospitable environments. After a few years in NYC, Wade wisely listened to the advice of his best pal and moved to Chicago, where he met his future business partner while opening The Barrelhouse Flat. It’s been a rocketship of creativity since then, developing several bar projects and maintaining a deep love of racquetball, plants, photography and Sunday afternoons.
National Spirits Director of The Winebow Group, a national importer and distributor of fine wine and craft spirits.
Huston began her spirits career almost two decades ago at the Dundee Dell in Omaha, Nebraska, where she helped create one of the largest whisky bars in the world, with over 1,000 single malts and 1,200 other spirits. After spending a year in Spain, where she continued her whisky and sherry education, Huston became the Elite Spirits Portfolio Manager at Stoller Wholesale Distributing in 2012 before joining The Winebow Group in 2015.
As an avid spokesperson and educator, Huston has served as a panelist and judge at events and competitions around the country. She has contributed to numerous publications and been featured in the Whisky Advocate and the Wall Street Journal. In addition to being a member of the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG), she is on the board of the Bourbon Women Association and has been inducted into the exclusive international society, Keepers of the Quaich.
Jim Meehan, a bar operator, spirits and cocktail educator, and author of The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual, worked at some of New York City’s most popular restaurants and bars including Gramercy Tavern and the Pegu Club before opening the James Beard Award winning bar PDT in New York City in 2007 and PDT Hong Kong in 2018. The former editor of Food & Wine Cocktails and Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide, Meehan is a frequent magazine contributor and the curator of the cocktail programs for American Express Centurion airport lounges. He and his family reside in Portland, Oregon where he operates his consulting firm Mixography Inc.
More info at www.mixographyinc.com
Ryan grew up outside Philadelphia in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and moved to Chicago in 2001 to attend A Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. While working at Moto at Fulton Market, he began spending his free time at Wicker Park’s The Violet Hour. In 2008, he was asked to join The Violet Hour team, and he would be there today, if it weren’t for the beguiling opportunity to design his own behind-the-bar program at Sable of Kimpton Restaurants.
Today he holds the role of Director of Bars for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants coaching and mentoring bartenders, developing and activating bar concepts, and opening new bars and restaurants globally.
Professional bartender Sother Teague is the Beverage Director at New York bitters bar Amor y Amargo, co-founder of NYC bar Coup, and the host of “Speakeasy” on Heritage Radio Network. He developed a love of teaching while working with celebrity chef Alton Brown on Good Eats, and has been featured as a cocktail expert in several outlets including Esquire, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Time Out, BuzzFeed and more. In 2018, he was honored with Wine Enthusiasts "Mixologist of the Year" award. His upcoming book "I'm Just Here For The Drinks" will be released in 2018 and be available for purchase during PoPFest.
One of the most sought after bar & restaurant designers currently in the game. From hotels to restaurants to some of the country’s most acclaimed bars – AIA award-winner Rick Kline is responsible for creating the landscape of not only Los Angeles’ drinking scene, but also through Detroit, and Austin. He started with the historic Three Clubs as well as a vast majority of hospitality group 213’s projects such as Seven Grand, Golden Gopher, and The Varnish (which he won an AIA award for). As well, Kline is responsible for The Normandie Club, which recently received recognition as one of the best bars in the world.
Zahra is the National Brand Ambassador for Courvoisier at Beam Suntory. She also Co-founded Art Beyond the Glass with Daniel Djang, an event that showcases the artistic pursuit of LA bartenders when they're not behind the stick.
Her bartending stints include Providence LA, the Sanderson Hotel, and Coles of 213.
New York City based bartender and proprietor of beverage consultancy, Prince Cocktail, Degroff’s work experiences have ranged from bartending at regarded establishments like Pegu Club to high profile events such as Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) Five Day. During his stint with Wine Geek, Degroff sharpened his skills for event coordinating and restaurant management, including training bartenders/barbacks, assisting in creating cocktail programs, and budget planning. Utilizing his affinity for technology, Degroff has been able to translate and draft his ideas of efficient bar concepts for specific spaces using graphic design.
Education has been on the forefront of Degroff’s career and the desire to learn has taken him all over America and the world, for first hand experience of distillation in each country’s respective spirits, culture, and bar scenes.
Doug Frost is a Kansas City author who writes and lectures about wine, beer and spirits. In 1991 he passed the rigorous Master Sommelier examination and two years later became America’s eighth Master of Wine. He was the second person in history to complete both exams and almost two decades later he is still one of only four people in the world to have achieved both these remarkable distinctions. The Wine Spectator has also bestowed the accolade of Master of Spirits on Mr. Frost, and he is one of the founders of BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource), considered by most industry professionals to be the preeminent education and examining body for the spirits and cocktail industry. He continues to teach and examine for BAR and within the Master Sommelier and Master of Wine programs. Frost was awarded Beverage Innovator of the Year 2009 by Cheers Magazine. He consults with many retailers, restaurateurs, wineries and distillers in the realms of marketing, merchandising, sales, education and sensory perception. Mr. Frost lives with his wife and two children in Kansas City, where he spends his spare time listening to his massive punk rock, vintage jazz and weird music collection.