The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2018

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2018 HOT SHOT ForceBrands: Tell us about the history of your involvement in the industry. Louis Goldstein: Basically, my grandparents and parents were bootleggers—we were in the grocery business, and, at the time of Prohibition, began selling products other people needed . . . of course, products to make alcohol. As soon as Prohibition was over, my grandfather got one of the first liquor distributor licenses and my grandparents started one of the first wholesale operations in New York City. My father and his brothers ran the business. After my father died at an early age, my mother became the first liquor salesperson there and broke a lot of barriers—she was the first woman allowed in the union. In essence, I was always working with my family's company at night and at the warehouse. I worked when they were loading trucks by hand, not machines, and was driving a forklift around the warehouse at 6 years old. FB: Could you describe one of the proudest moments of your career? LG: I was working at William Grant & Sons at the time when my close friend retired from his liquor store. I bought the store from him and became one of the youngest retailers in the industry at 23. My mother became my salesperson and I had a partner who knew nothing about the industry, although I had some experience. One of my proudest moments was when I entered a Dubonnet contest where stores competed for the best window display: Some stores set up displays with stacks of 30–50 cases, but I won by displaying a single bottle of Dubonnet. I made a cafe in one of my two windows, had brick walls and a table set up, and put my girlfriend in the window with one bottle and a glass on the table—that was it. FB: What has been some of the best professional advice you've received? LG: I remember Artie Cutler, Barry Corwin, and Howie Levine [who started many iconic New York City restaurants, includ- ing Carmine's and Docks] had a restaurant opening party for friends and family. They asked me what I thought and I said the food was terrific. They replied, "Don't tell me what's good; tell me what's bad." From that day on, I learned that you're not doing your customer any favors by telling them only what they want to hear—they'll never grow if you do that. I learned to open up my mouth. FB: If you could be working in the industry in any other capac- ity, what would your role be? LG: I'd like to finish my life in this business in marketing or anything that involves being a little more creative. ACCOUNTS SPECIALIST AT EMPIRE MERCHANTS A Q&A with Louis Goldstein, You're not doing your customer any favors by telling them only what they want to hear—they'll never grow if you do that." You're not doing your customer any favors by telling them only

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