The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 102 of 124

TRENDSETTERS Changing the Game THREE INDUSTRY PLAYERS WHO MATTER story and photos by Fred Minnick The beverage industry is filled with dynamic trendsetting professionals. These three trendsetters are changing their respective industries, one drink at a time. Jared Schubert, Top Mixologist, Louisville Ken Austin with Avión Tequila President Jenna Fagan. Ken Austin, CEO Avión Tequila If there's one CEO who can change the negative, knocking-shots-back percep- tion of tequila, it's Ken Austin. As business-savvy as Avión's make- believe owner in HBO's Entourage, Mark Cubin, Austin is changing America's tequila with his premium brand Avion. "There's a hell of a lot of bad tequila," he says. "People say they smell tequila, and they can't even drink it. That's because they were on the floor praying all night in the bathroom, and tequila happened to have been the cause. That'll change." Austin is likely to lead that change. Since his brand launched six years ago and appeared on Entourage, Avión, with Pernod Ricard as a recent minority owner, has skyrocketed through the rankings to become the number seven U.S. tequila. It's won dozens of awards and has the best product placement on TV thanks to Austin's connections and is undergoing a provocative national ad campaign. But the product is truly premium. "I wanted to create the greatest tequila in the world," Austin says. "It was really a dream of mine to do this." A dream that just might save tequila. 102 / the tasting panel / june 2012 Jared Schubert. When Louisville-based distilleries seek a talented mixologist to craft a cocktail, they often tap Jared Schubert. As the bartender at the city's popular hangout Meat, Schubert knows just about every cocktail ever made and spends his time educating consumers about a spirit's or cocktail's history. Not only could he make an authentic Mint Julep around Derby time, Schubert could give a patron five differ- ent takes and explain its origins. That's because he's setting the Kentucky trend for guest education. "I feel that learning the lineage of your occupation gives your craft a sense of purpose and substance," says Schubert, who regularly presents at Tales of the Cocktail. "[This approach] turns cocktails into an art form rather than a way to make quick cash while getting through college." Andrew Pollard. Beverage executives in Las Vegas have taken an axe to wine programs and focused efforts on less expensive cocktail programs. Andrew Pollard, Beverage Development Specialist for Wirtz Beverage Nevada, is helping the Vegas hotels keep costs down and profits up. "As cocktail culture progresses, we [Las Vegas] have quite a task in trying to grasp trends," Pollard says. For this summer, Pollard is pushing a Latin Inspirations trend to complement poolside activity. This will put the focus on rum, tequila, cachaça and pisco, he says. "Although Las Vegas has been a little delayed in jumping on the South American wagon, we continue to push in raising awareness for these catego- ries," Pollard says. "This summer we are planning on seeing more Caipirinhas, Pisco Sours and the introduction of the Batida, a popular cachaça cocktail, often referred to as the Piña Colada of South America." Andrew Pollard, Beverage Development Specialist for Wirtz Beverage Nevada

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - June 2012