My interest in both event planning and the hospitality industry started back in my early years in the automotive sales industry which was in the early 1970’s. I would spend my time off either planning concerts, art shows which were generally automotive themed and would include wine and cheese pairings. When I wasn’t promoting and marketing, I was tending bar. I love being around people and sharing my knowledge and experiences I have been honored to enjoy through the years. Afterall I was dining with and driving with some of the most interesting people in the automotive and auto racing industry. People like Dr. Ferry Porsche, Lee Iacocca, Roger Penske, Mark Donohue, Mario Andretti and Al Holbert. I thank the Lord every day for those opportunities.
My career path took a turn into the wine and spirits industry fulltime in 1990 when my full and part time careers reversed themselves and stepped down as a sales manager for a family owned car dealership and took ownership and ran a casual fine dining restaurant. Once again, I found myself very comfortable behind the bar as well as greeting my guests and making both cocktail and wine recommendations.
Owning that restaurant was one of the most difficult experiences of my life and I was excited when a young chef decided to make his dreams come true by offering to buy it. At the same time my wine and spirits sales rep was on his way up the management ladder and I knew his position was going to be available. Well, in no time that position was filled but that didn’t stop me from pursuing what I felt was going to be my dream job. Don’t get me wrong, having a new Porsche 911 or even a nicely equipped F150 every few months isn’t too shabby but please, that couldn’t compare with enjoying some the finest wines and spirits in the world with some of the world’s most interesting people.
It was that time that I had the opportunity to meet and learn from a legend of the spirits industry as he was touring the country launching a new category of whiskey called “Small Batch” with his Small Batch Collection of bourbons. That legend was none less then Jim Beams Grand Son, Booker Noe. The collection consisting of some of the finest spirits today. Bookers, Bakers, Knob Creek and Basil Haydon. I can truly say, I learned from the best.
My experiences in this industry have again blessed me with the opportunity to work along side and learn from greats like, Bookers son Fred Noe, Master Scotch Whisky Blender Richard Paterson, Dale DeGroff aka King Cocktail, Ligia Marques of the Port house of Sandeman, Laphroaig’s Master Distiller John Campbell, Andy Davidson the son of the man to design and produce the Glencarian Crystal Whisky Glass and founder of the “Whisky Blender”, David Suro-Pinera director of Siembra Azul Tequila and owner of Tequila Restaurant Philadelphia, Master Distiller Phil Prichard, Carlos Camarena Master Distiller of El Tesoro Tequila, and a dear friend who I truly miss Dave Pickerell of Whistle Pig and Hillrock, just to name a very few. I also worked alongside the brand teams for ABSOLUT Vodka, The Dalmore Scotch Whisky, Jim Beam Brands, Sandeman Port and Sherry Wines, G.H. Mumm and Zyr Russian Vodka.
Today as the lead consultant and advisor of The Social Chemist I enjoy my role as CEO (Chef Edutainment Officer) training and entertaining both in and out of the industry on the art of enjoying responsibly fine wines, spirits and beers. I also spend much of my time as Fine Spirits Ambassador for Charles Jacquins et Cie, one of the worlds largest producers of cordials and importer/producer of brands like Pravda Vodka, Royal Montaine, and Chalfonte Special Reserve Cognac. I have recently became closely associated with my long-time friend and associate Erin “Red” Schiller with his newly formed spirits and wine import, sales and distribution company, Leadership Brands LLC presently operating in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
With questions or for a services quote contact us at 484-869-4189 or George@SocialChemist.net