So after completing an MBA in finance and grinding for several years as an investment analyst at a prestigious, New York based hedge fund, I have made the decision to abandon my lucrative career and do something more personally satisfying. Make Booze. No more loft in TriBeCa. No more luxurious vacations. No more bonuses. Instead: moving back in to the bedroom I grew up in with my parents in Rockaway Beach, Queens to save the money that I’m not making while I start a very exciting adventure – constructing a distillery from the ground up in New York City!
I started contemplating building this business over a year ago after re-evaluating my “dream” career in finance. As an alcoholic beverage analyst, I had lived in the research and investment side of the beverage industry but had no hands-on qualifications. I attempted to lean on other, more experienced business people for advice – the likely responses were: “you are crazy to leave what you’ve got going” “you’re young, wait a few years until you’ve accumulated more wealth” “what do you know about running a business like this?” “you can’t distill this stuff – why don’t you just outsource production?” – clearly, none of this advice was what I wanted to hear nor what I felt was appropriate for executing the opportunity I thought I saw. To me the idea made perfect sense – it was in my blood – both of my grandfather’s were entrepreneurs with Brooklyn based businesses (one of which was a bar on Flatbush Avenue); my father had built, run, and sold an extremely successful marketing research business; both sides of my family were native to New York for many generations; the basement bar of the house I grew up in (and now reside in again!) housed a speakeasy in the Prohibition Era; Wall Street just wasn’t me; I have much appreciation for spirits – and of course, I love a challenge! I truly believed in the authenticity of the concept.
Over the next several months, I continued to observe favorable trends in the small batch, craft distilling industry through my analytic research at the hedge fund. I became more and more confident in my thoughts. In the summer of 2011, I finally decided I needed a complete change. I thought if there is a time in my life to take this risk – the time is now. So I wrote a business plan, attended distilling workshops, read TONS of literature and set out on my own Noble Experiment…
Subsequently: I have established a company, completed the fund raising (with the help of a supportive group of investors), ordered hand crafted distillation equipment from Germany, signed a lease for on a 4,000 square foot warehouse in Brooklyn, hired architects and general contractors to execute construction, filed extensive paperwork for the Federal DSP (distillers plant license) with the TTB (Alcohol Tobacco and Trade Bureau) – all amongst numerous other administrative tasks that come along with trying to get a new business off of the ground. However, there is still a lot to accomplish in the next few months in order to strive for the ultimate goal – distill and sell premium quality, local spirits! Please follow me for frequent updates.