At an early age, I fell in love with the Arts, and knew that I would someday end up living a dream of dancing, performing in plays, or even on Broadway.
Okay, that’s not even remotely true, but I was introduced to alcohol at an early age. Whiskey sours flowed plentifully and frequently at family get-togethers and parties, both planned or impromptu, and my father enjoyed sipping on J & B Blended Scotch. A fun-loving Uncle nicknamed “Shorty” was also more than happy to share a beer or shot of whiskey with his young nephew.
Fast forward to 2004, and while at a “wine club” gathering, a friend introduced me to Lagavulin 16 YR Single Malt Scotch. And while I’ve had scotch, bourbon and some Canadian whisky prior to that, this was mind blowing, and another game changer, because I had to learn more about this!! I subscribed to Malt Advocate, and immediately read about their WhiskyFests, and made plans to attend the 2005 one in Chicago. This was a life changing event for me.
Today, 15 years since that 1st sip of Lagavulin, I’m now a Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS), and have applied to be a Certified Cognac Educator. I am also a contributing writer for The Whiskey Wash, and am extremely honored to have been invited to Judge Spirits in four different Spirits Competitions. While working at Total Wine and Liquor Barn, I’ve met numerous customers who have also become friends.
On October 9, 2019, I started what will be my final career at Castle and Key Distillery in Frankfort, KY, the former Old Taylor Distillery that was built in 1887. In 2019, I’m also honored to be teaching two Spirits Sessions at the 2019 American Wine Society’s National Conference in FL I’ve attended 10 various Whisky Festivals, and am currently planning my own World Spirits Festival, with a possible American Spirits Review, not Competition, to accompany it.
With 20+ years of experience with spirits that span the globe, I can plan and lead a tasting or class for you, or help with any event that you might be planning. You can also get unbiased consulting with your bar or restaurant spirits selection, which you won’t always get from your Vendors. If you’re a producer, you will also get unbiased reviews from me regarding your spirits.
Official judging glass of 16 major spirits competitions. NEAT delivers competition level performance and lets each spirit speak for itself. N.E.A.T (Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology) unlocks the hidden dimensions of spirits. We are…changing the way the world drinks. Imported, hand-made, lead-free crystal, scientifically engineered to present the true aromas so nothing hides behind nose-numbing alcohol. The NEAT glass enhances enjoyment, and guides you to make better value and purchasing decisions. Contact Tony directly for purchasing or wholesale pricing information.
INDUSTRY LEADERS RECOMMENDATIONS
Tony has a genuine passion for, and appreciation of, spirits. I have had the pleasure of working with him and enjoyed the privilege of having him generously share his expertise. He is very approachable and engaging whether serving customers or assisting colleagues. His knowledge of the spirits industry as well as the retail environment allows him to quickly assess strategies and practices, and identify opportunities. He is a valuable asset who contributes greatly to any organization or group he serves.
Tony has long been a valued member of the American Wine Society, but his passion is spirits. We have select spirits sessions at our national conference and in 2019, he hosted two such sessions. Tony’s knowledge and passion, combined with the fine selections he brings, make for a huge hit for our attendees. He shares his expertise with a friendly approach and genuinely enjoys spreading his enthusiasm for spirits.
Tony’s understanding of wine and spirits goes far beyond most who work in the business. He is a storehouse of knowledge and has the passion, focus, and dedication necessary to solve problems and make crucial decisions. He understands customers attitudes and markets, and the logistics necessary to manage a retail or wholesale beverage operation. In particular, he has superb nose and palate perceptibility. Coupled with his objectivity, he has become a top-notch spirits and wine judge and evaluator. It is always a pleasure to work with Tony and his methodical approach, open-mindedness, team spirit, and genuine approach ensures success in all his endeavors.