In a special crossover episode we combine United States of Dramerica and America the Beautiful Game. We talk to whisky lover and soccer expert Oliver Wyss. The former Swiss international youth player, coach, agent and soccer tech is now the President of Soccer at Orange County Soccer Club in the United Soccer League. We talk about the controversial new European Super League, his love of wine and then whisky and the state of soccer in the United States. Oliver tells us about working on Playing for Keeps with Gerard Butler, being sold expensive whisky at Glasgow airport and how much he enjoys work Orange County's partner club Glasgow Rangers. He talks about the transformation of US soccer, its continued shortcomings but also how they might win a World Cup in 2030. And why he wants to share a Bruichladdich Black Art with Michael Jordan.
We go Down Under this week to talk to Dave Vitale, the founder of Australian whisky sensation Starward. He talks about his company's market positioning, why Starward is perfect for cocktails and as a 'dinner table whisky'. He explains how the pandemic has been tough for a growing brand, why he wanted to start distilling and the growing market in Australia. He talks about the pleasing lack of whisky prejudice against newer markets and why people should embrace new expressions and how Starward are growing in the US. And Dave explains what cuisine pairs best with his whisky, how Two-Fold and tonic is the new gin and tonic and where he expects to see Starward in the next five years.
This week's guest is Martin French, managing director at Berylls Strategy Advisors. We talk the future of driving, mobility, electrification and autonomous vehicles. Martin tells us why range anxiety should no longer be an issue, the joy of electric cars and the psychology of autonomous vehicle adoption. He explains why he doesn't own a car, his favorite driving experiences and the difference between mobility adoption in America and Europe. He also tells us why he wants to share a Redbreast with his grandfather and sharing a gin and tonic with Dame Judi Dench.
We share a whiskey with aspiring golfer Will Leaf, who after a tough pandemic year, is selling shares in himself to fund his pro career. Will, who has had three holes in one (including two on par 4s), explains how his PGA Tour Canada aspirations were ended by the border closure, how the share scheme works and how it feels to be a commodity people can buy. He tells us his passion for the game, meeting his hero Arnold Palmer and tells us about the weird world of lower level tour golf - including players turning up for tournaments in their pajamas. Will says he's excited for the grind of tour golf, the terrible hotels, the driving through the night - and how that is a big step down from college 'luxury' travel. He talks about the importance of grit not just talent, backs himself to follow in the footsteps of Zack Johnson and Kevin Kisner (who also sold shares in themselves) and tells us why he wants to share a Woodford Reserve with Tiger Woods at Augusta National.
We talk to Dom Madell, resident of Auckland, New Zealand. He explains what it is like living in a relatively covid-free country, survivor's guilt and the Kiwi view of the rest of the world. He talks about masks on trains - and nowhere else - in his country, the reality of being on an 'island of purity' and the inequity of billionaires of using his country as a safety bolthole. Dom explains his worries about New Zealand for when they re-open borders, he drinks a local Thomson whisky and we share stories of our childhood and our first (terrible) attempts at drinking illegally in pubs. He also talks about his new band, set up during the pandemic, and how Frayed Flag are happily playing gigs in busy pubs.
We talk to Tracie Franklin, Head Distiller Apprentice at the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative. She tells her story of moving from Broadway to whisky ambassador to the leadership acceleration program run by Jack Daniels and Uncle Nearest whiskey to increase diversity in the whiskey business. Tracie talks about diversity in the industry, her reluctant acceptance of being a role model and tells us the inspiring story of Nearest Green, a freed slave who taught Jack Daniels. We share a virtual Uncle Nearest 1820, talk about the modern dual role of a head distiller as brand ambassador and what she misses about showbusiness. And she tells us why she would want to drink a Glenfiddich 50 with her father.
We talk to Jon Ryan, the Super Bowl winning punter from the Seattle Seahawks. He tells us about the feeling of being part of a Super Bowl and the euphoria of victory. He also tells us about the feeling of being part of a Super Bowl the following year and the agony of a narrow defeat to Tom Brady. Jon talks us through his Championship game touchdown, the first play-off touchdown ever thrown by a punter. We talk about punters tackling, some of Jon's highlight reel - mostly painful-looking hits - and the under-rated value of the CFL, and why playing in his home country was so important to him. There is also time to cover soccer - including his love for Swansea City and Jordan Morris' transfer there - and his new career as an owner of rugby and baseball teams. We also cover retirement, Brady, Gronk and whisky. And Jon tells us why he wants to drink bourbon with Jackie Robinson in a minor league dugout. A fantastic discussion with one of the game's popular figures.
We talk to event and marketing expert David Balfour. The Scot living in Dubai with plans to expand in to the US talks events, how the pandemic has changed the industry, what is possible now and what direction he thinks events will go in the future. He tells us how the uneven pace of recovery is creating opportunities, the huge appetite to return to live experiences and how Usher nearly ruined one of his first events in the US. David tells us about his favorite whisky, his sneaker collection and the appeal of life in Los Angeles. And why he wants to share a Wolfcraig whisky with Sir Alex Freguson.
We talk to Estelle McCartney, Chief Customer Officer for Arctic Shores and veteran communications professional. She tells us about how the interface between business and Government has changed, the importance of ‘doing good’ and her first role with Britain in Europe. She talks about her work with Arctic Shores, using technology in recruitment to improve diversity and getting people into the right jobs for the long term. She also talks about watching her father compete in the Whisky Olympics, we debate how to pronounce Glenmorangie and she tells the story of pioneer Gertrude Bell.
We talk to screenwriter Grant Pierce Myers. He talks about the excitement of working on The Maze Runner, his parents organizing a special screening for their friends in his home town and his favorite line from the movie. He tells us how he celebrates movie projects by buying bottles of whisky, his love for the cherry-infused bourbon made by Traverse City Whiskey Company and he tells the story of being fired from the Maze Runner - and how the lead actor didn't even realize he was the writer. Grant tells us how he would pitch a movie about Trump, how the pandemic ruined one of his latest projects and whether his new projects will have masks and social distancing written in to them. He talks about script envy, the Maze Runner being sued for stealing someone else's idea and how he feels about the Maze Runner sequels making less money than the first. And he tells us why he wants to drink any whisky with Ernest Hemingway on a boat - and his favorite cocktail stories.
We talk to whisky entrepreneur Steve Lipp, the man behind everything from Alexander Murray, to Costco's Kirkland whisky and also banana flavor bourbon sensation Howler Head. He tells us about how near-death experiences took him from the oil business to the whisky trade, why he named his brand after his great uncle and how a drowning fisherman helped Lagavulin 16 become his favorite whisky. He talks about banana bourbon - and his partnership with UFC owner Dana White, his beer/whisky partnership with Firestone Walker and what next for Costco whiskys. And why he wants to share a Lagavulin 16 with Sean Connery at the Pittodrie House Hotel.
We talk to the Sage of Saratoga, leading horse handicapper Andy Serling. He tells us how horse racing has grown during the pandemic, what makes the sport so special and how legal sports betting is inevitable in America. He talks about falling in love with his home track of Saratoga, how race tracks without crowds are "sad" and how a horse's name impacts its odds. Andy describes how much research he does on each race why he backs his picks with money and his hopes for big crowds after Corona. And why he wants to share a Blanton's bourbon with Philip Roth at Saratoga.
We talk to a Californian brewery owner about how pizza saved his business, running a bar during Covid and why a Scottish landscaper started selling English-style beer in Los Angeles. He tells us about how he protects his customers, why he doesn’t worry about their health and keeping inebriated people socially distanced. And how he wishes he could sell whisky alongside beer. He also tells us why he wants to drink an Oban with Sean Connery.
We talk to Marc Benardout, British producer and director turned DUI campaigner following the death of his son. We talk about the social complications of drinking and driving, how DUIs are up dramatically during Covid and he tells the heartbreaking story of the untimely death of his son Noah. We use handheld breathalyzers to show what a whisky can do to you, talk about the legislative flaws around DUI and how Marc has turned tragedy into activism. This episode is brought to you in partnership with BACtrack, Makers Mark and the Noah Benardout Foundation.