Jason got his first bartending job when he turned 21 during college. He worked at a historic hotel bar, with an older and very eclectic clientele. Luckily, it was an excellent fit for an industry that was about to see a craft cocktail revival. Jason said, “I started the right way by making mostly classics taught to me by story-telling old-timers. I have tended bar in some form ever since (it’s been a while now). I went to college for Architecture, ended with Telecommunications and now have found my calling through spirits!” He currently serves as the United States Bartender Guild Regional Vice President for the 18 markets in the Midwest Region and oversees beverage programs for whiskey and barbecue, Mexican and farm-to-table concepts throughout Indianapolis.
When asked how he became serious about bartending, Jason answers, “If I had to pick a breakthrough moment, it would have to be the Bombay Sapphire Most Inspired Bartender competition. I was running a neighborhood bar/restaurant in a suburb of Indianapolis, where creativity came in the form of bombs and shots. I had a rep who recommended the competition to me, so I entered, competed and won for Indiana. I was featured in GQ magazine and competed in Las Vegas at the National Finals. I was totally unprepared, but it was a glimpse into the craft side of the industry, and I wanted to be a part of it. I left there motivated and jumped right into books and buying weird spirits.”
“Today, it’s the interaction with people on a daily basis that keeps me sparked. Our family of regulars, but also the new conversations keep each day interesting. That doesn’t happen in many industries. The seemingly unlimited array of spirits keeps me learning and mixing up new things.”
It’s the interaction with people on a daily basis that keeps me sparked. Our family of regulars, but also the new conversations keep each day interesting. That doesn’t happen in many industries.
Jason has a very practical appreciation for Angel’s Envy. “Whiskey has always been a passion of mine, and Angel’s Envy was first introduced to me by a customer. It was interesting because it was a finished bourbon, which led the charge in a market that would be flooded with options. They were the “something different” whiskey that you could easily pitch to someone, on top of the fact it was fantastic juice! It continues to bridge gaps between people looking to try whiskey for the first time or for seasoned drinkers looking for something else.”
When he’s not working, he focuses on his family. “I spend all my free time with my two girls, Averi and Ella. They keep me grounded and focused. Pool time and arts and crafts are always a focus, but if I get a chance, I like to see as many concerts as I can. I travel to most of the spirits/cocktail trade events and like to stay crisp through competitions.” Be sure to attend one of Jason’s events the next time you’re in Indianapolis. He’s been with us for a long time, and he knows what he’s doing.