Some people are immediately drawn to the industry; Josh had a long and interesting road before finding himself behind a bar. “I’m a native New Yorker. I went to an arts based high school to study music and was lucky enough to join a band with a record deal right out of school. I spent a few years on and off tour, both nationally and internationally, and recording. It was an amazing time. I still get to travel and play music a few times a year, and I’m very thankful for that. I came off of the road and went into real estate in Brooklyn on the recommendation of a good friend. I was a salesperson for about 7 years with a little start up, right as Williamsburg was really coming into its boom-time. I realized at a certain point that while there were many things about it I enjoyed, I wasn’t feeling inspired or getting a true sense of personal satisfaction. I decided to go back to college, intending to focus on engineering.”
So how did this lead to the spirits industry? “When I went back to school full time, I was looking for a job that would work with my school schedule. At the time I had a roommate who worked at one of the big NYC nightclubs. She told me she knew of a new spot that was looking for a barback, and my honest response was, “Sooo….., what’s a barback?” And so it began. I worked as a barback and attended school for about a year and a half, and then I got the call up to be a bartender. Very early on, I had started to take a deep interest in all the spirits I was standing in front of and serving, as well as the history and world of cocktailing. I home-studied somewhat obsessively, and looked for every opportunity to expand my knowledge. At some point, I realized I had found something that I was very passionate about and found extremely satisfying, almost by accident.”
So what keeps Josh interested in hospitality? “I take a lot of pride in my craft, my venue, my team, and my industry community. I’m a very active member of the USBG-NY, and becoming a part of that a few years ago introduced me to such an amazing network of inspiring, talented peers and like-minded friends. Also, it provided endless opportunities to meet and experience events hosted by so many brands, to try and find a team and a spirit that I wanted to call home. I wouldn’t be here without that organization.”
Working with Angel’s Envy ended up being a perfect fit for all involved. “I was familiar with the spirit of course, and knew it to be an excellent whiskey, but my first real deeper experience was at an Angel’s Envy event in Brooklyn featuring a talk that intertwined the history of whiskey and horse racing. It was there that I really learned the story of the brand, the family legacy, and the extreme care that goes into the craft of the spirit, which was so easy to taste. I met some of the Angel’s Envy team there, and in speaking to them, I got such an honest sense of enthusiasm and pride for Angel’s Envy, both in the spirit and tradition, and in their part of it. I knew right there I wanted to be a part of that team, and I let them know that day. It took a little while for a space to become open on the team. I waited patiently. Now I’m here, and I couldn’t be happier about it.”
Outside of work, he still pursues his first passion. “I’m still a very part time professional musician. I play guitar quite a bit and maintain an endorsement with a California based guitar company. I enjoy museums of all kinds, cycling around the city, and gardening in my yard where I throw down some mean barbecues in the summer. All the Angel’s Envy team are officially invited!” Look for Josh at Angel’s Envy events around NYC, and if you get a chance, be sure to see him play.