As a native New Yorker with Southern roots, Ariel Arce is a natural fit to the CITY GRIT Hospitality Group Management Team. Raised in a family of chefs, food and wine is in her blood and she has immersed herself in the industry for the past ten years. In 2009, she decided to specialize in niche beverage markets learning from mixologists Benjamin Schiller (Boka Group), Kris Von Dopek (now Hendricks Ambassador) and Jason Cevellos (The Office). Since then, she has worked at The Aviary/The Office, where one of a kind spirits reign and are combined with the personalized fine dining service mentality and the nation’s most acclaimed champagne bar, Pops in Chicago. As Service Director for Birds & Bubbles, she leads the service team to “soft educate” the guests on the virtues of Champagne and enhance the guest experience.
Jay's roots in brewing seed from summers working at Offshore Ale Co. From busser to server to bartender to brewer, he worked his way up the hoppy ladder to become head brewer for Bad Martha in 2013. His goal is to make great beer that people enjoy, while growing and learning as much as he can in the process.
Location: The Vineyard
Dan is a lover of all things Port and a recognized expert within the industry. He has been featured on the blog fortheloveofport and lives on the Vineyard year round.
The New York Times called Joseph Carr “A producer to watch.” He began his career as a sommelier in NY and passed the initial Master Sommelier exams before he was 25. He later went on to work for wineries in France, Italy, Spain, Australia and Napa Valley. In 2009 at age 39, Joseph was named President of Mildara Blass USA, the international wine division of the Foster’s Brewing Groug, and in 2005along with his wife and daughter began an eponymously named Napa Valley négociant firm producing Napa Valley Cabernet, Merlot and Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. In 2009 he worked with grower/winemaker Tom Larson to produce a Sonoma California brand dedicated to his father. Wine Writer Ken Hoggins call’s Dylan’s Ghost Hell Hollow, “simply amazing; 92 points” and Wine Blogger Joe Roberts professes that Dylan’s Ghost SLR Vineyard as “Dylan is alive and well in the inky depths of this silky, rich red”. With less than 800 cases produced, the Dylan’s Ghost portfolio is only available on line and at a few select luxury retailers and restaurants. Joseph divides his time between Napa Valley and Cape Cod.
Nancy Cushman’s passion for sake was sparked over a decade ago in her hometown of Chicago. After her first sake experience, she became fascinated with it and made studying the beverage her mission. She left her career as an advertising executive and in 2006, she completed the Sake Professional Course in Japan with John Gauntner, who is recognized as the world’s foremost sake expert. In Boston in March 2007, she opened o ya, a contemporary Japanese restaurant, with her husband Tim Cushman. As o ya’s Sake Sommelier, Nancy enjoys serving and pairing an extensive selection of premium sakes with the cuisine. She also regularly teaches sake courses at o ya and for private organizations and in 2012, traveled to Japan to complete the Advanced Sake Professional Course and is now one of less than 100 people in the world to have this certification.
A West Tisbury native, Sam Decker is the Sommelier and Beverage Director at Atria in Edgartown. He and his wife divide their time between the Vineyard and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, where they own Oko, a restaurant that features Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. His involvement in the burgeoning winemaking scene in the central Mexican highlands over the past several years, mainly at Cuna de Tierra, has lead him to pursue a degree in enology from UC Davis. When he's not focusing on wine, he writes: he is currently seeking publication for his first novel.
Alyssa fell in love with Japanese beverage culture with her first sip of sake. Nancy Cushman, co-owner and sake sommelier of o ya in Boston MA, offered her a taste of Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo from Akita while Alyssa was a hostess at the restaurant. That moment began her studies of Japanese sake. Over five years later, she manages the restaurant and its beverage program. She loves being on the floor every night, telling the stories of the brewers and distillers who have been practicing their craft for hundreds of years. She sees herself as a storyteller, educating each guest on the history of the bottle and how it pairs with the exceptional food from James Beard Award Winning Chef Tim Cushman. In 2011 she passed her Certified Sake Professional Course in New York City and in 2013 passed her Advanced Sake Professional Course in Tokyo. Alyssa’s passion for sake and Japanese beverage culture was recognized by Eater National in June of 2013 when they presented her with an “Eater Young Gun” award. In February 2014, she led a sake tasting at Harvard’s Microbial Sciences Initiative.
Photo credit: Hojoko
Pirate Dog Brand LLC - Rumson's Rum Location: Salem. MA Website: www.rumsons.com
Inspired by Glass’s dogs, the Caribbean, and the romanticized version of Pirates, Rumson’s Rum launched December 5th, 2014.
Glass’s passion for rum runs deep and wide. Having tried well over 250 different premium rums and creating a collection of rum in excess of 150 bottles, Glass left Corporate America in 2012 to try his hand in distilling his favorite spirit. After attending distilling “school” and talking with manufacturers of distilling equipment, Glass felt it would be difficult to improve on 200+ year old “recipes” and decided instead to source and blend aged rums. This process allows him to pick and choose “barrels” to create truly unique and exceptional products without being confined by what he could distill in his Salem, MA “Rum House”. It appears his process is working: Rumson’s recently won “The Fifty Best Double Gold Medal in aged rums” for Rumson’s Grand Reserve Rum and “The Fifty Best Gold Medal in aged rums” for Rumson’s Rum. The full line has been lauded by Rick the Rum Runner, Common Man Cocktails, and Ryan Maloney of it’s the Liquor Talking, as well as by fans far and wide. Photo by Ken Yuszkus.
As Director of Sales Operations for Vine Connections, Mark Fine is responsible for marketing, promotion, education, and sales within their portfolio of wines from Argentina and Chile along with Japanese Sake.
With more than 20 years experience, Mark holds his Advanced Sommelier Certificate as well as the Diploma of Wine. Mark is currently writing a book on wine for both novices and experts.
Brewed on the Vineyard, Offshore Ale Company is a brewery and restaurant, serving the Island 7 days a week, year-round since 1997. Small batch craft beers & pub fare in a casual boathouse style at 30 Kennebec Ave., Oak Bluffs.
Pirate Dog Brand LLC - Rumson's Rum Location:Salem. MA Website: www.rumsons.com
Steve is a new entrant to the world of spirits. A serial entrepreneur, an adventurer, and a rum lover, Orne was ready for a new adventure and teamed with childhood friend and cousin, Eric Glass, to launch and develop Rumson’s Rum.
Orne admits to a long and diverse relationship with rum as his family were among the first settlers of Salem and Marblehead, MA and held one of the Commonwealth’s first licenses to “sell strong waters”. Prior to the revolutionary war, Orne’s family numbered among the merchant seamen, ship owners and privateers heavily engaged in the transportation of molasses and rum.
Steve’s personal rum enthusiasm began years ago in the Bahamas where he gained an early appreciation for quality rum mixed with fresh squeezed sour orange juice. Classic daiquiris and simple rum cocktails continue to be his preference.
When not talking about rum, Steve can be found surfing, skiing or visiting his daughters at school. If you find yourself sipping rum with Steve, ask him about his real “Pirate” encounter. Photo by Glenlivermore photography.
Page Wine Cellars Location: Napa California Website: www.pagewinecellars.com
The idea of creating Page Wine Cellarshappened in the summer of 1996. The opportunity opened up for Bryan Page to tour many Chateaus throughout the Bordeaux region, falling in love with their incredible wines. After his culinary tour in Europe ended, he returned home to California. He simultaneously worked at several restaurants ‘saving every penny’, while apprenticing at a few Napa Valley wineries, with the goal and desire of making his own wines, under his own label.
In 1997 Page Wine Cellarsofficially began. The first vintage of Proprietary Red produced only 36 cases. His journey from culinary school student and server, to chef and sommelier then onto winemaker had begun.
This is not just a winery where a “consultant” winemaker produces the wines then the family name is labeled on the bottle. Page Wine Cellars is about brothers Bryan and Chris Page, hands on crafting unique and remarkable wines.
Dan moved to Mass in 1986 after a number of years working in the restaurant business and traveling extensively. He has been with Ruby Wines Inc., a family operated wine distributor and importer, since then as Director of Special Events and Fine Wine Specialist. Outside of work, he currently chairs the Boston University Wine School Founding Advisory Board and still travels to wine country around the world.
Mary Stout has been a part of the food and beverage industry for over fifteen years. She began her career slinging beers in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio and eventually migrated east to Boston where she landed behind the bar of Rialto and then Clio, where she helped develop their groundbreaking cocktail programs. It was during that time that Mary also took the reins as Wine Director for Clio and Uni. Mary then moved over to helm Ken Oringer & Jamie Bissonnette’s critically acclaimed Coppa as General Manager before being moved up to Beverage Director of Coppa and sister Spanish restaurant Toro. Mary has also done stints behind the bar at some notable bars in the Boston area such as Brick & Mortar, one of Esquire’s Best Bars in America 2014, and the celebrated whiskey bar Citizen Public House. Mary holds a degree in Business Management from University of Massachusetts Lowell. She currently holds the position of Spirits Specialist for Ruby Wines where she applies her cocktail knowledge to working with the growing craft spirits portfolio.