We had the good fortune of connecting with Matt Landes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matt, how do you think about risk?
Before the pandemic started we were an events and strategy-driven company. When live events went away we had to rethink our business model, and fast! We have a great team around us and we knew we had to figure this new world out. We risked it all and moved our business into building bar experiences in a box and delivered direct to door. It paid off! Our team has grown, our clients new and old alike are treated to creative and imaginative cocktail solutions and now we have even more to show for our passion of the cocktail industry.
What should our readers know about your business?
In 2014, I launched my first venture called “Apartment A,” which was ultimately this “secret garden” speakeasy in the heart of DTLA inspired by LA’s diversity, art, culture, and imaginative spirit. I created this space to be an oasis for curated events told through cocktails. And wow, did spirits came alive here! Through very thoughtful cocktail curation and event activation, people noticed. Not only were smaller private events held at Apartment A, but bigger brands used us to tell their story through cocktails and create unique experiences for their customers. That’s when I realized that this concept, where educating consumers and imagining exceedingly personalized cocktail experiences for brands and high-end clients, was a blueprint for our success. Cocktail Academy was born then and there! Since then, we have grown from a team of two to having teams in LA, NYC and MIA; we have become industry leaders and have created a first-of-its-kind full-service beverage creative and activation agency. We leverage extensive backgrounds in every sector of the beverage service industry to facilitate premier guest experiences – whether in-person, via customized box, or digitally – offering valuable insight into modern-day consumer behaviors. Immersed in cocktail culture, Cocktail Academy has become the go-to agency and trusted ambassador for both emerging and global brands, fostering authentic engagement through education, brand strategy, content creation, fabrication and creative activation. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy- it has taken a lot of hard-work, self-reflection and constant research & development to create these beautiful and all-encompassing events and moments. One thing I have learned through this whole process, is the power of collaboration. I have great instincts and taste when it comes to making really intricate and unique cocktails but listening to my team members and experts in corresponding fields has allowed me to grow an idea into reality.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A few favorite places would include (if the world was operating normally, mind you): – Canter’s for late night bites. I love the Tuna Melt on Egg Bread with Avocado – Redbird or Mirame for super crafty cocktails – Craig’s for a raucous good time with friends followed by a night cap at Olivetta – The Mexican Village Restaurant on Beverly for a classic dive bar night – South Beverly Grill for a perfect martini
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Since its inception in 2014, Cocktail Academy has grown into a premier and first-of-its-kind full-service beverage, creative and activation agency and I want to give a shout out to every member on my team for helping me get to where we are today. Without their support, professionalism and most importantly, creativity we would not be working with clients such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Nike, etc. It has meant the world to me to be able to share these successes with them. An analogy I love to use to describe our company is that we are a Spicy Margarita- we are fun, strong, flavorful and creative; and every individual on our team brings some flavor profile or ingredient to get that perfectly-balanced sip, Cheers Cocktail Academy, this one is for you!