We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Nevenglosky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The process was a combination of passion and opportunity. From a passion perspective, I was always interested in tangible products and especially in spirits – who have such unique identities driven by cultural traditions and a sense of place. This combined with the craft spirits and the modern cocktail movement highlighting a number of opportunities to build new categories in the United States. Combining these two elements I started exploring spirits. categories with my business partner Nate Whitehouse. We discovered cachaça for the first time at a small boteco in Williamsburg, Brooklyn about 10 years ago and never looked back. The category was rich with 500 years of history, over 4,000 producers, and an amazing tradition of wood aging but was under-developed in the US market. We saw an opportunity and started the process of finding a great distilling partner and building a unique brand in the marketplace from there.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Our business, Drifter Spirits, is an accelerator for amazing craft spirits – whether we build the brands ourselves or find amazing founders and products out there and work to grow them. It is the result of years of experience in marketing and innovation combined with pounding the pavement on the road selling for 75% of the year for myself and my partner. It was certainly not easy to navigate a very complex and old guard industry. We credit our evolution with knowing what we do not know along the way, surrounding ourselves with smarter people who do, and constantly reviewing where we stand and where we need to go on a regular basis. Having an amazing product is not enough in a world filled with them – we realized we needed to create efficiency, build an empowered team and be open to major adjustments in the business model to succeed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Wow that is a tough one! As a NYC transplant to Vegas I would say there is much more to see and learn beyond the strip. Let’s try to build something here: Day 1: Visit Park MGM – dinner at the Nomad, drinks at Eataly and Juniper Day 2: Head out to Red Rock National Park – get a hike in and see some amazing splendor. Grab a bite at Osteria Fiorella at Red Rock Casino Day 3: Spend the day at one of the pools – Cosmopolitan is great! Then head to Chinatown for dinner at Sparrow & Wolf then drinks at Golden Tiki and Sand Dollar Day 4: Try to catch a show or game on the strip (if we get back to those things) and grab dinner at Elio in the Wynn and do a bar crawl on the strip at Vesper Bar, Chandelier, Petrossian, and others. Day 5: Head out to the Pioneer Saloon for a taste of the old west! Day 6: Drive out to the Valley of Fire for some more amazing rock formations. Dinner at Lotus of Siam – the best thai I have ever had. Day 7: Recovery at the pool!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this Shoutout to Sasha Petraske – the man who created Milk& Honey amongst a number of amazing and forward thinking cocktail bars and a great influence to our on our journey in the spirits industry. With a chance meeting at a coffee shop in the West Village in NYC we ended up launching our brand at the construction space of his new Milk & Honey and getting introduced to some of the best and brightest in our industry. A mentor who asked nothing in return, I hope to one day provide this to someone else out there.