Episode #123: Cutwater Spirits


San Diego SpiritsTalk Radio is back for another show.  Well, okay, not really, but San Diego BeerTalk is at Cutwater Spirits this week for a look back in time with someone who has been around the industry since the 90s.  We are with Yuseff Cherney from Cutwater Spirits, he was formally the COO of Ballast Point and was the first employee of Home Brew Mart.  In addition to Yuseff, we are joined by Jenny Mann, the San Diego sales rep and overall awesome person, and Nicole (Ganz) Wood, the marketing mastermind of Cutwater.


Since Yuseff has a ton of history in the industry, we start off “A long time ago in a city so, so close to here…” and talk about how he got into the industry with Home Brew Mart.  From there it was a natural transition to continue to work with Jack White when Jack started Ballast Point.  After a quick look into his Ballast Point life, the conversation turns into the move to Cutwater.  Yuseff talks about how it was internally when the sale of Ballast Point happened.  Some of the emotional struggles all employees had at BP when their hardcore fans turned their back on them.  Luckily, the conversation turns back to being positive.  Yuseff goes into some of his stories where he’s met some of the great craft beer pioneers and was more “craft beer fan” and less “craft brewery worker.”  Right before we take a break, you’ll hear why Ken Grossman is “God.”

After a break, we get more into Cutwater and what their ethos is.  You might have heard some cans opening up during the show, we take a small side conversation about their RTE (Ready To Enjoy) cans and where it can be hard to get people to get into them…until they try them.  I wonder if their business plan has changed since the sale.  That leads into talking about how some distilleries choose to buy their base spirits and add their own flavors after the fact.  We then get into some of the specifics of distilling.  Brian wonders what Cutwater has that people can get right away at the distillery and things that might be more special release.

In the News!

  • Karl Strauss is distributing beer starting with Benchmark and Black Plague.
  • Sapporo buys Anchor Steam for $85M – Sold to Griffin Group in 2010.  Griffin Group was two former execs of Skyy Vodka but as if many private equity firms, it seems they wanted to get rid of Anchor after seven years of ownership.
  • Sore Eye Cup winner is Oatmeal Stout from Benchmark Brewing!  Congratulations to Rachael and Matt Akin!  Listen to our interview with them on Episode 121.


Joel from Beer with Pleasant Strangers

More Photos

I Do Declare!

Thank you, The Perfect Pour, Colin Salmon, Tait Campbell, Ken Lierman, Chris Bush, Mitch Tastrom, Tony Bagz, Aaron Graham, Tom Keliinoi, Nick Shields, Ryan DeBusk, West Coaster, Dave V, Roger Smith, Captain Eli, Craftbeeray, Vance Arthurs, Bill Benzel, Alana Gomez, Patrick Zacharias, Ryan Fowler, Greg Nagel, Neil Halpin, John Allegretti, Scott Schmalbach, and (NEW!) Brian Goold and Matt Landes!

Where to find our guests:

Cutwater Spirits:
Twitter: @CutwaterSpirits
Instagram: @cutwaterspirits
FaceBook: facebook.com/CutwaterSpirits/
Website: www.cutwaterspirits.com

This episode was recorded live at Cutwater Spirits.

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