I find myself living in Kentucky, where I moved in December 2021, because, as I’ve become fond of telling people, it “brings me closer to Bourbon.” True enough. But frankly, it also brought me closer to jobs in the Bourbon business, which I’d been trying to find for a while. These were few and far between back in San Francisco, where, until April 2020 I’d been happily managing my beloved American whiskey bar, Hard Water [1]. That’s when it got shutdown, along with everything else because of COVID. And sadly, it still hadn’t reopened by spring of 2021. At that point, I put pretty much everything I owned into storage and headed out to Kentucky to homestead for a bit.

My current job is to lead Bourbon tastings and tours for visitors to Four Roses’ warehouse & bottling facility at Cox’s Creek, a few miles east of Bardstown. The job, like many others in this business, has its ups and downs, but it’s hard to ever be too mad at it. After all, one of my ‘responsibilities’ is to open and close the warehouse where we escort guests every day, a task which involves strolling through dozens of ricks by myself, holding some 22,000 barrels of maturing Bourbon. Definitely puts perspective on things.

I’ve also continued to keep up my own education regarding history and production of American whiskey. That’s meant continuing to reading books (I had a backlog of these to go through), articles, reviews, and just plain talking up ‘the locals’ [2] and scribbling down all sorts of notes and musings. Which is how I wound up starting the blog you’re reading now. I had to do something with all the things I’ve been learning.


Aside from working in the beverage alcohol business for the past 15 years (gulp!) I’ve had a few other careers. Here’s a list:

  • DVD Designer/Author/Publisher
  • Product Management
  • Web Design/Programming
  • Software Engineer/UNIX System Internals
  • Underwater Video Cameraman/Stock Licensing
  • Technical Writer
  • Poet/Vagabond

Oh, and squished in-between all of this, a fair amount of globetrotting.

Michael, among the barrels
Michael, among the barrels…


1- OK, not like ‘MY bar which I owned’ but more like ‘an amazing bar which I was fortunate enough to have been asked to help run and which the people who did own it let me more or less shape the program as I saw fit.’

2- Locals. Hmm, I suppose I really should refer to them as ‘the experts I get to rub elbows with now that I live in Kentucky.’ I’m talking about folks like David Jennings (@rarebird101, rarebird101 who’s written a pretty definitive book about Wild Turkey and Bernie Lubbers (@bernielubbers, thewhiskeyprof) head evangelist/ambassador for Heaven Hill Brands. So, you know…locals.