Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/873281

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Page 50 of 107

12 under 35 Laura Johnson, founder, You & Yours Distillery Age: 25 A n early curiosity for distilling and a natural talent for building and highlight- ing ingredient f lavors are what skyrocketed Laura Johnson to the top of a male-dominated spirits industry. As the founder of San Diego-based You & Yours Distillery, Johnson's mission is to provide to enthusiasts high-quality, trustworthy spirits with sustainable practices and top-notch raw ingredients. A Texas native, Johnson studied economics and international business at the University of San Diego in 2010, but a road trip a year later, which included a stop at a distillery on a whim, paved her career path. She later completed the Wine & Spirit Education Trust sommelier program, and began to educate herself in the hospitality and spirits industry. After graduating in 2014 and devising a business plan for what would eventually become You & Yours, Johnson didn't let the lack of employment opportunities in craft distilling sway her from her passion. Currently, Johnson is starting to work on a line of Italian-style spirits— Aperitivo, Amari, and vermouth-style liqueurs. "A huge part of what we do is cocktail culture-driven, so making these spirits has always been a dream of mine," says Johnson. "There also aren't many distillers in the U.S. making these types of products, so it's fun to be a pioneer of sorts in these categories." In the short term, Johnson is working on these spirits, as well as addi- tional styles of gin, a kitchen on-site to be able to serve food alongside spirits and cocktails, and expanding the distillery's tasting room to feature outdoor patio space.—S.K. 48 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com Nick Green, co-founder and CEO, Thrive Market Age: 32 S ome have called Culver City, Calif.-based Thrive Market—a membership club that sells organic food at wholesale prices—Whole Foods meets Costco online. "Our mission is to make healthy living accessible to every American family. It's still the first out of the first inning," says 32-year-old Nick Green, but things are going well. "We launched in 2014 and we've experienced spectacular growth. We have hundreds of thousands of members. We've shipped tens of millions of organic products, we're working with the top brands, and we've given away hundreds of thousands of free memberships to low-income families. And, we are reaching a new consumer in the natural and organic movement." Before it launched, there was a lot of skepticism about the demand for these prod- ucts outside of Los Angeles and New York. "There are huge swaths of the country where people wanted to have access to this lifestyle and didn't have the financial means or geo- graphically didn't have a health food store in their area. Not only do we have more than 400,000 members, almost half of them are from the Midwest and Southeast." Significantly, his four-month-old child has given him a perspective into its mem- bers' approach to health that he didn't have before. "For me," explains Green, "health had always been a personal thing but I connect to it differently now having a daughter. Thinking about my health is important for my future with her. And I'm more consumed about her health than my own. Our mission is not just to make people healthier but to make families healthier. I think more parents want to have access to these products and this lifestyle, and our job is to empower that."—S.S.

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