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Scott Rosenbaum, Spirits Strategist at T. Edward Wines

T. Edward Wines, Scott Rosenbaum, Spirits Strategist, Karen Ulrich for T. Edward Wines

Scott Rosenbaum, Spirits Strategist at TEW

Ten years ago, Scott Rosenbaum enrolled in Beverage 101, with Linda Lawry, DWS at New York University, a class that inspired and set the course for his life’s career path.  Eight years later, he appeared as a guest lecturer in Lawry’s same class, after completing his MA in Food Studies at NYU, while simultaneously earning his Diploma from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Diploma Program, in 2009.  As the Director of Operations at the International Wine Center from 2005 to 2010, Scott then began teaching Diploma Program classes on wine with a speciality in spirits, and so, if you happen to have a Spirits Program on hand, chances are, Scott has had a role in shaping the education of its Director.

As a consultant at for six years, and at Madam Claude Wine in Jersey City, and as an Adjunct Instructor in the Hospitality Program at New York Institute of Technology, Scott comes to us with an incredible amount of passion, knowledge and exposure.  “There’s a creative aspect to working with spirits that appeals to me,” said Scott.  “It’s a field with a lot of gaps in knowledge and I’m a curious person.”

Having visited over a dozen distilleries while vacationing and at home, including every distillery in Barbados and a number in Ireland and Brooklyn, Scott is well versed in the needs and growth of the domestic market.  “The trajectory of crafts spirits has followed that of craft beers,” he said, “Anchor Steam now has the Anchor Distilling Company.  There’s great crossover, working with grains and fermentation science.”

Across the board, he added, people are trading up; consumers are driven by education and conspicuous consumption.  “Craft is not about branding, it’s the story.”  And in the age of DIY inventiveness, coinciding with the historically curious (see the likes of Imbibe!, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, and Bitters: A Spirited History),  “There are so many ways for someone to invoke their passions for the world of spirits.”

T. Edward Wines, Scott Rosenbaum, Spirits Program at T. Edward Wines

Scott at Four Square Distillery in Barbados

Over the past few years, we’ve been at the center of an ecological and social evolution with farmers and fermenters, with buyers and consumers seeking transparency in what they drink. Long ago, we planted the seeds of this change with producers like Robert Sinskey and ZD Wines–organic producers who were then ahead of their times. As we seek to lay the foundation of our Spirits Program, there will be no inclusion of spirits produced as an afterthought to supplement one’s main passion.  “There’s a class of MBA spirits that are made by folks who focus on placement and packaging,” said Scott.  “I want to sell fine sourced, honest distillers.”

“We source and represent wines from responsible farmers who produce top quality wines with a sense of purity and place–wineries who have a story to tell,” says Peter Cassell, our Director of Operations.  “In our soon-to launch Spirits Program, we have the same philosophy.  We want purity, complexity and a sense of place, and what we are finding in many cases is that these distillers have a family history in distilling that goes back over many generations.  They spare no effort in their quest for purity and complexity in their distilled products.”

And while we recognize that spirits cannot and should not be acquired and marketed like wine, we will not accept, says Scott, “the tired dogma that simply because something is small or artisan, it is good.”  Using as guidelines, integrity, transparency, innovativeness and taste, we will assess–as we do with wine– both production and product. “We certainly won’t be the biggest,” said Scott, “but we do aim to the boldest and best.”

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