Brian Robinson of The Wormwood Society – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member
It’s no secret the Mutineers love absinthe. Whether at the Wine Bloggers Conference or the Great American Beer Festival, the Mutineers usually have a stash of absinthe within arms reach that they’re more than happy to share. Clearly, Brian Robinson was a natural fit to be involved with Mutineer. With his help, on behalf of The Wormwood Society–one of the foremost authorities on absinthe–Mutineer was able to put together one of the coolest feature stories on absinthe ever. Brian brings a lot of really cool qualities to the table, and his absinthe knowledge is off the charts, but he also brings an interesting aspect of being a professional financial advisor, which good financial planning plays a paramount role in the decisions we make with education, employment, and more.
How does your work as a professional financial advisor apply to your work in the beverage industry?
I’ve always enjoyed teaching people. As a Financial Advisor, I’ve found a job where I can be in front of people every day, teaching them how to maximize their financial situation, and reach their goals as quickly and efficiently as possible. I’ve parlayed that love of teaching into my position at the Wormwood Society, where I regularly post reviews of new products, and more importantly, help to educate both consumers and industry folks about absinthe. I’ve gone even further in my private life, where I’m constantly holding tasting events and get-togethers, educating friends and clients about other types of spirits and cocktails as well. It’s such a natural progression and extension of my professional self.
What is your favorite aspect about the beverage industry?
You get to meet such an amazing array of individuals from all over the world. And so many of them have such a zest for life. It’s just a great culture to be involved with.
Any financial advice you’d give to students considering a job in the beverage industry, for education or otherwise?
It’s to easy to fall into the trap of spending all of the newfound money that you’re making, whether it’s tips, commission, hourly, or salary. But, it’s imperative that you sock away some of that on a regular basis. Begin by building a good cash reserve that will help you through any potential big-ticket problems, in order to keep you from having to rely upon debt (like credit cards) to get you out of the hole.
Also, invest in yourself. The longer you’re in the beverage industry, you’ll come to realize that the best people in each of their respective categories are always learning and researching new things. Not only will that help to keep the job fresh, but can help you stay at the forefront of relevancy.
What is the Wormwood Society, and what is your role with the organization?
The Wormwood Society is a nonprofit educational and consumer advocacy association focused on providing current, historically and scientifically accurate information about absinthe, helping to reform the laws impacting absinthe in the United States and encouraging the responsible enjoyment of a safe, rewarding and historically interesting beverage. We also provide guidance for spirits industry members who desire to produce and market authentic absinthe in a fair, honest and socially responsible way, including providing historically documented formulas and processes for making absinthe in the true Belle Époque style.
I wear multiple hats within the organization. I’m on the Advisory Board, which shapes the actions and provides content to the site, as well as moderates the forum section, which can get lively at times. I also am the Media Liaison, helping to provide journalists and reporters find accurate information about absinthe. Finally, I’m the Review Editor, where I both add my own reviews of products as well as make sure that other reviewers are using the scoring system properly and keep their reviews clean and meaningful. To date, I’ve reviewed about 150 brands for the site, and have informally reviewed another 150 or so over the past 16 years.
If you could have any job in the beverage industry, what would it be?
I envision myself opening my own gastropub and cocktail lounge after I retire from financial planning. I’ve been dabbling in signature cocktail creations and gourmet cooking for many years, so it would be nice to put it to the test in the world of business. It will be a long way off, as I love my job, but I’ve been keeping notes on ideas, designs, custom cocktails and such for several years now.