Jordan Kivelstadt, Founder & CEO- Free Flow Wines & Kivelstadt Cellars – Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member
Jordan Kivelstadt is reinventing the way Americans drink wine. As the Founder and CEO of Free Flow Wines, he has changed the was many restaurants and wineries serve wine by the glass through wine on tap, eliminating waste and easing the environmental burden of wines served by the glass. It is because of his entrepreneurial spirit and experience in the wine industry that we are proud to have Jordan as member of the Drink Careers 101 Advisory Board.
What was your path into the wine industry?
I was in management consulting for a couple of years, before realizing that a cubicle and tie was not my calling. I moved back to California from Boston, and had lunch with a friend in the wine business, two bottles and two hours later, and I had my first internship at Copain. From there, I made wines in Australia, Chile and Argentina, before starting my own brand. Now, 9 years later, I am involved in many facets of the industry, and having a blast.
What were the steps you took to prepare yourself for your career?
None, but it did help to have a chemistry and engineering background when I was in the winemaking side. To be honest, wine is a business like any other (just tastes better), and so the same business principles apply. I will tell you that nothing prepares you for being in an industry that at the end of the day, Mother Nature controls.
When did you take your first full-time job in the wine industry?
I started in 2004 (yikes!), with Copain Custom Crush.
What is Free Flow Wines and what are your goals with the ‘Wine on Tap’ segment of the wine industry?
Free Flow Wines is leading the growth of premium wine on tap in the US. In 2009, we realized that there was a better way to serve wine by the glass than bottles. Now wine on tap is in 36 states, and 2 countries, and last year we took more than 500K bottles out of circulation. My goal is to fundamentally change, the way people drink a glass of wine for the better!
How does Wine on Tap effect the new generation of wine consumers?
Wine on Tap effects choice, freshness, and environmental impact. Wine on tap allows restaurants to offer more, and better, wine choices, thanks to the fact there is zero spoilage and zero waste. Our generation loves options, combine that with a fresh taste, and that every keg we put in service is like taking a car off the road for two and a half years. That means that today, our fleet is like taking all the cars crossing the Golden Gate Bridge every day, and making them disappear!
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Setting it all up. We have to work with wineries, distributors, restaurants, and installers, just to start. Getting everyone to come together, work well together, and in a timely manner, is a real challenge. We have great partners at all levels, but it is a lot of work to make this whole thing come to fruition.
What is your favorite aspect of what you do?
Knowing that I am improving what people experience with wine every day. Wine on tap makes wine fun, engaging, and removes the snobbishness. I love wine, and I want everyone else to.
What advice would you give college students considering a career in the wine industry?
This is, at the end of the day, and industry of passion. If you want to make a ton of money, go to Wall Street or become a Lawyer. But if you want to have a great lifestyle, make a good living, and if your heart is in it, then take the plunge. Follow your passions and great things will come!
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