Western Regional Manager
1) Bucket List items for this year.
- Spending as much time as possible with my wife, Melinda and our 4 kids. I am already over 90,000 miles and 80 nights in a hotel sinceJanuary 1. So I cherish every moment at home.
- Putting a Don Q marque into a big national On Premise and Off Premise account. I accomplished both already. Don Q Cristal is the base spirit for the 5 mojito’s on the menu at The Cheesecake Factory. And just recently, Costco brought in Don Q Gran Anejo.
- To increase sales by double digits with every item in our portfolio for all of my 14 states.
- Getting in a round or two of golf this year as it did not happen last year. And I’m fortunate this year as I had two distributor tournaments this summer. In a week, I will be playing Whistling Straits & Blackwolf Run at the American Club in Wisconsin. We also have Death’s Door Spirits in our portfolio and they have the best trips. When I return, I have the LA Costco tournament at one of my favorite courses, Coto De Caza. So I will get in 5!
- A long winter’s nap
2) What is the biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry
Educating our distribution and the consumer on the art of making exceptional rum.
Everything we make is aged in barrels (American Oak & Sherry Casks) including the flavors (1 ½ years) Our flavors are real flavors (Coco, Pasion, Limon & Mojito) from the island of Puerto Rico. Hell, our Don Q 151 is aged 3 years in American Oak. And when you start talking about Anejo, Caliche and Gran Anejo, the years of aging along with the blending is truly art. We add no residual sugar, we let the barrels do the talking.
Roberto Serralles is a 6th generation rum maker and Silvia Santiago has been blending the Don Q magic for 40 years. We get it right. It’s my job to educate as many people as I can.
3) Favorite Drink + Recipe
I have two.
- Don Q Gran Anejo Old Fashioned by the crew at Herbs & Rye in Las Vegas.
- And the Don Q Anejo Old Fashioned from the staff at the Penthouse in the Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica.
They are both the classic cocktail made extremely well.
4) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?
Rum is still categorized as the party spirit with advertisements of Pool Parties, Captains & Sea Monsters. The consumer still expects it to be cheap. It’s slowly changing with education and the thirst for knowledge by the consumer. Rum will be where bourbon is now in 5 years. There will be an understanding of the aging & art it takes to make really exceptional rum. I know that at Serralles USA we will be doing our best to get it there in less than 5 years.
5) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you.
- The first wasn’t a mentor but something that was said to me. My first foray into being a supplier, was that I started my own company and I imported real Australian beer. My biggest account was Outback Steakhouse and I got a call from one of the executive team. He said “we really like you, everyone answers the phone when everything is good. You answer the phone when things are not good and you make them right.” I’ve lived by that to this day.
- My boss at Serralles USA, John Eason. I met him 4 years ago at Tales of the Cocktail and have wanted to work for him ever since. He finally called 18 months ago. We have completely opposite management styles, but I learn constantly from him. Whether it’s one on one, a conference room or an auditorium, I watch, listen, learn and incorporate it into my own style.
6) Any last words?
Gran Anejo, Snifter and a Glace Ice Sphere
7) About David Duran
Born & Raised in Las Vegas, NV. Played Football at UNLV (in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame), Had a 10 year career as an actor, owned a bar, beat cancer (knock on wood, 4 years and counting) and now sell the most exceptional spirits in all the land. I’ve lived 5 lifetimes.