Derek Brown - president
Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning "Best American Cocktail Bar" Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that's housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of "The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who'll Save Us in 2017." He is also the author of “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World,” which was published by Rizzoli in April 2019.
A native Washingtonian with deep ties to the city — his great-grandfather was once D.C.’s police chief — Derek admits that Washington provides a unique vantage point as the capital city, having mixed drinks for everyone from royalty, ambassadors and senators to fellow Washingtonians, interns and students. He’s concocted cocktails at the White House, clinked glasses with Martha Stewart and was even appointed Chief Spirits Advisor at the National Archives. Derek’s philosophy for crafting memorable drinks goes beyond what’s shaken, stirred and served in a glass. “When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature, I think about how they connect to history,” he explained to Imbibe magazine, which named him 2015’s Bartender of the Year. “I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”
Derek’s passion for spirits has taken him across the globe, where he’s learned about the integral role food and drink play in the culture, customs and values of communities worldwide. He’s also written about drinks and drinking for The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bon Appétit magazine, among other publications.
Derek is a spirits judge at the prestigious San Francisco World's Spirit Competition and works with many charities and organization in a role as advisor, including the DC Public Library Foundation, BevCon Charleston and Share Our Strength.
Angie Fetherston - ceo
Angie Fetherston is the Chief Executive Officer of Drink Company, a Washington, D.C.-based hospitality group she co-founded with spirits and cocktail expert Derek Brown in 2010. Together they own several bars, including Columbia Room, which has received many industry accolades, ranging from James Beard Foundation Award nominations to being named 2017’s “Best American Cocktail Bar” by the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
Angie and Derek are also well-known for their successful string of pop-up bars, including Miracle on 7th Street (in partnership with Cocktail Kingdom), Cherry Blossom PUB, Game of Thrones PUB, and PUB Dread. They are also active in their community, supporting organizations including National Archives Foundation and working closely with the D.C. City Council to proclaim the ‘Rickey’ as the official cocktail of Washington, D.C.
Angie is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, where she was awarded their prestigious 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2016, Angie was inducted into the Tales of the Cocktail Dame Hall of Fame, a group celebrating groundbreaking achievements by women in the global hospitality industry. She was also named in Washingtonian magazine’s 2017 list of "Women to Watch."
Angie lives with her husband, JP Fetherston, and their beloved dog, Teddy Grahams, in Washington, D.C.
JP Fetherston - partner & head of beverage council
JP is the Beverage Director for Drink Company, overseeing all of Drink Company’s menus, spirits, training and educational programs. Perviously, as head bartender of the Columbia Room, he led his team to win "Best American Cocktail Bar" at the 2017 Spirited Awards. He has also been named Food & Wine Magazine's "2016 Best New Mixologists in America" and included in Thrillist’s list of “America’s 21 Greatest Bartenders of 2015.” Previously, he was Bar Manager at the now defunct Southern Efficiency and won numerous accolades for himself and the bar including Eater D.C.'s 2014 "Bartender of the Year," Food & Wine Magazine's 2014 "People's Best Bar in the Northeast" and Bon Appetit Magazine's 2014 "Top 50 Best New Restaurants in America."
JP has master’s degrees in history from both the London School of Economics and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has also cycled throughout Scotland, visiting 27 different distilleries before apprenticing at Bruichladdich under Master Distiller Jim McEwan and his team. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Angie Fetherston.
JOHNNY SPERO - PARTNER & HEAD CHEF
Chef Johnny Spero is owner/operator and head chef of Reverie restaurant and culinary director at the Columbia Room. He began his culinary career at the at of 16 in Baltimore County. For the past 10 years he has been living and working in Washington D.C., most recently during his tenure as executive sous chef at Jose Andres’ Minibar the restaurant earned a perfect four-star review from The Washington Post.
In 2014, Johnny was awarded the prestigious STARCHEFS "D.C. Rising Star", was Eater DC's "Chef of the Year", and was a Rammy Awards finalist for “Rising Culinary Star of the Year.” He recently returned to the area after spending last year staging at Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain. He lives with his wife Alexis, daughter and their dog Nacho.
PAUL TAYLOR - PARTNER & HEAD OF BAR CONCEPTS
Paul Taylor is the Head of Bar Concepts for Drink Company and a driving creative force behind the group’s wildly successful Pop-Up Bar series. He plays a critical role in curating the company’s menus and also oversees the training and educational programs at all Drink Company bar concepts.
Paul has refined his palate for spirits through his experiences working nearly every position in the restaurant and bar industry throughout his ten-year career. Before starting his role as Head of Bar Concepts, Paul was the Bar Manager of Southern Efficiency in Washington, D.C. During his time at Southern Efficiency, Paul was voted Washington, D.C.’s “Best Male Bartender” by One Love Massive. Paul is a 2018 graduate of the Bar 5 Day Program, which is claimed to be “the World’s Most Comprehensive Distilled Spirits & Mixology Program.” He is also a 2018 graduate of the Gonzalez Byass Sherry Master Program, an intensive program in where he was able to spend 2 days with winemaker and Master blender Antonio Flores, getting in-depth knowledge of the region and wines.
When he’s not behind the bar, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Kaitlynn, dining out in D.C.’s burgeoning restaurant scene, and trying new recipes at home. He is a big sandwich lover, and would even go so far as to call himself an expert on the subject.