In this episode, GuildSomm Interim Executive Director Christopher Tanghe interviews two entrepreneurs who specialize in east Asian beverages. Master Sommelier Kyungmoon Kim discusses how his company, KMS Imports, is creating a market for Korean soju and other artisanal beverages in the US. Later, Todd Bellomy describes the production process and styles of sake and the vision behind Farthest Star Sake, his forthcoming sake brewery in the Boston area.
Emily Nixon continues the blind tasting series with Master of Wine candidate and trade liaison for Hispanics in Wine, Ivonne Nill. Can you guess what they're drinking based on the description alone?
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After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Kyungmoon Kim immersed himself in the world of wine. In Seoul, Kyungmoon joined the opening team of JUNGSIK, where he spearheaded a much-lauded wine and beverage department. He later returned to New York to open a second JUNGSIK restaurant, managing operations and a beverage program that would earn two Michelin stars. In 2016, he achieved the Master Sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers. After many years in the beverage industry, Kyungmoon founded KMS (Korean Modern Spirits) Imports to introduce the US market to the highest-quality soju and other Korean alcoholic beverages for the first time. Browse the portfolio here.
Sake brewer Todd Bellomy works as a sake and beer industry consultant while his new brewery, Farthest Star Sake, is under construction. He has many years of alcohol and restaurant industry experience, including eight years at the Boston Beer Company and certifications as a Cicerone and Sake Advisor. Todd previously lived in Japan, where he visited izakaya and worked as a sword maker's apprentice and English teacher.
Ivonne Nill, a native of Paraguay, is a public relations consultant and the trade liaison for Hispanics in Wine. She has worked in roles throughout the wine industry, including in retail, wholesale, production, and education. She holds the DipWSET and the CSW from the Society of Wine Educators, and she was awarded the 2021 SommFoundation Master of Wine Scholarship. She plans to sit the Master of Wine examination in 2022.
Hispanics in Wine is a social organization that aims to amplify and empower Hispanic and Latinx professionals in the wine and hospitality industries. Founded in September 2020 by Lydia Richards and Maria Calvert, it consists of a social media platform and website in English and Spanish designed to serve the Hispanic and Latinx communities. Learn more about Hispanics in Wine's scholarship and job resources and find them on Instagram at @hispanicsinwine.
Early in the episode, Hai Tran returns to reveal the wine he tasted with Emily in the Unexpected Booze episode in April. If you haven't heard Hai's tasting description yet, avoid the spoiler and listen to the last 14 minutes of that episode. You can find the wine here.
A first generation Vietnamese-American, Hai Tran had virtually no exposure to wine in his early life, but a stint in the restaurant industry while pursuing a career in biotechnology proved transformative. Hai has led wine programs at restaurants and resorts such as ăn and The Umstead Hotel & Spa in North Carolina and The Rittenhouse and Barclay Prime in Philadelphia. Hai is an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of the Top 40 under 40 Taste Makers of 2016.
In response to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hai joined Sommation Live, a collective of nine sommeliers working to promote the beverage industry and foster conversations around mental and physical wellness.