Austin’s restaurants are receiving accolades and recognition on a national level, and that’s in small part thanks to their beverage programs accompanying the food — and the people who run them. After all, our meals always go down better with a beverage in hand.
Zagat’s 30 Under 30 list of young Austinites excelling in the city’s thriving service industry is primarily made up of people involved in making or curating the food we eat, but eight of these faces also shake up the cocktails, brew the beer and curate the wine that we love, too. Oh, and they brew our beloved coffee as well. The list includes
- Brett Esler, barman at Whisler’s. He’s won bartending competitions before with his creative flair, but his favorite drink to whip up, according to Zagat, is the Old-Fashioned. Good thing, too: Whisler’s has become known for them and makes a bunch every night.
- Justin Lavenue, co-owner and beverage director at the Roosevelt Room. He and business partner Dennis Gobis have recently opened up an interim bar, the Roosevelt Room, in preparation for their ultimate dream: De Rigueur, a whopping 10,000 sq. ft, three-story bar downtown.
- Oscar Martinez, brewer at Independence Brewing. Although he still plays death metal, the job that pays his bill is not nearly so loud — he’s happy to provide Austinites with all their IPA needs.
- Patrick Pierce, co-founder at Fleet Coffee. He’s about to open a new coffee bar in town that will stray from the caffeinated classics people might be used to, with a focus on beverages like coffee cocktails.
- Rania Zayyat, lead sommelier at La V. She recently passed her advanced sommelier exam, which is no easy task to do. That puts her into a small group of big wine lovers who know a lot about their reds, whites and sparkling wines.