I didn’t really drink until my 30s, which is when I became a businessman, a successful Public Relations exec with my own firm in a niche business, traveling the world and doing a lot of client dinners. It was also when I found my brothers – the group of guys with whom I’d share countless (mis)adventures – and though we weren’t all in the same industry, we rolled together, even forming a small marketing firm as a means of underwriting our excursions. The two things no trip was without? Liquor and comedy. We bought the former, I provided the latter.
A decade or so into this journey, I decided to go pro as a standup comedian. My drinking suffered; the more you talk, the less you consume. But my love of libations remained a huge part of my act. While touring the Midwest in 2014, I befriended Keith Kerkhoff, founder of Templeton Rye and grandson of the Prohibition-era formula’s originator, Alphonse Kerkhoff (who distilled what Al Capone branded “The Good Stuff”). We filmed some fun stuff together while shooting material for The Tiny Sirko Show, and with its uncommonly smooth finish (I’m an unpaid endorser, so there!), Templeton Rye on the rocks became my new go-to drink.
The distilled karma must have drifted east, because I next got a call from Randy McKinley, who runs Manatawny Still Works in Pottstown, PA, inviting me to do a corporate event at his place. Given Randy’s imagination and ambition, it would be more than a corporate gig: it would be a comedy concert, free to the public, heavily promoted and filmed for the web. One of Randy’s spirits – Three Bitches Wheat Vodka – inspired us to call the show “Three Bitches Ain’t Enough!”
My buddy, Stu, is endlessly curious about all things lifestyle. As such, he joined me on this trip, documenting our journey as we met with the talented distillers and mixologists at Manatawny. The night before the show, we sampled what we thought were all of their wares (more would be unveiled at the concert). The day of the show, we worked through our hangovers by touring Valley Forge and the Amish town of Lancaster – where better to find a DBD (Designated Buggy Driver)?
By showtime, I had learned and seen enough to consider myself a (fledgling) spirit ambassador. It made for an exceptionally fun and memorable night. (I never toot my own horn or use lame phrases like “toot my own horn” but you can see testimonials and press HERE.) The next day, Stu and I hit Philly, getting to the heart of the American Revolution, The Whiskey Rebellion, and visiting the City Tavern, where guys like George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams got their drink on.
But I’m not sitting on my un-aged laurels; I’m gonna continue to venture forth in pursuit of the “laughter party”, that perfect storm of comedy and potables, acquiring knowledge, enjoying life to the fullest, and making new friends along the way. And as for Randy, we swore to collaborate again and create at comedy-themed branding piece for Manatawny Still Works. Update: We did, less than a year later, and here it is: