Rising Star Bartender Austin Carson of Mizuna - Biography

Denver, CO

March 2017

Oklahoma City native Austin Carson found his way to bartending rather circuitously. He began his hospitality career washing dishes at a pizza joint while studying philosophy. Carson took the leap back to restaurants in 2006, this time through wine. His first professional gig was at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, Colorado. Next, trading in the snow for heat and humidity, Carson moved to Houston to manage wine sales for Lasco Enterprises.
In 2012, Carson returned to Colorado for a sommelier role at Chef and Restaurateur Frank Bonanno’s flagship restaurant, Mizuna. Eventually Carson took over the bar program, too, amping it up with studied technique, playfulness, and serious ambition. He also found a collaborator and ambitious counterpart in Mizuna Chef Ty Leon, who influences Carson’s culinary perspective on cocktails.

Carson was one of six national finalists at the 2016 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience cocktail competition, and he was a North American regional finalist for the Bombay Sapphire “Most Imaginative Bartender” contest. So far in 2017, his innovative work has landed him at the regional finals of Diageo World Class. 

Recently promoted to wine director for Bonanno’s soon-to-be 20 restaurants, Carson still works a few shifts behind the bar each week, forging a path for the modern beverage professional.