Rising Star Restaurateur Derek Brown of Drink Company - Biography

Washington, D.C.

September 2015

Derek Brown has one of those dream jobs that your high school counselor never tells you about. He drinks for a living. Brown is a cocktail and spirits writer, spirits judge, and owner of award-winning bars Mockingbird Hill, Southern Efficiency, Eat the Rich, and The Passenger. Brown is almost single-handedly shaping the cocktail scene in Washington, D.C., a feat for which he was named a StarChefs Rising Star Restaurateur in 2014. He also travels round the globe, teaching (and still learning) about how drinking is an integral part of our culture and values.

Brown landed his very first bartending gig with exactly zero prior experience, bluffing his way through a rum punch by creating an elaborate concoction of nearly every bottle on the bar. Moving on from that early fluster, he has since developed celebrated beverage programs as a bartender, sommelier, and consultant for some of D.C.’s and the country’s finest restaurants and bars. Brown has received numerous accolades for his bartending, teaching, and wine stewardship, including being named one of “Five Top New Sommeliers” in the country by Wine & Spirits magazine in 2007, “Sommelier of the Year” by DC Modern Luxury magazine in 2008, “Bartender of the Year” by Washington City Paper in 2009, and has made drinks at the White House. In 2015, Imbibe magazine lauded Brown as “Bartender of the Year,” and he was a semifinalists for James Beard’s “Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional” Award. 

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