How did you get into hunting?
My father loved three things…working hard, his family and the outdoors. He worked liked crazy and was gone at least 4 days a week, but every chance he got, he packed my brothers and I in the car to go fishing or shooting. The result was he raised boys who love the outdoors so much they have spent their lives in the outdoor industry.
What is your favorite species and state to hunt?
I live in New York city which wouldn’t normally be considered a great base camp for a hunter but it actually is. I love bowhunting whitetails in New jersey and Long Island but I’d have to say that right now, my favorite hunting is duck hunting…mostly because duck hunting is a more social activity.
What is your favorite hunting memory?
I had the opportunity to bowhunting in Botswana Africa a number of years ago. I was stalking some Red Lechwe which are a beautiful antelope. We were concentrating on the Lechwe so much while stalking them that we didn’t notice that we had walked right up to a lion. By the time we saw the first lion it was only about 30 yards from us. The adrenaline that pumped through me at that point has never been matched.
Describe what is in your typical hunting pack?
Most of my hunting is near home and only for a few hours so I’m never one to pack to much gear. But one thing I always have with me is hand warmer and toe warmers. I’ve found as long as I’m warm, I’m having a great time hunting, but when I’m cold it’s another story . I’ve probably got a hundred packs of those warmers in my gear bag at all times.
What one piece of advice would you want to teach a new hunter?
Invite friends who don’t hunt to join you. Hunting is more fun with other people and I actually enjoy helping other people shoot deer or ducks even more than I enjoy shooting them myself. Introducing people to hunting helps ensure the hunting heritage will pass on to future generations and besides, it is always good to have help dragging a deer out of the woods.
What are two questions you wish someone would ask you about your career in the outdoors?
First, my dean in college told me something that was very true. I mentioned I wanted to work in the outdoor industry and he said: ”be careful about doing what you love for work…sometimes it just becomes work.” That is one thing to keep in mind…work is work whether it is in the outdoors or not. You’d think owning one of the largest bowhunting retailers would mean I can hunt all over, but the busiest time of year is also the hunting season so for years while we were building the business it was actually very hard to find time to go bowhunting.
Second, anytime you get into an industry that is an enthusiast industry, you’ll find it to be too much competition….that’s because most of us are in it because we love it…not because we are making so much money…Enthusiast industries like the hunting industry are packed with abnormal amounts of competition and are not the easiest place to make money.
How did you get into the outdoor business?
When I was in college I decided I wanted to work in the outdoor industry for a living. I was an English major and spent most of my free time hunting so I started writing articles for the college newspaper on hunting and fishing. I don’t think anyone in my college read them, but that gave me the chance to build a portfolio of articles. That in turn helped me get a job at Outdoor Life magazine right out of college. I worked at a few hunting magazines and the last one was Petersen’s Bowhunting.. I loved it but always wanted to own my own business so I decided to try and launch an online bowhunting magazine in 1998. My brothers and I teamed up and tried to make an emagazine work, but we found that bowhunting companies weren’t ready to spend advertising dollars on the internet yet(this was 1998) but many of them wanted help selling their products…so we morphed from a content site into a commerce site. Eders.com is now one of the largest bowhunting retailers in the world.
What motivated you to get into the liquor business?
My brother and I were talking about food plots one day. He was saying he wanted to plant corn because it seems like if you find standing corn you’ll find deer. I mentioned I liked the idea of planting fruit trees like Apples and Persimmon since I’ve literally seen deer race to get to persimmon or apple that fell from the tree. We were joking at first that a corn whiskey with Persimmon and Apple would make a great drink…but we quickly realized that it really would.
Historically Moonshine was unaged corn whiskey, while many people think of it as a harsh drink, the truth is there were many artisanal moonshiners who would infuse their shine and make them delicious. Our goal became to make a delicious drink inspired by the best of the fall harvest. Our moonshine being inspired my a deer’s favorite foods could only be named one thing: Droptine Moonshine.
We found a local distiller who was willing to work with us on this project. It took nearly three years to perfect the recipe and production of Droptine Moonshine but the end result is as special as a droptine deer.
In the process of developing our Moonshine we realized we could also use corn to make Vodka… we found that with corn, we could make a vodka that is sweeter and smoother than other vodkas. We are very proud that our Droptine Premium Vodka won a Gold medal at the largest consumer tasting competition last year.
I also want to make it mention that while all of the spirits are inspired by deer and hunting, they are meant for after the hunt. Some critics ask if we are encouraging people to drink and hunt…this could be further from what we want. Every hunter knows that you can never mix drinking and hunting and that drinking responsibly is as important as hunting responsibly.
What will we see coming down the line from Droptine?
When we learned the process of making cornwhiskey/moonshine, Len and I decided to find a way to make sbourbon for ourselves. Bourbon is a whiskey that is made with at least 51% corn mash and that is aged in new charred oak barrels. .. We started experimenting with different mash bills, different aging times and then had a great idea…what if we make our bourbon but then finish them in Brandy barrels? After all, if your logo is a Double Droptine, you’ve got to double-barrel your bourbon. The result is what we think is the best tasting whiskey made. We’ll start releaseing it in small batches this summer.
What is the hunt you are most excited to take in 2018?
This year I’ve got a few great hunts lined up from turkey to whitetail, but I’m most excited about a spearfishing trip I’m taking off the coast of Mexico. Spearfishing is like spot and stalk bowhunting…only underwater.
How can people follow and learn more about your business’s?
www.droptine.com Droptine Spirits are made in small batches and are only available online
What is your favorite cocktail for after the perfect day in the field?
After a hunt if it’s cold out, I love to warm up some Droptine Persimmon Moonshine and drink it straight. It’s like a hot toddy but there is no need to mix anything, just warm up the Moonshine and enjoy.
But when I’m in the mood for a cocktail A Persimmon Martini is the greatest drink ever.
Juice or mash two fuyu persimmon
2 ounce of Droptine Premium Vodka
1 ounce of Droptine Moonshine
Place ice into a cocktail shaker. Pour in vodka, Persimmon Moonshine, and the Pureed Persimmon. Cover and shake vigorously until the outside of the cocktail shaker has frosted. Strain into a chilled martini glass; garnish with a piece of the persimmon fruit.