the Cocktail issue A Family Business is Born

when most men of his age may have considered retirement, perhaps to perfect his already sharp skills on the tennis court, Goldring immersed himself in his newest business interests. And the quest for the Holy Grail continued. Today, bottles of Sazerac brands line shelves of retailers across the nation and the world. “As a distiller you sell your own brands, and as of today we produce over 300 brands, and are in all 50 states and over 100 countries,” Goldring says, his modesty on display as he delivers this statistic with his trademark unassuming manner. And his holdings continue to grow;The Sazerac Company is one of America’s largest distillers, and still proud to call New Orleans home. “It’s eat or be eaten,” he says, explaining a part of his business philosophy. “I’m always looking for opportunities to expand, especially abroad, to have as much business outside the United States as in, and we are getting there.” Goldring recently acquired two more major brands—the iconic Southern Comfort, and Paddy Irish Whiskey, a triple distilled blended Irish whiskey produced in Cork, and one of the top selling Irish Whiskey brands in the world. And in January 2016, The Sazerac Company resurrected the beloved Ojen (pronounced O-hen) brand, a sweet, anise-flavored liqueur and long a favorite in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Production of Ojen ceased at a Spanish distillery in the 1990s leaving the product out of the marketplace until Sazerac developed its own version.

“I’ve never thought of doing anything else,”says the third generation Goldring, recalling his desire to work for his father in the family business. The father insisted the son first get a college education, and so Bill did, finishing Tulane University in three years, a business degree in hand. He honed his beverage skills for a year, working for Seagram’s in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, always with an eye on returning home to work under his father’s tutelage. And so he did,andwithin five years the younger Goldring had earned the role of executive vice president of Magnolia, responsible for all day-to-day operations of the growing company. He assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer in 1972 and renamed the company Magnolia Marketing Company, while growing and expanding the company’s holdings. He succeeded his father as president in 1982 and was named chairman of the company in 1991. He also was named chairman of the Sazerac Company. Under Bill’s leadership and vision, the businesses experienced unprecedented growth and acquisitions, eventually evolving into one of the nation’s largest and most successful wholesale liquor and distribution companies. Along the way, there were corporate name changes and mergers as well, and by 2006, Goldring’s business interests were under the banner Republic National Distributing Company. The year 2010 found Goldring reevaluating his future, and he shifted his attention to The Sazerac Company, which had experienced steady growth since his father’s days at the helm of Magnolia. Goldring wanted to strengthen his acumen as a distiller. At a time

Sazerac Rye American rye whiskey dates back to the late 1700s around the time distillers in the Northeast were shipping their whiskey downriver to New Orleans. By the 1820s, bars disguised as coffee houses began popping up all over New Orleans. In the 1850s The Sazerac Cocktail, America’s first cocktail and now the official cocktail of the city of New Orleans, was invented at the Merchants Exchange Coffee House on Exchange Alley in the French Quarter, which later became known as the Sazerac Coffeehouse. The cocktail’s original recipe featured Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils (a cognac), and Peychaud’s Bitters. Cognac was eventually replaced with American Rye, and a dash of Absinthe was added. In the 1930s bartenders substituted Herbsaint for absinthe.

Buffalo Trace Distillery



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