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A Fashionable Q&A with Entrepreneur Will Kehler

In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of the world’s top beauty and style influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers.

This week, Clara speaks with entrepreneur Will Kehler, who founded the world’s first luxury un-aged whiskey, Manhattan Moonshine.  Launched in November 2014, this premium spirit’s approachable, grain-forward flavor and versatility is making it one of the fastest rising cocktail ingredients of the year.  It is currently available at some of the top bars, restaurants, and liquor stores across Manhattan and is available exclusively at Montauk Yacht Club in the Hamptons.

Prior to founding Manhattan Moonshine, Will worked as a sales and marketing consultant at Alvarez & Marsal and before that, as an inventor for ?WhatIf! Innovation, inventing and developing new products and services for consumer packaged goods companies. Will is a graduate of Harvard University and lives in New York.

For more information on Manhattan Moonshine and for an interactive map of locations that carry it, visit: www.manhattan-moonshine.com. To purchase the product, click here.

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Will Kehler

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1. Will, what is Manhattan Moonshine?

 Manhattan Moonshine is the world’s first luxury un-aged whiskey and has been designed to be the perfect whiskey for cocktails.  Because it is not aged in barrels, Manhattan Moonshine has none of the heavier barrel flavors like oak and smoke that make aged whiskeys less approachable and harder to mix.  This means that Manhattan Moonshine can be used in an almost endless variety of cocktails, using flavors and ingredients that no aged whiskey can mix with.  These range from traditional ingredients such as grapefruit juice or tonic water to more exotic ingredients such as lavender, black walnut peel, or saffron.

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2. What separates Manhattan Moonshine from other whiskeys?

Because it is un-aged and therefore lacks the heavier barrel flavors that make aged whiskeys harder to mix, Manhattan Moonshine more versatile than any aged whiskey and can be used in a much wider variety of cocktails featuring a much wider variety of ingredients.  Also, because it is wn-aged, Manhattan Moonshine is clear in color, meaning that it can be used to create cocktails in an endless array of inviting colors.

Whereas other moonshines are made by following traditional aged-whiskey or bourbon recipes and excluding the final step of barrel aging, the recipe for Manhattan Moonshine was developed from the outset to create an un-aged Whiskey.  It contains no corn at all, but is instead made from a unique combination of oats, rye, spelt (an ancestral form of wheat), and malted barley, all sourced through partnerships with local New York farmers.  Because of its unique recipe, it does not have the harsh raw alcohol burn or the grassy un-mixable flavors that characterize the other un-aged whiskeys on the market but instead has a sweet yet spicy, grain-forward flavor that is both complex and approachable.

Additionally, Manhattan Moonshine bottles use labels with a special adhesive such that if you run the empty bottles under hot water, you can remove the labels easily and use the naked bottles as decanters.

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3. If you could meet anyone in the world, who do you want to meet? And why?

If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and cofounder of PayPal and Tesla Motors.  He is a man with great vision and has not been afraid to take on herculean tasks such as privatizing space flight or popularizing electric vehicles, and as an entrepreneur myself; he is a huge source of inspiration to me.  I would like to ask him what his plans are for the future, both his own future and for the future of mankind.

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4. Who influences your personal style? What about them piques your interest?

Daniel Craig influences my personal style.  His clothes are always classic but with a modern cut, subtle, and masculine.  He never looks like he is trying too hard and always looks comfortable.  Whenever I think that a piece of clothing might be too much, I give it the James Bond test: would James Bond wear this?  If not, it is probably too loud or too weird.

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5. What should women wear more of and why?

I would like women to wear more rompers because I have never seen a girl frowning or unhappy in a romper.  They look fun and comfortable and those to me are the two most important things that clothes should be.

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6. Favorite fragrance and cologne for women?

I honestly am not a big fan of perfume and cologne for women.  I find that too many people use too much and it is overwhelming or makes them smell like a baked good of some kind.  Men have evolved to like the way women smell, why would they cover that up with vanilla or cinnamon?

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7. Proudest career moment?

My proudest career moment was the first time I sat down in a restaurant and ordered Manhattan Moonshine.  I will never forget walking into Porter House up on Columbus Circle, ordering my whiskey, and watching the bartender take the bottle that I had been working on for two years off of the shelf, and pour me a drink from it as though it was just another liquor.  Having worked so hard for so long on something that still felt very conceptual, this moment was powerful for me because it made my dream seem so real: I had created a whiskey.

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8. If you weren’t the Founder and CEO of Manhattan Moonshine, what would you be doing?

If I weren’t running Manhattan Moonshine right now, I would hopefully be running another company that I started, selling a different exciting product.  My passion is the creation and development of new products and services, and I plan to spend the rest of my life starting and growing businesses around products that I have developed.  It means a lot to me to hold something that I have created in my hands and to share that thing with another person, so I would be a very lucky man if I got to do that for the rest of my life.

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9. Best dining experience you’ve ever had?

The best dining experience I have ever had was at a little restaurant called Chez l’Ami Jean in Paris, where I went with my mother for her birthday two years ago.  The restaurant was small and kitchen was open-plan, meaning that we could see and hear the various chefs and sous chefs yelling at each other the whole time, making for a great dinner and a show.

Following an amazing charcuterie plate accompanied by a local beer, the main course arrived: a Basque-style pot roast that was so good that it haunts me.  Best of all, this pot roast was a seasonal dish on their rotating menu so I will probably never be able to have that exact meal again, meaning that it will always be perfect in my memory.

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10. Favorite vacation spot and hotel?

My favorite vacation spot is the Triangle X Ranch outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  It is the most peaceful and rustic place I have ever been, and my family and I have been going there for a few years now to ride horses and to sit on the porch of a cabin and look out at the mountains. Having been born and raised in Manhattan, it is incredible to spend time in such a mesmerizingly beautiful and natural place.

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11. Three items that can always be found in your briefcase?

My briefcase always has: a full bottle of Manhattan Moonshine, that I take with me as I meet with bars and restaurants so that they can taste the product and see its elegant packaging, an umbrella, because whenever I leave it at home, it rains, and the FluxMob Bolt, a tiny little battery and phone charger that I always need because although my phone can do a great many impressive things, its battery life is… disappointing.

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12. What song can you listen to on repeat?

I can listen to Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young because it is absolutely beautiful, both because it is well written and musically complex and because it is so great to be able to listen to four different super-star singers harmonizing.

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Images Courtesy of Will Kehler and Manhattan Moonshine