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About Robert Sickler

   Robert Sickler began his career as an English teacher in the U.S. and overseas; however, his passion for wine & spirits inspired him to change course, leading to employment as bartender, bar manager, beverage director, wine & spirits distributor representative, brand ambassador, bar owner, podcast host, whisky educator, spirits consultant, restauranteur and regional sales manager over the course of 20 + years.

   For a decade he flourished as a Master of Whisky for global drinks company Diageo, passionately expounding the merits and virtues of their diverse range of world renowned single malt Scotch whiskies and other world whiskies.  In addition to managing relationships with distributors, brand teams, on and off premise partners, he designed and participated in events at Tales of the Cocktail, Arizona Cocktail Week, functioned as a judge at numerous cocktail competitions as well the Denver International Spirits Competition.  His role as Master of Whisky began in the Midwest, but later brought him to Denver, Colorado, where he and his wife resided for thirteen wonderful years.

   Next Robert launched his own whisky consulting company, Cask Strength Consulting, hosting educational spirits tastings for corporate, home and business gatherings. He also joined the Whisky Ambassador Program as a licensed instructor for their worldwide accredited ambassador program based in Glasgow, Scotland.  During this time he also received his Spirits Professional (SP) Certification from the United States Bartender’s Guild.

Shortly thereafter Robert launched Finn’s Manor, a whisky, mezcal and rum-centric cocktail bar in Denver, Colorado, which received numerous accolades such as “Best Whisky Bar in Colorado” by Thrillist, 10 Hottest New Bars in Denver by Zagat, 15 Best Bars in Denver by Conde Nast etc.

Finn’s Manor was renowned for its cocktail program and curated spirits selection, showcasing over 800 quality distillates.  As co-owner Robert thrived as beverage director, social media manager and music promoter, focussed on a perpetual mission to cultivate an idyllic space and aesthetic for the proper enjoyment of fine beverages.  Latin jazz, New Orleans brass music, bossa nova, salsa, and Spanish flamenco were some of the live music acts which graced the venue with a harmonious, soulful vibe.

During this period his love of mezcal was intensified after numerous trips to Mexico, visiting palenques and witnessing firsthand the passion, love and respect mezcaleros and their communities have for this timeless liquid sacrament.   Soon the mezcal section at Finn’s Manor grew as large as the Scotch whisky and rum selections, and Finn’s Manor’s reputation as a mezcal haven led to a collaboration with acclaimed Mexico in a Bottle, bringing forth dozens of world class producers from throughout Mexico to feature their brands at a specialized tasting event throughout the space.

Robert’s enjoyment of promoting quality products from independent, respected producers led to a podcast entitled “Raise a Glass”, where he paid homage to artisanal beverages and the way they ignite the senses, inspire conversation and connection between people.  He also became a cocktail contributor for Shaker and Spoon, a savvy and passionate cocktail subscription company who teaches mixology for everyday consumers. 

Six years after opening Finn’s Manor, Robert sold his shares and relocated to his homestate of Florida where he and his wife opened Bayou Bodega, a natural wine bar with Latin/Caribbean and Creole/Cajun cuisine.  Here he hosted numerous wine dinners and spirited dinners, showcasing products from winemakers and distillers whose ethos and vision aligned with his own. Bayou Bodega received 5 star reviews across the board on every online platform. 

Shortly thereafter he joined ImpEx Beverages, an importer whose brands he proudly featured on his backbar and cocktail menu at Finn’s Manor.  ImpEx Beverages is dedicated to independent, world class whiskies, gins, mezcals, rums and cordials from throughout the world.  He is currently their southeast regional manager, serving the Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee markets with spirits education, sales and marketing.