The Distilled Spirits Epicenter is home to multiple distilled spirits businesses. The Epicenter is the brainchild of Flavorman Founder and CEO David Dafoe. Dafoe has been honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for “Outstanding Contribution to Distilling” by the American Distilling Institute’s (ADI) for 2021.
The award celebrates his multiple businesses for their role in supporting and promoting continued innovation and formalized, hands-on education in the beverage alcohol and distilled spirits sectors. ADI President Erik Owens presented the award to Dafoe during the 2021 ADI Conference & Vendor Expo’s held in Louisville, Kentucky.
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“David Dafoe is the Flavorman,” said Owens during the ceremony. “He has spent his whole career creating flavors and launching brands. We may be in this RTD explosion right now, but in 1983 David was already there doing it—and he didn’t stop there.”
Dafoe and Flavorman have been helping make beverages for many of the best known brands in the world since the company was founded in 1992. Today, Dafoe’s company is broken down into three key businesses.
Flavorman – Flavorman is a beverage development company that has developed drinks and processes for some of the most successful beverage brands. They’ve developed over 70,000 unique beverage formulations for alcoholic and non-alcoholic brands like Crispin Hard Cider, Formula O2, Jones Soda, Chiquita, Joia Spirit Craft Cocktails, Jack Daniel’s Country Cocktails and Lynchburg Lemonade.
Moonshine University – Founded 2012 Moonshine University offers technical training and business management education for start-ups, industry professionals, and those looking for careers in the distilling industry. The courses are designed and taught by distillery operators, industry insiders, and world-renowned master distillers.
Stave & Thief Society – Founded in 2015 the Stave & Thief Society is a comprehensive Bourbon certification program established to promote the Bourbon culture, its production, history, and relationship to other world whiskies. Through a standardized training program it certifies hospitality and retail professionals, bourbon enthusiasts, and bartenders as Executive Bourbon Stewards.
Dave Dafoe’s says his secret to success can be broken into these three parts.
- Find Good Teachers – “First, you have to find good teachers. I had quite a few but one was my Grandmother who told me when I was very young that I could do anything that I wanted to. I still believe her.”
- Find an Opportunity – “I found one right here at ADI in 2009 or 2010 that there was no one place to go to learn how to open and operate your own distillery. I think we can do that in Louisville. So I talked to the Mayor. And then we talked to the Governor and they also thought it was a good idea. So we started Moonshine University.
- Build Something – “You get good teachers, you find an opportunity and you build something…What you have to do when you build something is you hire people that are smarter than you… Find smart people, create some kind of a vision or a plan and let’em loose.”
Watch the video to hear Dafoe in his own words.
“Receiving this award allowed me reflect humbly on how I got here,” said Dafoe. “Now, I am grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward. Flavorman and Moonshine University are designed to equip others with the tools they need to identify their own opportunities to build something—and be successful doing it.”