Derek Brown - OWNER
Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert and president of Drink Company, which owns and operates 2017 Spirited Award winning "Best American Cocktail Bar" Columbia Room as well as PUB, a rotating pop-up bar that's housed the wildly-popular Miracle on 7th Street, Cherry Blossom PUB and Game of Thrones PUB. Playboy magazine named him as one of "The 10 Entertainers, Thought Leaders and Heroes Who'll Save Us in 2017." He is also the author of the forthcoming book “Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters: How the Cocktail Conquered the World,” available through Rizzoli March 2019.
A native Washingtonian with deep ties to the city — his great-grandfather was once D.C.’s police chief — Derek admits that Washington provides a unique vantage point as the capital city, having mixed drinks for everyone from royalty, ambassadors and senators to fellow Washingtonians, interns and students. He’s concocted cocktails at the White House, clinked glasses with Martha Stewart and was even appointed Chief Spirits Advisor at the National Archives. Derek’s philosophy for crafting memorable drinks goes beyond what’s shaken, stirred and served in a glass. “When I think about cocktails, I think about how they connect to nature, I think about how they connect to history,” he explained to Imbibe magazine, which named him 2015’s Bartender of the Year. “I think about how they connect to the people who made them and the time they were living in.”
Derek’s passion for spirits has taken him across the globe, where he’s learned about the integral role food and drink play in the culture, customs and values of communities worldwide. He’s also written about drinks and drinking for The Atlantic, The Washington Post and Bon Appetit magazine, among other publications.
Derek is a spirits judge at the prestigious San Francisco World's Spirit Competition and works with many charities and organization in a role as advisor, including the DC Public Library Foundation and Share Our Strength.
ANGIE FETHERSTON - Owner
Angie Fetherston is the CEO of Drink Company, overseeing the company’s business operations as well as partnerships, corporate development and strategy. She co-founded Drink Company with leading spirits and cocktail expert Derek Brown in 2010 and together they own several bars including the James Beard Award-nominated and Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award-winning 2017 "Best American Cocktail Bar" Columbia Room. They are also well known for their successful string of pop-up bars including Miracle on 7th Street (in partnership with Cocktail Kingdom), Cherry Blossom PUB, Game of Thrones PUB and PUB Dread. Both Angie and Derek have headed multiple community initiatives such as supporting the National Archives Foundation with programming surrounding their Spirited Republic exhibit and helping the D.C. City Council to proclaim the Rickey as the official cocktail of Washington D.C.
Angie is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business where she was awarded their prestigious 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Award. More recently, Angie was inducted into the Tales of the Cocktail Dame Hall of Fame in 2016 which celebrates groundbreaking achievements by women in the global hospitality industry and included in the list of "Women to Watch" in Washingtonian Magazine’s 2017 Most Powerful Women in Washington. She is married to JP Fetherston and lives with him and their beloved dog, Teddy Grahams, in Washington, D.C.
JP Fetherston - BEVERAGE DIRECTOR
JP is the Beverage Director for Drink Company, overseeing all of Drink Company’s menus, spirits, training and educational programs. He is also currently pursuing his doctorate in history from the University of Maryland and is expected to graduate in 2023. Previously, as head bartender of the Columbia Room, he led his team to win "Best American Cocktail Bar" at the 2017 Spirited Awards. He has also been named Food & Wine Magazine's "2016 Best New Mixologists in America" and included in Thrillist’s list of “America’s 21 Greatest Bartenders of 2015.” Previously, he was Bar Manager at the now defunct Southern Efficiency and won numerous accolades for himself and the bar including Eater D.C.'s 2014 "Bartender of the Year," Food & Wine Magazine's 2014 "People's Best Bar in the Northeast" and Bon Appetit Magazine's 2014 "Top 50 Best New Restaurants in America."
JP has master’s degrees in history from both the London School of Economics and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He has also cycled throughout Scotland, visiting 27 different distilleries before apprenticing at Bruichladdich under Master Distiller Jim McEwan and his team. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Angie Fetherston.
JOHNNY SPERO - CULINARY DIRECTOR
Chef Johnny Spero is owner/operator and head chef of Reverie restaurant and culinary director at the Columbia Room. He began his culinary career at the at of 16 in Baltimore County. For the past 10 years he has been living and working in Washington D.C., most recently during his tenure as executive sous chef at Jose Andres’ Minibar the restaurant earned a perfect four-star review from The Washington Post.
In 2014, Johnny was awarded the prestigious STARCHEFS "D.C. Rising Star", was Eater DC's "Chef of the Year", and was a Rammy Awards finalist for “Rising Culinary Star of the Year.” He recently returned to the area after spending last year staging at Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain. He lives with his wife Alexis, daughter and their dog Nacho.
PAUL TAYLOR - BEVERAGE MANAGER
Paul Taylor is a Partner and Beverage Manager at Columbia Room, the iconic cocktail bar founded by Derek Brown in Washington, D.C. He plays a critical role in curating the restaurant’s drink menus and oversees the training and educational programs at all Drink Company bar concepts.
Paul has refined his palate for spirits through his experiences working nearly every position in the restaurant and bar industry throughout his ten-year career. Before starting his role as Partner and Beverage Manager, Paul was the Head of Bar Concepts within Drink Company, and a driving creative force behind the group’s wildly successful Pop-Up Bar series. Before he started at Drink Company, Paul was the Bar Manager of Southern Efficiency in Washington, D.C. During his time at Southern Efficiency, Paul was voted Washington, D.C.’s “Best Male Bartender” by One Love Massive. Paul is a 2018 graduate of the Bar 5 Day Program, which is claimed to be “the World’s Most Comprehensive Distilled Spirits & Mixology Program.” He is also a 2018 graduate of the Gonzalez Byass Sherry Master Program, an intensive program in where he was able to spend 2 days with winemaker and Master blender Antonio Flores, getting in-depth knowledge of the region and wines.
When he’s not behind the bar, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Kaitlynn, dining out in D.C.’s burgeoning restaurant scene, and trying new recipes at home. He is a big sandwich lover, and would even go so far as to call himself an expert on the subject.
TOM MARTINEZ - MANAGER/BARTENDER
Tom Martinez is the is the Assistant Manager and a bartender at 2017 Spirited Award winning “Best American Cocktail Bar” Columbia Room. Tom was born in Northern California and, after graduating the University of Oregon, joined the Peace Corps. He would later return to West Africa as a photojournalist.
Tom spent much of his time in bars and watering holes everywhere he travelled. From dusty West-African markets to raucous German beer gardens, he gained a keen appreciation for the ability of drinks to help break down cultural barriers and bring people closer together. Upon returning to the States, Tom moved to D.C. and made the move behind the bar, starting at Robert Wiedmaier’s Brasserie Beck. From there he did a brief stint at Jack Rose before joining the team at Columbia Room.
He spends his free time hiking, cycling, and playing board games with close friends.
COLUMBIA ROOM, 124 BLAGDEN ALLEY NW, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001 (202)316-9396