Spirits Library Manager
Derek Brown is a leading spirits and cocktail expert with four of the country's most respected craft cocktail bars, Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, Southern Efficiency and the twice James Beard Award-nominated Columbia Room, located in Washington, D.C.
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 drinking plays 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 heads Drink Company, the entity behind his four Washington watering holes, and when he’s not behind the bar, Derek sits on the board of directors for the Tequila Interchange Project and the DC Public Library Foundation. Derek is also a spirits judge at the prestigious San Francisco World's Spirit Competition, on the advisory council for BevCon Charleston and Mixology Chair for Share Our Strength's "Taste of the Nation” event.
JP Fetherston - head bartender
JP is the Head Bartender at Columbia Room and oversees all of Drink Company’s training and educational programs. He was recently named in 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 the Bar Manager at Southern Efficiency and won Eater D.C.'s 2014 "Bartender of the Year." Under his leadership, Southern Efficiency garnered such accolades as 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.
JOHNNY SPERO - HEAD CHEF
Chef Johnny Spero 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 and their dog Nacho.
Johnny plans to open his first solo restaurant, Reverie, in 2018.
DANTE DATTA - SPIRITS LIBRARY MANAGER
Dante is the Spirits Library Manager for Columbia Room. He was born and raised in Maryland, but his exposure to hospitality and cocktails began when he moved into Washington D.C. This interest grew into a passion, and in 2009 he left his career in finance to be behind the bar. Dante was previously the head bartender at Rasika West End and completed the BAR 5-Day program in NYC. He believes in the power of spirits and cocktails to bring people together and yearns to share that experience with others. You will often find Dante discovering restaurants and bars around the city with his friends.
With his love for drinks and his belief in the Drink Company values and mission, he is thrilled to be part of the Columbia Room team.
Angie FETHERSTON - Co-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 award-winning bars Columbia Room, Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, and Southern Efficiency. They’ve also headed multiple community initiatives like supporting the National Archives Foundation with programming surrounding their Spirited Republic exhibit and worked with the D.C. City Council to proclaim the Rickey as the official cocktail of Washington D.C.
Previously, Angie was an Integrated Marketing Account Executive at WUSA*9, D.C.'s local CBS affiliate, and co-founded an award-winning tech startup.
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. She was inducted to the Tales of the Cocktail® Dame Hall of Fame in 2016 which celebrates groundbreaking achievements by women in the global hospitality industry and sits on the Board of Directors for Shaw Main Streets.
Angie was born in Ecuador, spent her teens in Spain and is now happy to call Washington, D.C. home, where she lives with her husband JP Fetherston and their doggie, Teddy Grahams.
COLUMBIA ROOM, 124 BLAGDEN ALLEY NW, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20001 (202)316-9396