As one-half of the micro-brewing duo behind Cathead Vodka, Richard Patrick gets to work every day on two of his passions — small business management and entrepreneurship.
Mississippi has come a long way since being the last state to repeal Prohibition. State regulators gave permission for Patrick and Evans to open their Gluckstadt distillery in 2010 and they have since manufactured not only regular vodka but also a seasonal honeysuckle variety as well as Bristow Gin, Hoodoo Chicory liqueur and Gold Coast Whiskey.
“We are big fans of whiskey and it’s been an objective since before day one to have a distillery that’s known for their whiskey,” Patrick says. “We’re not quite there yet, but very excited to be moving forward.”
Patrick came to Mississippi via Alpharetta, Ga., Charleston, S.C., and the University of Alabama. A fan of Delta blues music, Patrick and co-owner Austin Evans make sure that live music is an integral part of the Cathead culture from monogrammed concert T-shirts to charitable support for the state’s many music foundations and arts organizations.
Tapping into his creative side and knowledge of the alcohol import/export business, Patrick has a well-rounded global view of the wine, beer and spirits industry.
“Our industry is being swallowed whole by mega-distributors and suppliers,” he says. “The future is really what we make of it. I think products that are more classic and timeless will always play a role in the future if they don’t sell out and don’t forget who they are. There’s a growing craft movement in distilleries which I think will sustain over the next decade, as consumers are becoming more aware of what’s being made locally and regionally.”
Patrick tells young professionals to be adaptable and not stress if they don’t have a career right after college. “It’s an interesting time with the cycle of a recovering economy and more Baby Boomers not retiring,” he says. “My advice is to do something that is challenging outside your comfort zone. Learn a new trade or culture.”
In his spare time, Patrick says, “good live music, food, libations and travel” are some of his primary hobbies.
Co-owner and Founder, Bottle Tree Beverage Company
Best thing about Mississippi: ”The range of culture and the innate hospitality that’s ingrained in society. I think people overall are just simply more happy here.”
Best Mississippi event: Sunflower Blues Festival in Clarksdale
Favorite Mississippi restaurant: “Any restaurant that carries Cathead and has a good bread pudding”
Favorite hangout spots: Lemuria Books, Crawdad Hole, Parlor Market and Fondren
First job ever: ”I started my own little grass-cutting business when I was 12 and learned a lot of discipline from doing this.”