Rabbit Hole Distillery founder and Endeavor Entrepreneur Kaveh Zamanian’s story to success is nothing short of motion picture worthy. The Iranian immigrant, turned southern Californian, turned PhD clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, and now founder of one of the fastest growing spirits brands in the world has had quite the journey filled with challenging obstacles, major milestones, and endless memories.
“We all have a dream. For me, hospitality and the wine and spirits business has always been close to my heart,” says Zamanian. “I put myself through school working in restaurants and bars, and in the process fell in love with fine wine and spirits. It left an impression on me.”
In June, Zamanian sat down with fellow Food & Beverage Endeavor Entrepreneurs from the United States and Ireland and special guest U2’s The Edge for a virtual happy hour. Lisanne Dorion (Bacardi and Endeavor Puerto Rico Board Member) and Mauro Schnaidman (Tupperware Board Member and Endeavor Mentor) joined as well for a discussion on bourbon, entrepreneurship, and how Rabbit Hole is supporting bartenders around the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It seems to be kind of an odd mix to have a guy from Iran be the Johnny Appleseed of bourbon, but that was really what appealed to me,” said Zamanian.
Now, as the 16th largest bourbon distilling company in the world, it’s safe to say that mix was anything but odd. Zamanian’s decision and motivation to go big from the get-go landed him with two early funding rounds totaling around $18 million that have led to a spirits company with immeasurable spirit.
While experiencing great success, like Endeavor’s mantra, Zamanian has never lost sight of giving back and paying it forward. In light of the recent economic struggles brought on by Covid-19, Zamanian committed to continuing pay for the Distillery staff, and launched the #2DreamInside campaign to support food and beverage industry workers that have and are being displaced by the current conditions, as well as a host of other organizations that are in the creative space.
“Anyone who’s been in hospitality knows that to find the right team and be able to manage those folks is a lot of work. So I wanted to make sure that we don’t let go of our team members. That was our first commitment,” said Zamanian.
Taking it one step further, Zamanian reflected on his own experience as a psychologist and entrepreneur to see how he could support the greater spirits and beverage community during this time of crisis.
“I wanted to go narrow. One of my concerns has always been that when it comes to situations like this, folks donate very generously, but a lot of times those dollars don’t really go to the people that really need it, or they get lost in administrative expenses, said Zamanian.
Thus the #2DreamInside social media campaign was born. Participants were asked to post about their dream, and for every post published with the hashtag, Rabbit Hole would donate $2 to Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. To date, the campaign has raised $200,000 to aid Tales of the Cocktail in their support of the bartending community.
“This has been part of our DNA, from the beginning, but in these past few months we have done our own soul searching, and have decided that we are in a position to partner up with creatives around the world that have something of meaning to say.”
You can watch the full exclusive happy hour event on Youtube here.