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Daniel Rivera of Artisan Craft Cocktails: “Not everyone will like what you do, and that’s ok!”

I would like to show people the power of the table. We have so many distractions available to us via all these touch screens and tablets and technology. I love technology, but so much more meaningful life is found when we spend time at the table with those we love. So many great potential shared […]

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I would like to show people the power of the table. We have so many distractions available to us via all these touch screens and tablets and technology. I love technology, but so much more meaningful life is found when we spend time at the table with those we love. So many great potential shared memories can be built over a meal with great food than pretty much any other way possible.


The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Rivera.

Daniel is a Southern California native and currently resides in Huntington Beach, CA. Daniel grew up in Norwalk, CA, and later developed his passion for music, audio, technology, and business. He is an avid foodies, and shares three children with his wife Pamela — two boys, Jacob, Judah, and a four-year-old daughter James Everleigh “Kiki” Rivera.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew in Norwalk, CA in a place called “the one way’s.” It is a Hispanic community where gang violence was prevalent. I grew up playing the guitar in my local church where I developed my passion for music and, more specifically, sound.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“If you want to be great, you need to learn how to serve.”

I grew up with a fondness for the table, my grandma was an exceptional cook she made the best Mexican food ever — homemade tortillas, beans, tamales, enchiladas. My fondest moments were those our family shared at the table. I’ve always seen the table as “the great equalizer,” a place where everyone and anyone is welcome, respected, valued and appreciated for who they are. My deep reverence for the table stems from the idea that service leads to greatness.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Gary Vaynerchuk’s CRUSH IT was the one book that I read that challenged me in a way that no other book has. It taught me to dream big and do big… it’s a lesson in hustle and grit.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I had worked for a Bay Area technology company for four years when the pandemic hit. The company specialized in loudspeaker design and acoustics. One of the top companies in the world in the realm of live sound.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

Each one of us is eventually confronted with a choice when in the face of adversity, so when I was furloughed due to the pandemic I knew I had to channel my passion to keep moving. I could have allowed depression, doubt, and fear to me, but I chose to recognize the opportunity and made the decision to launch Artisan Craft Cocktails with my wife. The concept is deep rooted in my fondness for bringing people together around the table, which is also where The Spirit of Dining™ was derived from.

Although creating an alcohol brand during a pandemic was not going to be easy, our family committed to venture the uncharted path. The right team quickly presented itself, a group of talented multi-disciplined misfits from all walks of life.

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

We discussed all of the things we could do, and then we arrived at the one thing I could do that would bring me joy more than anything else. Something centered around the table that brought us a sense of satisfaction, that would also fuel the journey.

How are things going with this new initiative?

I’m so grateful for all the people who were so helpful at the TTB, the ABC and all of the vendors who have been so gracious with us, so patient and so eager to see us win in such a challenging season. All of the organizations I mentioned were ready to help, ready to assist and frankly were invaluable to us being able to acquire all the licensing, permits marketing materials to launch a liquor brand during a pandemic.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Joe Hartman at Yebo (the box / packaging company) went above and beyond to make sure our packaging represented the level of beauty and storytelling that we were searching for. Frankly we had NO IDEA how to create a box for liquor. Joe rallied the best minds at Yebo and rolled out the red carpet for us knowing we were on a budget, out of our depth and just launching our brand. He was a Rockstar!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

We did not start off by focusing on dessert cocktails. The direction came when so much of the feedback we received was that our drinks were “too sweet” for whiskey cocktails. Rather than go back to the drawing board we embraced the niche and pivoted.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. It will cost more than you think, be committed to the process.
  2. It will not be easy!
  3. Not everyone will like what you do, and that’s ok!
  4. Every move you make will not be the right one, you are going to make a lot of mistakes.
  5. It will DEFINITELY take longer than you think it will (especially during COVID-19)

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

I traveled 250 days in 2019 so being home with the family has been a blessing in disguise. All of the quality times, dinners at home and relationship building with my wife and kids has been amazing.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would like to show people the power of the table. We have so many distractions available to us via all these touch screens and tablets and technology. I love technology, but so much more meaningful life is found when we spend time at the table with those we love. So many great potential shared memories can be built over a meal with great food than pretty much any other way possible.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I’d love to have lunch with Gary Vanyerchuk.

How can our readers follow you online?

They can text me directly at 714–276–1712, or visit our website www.ArtisanCraftCocktails.com

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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