We had the good fortune of connecting with Markus Kypreos and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Markus, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. My mom worked for American Airlines and we were fortunate to be able to travel often throughout the U.S. and visit different restaurants. As is with most kids, my palate was developing and I was reluctant to try new things, but visiting Napa and New York helped open my mind to food. It was on those trips that my passion for food and now wine and spirits was born. Like most people, I attended college, then graduated from law school and practiced as an attorney for 15 years. While practicing, I attended culinary school at night. Upon graduating from culinary school, I pursued a wine education through the Master Court of Sommeliers – part of that exam covers distilled spirits – and I then attended five schools around the country to learn how to make alcohol. I observed the similarities to cooking, in that you are cooking grain and imparting flavor and/or filtering for taste and finish, and we use a culinary point-of-view throughout our distillation process. My upbringing and introduction to the American culinary scene at a young age was the inspiration for my entire life’s journey, which is now embodied in my distillery – Blackland – and is a culmination of my life experience, education and love for all things food, wine and spirits.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?

Blackland has many differentiators.

First, we make and distribute five ultra-premium spirits. Most distilleries focus on one. We’re trying to capture a broad audience. If you just focus on one spirit, you’re alienating an entire group of people who don’t like that spirit. We’re trying to touch everyone. Also, taste is subjective, our palates change over time, and what you like at 20 is probably different than what you will like at 30, 40 and 50, etc… I believe part of the success of the brand is the diversity of the spirits and the diversity of revenue streams in selling our spirits to different groups.

Secondly, the bottle is the brand. It’s not a stock bottle. So many people visit our distillery and tell us that they bought Blackland because they liked the bottle and then they really liked what was inside. Packaging is everything in an uber-competitive alcohol market and you have to be able to stand out. We’re not a well spirit and we always get great shelf placement at bars and restaurants because the bottle is so attractive – which is great for long-term recognition and awareness.

Third, ultra-premium quality. We use state-of-the-art technology to make our spirits. Quality is everything for us. We’ve been able to stand out with high-quality spirits because the reality is that we live in a world of mediocre alcohol, especially at the craft level. There’s too much competition not to be great. And we’ll put our alcohol against anyone.

Finally, price. As a newer brand, we’re priced competitively so that no one can ever tell us ‘no’ because it’s too expensive. The price point, along with the quality, packaging and variety, has allowed us to grow very quickly.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I’d take them to our tasting room – Tastemaker/CultureMap Fort Worth’s ‘Bar of the Year’ 2020. Fort Worth Weekly’s ‘Best Cocktail Lounge’ 2021. It’s sophisticated, dark, and intimate, and the cocktails change seasonally based on the availability of fresh produce.

As for food, I would eat at Provender Hall, Clay Pigeon and Tokyo Cafe. I would stay at either the Hotel Drover in the Stockyards or the Kimpton Harper downtown. The new Mule Alley in the Stockyards is worth a visit and a drink at Side Saddle Saloon, Lonesome Dove, H3 or Ático.

I’d also take them to South Main where there are a lot of new great restaurants and bars in Fort Worth.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

My parents for introducing me to fine dining and what food should taste like. And supporting me through all of my educational endeavors.

My wife for her support in leaving the practice of law and opening a distillery in what might be the most competitive capitalist market in the world–alcohol.

Website: www.blacklandfw.com

Instagram: blacklanddistilleryfw

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/blackland-distillery/mycompany/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blacklandfw?lang=bg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blacklanddistillery/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/blackland-distillery-fort-worth-2

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY82T1cpoA1QHgqXEyrFOGw

Image Credits
Hannah LaCamp

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