Our American adventures continue to unfold, as we bring more beautiful bottles of Isle of Harris Gin to our friends and fans across the Atlantic.
We’re very pleased to be accompanied on these new roads by the good folk at MISA Imports who are based in the great city of Dallas.
We recently caught up with their Chief Operating Officer Matt Mize, who has been integral to this exciting partnership between our teams in Texas and Tarbert, for a chat.
Matt was born in California, but has led a bit of a nomadic life which has taken him from his home state through Utah, Washington, and on to Texas where he resides today.
A 2003 graduate of Eastern Washington University he worked for Costco Wholesale for 14 years in a multitude of roles before coming to MISA in January of 2018.
We meet with Matt (and his colleague Cormac, who we’ll introduce you to soon) on a weekly basis through online video calls and he kindly agreed to do a wee interview with us for this week’s Journal.
Read on for more...
Can you tell us a bit more about MISA and the wider team over there in Texas?
"MISA was founded in 1998 by Sam Assaad. Over time, it has truly become a global company as the business has evolved over the years. We are certainly still specialists in wines from Bordeaux, but our portfolios have truly blossomed to include some of the most beautiful, prestigious wines and spirits from all over the globe. I have been blessed to be involved in the development of the spirits portfolio, and I am so very proud to see it grow to include some of the finest spirits the world has to offer. Our business is not transactional, it is relational, and we’re honoured that Isle of Harris Distillers has chosen to partner with us. It is a tremendous responsibility that we take very seriously."
What first brought our Isle of Harris Gin to your attention and how did things unfold from there?
"Our Founder, Sam Assaad, first saw the bottle in a spirits shop in Paris in October of 2018, and we have been in pursuit since then! It was love at first sight. That was when I first reached out to your managing director Simon Erlanger. I believe your own conversations regarding entry into the US market had just begun at that time, and our communication was timely. We met with Simon in person when he made a trip stateside, and explained our vision for our craft spirits portfolio and how Isle of Harris Gin fit so well into that strategy. I remained in contact with Simon over the next 18 months knowing for certain that there was an opportunity for us to partner in the US. And, happily we did."
How has our Isle of Harris Gin be received in the US so far and are you a gin drinker yourself?
"The reception has been tremendous! Firstly, from our retail partners throughout the United States, but most importantly by the consumers. There has been an amazing grass-roots movement on social media to get the word out about Isle of Harris Gin. This word of mouth has been a great asset. Isle of Harris Gin is in a class all of its own, and consumers are recognizing the brilliant bottle design, but most importantly the quality and craft of the gin itself. I am a gin drinker, and Isle of Harris has taken its rightful place on top of my favourite gins. My favourite way to enjoy it is in a classic bone dry Gin Martini with a twist."
What is still to come for our US friends in other states still waiting for its arrival at a bar or store near them?
"We are carefully rolling out Isle of Harris Gin to new markets in the US. We want to make sure we do this in a measured way. Ultimately, we want everyone to be able to enjoy Isle of Harris Gin at home or in their favourite bar or restaurant, but we want to make sure we are finding the best partners for you in each respective market. It is important that they believe in Isle of Harris Gin as much as we do, and are committed to the storytelling aspect of the Social Distillery."
Many thanks to Matt for taking time to do this wee interview with us, and for all the hard work being done to share our island spirit in his homeland.
We’ll be hearing more from MISA in the coming weeks as we catch up with Cormac McCarthy who has also been a key figure in our stateside story.
Meantime, if you’re in the US please check out our dedicated website page to explore the map and find your nearest stockist, and do sign up for the latest news on our journey while you’re there too!