Avi, proprietor of SFD, was born and raised here in South Florida. He started rocking on the trombone during middle school where Avi and fellow bandmates Drew, Eric, and Mark came together to form Lithium, a SoFla punk/ska band. Lithium played all around South Florida at venues like The Culture Room and The Talent Farm (now hosting shows at Revolution Live) before the guys headed off to college. Avi went to Cornell University where he got his Electrical and Computer Engineering degree and met his wife Victoria. After graduating, they shipped out to Boston where Avi worked for Engauge, designing fire extinguisher monitoring systems. The two moved down to South Florida after Avi’s father passed away in 2012 so he could take the reins of the family business. Avi’s daily commute takes him past the heart of sugar country where most of the country’s sugar is grown. Avi, being Avi, asked the game changing question, where’s all the rum?
Joe, head distiller at SFD, grew up right here in SoFla, surfing cruise ship wake and hurricanes. Even though Joe was the best bass trombone player Cypress Bay High had ever seen, he would rather go to concerts than perform. While getting his Restaurant and Food Service degree at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen School of Hospitality Management, his career in distilling unknowingly started. He chose to pick Moonshine as his topic for a semester project in his beverage management class, where he built his first still, “anything to not write a paper.” There was no way Joe could take any more “mouse ear” shaped… everything, so he moved back down to South Florida. He decided to try something new and dabbled in corporate events, where he got to work in some of the top hotels and resorts in the world. Not wanting to rock a suit in one hundred degree weather (let alone shoes), he began looking to get back in the food service industry when Avi mentioned he wanted to start a distillery. And so it began.
Avi and Joe have known each other since middle school, where Mr. Anthony Williams gave them both a gift, a love for music—“the art of combining sounds and tones together, in a suitable manner which is pleasant to ones ear.” Avi played lead trombone and Joe played bass bone. Avi has always been good with electronics (like hooking up Joe’s car sound system), and Cornell helped take that to the next level. Joe spent quite a bit of time fermenting and researching distilling (for educational purposes) while going to Rosen, taking multiple beer, wine, and beverage classes. It was a perfect fit when they decided to start a distillery. Avi was able to customize and automate everything from fermentation to distillation to meet exactly what Joe wanted and knew would work. I wouldn’t want to say that these two could be described as a left and right brain divided laterally, but they definitely cover the full 360 degrees of a brain together.