A conversation with Nick Hogan
Nick Hogan is one of two minds behind the pin-pushers at Mover & Shaker. In celebration of their Tales collaboration this year, we sat down to talk keg Tetris, good intentions and the art of the side hustle.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Nick found himself working in the insurance industry after studying risk management and finance at Florida State. At the time, his pool of knowledge in the world of craft cocktails was about as deep as a can of Budweiser. After punching a few clocks, he soon realized the traditional cubicle (albeit, cozy) was not for him.
After seasonally job-hopping, St. Augustine, Florida called him home. Calling too, was the craft beer scene which at the time was mid-boom. With a newfound curiosity for hops and a few home-brew meetings under his belt, he set his sights on a career in beer distribution. He got a job as a barback and later a bartender at Odd Birds. Here he made his first Last Word, highlighted all 320 pages of Death & Co and gained a mentor in owner, Cesar Diaz.
Flashforward to an award-winning entry in the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience in 2017. Looking to propel his personal brand and cultivate a network, Nick decided to make merch, “kind of like a band.” Like most good things, this was a smart idea that started small. As the concept grew legs, co-founder and graphic designer Matt Shail came into play. Googling “how to ship things” and turning shift money into pin money, the company snowballed to become the official LLC it is today.
Daq The Ripper was born first from a tattoo on Nick’s calf and Stronger Drinks went viral after the second season of some show was released on Netflix. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Nick called on Lindsey Johnson of Lush Life & Camp Runamok to release a Pina Colada pin which raised over $1,000 benefiting the Island People’s Recovery Fund. And when the world lost a friend in John Lermayer of Sweet Liberty, the Pursue Happiness pin was created raising over $15,000 for the family.
“As a bartender, you’re the gatekeeper to the city your customer is in. You can take those little moments and make an impact. You can change someone’s life.” Mover & Shaker is a small, but mighty business set out to support the industry it toasts to. “We’d like to be a voice for the people in our community, even if the conversation isn’t an easy one.” It’s this kind of thinking that makes way for conscious creativity and advocacy in both the good times and the bad.
Did you survive Tales 2018? If you did, you probably saw the pin Mover & Shaker made. It was a crawfish drinking out of a Hand Grenade. “These are a nod to the cheesy, ultra cliche shirts you see on boardwalks and in movies with the classic ‘I Survived this Event’ wording, except that with Tales it is actually a feat worth bragging about.” This year, they made a Voodoo Doll drinking a Vieux Carre, “the Voodoo Carre if you will!”
For 2019, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation called on Mover & Shaker to collaborate on the design of two tee shirts (with help from Small Caps Collective) and a patch. Each was inspired by the official 2019 cocktail, the Ace of Cups and the unapologetic character of New Orleans. “We had a lot of fun diving into the history of The Highball, especially in traditional Japanese bartending culture. We scoured through endless articles on the meticulous preparation, which was so interesting because at surface level a cocktail with two liquid ingredients seems so simple! It is that dedication to the craft that ties together so well with the notion of this year’s theme, Cultivate. We drew influence from the Ace of Cups, a classic tarot card that symbolizes friendship and connection- the perfect metaphor for not only Tales of the Cocktail but the relationships that are cultivated at the convention.” These items are here for a good time, but not a long one. Get yours at Tales of the Cocktail 2019 in New Orleans July 16-20th at the Cocktail Kingdom Pop-Up Shop. For all other products, visit the TOTC shop and Mover & Shaker online.
Looking forward, Mover & Shaker has plans to take over more square footage in your closet. But first, some questions and answers from Daq The Ripper, himself.
Favorite Bar in New Orleans??
Latitude 29 at 6pm in the afternoon.
In a world with only one spirit, what would you have it be?
I’ll preface this by first saying how much I love whiskey, but there’s something very special about agave-based spirits and the way you can taste every part of the production process. Mezcal and tequila, that’s my answer.
Straw-gate. What’s your position?
We’re not going to tell people not to use straws, but we do believe there are a lot of other ways you can choose to make a difference. Bamboo or Bust is a campaign we worked on to promote Buluh bamboo straws. Proceeds from the pins benefit a local sea turtle rehabilitation center.
Best cocktail name you’ve ever seen on a menu?
My Little ‘Groni
Least favorite cocktail trend?
Anything companies get behind, but don’t legitimately follow through with. Luckily, some people do stick around after the hype and thoughtfully execute those big ideas. Trash Tiki, for example, with their anti-waste cocktails & the Pin Project, which brings awareness to sobriety and mental health in the industry.
You’re opening a novelty bar. What’s the theme?
I’m super into coffee right now, so it would have to be a vintage Italian cafe racer bar. We’d only have amaro and shots of espresso.
Album/Cocktail pairing for 2019/2020?
We’re huge advocates of the Golden Rule and propagating positivity. Let’s take things back to simpler times and save ourselves from the pretentiousness and self-righteousness with War’s “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and a Miami Vice, the ultimate guilty pleasure cocktail!
Strategy for first timers at Tales this year?
Don’t forget to eat and sleep.
The people of New Orleans want a M&S go-cup. What’s on it?
Voodoo and Alligators!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Remember what you’re trying to accomplish during your time in New Orleans. Tales of the Cocktail is the Mecca for industry networking, the person you bump into at the bar could be your boss someday down the road so treat every introduction as an opportunity and keep your business cards handy!