Taking Flight

Sommelier and spirits expert Lindy Brown strikes out in a new direction.
Lindy Brown was 9 years old when she first snuck a drink from her mother’s glass of wine. Instead of uttering the ewww her mom expected, Brown started rattling off tasting notes like a schoolkid savant, early evidence of a discriminating palate that would become her professional calling card. She went on to work full-time with her husband, chef Neal Brown (of Pizzology, The Libertine, Stella, and Ukiyo), in their restaurants for several years, ultimately deciding she was ready to try something on her own. “It’s too hard for two people in one family to be completely consumed,” says Brown. “I wanted to help Neal create his dream, but it wasn’t always my dream. So I was fine stepping away. It worked out perfectly.”

Now, as a key accounts manager at Republic National Distributing Company, Brown spends most of her days educating other beverage professionals on ways to showcase fine spirits in cocktail programs, or consulting on the wine and cocktail menus at restaurants run by her husband. Though she can talk all day about crafting the perfect cocktail or curating an impressive wine list, she’s just as likely to bend your ear about her other favorite subject: hospitality. “Anybody can make a daiquiri or an old-fashioned. We all know the builds,” says Brown. “But it’s anticipating the guests’ needs that makes the difference. Make eye contact with them. Smile. You are on stage, and you’re there for the guest to have an amazing experience.”