In the beverage industry, the title Brand Ambassador is kinda a big deal since you are essentially one of the main faces of your brand across the country. While the job might seem like a fun whirlwind of traveling to awesome locales for non-stop lavish cocktail parties with said brand, there is certainly a lot of work involved and you need a tons of of limitless energy to always be on.
One fella who is the epitome of having such limitless energy, is Trevor Schneider. We first met Trevor when he was behind the stick at Gold Bar which is well-known for having not only one of the most legit craft cocktail programs in the nightclub game but also one of the most electric bar teams ever. Let’s find out what this lively cocktail slinger has to say about his Life of a Brand Ambassador at Reyka Vodka.
State your name and title for the record
Trevor Schneider, National Ambassador for Reyka Vodka
Ok, so we hear the term “Brand Ambassador” holds different meanings in various industries. For all of those who are not in the beverage world, it may seem like you just get paid to drink all around town. To educate all the peeps out there … what exactly is a Brand Ambassador?
While enjoying cocktails is part of the of the job, my main focus is traveling around the United States educating, training, and entertaining media, consumers, and bartenders about Reyka Vodka. I basically live the brand in every aspect of my life!
How did you become a Brand Ambassador?
I worked my tail off for many years behind the bar. Learning everything about spirits from production to consummation and a great deal about hospitality.
It takes a very special kind of person to be a good Brand Ambassador. What type of traits do you think are essential in order to be a rockstar BA?
I will take that as a complement. A couple traits that are essential are: being personable, humble and always ready to appreciate a great cocktail!
What are the best things about your job?
The best part of my job is the getting to travel to different place around the world, meeting new people and educating them on Reyka vodka. It allows you to converse with many people both inside and outside the spirits industry.
Now the flipside, what are some of the biggest challenges?
Emails and 9am conference calls. Being a brand ambassador means you’re always working, and always on. I’m working on the work/life balance.
Do you think that there are misperceptions about your job?
There is definitely the misperception that all brand ambassadors do is drink in bars all day, and while the job does include having drinks, my main focus is on sharing what makes Reyka Vodka so unique.
What’s the dopest thing you’ve gotten to do on the job?
I’ve gotten to do so many cool things since working with Reyka Vodka. I’ve toured the lava rock fields bordering Reyka Vodka’s hometown of Reykjavik and met so many truly resourceful Icelanders. But as a passionate entertainer I’d have to say standing on top of our Reyka Snow Cone Hus (our larger than life snow cone machine) at Tales of the Cocktail as the King of the North this past July quite literally topped them all!
I know you are ride or die for your brand – but you are also beloved in the industry all around …. can spread the love and give special shout outs to some other BA’s whom you respect and think are great at their jobs?
Wow…so many to mention. I’ll give it a shot. Charlotte Voisey! She has taken me under her wing and taught me so much in my first year in the position. Big love to her! Jaime Salas, Jim Ryan, Dean Callan, Simon Ford, Tim Cooper, Max Warner, Dan Warner, Claire Smith Warner Gardner Dunn etc. There are so many others out there, I can’t name them all!
Did you have a mentor or people who helped you along the way?
Tim Cooper has been a mentor of mine for a long time. He’s not only taught me how to get to the next level of mixology, but he was also instrumental in me landing this position. Big Love Mr. Cooper! Thank you!
Can you give some advice to aspiring BAs of the future?
Take your time and find the right fit for you. Being a brand ambassador isn’t a job it’s a lifestyle.
They say vodka pays the bills and it sometimes has a love / hate relationship with some drinkers, what are your thoughts on the category?
Vodka has been around for a long time and it’s not going anywhere. It’s an extremely versatile spirit that plays well with others. While the market is crowded with various flavors and infusions and can be difficult to navigate, there are a lot of great brands out there such as Reyka.
It’s all about finding the right brand for your taste.
How should consumers go about buying a vodka? What should they know or look for when trying a new brand?
Look for quality and authenticity. For example, at Reyka Vodka, our liquid is produced in preciously small batches. Each distillation takes about 6 hours and yields just 255 cases. There are no additives. Producing liquid in small batches gives us control over making sure each bottle is the highest quality possible.
After quality, it comes down to personal taste. Speaking with your local liquor retailer or neighborhood bartender could be a great way to figure what brands relate best to your own preferred taste profile. Of course, the best (and most fun way) to figure out which vodka you should buy is trial!
What’s your favorite vodka cocktail?
Reyka Vodka Martini bone dry stirred with a lemon twist. It’s amazing! It tastes like the coldest, Icelandic spring water.
You’re part of the infamous GoldBar family legacy, who is the best drinking buddy from that crew if you want a wild night out?
Hahaha! That’s easy. It would be Mr. Tim Cooper & Remi Shobitan!
OK – so now let’s finally Shout Out your brand …. Reyka Vodka! Why are you so proud to be repping the brand?
I thought you would never ask. Reyka Vodka unitizes the best resources that Iceland has to offer and it’s made in a small batches. I also get to work with the wonderful people at William Grant and Sons. They have been making spirits for over 125 years, and as a family-owned company, they take the time to nurture their brands.
What makes it special?
Reyka Vodka is unique because we use arctic spring water which is some of the purest water in the world. Our vodka is filtered through lava rocks which is a natural, effective, and efficient way to remove impurities. Geo-thermal energy from volcanoes is used to produce our spirit which produces absolutely no emissions keeping the air green and clean! Finally, we use one of only six Carter-Head Stills in the world to distill our spirit. The high level of copper provides us with an unparalleled level of purity and ours is the only one used to make vodka.
Shameless plug & social time, what are you working on now and what social handles do you want to share?
I’m really excited to be working on NORTH Nordic Food Festival. It’s the largest celebration of Nordic food outside of Northern Europe and it’s going down next month from Sept 23rd to September 28th in New York City. I’ll be partnering with some other great Nordic restaurants, companies, and brands and leading cocktail demos with Reyka Vodka on Iceland Day, which will take place on Saturday, September 26th. Another project I’m really excited to be a part of are the Tricks of the Trade videos. We reached out to our friends in the industry and created these great, inventive videos showing off some unbelievable bar tricks. They’ve been making their way through Facebook and we have a few more in the works.