Some seven years ago, Kyle Groth was lacing up a pair of brown dress shoes while getting ready for a wedding.
“I was in a hurry and ended up breaking one of the laces,” he said. “I stopped by a couple of stores for a replacement and found there was not much to choose from, and nothing that would add a little color or style to what I was wearing. The quality was also very poor.”
In time, that led the South Florida native down what he calls the “shoelace rabbit hole.” Though only 27 years old at the time, the Cornell graduate already had cut his teeth in early-stage brand building, first by helping bring Angel’s Envy bourbon to market (four years before Bacardi purchased the company, in 2015, for a reported $150 million).
After that, Groth got behind a spirit called Papa’s Pilar Rum, eventually partnering with the family of the inspiration of that product, Ernest Hemingway, who was as good with a bottle as he was with a typ...
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