We'll Drink To This

Austinites represent on buzzy list of nation's top young beverage experts

Austinites represent on buzzy list of top young U.S. beverage experts

Jessica Sanders, drink.well.
Jessica Sanders is the co-owner and operator of Backbeat and Drink.Well. Photo by Knox Photographics
June Rodil sommelier
Master Sommelier June Rodil is the beverage director at McGuire Moorman Hospitality. Photo by Eric Morales
Jessica Sanders, drink.well.
June Rodil sommelier

Austin fares well on a buzzy new list from a national drinking authority. Wine Enthusiast recently pronounced the Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers for 2016 (not to be confused with our Tastemaker Awards), and locals June Rodil and Jessica Sanders made the cut.

The roundup recognizes the best sommeliers, mixologists, distillers, and beverage experts in the country. 

Rodil is celebrated for her role as beverage director at McGuire Moorman Hospitality, which debuted June's All Day earlier this summer. The 36-year-old Master Sommelier tells Wine Enthusiast that her namesake bistro is the kind of place "where you can drink Champagne while wearing shorts and flip-flops." (We're inclined to agree.) When not at the helm of June's or curating wine lists for other MMH properties, Rodil helps run the TEXSOM wine conference and competition.

Sanders, 36, has been a pillar of the Austin beverage scene since opening Drink.Well with her husband, Michael, and founding Texas Tiki Week. Sanders' career may revolve around cocktails, but her second concept, Backbeat, also has an impressive lineup of wines and a unique Champagne program that showcases different producers.

"It's pretty awesome to see cocktail nerds ordering wine again," she confides to Wine Enthusiast.

One other Top 40 Under 40 Tastemaker has Texas ties: Fort Worthian Matt Hedges, 36-year-old co-founder and president of Vino del Sol.