New to the Millennial Competition judging family, welcome Wootak Kim, spirits judge! Wootak is the founder of BarChemistry. He is a mixologist and social media influencer. Let’s get to know him a little better…
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m 25, about to be 26. I’m Leo, I love anime, snowboarding, reading and working out.
How did you get interested in spirits and involved in the industry?
I got involved because I always thought bartending was such a swaggy job and I needed to pay bills and save for college. When I got started I loved coming up with recipes as it gave me a chance to be creative which led me deep into spirits!
How would you say Korean culture has shaped your experiences with spirits/within the industry?
Koreans are big drinkers, but they stick to cultural Korean beverages. I like using my cocktail knowledge to bring Korean flavors and spirits into the world of cocktails. Also, Koreans are very much against jobs like this normally, and tend to look down on it. I think I’ve achieved a unique level of success that even the most stuck up parents would have to acknowledge. So, I like that I was able to prove that you don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer to have “success.”
What have your experiences as a bar consultant been like?
I love the creativity of creating menus and meeting new people at every place I consult for. However, I’ve learned that most restaurant and bar owners are an absolute nightmare to work for and with. It’s a very go-with-the-flow industry and in smaller restaurants/bars you’d be lucky to find even the smallest smidge of any order, systems, or planning. I no longer look to consult places as it was not scalable nor a pleasant work experience at the level I was doing it at.
Tell us more about your company BarChemistry! What makes your barware unique?
We sell barware and digital products like bartending courses. It’s my pride and joy; it’s basically my entire life at the moment. Our barware is unique because it was born from a bartender who was tired with the way bar tools were made. Whoever was making them before has clearly never bartended because all of the big brands made custom barware that just SUCKED to use. Ours never get stuck, they are the perfect size. And they look way better than whatever you’re using right now.
You have a crazy amount of followers on Tik Tok (1.5+ Million), what has your Tik Tok journey been like?
TikTok’s been crazy to say the least. My life has changed 300% since my first viral video. If I had to say just one thing about it all, I would say it is a LOT of work. More than anyone thinks. When I started I made and posted 3 videos every single day. I edited, filmed, took pictures, wrote blogs, and uploaded all by myself. I literally woke up and did nothing but make or edit content for like 3 months straight. Which was mainly possible due to Quarantine. I didn’t even get unemployment money because I didn’t want to waste time waiting on the phone back then. I think it’s paid off, and I would love that free money of course, but I don’t regret my decision.
My life has changed 300% since my first viral video. If I had to say just one thing about it all, I would say it is a LOT of work. More than anyone thinks.Wootak Kim
Thanks for chatting with us, Wootak! See you at the competition.