Marisela Maddox

Born and raised in Texas, my experience with Japanese culture was limited to Ramen noodles, my little brother's Pokemon trading cards, and pictures of Japan in National Geographic. After graduating with a communications degree and a law degree, I did some soul-searching and found myself wanting something a bit more fun, creative, and unique. Every aspect of Sake Social from sourcing new products, working with importers, creating new content, and getting to know our wonderful customers has been meaningful. Even the challenge of figuring out how to ship alcohol into each of the 50 states [we aren't quite there yet!] has been a fun challenge. The best parts are 1) suggesting brews to novice drinkers and having them come back to try more, 2) having expert drinkers educate me on sake and Japan, and 3) sharing a multi-generation family-owned brewery's story with our customers. Sake Social has come to be one of my most exciting adventures.

Marc Smookler

Sake Social is my fourth start-up, and my first foray into what I refer to as a "lifestyle business"—suffice it to say, it is a welcome change. While I do not know where my passion for sake will take me, I do know that for once in my life, I am not in a rush to get there.

After graduating from college as a finance "ninja", I entered the legions of investment banking where I toiled away for nearly a quarter of my life in Minnesota and NYC... Thankfully, a couple of my friends awakened my inner desire to create something and, on a whim, I dropped everything and forced myself into becoming a webpreneur.

Most nights, when my fingers finally revolt and refuse to type any more emails, you can usually find me happily engrossed in a PC game, including the most awesome Total War series.

I now reside in Austin, TX with my wife, two sons, a Standard Poodle, and my wife's chickens, cat, and rabbit.

Jason Laskowski

My first encounter with sake was in Las Vegas many years ago during the opening rounds of March Madness. Unfortunately it was Futsushu, and in the form of sake bombs. That experience didn’t entice me into exploring sake until Marc couldn't stop talking to me about his idea....Sake Social.

As we discussed the concept of a community-based e-commerce site, I had my first sip of Junmai Daiginjo. I was immediately hooked and soon thereafter began my self-taught, crash course in all things related to sake.

We have spent many months vetting the technical needs and challenges of bringing sake to the masses, and we are proud to bring you Sake Social!




Zachariah Smookler 

Born in New York City, and raised in Tokyo, one could say Japanese culture is deeply rooted within my body. A recent graduate of Syracuse University, I exited my undergraduate career straight into a landscape that has become much different than anyone would have ever imagined.

Assisting the team with the day-to-day operations, testing the wonderful sake and shochu brews, and writing blogs about products has allowed me to revisit the seven years I spent living in the wonderful and unique country that is Japan.

As I continue to assimilate myself in everything sake, my aim is to make sure our customers seamlessly find the brews they are interested in.

Kelly McKisic

WSA/NASA Certified Sommelier

I was born on a sunny August afternoon in Paris, France. My expat parents entertained their expat friends all the time, so our home was filled with noise, people, languages, food and a lot of love. This exposure to all things foreign, planted seeds of culinary curiosity in me and led me to become the chef and Certified Sommelier that I am today. 

My goal here at Sake Social is to give you easy and simple recipes and to help you find the best food pairings to go with your sake selections. 

I live in Ventura County, CA with my husband and our 2 sons. You can find me on Instagram @Foodwithawink.