Marc Smookler

Founder

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, baby boy, and a Standard Poodle that sniffs longingly at all my sake bottles...

Jason Laskowski

CTO

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!

Beau Timken

Sake Director

I used to work as a sake brewery in Kobe Japan 400 years ago. Don’t let this white boy’s body fool you—I am all Japanese on the inside. And I came back in this current—abused—package to preach the gospel of sake to any and all who will listen. My sake soapbox has taken many forms from a book about sake to a monthly newsletter; from hosting countless professional sake tastings to reviewing over 1,000 sakes professionally; from creating sake menus for restaurants across the country and staff training sessions to opening the first dedicated sake store in the US six years ago. In a word there is sake in my blood...perhaps too much.

The question that I have been asked the most in my last decade of sake searching is “What is your favorite sake?” To which I always reply, “It doesn’t matter!” What matters is that each person is the champion oftheir own palate and one person’s favorite sake rarely translates into another person’s favorite. With this principal in mind I travel (usually by donkey-back) across the US trying to champion sake by having it put on every wine menu in the country. I firmly believe that sake will follow in the Japanese food footprints—more and more Americans are opening sushi restaurants and selling miso, tofu, edamame, and all these strange worded items that now have become common place. In that vein, I strive to have sake become just as commonplace as sushi, tempura, and teriyaki. And to further this goal and do it well, we have created this very “uncommon” sake website!

Marisela Maddox

Chief Operating Officer

 

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 from the University of Texas with a communications degree, and the University of St. Thomas (in Minnesota) with a law degree, I did some soul-searching and found myself wanting something a bit more: fun, creative, different--so I retired my business suits and helped start the Sake Social experience. If only I did my soul-searching prior to all those classes (and all those student loans), I wouldn't have to drink so much of the supply! Between tasting every brew that comes our way to fielding questions and finding solutions to customers' biggest challenges [shipping sake abroad on a tight deadline], Sake Social has come to be one of my most exciting adventures.