A Weekend In The Life Of… A Wild Geese Brand Ambassador

A few weekends ago The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey Collection (sold in North America under the brand name of ‘The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes’) turned up in San Francisco for Whiskies of the World Expo. The event was a huge success and back here in London, we were delighted with the pictures we received. 

But its not all sitting back and looking at photographs. We need people on the ground, spreading the message of The Wild Geese – to both the consumer and bar owners. Shann Dornhecker offers a behind the scenes glance at the life of a brand ambassador. 

Take it away….

Being an LA native there is a natural rivalry between my hometown and San Francisco..and due to TSA pat downs, it seemed that I would never make it up there, unless I finally made an effort, however, becoming the Brand Ambassador for The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes presented me with a lovely opportunity to go.





My first day was your typical pre-show stuff – meeting our booth model Nourit Raphael, a San Francisco beauty, native born and bred, meetings with distributors, reviews of local magazines, a quick change and then off to a special pouring at Swig located on Geary St. This was a great opportunity to meet with the reps of other brands as well as some of the VIP attendees. This also provided me with the opportunity to get to know Douglas Smith, the President of Whiskies of the World and his lovely wife Lana, who were the consummate host and hostess.  It’s amazing what they have built out of an idea to have a party to enjoy some great whiskies. The event was great fun and ended early enough that I could indulge in my favorite past time before turning in to get ready for the show–a cigar and a good whiskey.  

Using my trusty my iPhone, it only took me 2 hours to do a 15 minute walk to find the Occidental Cigar Bar. I shall remember next time to turn on the compass when following the Google map – I learned that the streets of San Francisco are laid out at intersecting angles, and while you may walk a straight line, that straight line crossing at a light will put you on a completely different street – it really was a 15 minute walk, only I kept getting lost.  Though in my meandering, I did manage to see a parade of bicyclists on Market Street including a naked man wearing nothing more than a stocking cap on his head–which caused me to wonder…is there such thing as too much self esteem? 


I finally arrived at the Occidental Cigar Bar and found it to be a wonderful little refuge of the best kind of vices – cigars, whiskey, wine, a great jukebox and the only bar in San Francisco that you can still have a smoke and a drink. I met the owner/bartender – Lance, an incredibly knowledgeable gentleman who knows his whiskies, and if you tell him what you’re smoking, he can pour you something fantastic that matches your smoke perfectly. Getting to know Lance after he poured me something lovely (as he regretfully did not have The Wild Geese in stock – something that was quickly remedied after he tried us at the show), he mentioned that he was building an Irish Whiskey Collection. 

Chaney (former LA native and) Manager/Head Bartender
of Cigar Bar & Grill in San Francisco, showing off his new
UNTAMED tattoo – look for The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers &
Heroes Classic Blend coming soon to their location
As of this past Monday, the Occidental Cigar Bar is officially carrying The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes Classic and Single Malt. Please stop in and ask Lance or Rick for a taste and tell them I sent you.

The other wonderful thing about San Francisco is its community. Lance graciously arranged for me to meet with the Bar Manager/Head Bartender of Cigar Bar & Grill, a beautiful club, where you can have a cigar and a drink on their outside patio. Ben and Chaney not only liked the tasting but were also excited about the many cocktails you can mix with the Classic, as unlike Occidental Cigar Bar – they do make cocktails.

On Monday, Nourit graciously played hostess with her lovely friend Elyse, and they took me around to see the sites.  Though it was your typical San Francisco weather, I did manage to snap the picture of the Golden Gate bridge above. For more pictures of the Whiskies of The World Show please see our Facebook Page