Living Proof tells the story of how, in just a few short years, Connecticut natives Adam and Pete took Onyx Spirits Company from a start-up concept born in a restored Civil War-era factory to a multimillion-dollar, award-winning spirit distillery by breaking rules, learning from failures, and challenging the status quo.
Business lessons distilled from the mind of a moonshiner include:
Adam’s ancestors were arrested in 1864 for tax evasion on a shipment of moonshine bound for Canada, resulting in the collapse of Chafee & Co. Distilling. Undaunted by their demise, the family opened the grand Chafee’s Hotel in Middletown, Connecticut, at the dawn of the Roaring twenties, hosting an opulent and infamous speakeasy. The family legacy continues today with Onyx Moonshine.
Failing out of college after one semester, Adam von Gootkin chose to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure that has traversed e-commerce, muscle cars, and the music industry. Now 31, he and his partner have resurrected his family’s moonshine legacy 78 years after its inception, successfully introducing the world to the first ultra-premium American moonshine.
He has appeared on numerous national and regional media outlets, including Bloomberg, Fox, and NBC; hosted a regular radio show on Howard Stern’s debut radio station, The Rock 106.9; and is the cochairman of the Viscogliosi Entrepreneurship Center.