We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Nguyen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, how does your business help the community?
The First Responder Whiskey Society is currently a Facebook group of around 1800+ police, fire, military, and medical staff from around the United States, Europe, and Australia. The group is built on establishing a place on social media for first responders of all disciplines can connect over their shared love of whiskey. The primary focuses of the group are currently: whiskey educational tastings (online and eventually in person) and charity work. The charity work we do involves purchasing barrels of whiskey from various distilleries. The barrel is named after a fallen officer, released to members of that officer’s department, family/friends of the officer, and members of our group. The barrel is sold and portions of the proceeds are donated to a charity in the first responder’s name as a designated donation to help out the family. Our latest barrel pick allowed us to donate $4000 to the Riverside Deputy Sheriffs’ Relief Fund as well as raise nearly an additional $1000 from bars in the area. The real purpose of the group isn’t to drink whiskey, but to build relationships between people and support families of fallen first responders. Our group’s motto is “per servitium spirituum.” This is latin for service through spirits.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My main job is a Police Sergeant in a large metropolitan city. I work with a tight-knit group of officers to keep people safe. With the political climate and tough times we’ve had of late, I realized it was imperative and necessary to create a space online where first responders could have a second home. First Responders are constantly on the go from one emergency to the next trying to take care of other people, but they often overlook themselves. People from every first responder discipline, whether it be police, fire, military, or medical, need to unwind like everyone else and have a place where they can feel supported. I’ve realized over the years that personal and professional interactions always boil down to how the interaction made you feel, and not necessarily what happened. The charities and causes that we decide to take on are all about how we can help out our own when they are at their lowest of lows. They may not know us, and we may not know them, but we want them to understand that there are people across the world that are there for them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Let’s party! I would take them for the ol’ surf and turf. First I’d take them to the beach for snorkeling in La Jolla Cove. You can swim with the leopard sharks out there and it’s a blast. Next I’d take them inland for a hike up Cowles Mountain, one of my favorite views of the city. We’d swing by STK downtown for some happy hour oysters and Angel’s Envy Rye Manhattans from Max the bartender and then Born and Raised for tableside steak tartare and cocktails. After that the night’s just starting because we’d head over to Seven Grand in North Park. It’s one of the best whiskey bars in San Diego. Their service is amazing and their cocktails are on point. Finally, we’d end the night over at Aero Club playing pool and working our way through their huge whiskey section.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate the success of the group to my wife Sarah. She is such a huge driving force in the creative direction and organization of the First Responder Whiskey Society. Moreover, she has such a big heart and is always focusing on how the group can provide benefit and value to others in need.