Photo credit: Sk Delph


Millennials and Gen Zers have made their mark and are calling the shots—spirit and beverage shots, that is. I met with ex-surfer, millennial and all-around great guy, Forrest Dein, the co-founder and CCO of JuneShine at their launch party on December 6th at Greene St. Kitchen located at the Palms Casino Resort and I was impressed. Why? They donate 1% of all sales to 1% For The Planet and helped motivate one of their suppliers to get USDA Organic certified because of their purchasing power. In fact, everything they use is 100% organic, renewable, recycled and sustainable. It’s just how they roll. 

“I walked down the aisles of Whole Foods Market,” said Forrest, “and wondered why we know so much about the food we put in our bodies and so little about the alcohol.” It was an epiphany moment and the birth of JuneShine, an organic, sustainable, kombucha that’s 6% ABV. “We ferment our kombucha twice, once with our house SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to create a clean kombucha base, followed by a traditional alcoholic fermentation,” Forrest explained.

JuneShine is an all-natural kombucha that health-conscious Americans from the young urban creatives of the millennial era to sports celebrities to Gen Zers who are just coming of age have put their stamp of approval on. Yes, Boomers be aware, this is what you need to be holding in your hand to be taken more seriously these days. Hard kombucha says you’re with it and young at heart and I’m all for that!

For more information:

JuneShine Hard Kombucha - Organic. 6% ABV. Gluten-Free

Bottles and Boxes

On December 20th I attended a charity event benefiting The Shade Tree, located at 1 W. Owens Ave, whose mission is to shelter the homeless, abused women and children in crisis. This event was coordinated and presented by Aaron Diec, the brainchild of Bottles and Boxes and who also happens to be the Director of the Asian Portofolio at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Nevada. The event hosted by Boathouse Asian Eatery located at Palace Station Casino brought together over 100 people to enjoy shochu, sake and sushi for a night of great food and holiday cheer in the spirit of giving.

It’s safe to say that Aaron Diec loves sneakers, so much in fact, he has a sneaker collection that would garner the envy of an NBA star. “I’ve always been into sneakers,” said Aaron. “So, I have a pretty extensive collection.” Watch a few ‘Bottles and Boxes’ Youtube episodes and be amazed. To break it down, the sneaker community is a culture. It’s a showcase of athletic shoes that exhibits high performance and a touch of fashion. Wearing a suit and tie with the right pair of sneakers is a thing! So it came naturally that Aaron would collect sneakers not just for himself but for those less fortunate to own a pair. “We brought in about 150 pairs of sneakers and delivered them to The Shade Tree that night!” 

“The best way to learn about a new beverage is to come out to these events and indulge.” ~ Aaron Diec, Dir. Asian Portfolio, SGWS

Aaron introduced ‘Shochu,’ a Japanese beverage about 25 to 37% ABV distilled from rice, barley, buckwheat, sweet potatoes, chestnuts and sesame seeds to name a few. Shochu is not sake, a brewed rice wine, but something different. A quick Google search will claim several health benefits and it’s caught fire with the health-conscious younger generation.  I tried the Nankai Gold Shochu and loved the clean, crisp taste. Let Aaron explain: “Shochu and sake are not just for Asian food anymore. The days of pairing (them) with sushi only are long gone. You can pair sake (or shochu) with pasta or a cheeseburger, BBQ ribs or chicken wings, it’s only a matter of finding the right sake.” I find this highly intriguing because I love sake. 

James Hsu, James Song and Kent Wong do all the videography for Bottles and Boxes. Aaron says, “They collaborate with restaurants that are up and coming or who are interested in showcasing their cuisine and present it on @Grubistry on Instagram or GRUBistry on Youtube.” 

Interested in showcasing your restaurant with any of these exciting opportunities? 

Contact Aaron directly at