Having grown up the grandson of a Springfield, KY bootlegger and son of a former bartender, Joe Riggs was raised hearing stories of his grandfather being “the only bootlegger to drive around Nelson County Courthouse on two wheels without breaking a bottle.” As well as watching his mother memorize cocktail recipes, he was always drawn to work in the spirits and hospitality industry. A 16-year veteran of restaurants, Joe Riggs has won multiple cocktail contests and has bartended and hosted events including the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Tales of the Cocktail, and The Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
An eleven-year bar and spirits career has led Joe to consult bar programs ranging from award-winning breweries to authentic Taiwanese restaurants and fine dining Italian steakhouses.
Joe has executed events for both suppliers and distributors and has served as a guest speaker at accredited culinary schools on the topic of bar trends and execution. He has worked for Redemption since 2012 after leaving the bar to be a full-time ambassador in February 2015.
Helen Kim was born in South Korea and grew up in Atlanta. She got her start in hospitality by working with small family businesses. Eager to learn all aspects of the industry, she worked at numerous restaurants, bars and clubs over the years. Wanting to explore a different industry that appeased her love for art and design, Helen followed an opportunity to work for a fashion designer in Miami. The job did not win her over, but the ocean stole her heart and she has been in Miami ever since.
Being a Georgia girl, American whiskey has been prevalent in her personal and professional life. This passion found her again in Miami at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, a top American whiskey bar in Florida. Here, she found a love for craft cocktails. She went on to hone her skills at other high-profile bars around Miami, later becoming a corporate beverage manager for a hospitality company. There she had the opportunity to develop craft beverage programs for several restaurants with celebrity chefs, such as Stubborn Seed with Jeremy Ford and Stiltsville with Jeff McGinnis. As she felt the need for more creative freedom, she began her own consulting company and took on projects that mirrored her love for spirits and cocktails.
Although she found the cocktail and bartending world fulfilling, she was eager to work with a whiskey brand and dive into her first love and passion. As the universe would have it, a brand that she had worked with and loved for several years was looking for a Southeast Brand Ambassador. Redemption had found its girl.
Matt Klette was raised along the Kentucky Bourbon trail. Whiskey was always prevalent in his life, but he found his calling working at bars while attending The University of Kentucky.
After moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actor, it became apparent that cocktails and bars were not going anywhere in his life. After cutting his teeth and learning from some of the top mentors in the cocktail world, Matt eventually created his own consulting company. Offering everything from bar design to spirits classes, Matt traveled the country focusing on small companies that didn’t have the funds to pay for the bigger names in the field.
It is Matt’s belief that creating a national cocktail culture is all about starting from the ground up. He is very excited to bring his unique set of skills and passion to the Redemption team.