We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Malkin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I began my career in New York City as a journalist writing for several publications including Smart Money, Esquire, the New York Post, and Beverage Media to name a few. While I wrote about different lifestyle topics, I also often wrote about beer, wine and spirits. Once I became a lawyer and prior to starting my law firm, I was an attorney for Pernod Ricard USA, the company that imports Absolut Vodka, Malibu Rum, The Glenlivet, Jameson, and many others. At that time, the craft distillers movement was gaining momentum nationwide. Many of my friends and contacts within the alcohol beverage industry were now heavily involved in the craft boom. I recognized the need these new industry members had for industry specific legal advice. From a young age, I have always been entrepreneurial. So when moving from New York City to Miami, rather than going to a big firm, I started Malkin Law to provide counsel to those within the alcohol beverage industry.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Malkin Law is a boutique firm focussed solely on serving the needs of those in the alcohol beverage and cannabis industries. These are heavily regulated industries. We are business minded, meaning we try to solve problems and provide practical solutions, not just provide the law. Because of my experience as a journalist covering the alcohol industry, I have a unique understanding of how brands position and market their products. Thanks to my experience at Pernod Ricard, supporting the national sales team and some of the world’s largest brands, I know how the big brands do it and how things can change state to state. Our insight into the national landscape is of great value. We try to bring big supplier level legal counsel to all of our clients of any size. We do so without the bureaucracy and (often) high fees of a big firm.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I recommend staying on the beach in Bal Harbour/Surfside, away from the crowds. In that area, the Four Seasons Surfside is great for a cocktail. Grab dinner and drinks at the Broken Shaker and 27 located at the Freehand Hotel. Definitely check out the murals and artwork in Wynwood while enjoying a coffee from Panther Coffee. Visiting Little Havana and enjoying drinks and live music at Ball and Chain is a must. For those that want to go “off the beaten path,” grab a Cuban pastelito at Lucerne in Westchester and authentic Argentinian empanadas from Graziano’s. Upper Buena Vista is another cool neighborhood. Have dinner at nearby Boia De, it’s intimate and made me think I was dining in NYC.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Among others, most importantly is my wife, Annette Malkin, principal at Culturewise Collective. Annette is a public relations professional who focuses on wine and spirits as well as lifestyle brands. As I said, I started my career as a journalist in New York covering travel and lifestyle for SmartMoney magazine. Being so good at her job, Annette made me fall in love with the spirits industry and the brands she was working with. Later, Annette strongly supported my decision to start my own practice, rather than work for another firm, and continues to do so. In addition, the late, great Dave Pickerell was one of the motivating factors in starting my own practice. As a master distiller, most notably known for Maker’s Mark, Dave went on to consult and worked with many of the country’s craft distillers. He saw the craft distilling movement happening and told me to get on board, bringing clients to Malkin Law from day one. On a day to day basis, my colleague Ashley Hanke has been amazing. She has allowed Malkin Law to grow, handling a diverse range of clients from global brands to start-ups.