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Meet Frankie Thaheld of Snake Oil Cocktail Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Frankie Thaheld.

Frankie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have been in restaurants most of my life, from the age of 15.

One of my first jobs was as a soda jerk in a 40’s diner. I developed a passion in making each malt or flavored cola with precision and enjoyed the way guests faces would light up upon presentation and first tastes. Too young to bartend, I paved the way to the bar and by the time I was in my early 20’s I was bartending at a corporate restaurant chain and quickly moved up to training bartenders internationally for the company’s overseas openings.

When I outgrew that concept, I worked for a well-known restaurant in La Jolla, CA called George’s at the Cove. There I studied food, wine, and spirits in depth. With the lead of a great chef, I crafted some of the first culinary-inspired cocktails in Southern California. This cocktail movement spread through some of the hearts of San Diego in the mid to late 2000s.

The first non-USBG bartender’s guild in San Diego was formed with about ten members, all of us were rising bartenders at the time. We focused on spirit education and cocktail consulting. I then started to consult outside of the restaurant in many different concepts to widen my experience.

In late 2012, I started working with Snake Oil Cocktail Company with a grander vision of spreading our style of mixology throughout the region and beyond. I became a partner with Snake Oil in 2014, and since then we have traveled internationally, and widespread domestically, plying our trade and elevating the cocktail scene wherever we go.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Building a business always has its pitfalls, but we have been very lucky to always have talented and driven employees.

Navigating the irregularity between needing five staff on a certain Saturday and then 60 staff the following Saturday can be challenging, but we have figured out how to maintain great staff through the ebbs and flows of the event business.

Learning how to scale as the company takes on more and larger events is part of the growing pains.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a licensed and insured beverage experience, design and consulting firm. Beverage catering is at the heart of our experiences, and we are known for our unique approach to culinary-inspired cocktails and elevated hospitality.

One thing we are particularly proud of at the moment is Cocktail Graffiti, an opportunity to showcase a company logo or personal image on top of a delicious cocktail and the ability to do this for large crowds.

We offer expert tasting experiences with talented spirit specialists, sommeliers, and cicerones. We also focus largely on educational and team building exercises around cocktail culture.

We manage concessions at three unique venues in San Diego; The San Diego Symphony, The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center (forthcoming), and the Lyceum Theatre, along with being a preferred beverage caterer at many of Southern California’s most popular event venues and averaging 800 events annually.

What were you like growing up?
I was always a curious youngster and quite adventurous to a fault. It took falling from a fence and breaking my wrist to learn to respect gravity and slow down a bit.

I was typically outgoing and often in a role of leadership in whichever task or group I would get involved with. Music and the outdoors were my two biggest draws. I did have a career in music at one time in my adult life and dreamed of becoming a forest ranger when I was a child.

My involvement in the Masonic-sponsored youth organization, DeMolay, was largely influential in helping me understand my role in the universe and helping in the transition from early teen to a responsible young man in his twenties.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jason Reimer, Paula Luna, Rachael Marie Smith, Fog & Dawn Photography

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