Adam von Gootkin

Global Innovator & Entrepreneur; Co-Founder & CEO of Highclere Castle Spirits
Speaker Adam Von Gootkin smiling with a lake in the background
  • Entrepreneurial disruptor who has modernized time-tested business principles to grow his startups into industry leaders
  • Champions a customer-centered, brand-building approach rooted in authenticity, purpose, and responsible leadership and entrepreneurship
  • An energetic storyteller, von Gootkin shares insights and strategies for how organizations can implement innovative strategies to mix their business goals and responsibilities into the perfect cocktail for success

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Adam von Gootkin is a globally recognized innovator and risk-taker who has revolutionized the spirits industry with his unique approach to traditional business principles. Carrying on his family’s entrepreneurial legacy in the spirits industry, which began in the 1800s and continued through the prohibition era and into the present day, von Gootkin is the co-founder and CEO of Highclere Castle Spirits and the co-founder of Highclere Castle Cigar Co. A visionary in every sense of the word, von Gootkin has built an empire on foundations of authenticity and has re-written the rules for how organizations can spark innovation on the path to radical success.

Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, von Gootkin is a spirited presence on stage who uses his remarkable story of turning industries on their heads and pivoting his luxury gin brand during the pandemic to give audience members a shot in the arm and demonstrate how they can adopt a maverick mindset to innovate and develop solutions to the challenges their organizations face. Touching on themes of leadership, purpose, and customer-focus, he outlines his five proven strategies for responsibly building a brand that embodies the soul of its creators, takes customers on an emotional journey, and has the potential to change the world.  

After successfully founding and building the award-winning Onyx Spirits Company — Connecticut’s first distillery since prohibition and America’s first ultra-premium moonshine — von Gootkin’s next venture took him across the pond to the English countryside at Highclere Castle, recognized by fans worldwide as the home in the award-winning TV series and motion picture, Downton Abbey. There, he met the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, the castle’s owners, and partnered with them to create Highclere Castle Cigar Co., which, in the few short years since its founding, has become recognized as one of the top cigars in the world. Following the rapid growth of the company, von Gootkin and his co-founders launched Highclere Castle Spirits — furthering the vision to create a portfolio of hyperauthentic prestige brands with deep roots. To date, Highclere Castle Gin has won more than 70 international spirit awards and the company reached a $45 million valuation in under three years. An entrepreneur to his very core, von Gootkin previously co-founded the media production studio Onyx Soundlab and was a partner at iOnyx Group.

In addition to being the author of the book Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine’s Journey to Revive the American Spirit, von Gootkin has appeared in many of the world’s leading media outlets, including Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, NBC, and ABC. He is also an advisor to the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.  In all of his entrepreneurial pursuits, von Gootkin shows an unrelenting commitment to building ultra-luxury global products rooted in uniqueness, authenticity, sustainability, and irreplaceable pedigree.

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The Spirit of Entertaining

Top-Shelf Insights for Radical Innovation. Before any entrepreneur can set out to build a game-changing company, they must ask themselves, “What kind of business are you trying to create within the context of your life.” For spirits industry disruptor Adam von Gootkin, the issue of no locally produced spirits in his home state of Connecticut was the opening he needed.

This opportunity in the market led to von Gootkin tapping into offbeat thinking to create premium American moonshine — a paradigm-shifting product, given the spirit’s reputation for being low-quality. This was just the beginning of von Gootkin’s rise to being one of the leading innovators in the spirits industry, with the success of the product paving the way for his second and current spirit industry disrupting venture as the co-founder and CEO of Highclere Castle Spirits. In this talk, he shares top-shelf insights for how organizations and individuals can get creative and view business challenges from new perspectives to ignite a culture of radical innovation and uncover new pathways to achieving their vision.

Five Simple Steps for Building Consumer Trust. How do you go from creating a product (something that can be easily replaced) to creating a brand (something that people are emotionally invested in). As Highclere Castle Spirits co-founder and CEO Adam von Gootkin shares, the answer lies in adopting a customer-centric approach — one that is rooted in purpose and genuinely seeks to solve the problems that consumers are faced with each day. Re-orienting organizations and entrepreneurs to re-examine their missions and why they do what they do, von Gootkin, a gifted storyteller, shares a proven five-step philosophy for creating a beloved and trusted brand that resonates with consumers and is connected to everything they experience.

Beyond Business: Responsible Leadership & Entrepreneurship. While revenue and profit are important, the success of your organization should never come at the expense of your people, customers, or the environment. That’s the basis of responsible leadership and entrepreneurship.

For businesses looking to do well while doing good — maintaining a customer-centric focus while fulfilling their duty to advance the sustainability of our planet — global innovator and responsible entrepreneurship thought leader Adam von Gootkin shares actionable strategies for finding the balance between the bottom line and making the world a better place. As a leader who is shaping the future of business, he underscores the importance of authenticity in business and shares real-life examples for how responsible entrepreneurship leads to growth and creates positive change.

Mastering the Art of the Cold Call. The cold, hard truth about cold calling is that it can be difficult and the person on the other end of the phone is usually not receptive to the unsolicited outreach. If only you could keep them interested long enough to explain the benefits of your product or service and the value it provides.

Re-invigorating audience members around the prospect of cold calling, global innovator, entrepreneur, and spirit industry founder and CEO Adam von Gootkin does away with traditional cold calling methods that can be off-putting to customers, and largely ineffective, and shares new approaches for mastering this difficult art. In this deeply personal talk, he reveals the cold calling strategies that have spurred the growth of his businesses and demonstrates how they can be adapted to companies in any industry.

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