Cellar 82 - Kasey

Cellar 82 - Kasey

Cellar 82

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Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started

Born in Toronto, raised all over North America, but mostly in the Niagara wine region. One of my first jobs was washing wine glasses for several different wineries (I think that’s where my love for wine started lol).

Fast forward many years and many jobs in the industry (wineries, liquor reps, bartender) My husband and I took a trip to Chicago and fell in love with a tiny champagne bar and wanted to bring that concept back to Ottawa. When we started looking for locations we realized we would have to basically open a restaurant and that isn’t something that we wanted. We really just wanted to open a tiny tasting bar. Not seeing a location that would suit our needs, we decided to take it mobile!


Do You have a background in mixology? How do you come up with your cocktail creations?

I have been a bartender for many years, as well as a liquor rep, and my husband actually took a cocktail course back in the day. It really just stems from our love of learning and lots and lots of research and experimentation.

What was the inspiration for making the bar mobile?

As mentioned before, we couldn’t find a space that would suit what we were looking for. We saw this concept of mobile bars in the states, Europe and Australia and decided to try and create something like that here in Canada.

Photo Credit: Cellar 82

Photo Credit: Cellar 82

Was it tough to find and renovate the Airstream?

Airstreams are quite sought after, so everytime one came on the market we would bid on it site unseen. I finally just decided to put an add on Kijiji and a family contacted me seeing if I wanted to purchase theirs (which I did).

My cousin is a uber talented furniture/ restaurant designer in Toronto, so when I brought him this project he was very excited to be a part of it. It took months of hard work, with me coming to Toronto as often as I could get away but we managed to get it done before our first booked event in September.

What’s it like running a business with your partner?

We actually have a great system where i am in front of the business and Eric does more of the behind the scenes things. I get to use my PR and marketing background and Eric gets to use his more organizational skills with the business paperwork. But at the end of the day we can bounce ideas off each other and experiment with cocktail recipes. It works for us!


What’s something surprising you’ve learned about yourself since starting the business?

I can run on very little sleep and I am an excellent driver haha. I purchased the Airstream and had it shipped to Toronto, so the very first time pulling an RV was when it was finally finished at 2am on a Thursday and I had to drive it through the night back to Ottawa because I was scheduled to be on CTV at 8am that same morning.

Do you have any plans for growth or expansion?

I have noticed the demand over the last couple of years, and expansion into different Canadian cities is definitely on the radar. It’s not just about purchasing another Airstream, its finding someone who I can trust to drive it as well as be the face of the business in those cities. Basically I need to find a way to clone myself. Any ideas?


What’s the coolest venue or location you’ve taken Cellar 82 to so far?

Hmm that is a tough one because we have been so fortunate to have taken the Airstream to some seriously cool events. In 2017 we were asked to serve Martinis on a movie set in Toronto for a pretty famous director who had a pretty famous cast, and it was surreal. We also have participated in the pop-up event Diner En Blanc in both Toronto and Ottawa and they have had some pretty amazing venues. We attended the Riverkeeper gala with Sophie Trudeau and the 4th of July party held at the US Ambassadors house. I could go on and on. We have been pretty lucky.

When you’re not running Cellar 82, what do you do in your free time?

Free time? What’s that? Haha. In my “off season” I do get to spend much more time with my two little girls and I travel. I love to attend conferences, seminars, workshops, anything that will give me the opportunity to grow the business.

You are located in Kanata. What’s your favourite place to go in Ottawa’s West End for a coffee or drink?

I love going to Quitters in Stittsville. It has such a neat vibe, the food and coffee are delicious and some people don’t know this but they have a fantastic wine list with many of Ottawa’s local craft beers.

Photo Credit: Cellar 82

Photo Credit: Cellar 82

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