WhiskyFest Speaker Kyle McHugh

Kyle McHugh

Global Director of Advocacy  |  Global Director of Advocacy | Samson & Surrey

Kyle McHugh started his career bartending in Washington, DC in 1998. Over the next decade,he worked nearly every position possible in bars and restaurants across the country, including Washington, Los Angeles, and Chicago. In 2007, Kyle formed his beverage consulting, education & events company The Boozehound, and from 2008 – 2010, he opened & operated the retail drink boutique Drinks Over Dearborn. During this time, he also served as a professor of wine & beverage at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago, an instructor for Master Mixologist Bridget Albert’s Academy of Spirits & Fine Service, as well as for the Advanced Mixology & Culinary Academy.

Today, Kyle is the Director of Brand Advocacy for the craft spirits collective Samson & Surrey, where he oversees all aspects of education and ambassadorship for FEW Spirits, Bluecoat Gin, Brenne Single Malt, Widow Jane, Mezcal Vago, and Tequila Ocho. From 2011-2016, Kyle worked as a Diageo Master of Whisky. In 2015, Kyle earned his General Certificate in Distillation from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling based in London, England.

Kyle is a Certified Spirits Professional with the U.S. Bartender’s Guild (USBG), where he also served as National President (2018-2020) and Chairman of the Board. He is a Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, a Cicerone Certified Beer Seller, a trained BJCP beer judge, and an Executive Bourbon Steward, to name a handful of his certifications. Kyle is also a graduate of the IBA Bartender Training Center Europe (Tallinn, Estonia 2016) and the BAR 5-Day program (New York, NY 2017). In 2021, Kyle joined the Board of Directors of the USBG National Charity Foundation.