In this new blog series, we’re asking one of hospitality’s biggest success stories to share anecdotes, leadership lessons and insight about what it takes to survive, thrive and excel in the industry today. This time around, we’re learning from LP O’Brien. She’s the co-founder and CEO of LP Drinks Co., a leading provider of beverage program consulting, event planning and related services, the co-owner of Siponey Spritz Co., the first B-corp. certified canned cocktail company, the CEO and Creative Lead for our friends at Focus On Health, and one of the spirits industry’s most legendary names.
LP’s resume speaks for itself. In addition to serving as the official bartender for the Emmy Awards, LP took home the top title during the inaugural season of Netflix’ “Drink Masters” and earned inclusion on Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40” Tastemakers list and Tales of the Cocktails’ “Dame Hall of Fame” in 2021, among other accolades. Here’s a taste of what keeps LP’s wheels turning and a closer look at the life and career of one of today’s top food and beverage industry icons.
Who’s your hospitality industry hero and why?
Amanda Victoria [CEO, Siponey Spritz Co.]. She’s one of the most genuine, selfless and strongest people that I have had the pleasure of knowing. She champions for me in a way that provides me with comfort and ease and encourages me to continue to be my authentic self. I am grateful to have her as a business partner and friend.
What’s your favorite hospitality memory?
My favorite hospitality memory was my time as the assistant general manager and lead bartender at Eat the Rich, Southern Efficiency and Mockingbird Hill. It felt amazing being a part of a team that was aligned in their mission to provide amazing beverage experiences to our guests, to become masters in our craft by continuing to educate ourselves and creating a safe space for our employees that prioritized championing for others. I loved the feeling and I am lucky that I get to continuously embody that feeling with the work that I do today with LP Drinks Co.
What hospitality industry lesson did you have to learn the hard way?
That boundaries are so important. It’s okay to say NO and to be an advocate for yourself.
What’s your favorite guilty pleasure (food or drink)?
A Sicilian pizza slice and pineapple crush soda.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to truly experience and embrace growth/change.
LP also offered up one of her own hospitality industry life hacks that help her juggle the unusual hours and demands of the food and drink industry.
“Use a calendar as a tool to stay organized,” she said.
LP also stressed the importance of staying humble while working in a service role. While humility helps hospitality professionals take feedback, it also encourages innovation and adaptability to change by making workers take a hard, honest look at their own behaviors and actions and how they do – or don’t – contribute to the greater good of an effort or establishment.
LP also has some advice she’d go back and give her younger self, if given the chance – and anyone else working in, or looking to enter, today’s bar and restaurant industry.
“Don’t let anyone dim your light,” she said.