Kristian Niemi is the chef/owner of Bourbon in Columbia, SC, and the founder of The Great American Whiskey Fair. A 25-yr veteran of the F&B scene, he began his career at Ferante’s in Charleston shortly before Hurricane Hugo before heading to the University of Minnesota to study architecture. Upon his return to SC, he was the opening GM for the Blue Marlin, then left to open his first restaurant, Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe. Since then, he has brought Columbia some of it’s most famous and enduring restaurants, including Gervais & Vine, Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar, Rosso Trattoria, and of course, Bourbon. Throughout his career, he has had a hand in every aspect of his restaurants, from the food and beverage menus to the design and construction. His cocktails have been featured in multiple publications, and he has prepared cocktails at The James Beard House for the South Carolina “Satisfy Your Thirst” program. He is the sole driver of “The World’s Most Interesting Van”…simply because nobody else could handle it.