Joe Raya Owner, Bittermilk, Tippleman’s and The Gin Joint, Charleston, SCJoe fostered his love for food, wine and spirits at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.After managing restaurants in New York, Palm Beach and Charleston, he and his wife, MariElena opened The Gin Joint. The Gin Joint opened August 2010 to spread the love of pre-prohibition cocktails and fine hand crafted spirits with Charleston and beyond. Since opening, the tucked away hot spot has been featured onCooking Channel’s Unique Eats drinks episode as well asDrinking Made Easy with Zane Lamprey.The Gin Joint has also been featured inImbibe magazine, Garden & Gun Magazine, Food + Wine magazine, The Local Palate, Vogue and GQ. Joe has also collaborated with other bars and restaurants in the South Carolina area, writing cocktail programs for restaurants and training programs for managers, bartenders and service staff. Joe was also the beverage contributor toThe Charleston Mercury in 2009. Joe earned the esteemed Diploma in Wine and Spirits, the precursor to Master of Wine, with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) in London in 2009 and teaches intermediate and advanced level wine and spirits classes to members of the trade. The next step for Joe was clear, to help people make quality craft cocktails in their own home easily.After two years of tweaking ideas and testing recipes, Bittermilk came to the market inAugust 2013. Since then, it has won Garden & Gun’s Made in the South Award for Drinks and has been featured inSouthern Living, The Wall Street Journal and other media. It can be found in over 35 states and 500 retail stores and restaurants.  Joe and MariElena Raya introduced a new product line geared toward bartenders. The line of bar syrups called Tippleman’s launched in Spring of 2016.