You can call Walton Goggins an actor, and off his many acclaimed performances, you might technically be right. But he prefers “storyteller.”
“Creativity and storytelling is something that is pervasive throughout my life,” he says. “It’s in every sector.” He tells stories as an actor, yes, but also as a travel photographer, a producer, and now, as a partner in Mulholland Distilling, even as a maker of fine spirits.
“With Mulholland Distilling, it’s telling the story, not only of Los Angeles and our love for Los Angeles, but for me personally, it is telling the story of how much I enjoy the imbibing with friends and with strangers, how much I enjoy creating a space and appreciating the lubricant in that space in order to be vulnerable with one another,” Goggins says. “It’s about human connection.”
Goggins’s friend of some 20 years, Matthew Alper, launched Mulholland Distilling. Alper was a working cinematographer, but when he became a father, he became frustrated with having to be away from his family in Los Angeles. He began looking for an alternative that would still feed his need to create.
At a barbecue, a friend observed that Los Angeles doesn’t have an iconic distilled spirit of its own. “The hair stood up on the back of my neck and I was smitten,” Alper says. Alper comes from a winemaking family, and recognized a great fit with his background. Goggins saw Alper’s enthusiasm for the project and asked to be part of it.
The pair are seeking the necessary permits to open a distillery in California, but in the meantime the spirits are made to their specifications. “We use traditional botanicals for the gin, but we also do our spin with French lavender, Japanese cucumber, and Persian lime,” Alper says. “That’s why we call it New World Gin; it has a fresher, brighter scent.”
For Goggins, the Mulholland spirits are another way to tell the story of the city he adopted and has come to love. “I owe so much to this city, and have lived all over it, and have filmed all over it. The people here have given me a life, a career, a job, some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. It has given me my wife, my partner, my son. It has given me heartache, but it has also given me self-confidence and a liberation from the limits that I had for myself. It is uniquely Los Angeles that has made me the person that I am today.”