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July 25, 2016 40 Under Forty 2016

Adam von Gootkin

Adam von Gootkin Adam von Gootkin
Photo | Contributed Adam Von Gootkin runs his business in East Hartford.
Adam Von Gootkin sips Onyx Moonshine Photo | Contributed Adam Von Gootkin sips Onyx Moonshine

Age: 33

Company: Onyx Spirits Company

Title: Co-founder

Town where I live: Bristol

Town where I work: East Hartford

College: None


What do you do and what are your goals in your current job? I oversee the growth of Onyx Moonshine while looking for new opportunities for our group. Goals include continuing to expand the Onyx Moonshine brand reach while staying focused on exceptional quality and exploring new opportunities to expand our brand portfolio with great properties and unique products in spirits and wine around the world.

What are your goals for your community involvement? I'm incredibly passionate about helping young and startup entrepreneurs, and expect to continue using what influence and knowledge I have to help them succeed.

What's your biggest passion? Creation. Entrepreneurship is creating the reality we live in, and entrepreneurs have an important responsibility to do the right thing. In the spirits business, I'm entirely captivated by the idea that through agriculture and the special craft of producing spirits and wine, we create a reality that helps us to slow down, create memories with family and friends, and enjoy the fruits of the earth.

What are your future aspirations? To expose the world to ultra-premium moonshine and Connecticut's first whisky. To discover other equally special places around the world where unique spirits and wines can be produced, and to bring them to market.

If you had one wish to brighten Hartford's economic future what would it be, and why? A change in mindset from policy leaders and bureaucrats to create a genuine culture of positive innovation, responsible entrepreneurship and an overall vibe and system conducive to that — ultimately, an end to the 'This is how it's always been done' mentality.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty:

  1. Founded a Connecticut company that has expanded the state brand nationally, hired local employees and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to state tax revenues.
  2. Supported over 200 local nonprofits.
  3. Created or serve on the boards of multiple programs that support startups.
  4. Author of nationally released book “Living Proof: Onyx Moonshine's Journey to Revive the American Spirit.”

Time Tested:

What personal possession in your life has withstood the test of time? Two paintings in my dining room of my Great Great Great Grandmother and Great Great Grandfather from the family that settled Portland and parts of Middletown.

What hobby did you develop at a young age that you still enjoy today? Oil and watercolor painting

Twenty years ago, what did you envision as your future profession? Marine biologist

Who do you consider your mentor? Anthony Viscogliosi, Founder, Viscogliosi Brothers LLC

See the complete list of Forty Under 40 Winners for 2016! 

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