Friday, June 25, 2010
Always Put Your Family First - My Story About A Good Friend - Dan Callahan
His father was one of the founding fathers of Riggs Bank of Washington, DC. His brother was a technology genius who had a passion for french wines. Dan was a great big teddy bear with a passion for the good things in life, great business minds and the motivation to go with any creation brought to his attention. And like Dana says, Bagels with butter and bacon. The Callahans are a close knit family from the D.C. metropolitan area with big-hearts, determined business ideas and the kind of family ethics that most of the population would dream of having. They have been there for many and I'm sure will continue. But this week and for the past couple of weeks, they needed our prayers, our spirit and our thanks. Last week we lost a great friend, a dad, a pioneer in the wine industry.
Dan Callahan was my boss for a good two years. Most of the
time I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. All I
knew was that he had some great spirit, great products, great people who worked for him and so much drive, even I had a hard time keeping up. At first I just thought he was a flamboy
ant businessman with a killer wine cellar, a kick-ass office over looking a beautiful back lawn with a well used pool and by far the coolest house on the outside of the Beltway. Dan would call me when he was going to buy a new car. I remember Dan calling me when his Mustang had just been refurbished and delivered in his garage. Then he'd go out and drive my Prius around wondering if he'd fit in it, just so he'd go out and buy one for his own. He didn't. I'd come to his office and find Dana doing accounting work at one desk, Mo doing who knows what(marketing) at another desk and Dan would be floundering down from the main house in a great big white towel hold a plastic Yacht Club cup full of ice and vodka. His hair all deshelved, dripping wet all over and instantly start to run numbers and showing us some new concept, idea or product he was thinking of promoting. We all had our moment with Dan. We all had some types of disagreements. But in the end, we all could consider each other friends.
Dan Callahan, has been in the wine industry for 30 years, both as an importer and a distributor. He was one of the founding principals of Centre-Ville Imports in Maryland, Owner of Vintage Imports and partnered up with Siema Brands of Virginia to sell almost 100,000 cases of wine annually. Dan was a specialist in the growth and marketing of small, premium wine producers of France, Argentina and as of late American Micro-distilleries. Being North American Brand Representative for Doudet-Naudin, Pirates Choice Rum, New Z Land Wines and at one point Bacardi's own 42 Below Vodka and South Gin.
Dan simply did a lot, and his family dealt with his never-ending, mind-boggling, sometimes impossible ideas. He was almost as funny and playful as his son or even his daughter are, although I don't know them very well at all. I can't imagine how Karen sustained her composure, especially on those nights they actually had something to do and we'd still be kicking back glasses of who knows what on the deck. He was lucky to have such a great wife to keep him grounded. Mine simply left me. One thing was for sure with Dan, he would never let you down. NEVER. Dan Callahan will always be in my thoughts and prayers. I'm proud to have known him, let alone worked for him. Truly someone I can and will always look up to. I wanna be like Dan.
Our Hearts go out to Karen and the kids, to Carey and the rest of the family.
Thank you Dan.
From Antoine (I want to include), Mo and Dana.