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Time for a change


Mike Stanfield

January 2023

“I often get asked what prompted me to start Starr Distilling so here goes blog #1.

The short answer is I wanted More.  More, and better, reasons to get out of bed.  More enthusiasm for my work.  More fire in the belly.  I wanted to give a shit again!  I wanted to care More.  So, in effect, I was feeling Very beige.  Very B student; good but certainly not great.  Yawn.  There had to be more.

I recognized the issue - and I should have.  In my previous life I had interviewed 10,000 white collar professionals and almost all of them gave their work life a big fat mehhh.  So, faced with this situation, like any decent red blooded male, I launched into an extended pity party.

The pity party ended April 1, 2014. I remember vividly as our family was in Disneyland and my wife, sick and tired of my act, challenged me to shit or get off the pot. She wasn’t joking as it was past noon.  I resigned the next day.  I was 44. 

Now, the idea for Starr’s reinvention didn’t magically materialize (we had left Disneyland too soon) - it took some work.  I’ll skip the naval gazing and say that for me it did boil down to doing more of what I love.  I do love the perfect taste of a raspberry plucked from the vine; I love the outdoors; love my wife, my girls; love my dogs; love swimming in the ocean; love rolling new ideas around in my brain; and love cocktails and great food.  I like colour, flowers, architecture, design and artwork.  The opposite of that collection would be my personal hell; say spending most of your time indoors in an office, eating and drinking artificially flavoured schmaltz, and, like Chandler Bing, reporting your WEENUS.

So, mash that whole calculus and along came the spark; a fireside challenge wondering whether summer could be captured in a bottle.  I can’t remember if the bottle had to have alcohol but for the purpose of retelling the story I’ll say it did.  The answer, of course, was Hell Yes, and the kernel that became Starr was popped. 

And you know what? I didn’t have a clue how to capture summer in a bottle.  But the very question asked More of me.  By necessity I had to ask more questions, learn more, read more, roll more ideas around in my brain.  By jumping into a new-to-me industry I had to develop more courage, meet more new people, I can certainly admit I made more and more mistakes - and learned more the hard way.  I became more energetic, more engaged and started giving a shit again.

Today Starr bottles perfect precise flavours that are inspired by all the things I love.

The short version is I wanted More. 

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