With nearly four decades in the alcohol business under his belt, Jim Moeller is now the managing partner of Weed Cellars, Inc., a lifestyle brand supplying a high-scoring portfolio of wines, beer and straight bourbon whiskey. The L.A.-based brand is run and funded by a high-profile group of professional athletes, business mavens and music icons. Learn about Jim Moeller…
Hometown: Glenview, Illinois
First job: My first-ever job was as a dishwasher at Mr. Steak in Glenview, Illinois. The restaurant was within walking distance of my house, and so I just went there and filled out the application. I was 13-years-old and used the money to buy candy that my parents wouldn’t get for me. I still remember how I loved the feeling of being independent, and candy-wealthy, for the first time. I stayed for a year and worked my way up to actually grilling the steaks. They went out of business a year later. It’s possible its demise had something to do with management’s decision to put a 14-year-old in charge of grilling customers’ steaks. My first job in the wine industry was with Gallo Wine Company, straight out of college. They moved me from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Oxford, Mississippi, where I worked as a sales representative for products like Gallo Wines, Boones Farm Wines and some fortified wines too. I moved from there to California and stayed with the company for ten years, ultimately ending up in Chicago as a divisional manager. It was invaluable training that would serve me well throughout the rest of my career.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in California: When I’m staying in Los Angeles, I enjoy golfing, fishing, working out and long runs on the beach, where I live. Out of state, I love to travel, drink wine and explore bars.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: I’ve been in the alcohol industry for 36 years and helping build Weed Cellars is, by far, the most interesting and innovative thing I have done. Taking a company from start-up to national recognition in under two years, in a brutally competitive industry like the alcohol space, has been a great accomplishment. Weed Cellars is doing something that no other brand has ever done–transcending the wine, beer, prosecco and straight bourbon whiskey categories. In the alcohol business, brands seem to stick to one dimension, whereas Weed, being a lifestyle brand, can thrive in all facets of the alcohol business.
The biggest obstacle you’ve overcome: Transitioning from large, multinational corporations, to starting my own business which I ran for 15 years, to then moving back to a major brand like Weed takes some initial adjustment. But I have the benefit of experience upon which to draw, which makes every new challenge an even more welcomed one.
Someone who inspires you and why: My dad, who has passed, has always inspired me to be hard-working and a humanitarian. He was honest, hard-working, honorable and consistent. He worked for 50 years as a systems engineer for IBM and spent much of his free time collaborating with charity organizations to help the homeless. Every second of his day was productive whether it was quality time with our family, or helping the community. He was never wasteful of his time on this earth. I’d like to think I have a lot of him in me.
Favorite quote: “The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.” –Humphrey Bogart
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Make sure you can handle your liquor.
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I only take reclusive sun vacations.
What makes someone fabulous in your own words: Kindness…and jazz hands.