Q&A with Kevin Barrett, founder of Dram & Draft

Kevin Barrett, founder of Dram & Drought
Kevin Barrett

Today we chat with Kevin Barrett, the founder of Dram & Draught, one of the best neighborhood bars in Raleigh especially for whiskey lovers!

This Q&A is a part of our series called interviews with locals where we interview local Raleigh business owners and entrepreneurs to share their story with our community.

Where did you grow up and go to school? How long have you lived in Raleigh?

Born just outside of Philadelphia, P.A., went to high school there, and then moved to Olympia, W.A. for college. After a stint in Wilmington, N.C., relocated to Raleigh and have been here for 13 years now.

How did you get into the industry you are in now?

I needed money, hah! At 13, I got a job as a dishwasher in an Italian restaurant and from then on have always worked in this industry.

When I graduated college and moved to Wilmington, I needed cash so started working in the North Carolina hospitality scene and have never left.

Give us your 30-second elevator pitch for your business?

Dram & Draught, Raleigh

Dram & Draught opened in July of 2016 with the goal of being the best neighborhood bar possible with over 300 whiskeys from around the world, hand-crafted cocktails, draught beer from North Carolina and beyond, and wines from the old world and new.

It’s our pleasure to host you and your friends seven days a week. Our experienced staff is here to accommodate you and your drink desires in a relaxed setting.

Most popular drink that you sell? 

Our Barrel Old Fashioned.

old fashioned dram and draft raleigh

Your favorite drink that you sell?

These days, I’m really enjoying a Blade & Bow Old Fashioned.

What would a traveler learn about Raleigh by coming to your business?

Despite how fast Raleigh is growing, we haven’t lost that sense of southern hospitality. Our team wants to make you a drink the way you want to enjoy it.

Dram & Draft, Raleigh

If you had a friend visiting, where in Raleigh would you take them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? 

State Farmers Market Restaurant for breakfast, Centro for lunch, Stanbury for dinner.

Best thing about living in Raleigh?

Raleigh is a great city with Asheville and the mountains to the west of us and the nicest beaches on the east coast to the east of us. And the weather suits my clothes!

Least favorite thing about living in Raleigh? 

Wish there were more late-night food options!

How did you pivot in your business during the 2020 pandemic?

How didn’t we? We converted to a market, created brunch packages, hosted dozens of virtual events and classes, we now offer cocktails to go…you name it, we likely have tried it.

Dram Draught August 2019 Edited 3183 copy

Can’t miss attraction in Raleigh for an out-of-town visitor? 

The NC Museum of Art based on what’s currently being exhibited.

Your favorite business in Raleigh that you like to frequent?

Char-Grill.

What are you reading right now? 

Pappyland.

What is one book every budding entrepreneur should read?

Getting Things Done by David Allen.

What excites you the most about doing business in Raleigh over the next 5-10 years?

Coming out of the pandemic with the continued and sustained growth of Raleigh.

dram and draught event august 4337 copy 1

What concerns you the most about doing business in Raleigh over the next 5-10  years?

The growing pains that come along with a city that is growing fast, but I think we’ll get through it.

Which local Raleigh entrepreneur inspires you to do better?

Ashley Christensen, Scott Crawford from Crawford & Son, and Cheeti Kumar – our fearless food leaders.

If you had $1 million dollars to donate to a charity, who would you give it to and why? 

TLC (formerly Tammy Lynn Center) – they’re a local charity here in Raleigh that helps people who need it.

What advice would you would give to someone wanting to start a business in Raleigh?

Make sure it’s really what you want to do then focus like a laser beam on your goals. If you persist, you will win!

What is your favorite task that you perform in your business each day?

R&D – experimenting with drinks!

Which activity do you hate most doing in your business each day?

Accounting and bookkeeping.

Dram Draught August 2019 Edited 3202 copy

How do you relax and de-stress?

I meditate and walk my dogs, Oscar and Junior.

What is your “WHY” for doing what you do?

To offer our guests and our employees the best experience possible.

Favorite getaway spot in North Carolina?

The Outer Banks.

Favorite American city? 

New York City.

Favorite international city/country?

Buenos Aires, Argentina.

When you hear the words “THIS IS RALEIGH” what comes to mind?

“Welcome, y’all”.


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