If you don’t know them yet, you will soon. On any given day, the Cocktail Bandits may be spotted in Mexico studying the extensive science of tequila production. The next day, they’re back in Charleston discussing food and spirit pairings while advocating for multicultural inclusion.
Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves met their freshman year at the College of Charleston and have been a dual force ever since. Now, the two entrepreneurs are designing their own career by celebrating brands they love and expanding on Charleston’s well-known food, beverage, and entertainment industries.
“They’re doing huge things out in Vegas, Dallas, and Baltimore that Charleston is ripe for," says Johnny. “In the next five years we’re going to have half a million people living in Charleston, and they’re going to want something to do when they’re not working. People, they come to Charleston and they don’t always want a carriage ride. They don’t want to always visit a plantation. They want to see something that’s fun, that’s modern.”
“And they also want to see the progression of brown people,” adds Taneka. “In Charleston they tell you the slave story but nothing about what happened next…we’re just trying to break down as many barriers as possible. We want to show you that you can be here and you can do this. You can be involved.”
“Being progressive is being forward-thinking. We knew Charleston was changing… we didn’t just fall into this.”
When the Cocktail Bandits enter a room, you’ll know, and you won’t want them to ever leave. Their ambition and excitement is enticing. They have global goals and a special eye on Silicon Harbor. And the way the friends finish each other’s sentences is fun, too.
Words by Victoria Rae Boynton
Photo by Landon Neil Phillips, The Royal Wild