Meet Ani Mehta, CEO of Liquor Lab

By Jordan French Jordan French has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on January 17, 2024

Ani Mehta, the new CEO of Liquor Lab, knows that solving big business problems requires an open mind and insatiable curiosity. The young mogul cites India, Seattle, and New York all as home, as his time and experiences in each place imbued him with lessons he brings to his work every day. 

Liquor Lab is a hands-on mixology entertainment venue that allows guests to craft classic and seasonal cocktails under the guidance of the best bartenders in the business. Over the course of each creative evening, guests concoct and enjoy two to three specialty cocktails as they practice new mixing techniques, pick up some bartender secrets, and learn a bit of cocktail history. Liquor Lab is not a cooking class; it’s a night out for anyone who wants to party on the other side of the bar top. Guests can expect a fun, raucous atmosphere paired with engaging educational elements and excellent drinks to boot.

The company started in New York City in 2017 but has since moved its headquarters to Dallas, Texas. It has locations in Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky. As a concept, Liquor Lab is a media darling that has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur magazine, Forbes, US Weekly, the New York Post, Vogue, Eater, and more. While the accolades are nice, the company’s mission, above all else, is to deliver joy to people. Mehta believes there’s no business goal more important than that.

From Mehta’s first time visiting Liquor Lab’s Nashville venue, he was captivated by the innovative and exhilarating concept. Witnessing the sheer joy on the faces of Liquor Lab’s guests, he knew the brand had tapped into something special. With the potential to rapidly expand and become a national or even global business, Liquor Lab embodied the perfect blend of fun, uniqueness, and promising growth that Mehta was seeking for the next phase of his career.

His journey to the helm of Liquor Lab was not a straight shot, but it certainly felt destined. Thanks to his lifelong love of numbers and science, Mehta chose to study engineering at the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree. His first job thereafter was in quantitative finance at BlackRock in New York City. After a few years, he returned to school to pursue his MBA at Yale University. Then, he ventured back to New York City to spend a couple of years in strategy consulting at the Boston Consulting Group.

Two early career jobs at notable companies coupled with his graduate degree from an Ivy League university allowed Mehta to take a job in the world of strategy and operations at TopGolf once his time in consulting ended. He worked his way up from starting as Director of Corporate Development to becoming the Vice President and Head of Corporate Development. It was there that he cut his teeth at managing rapidly expanding business ventures. In fact, during his tenure at TopGolf, Mehta built and ran the company’s Toptracer business unit from the ground up. It eventually became one of the largest and fastest-growing units at the company, and Mehta cites this accomplishment as the one he’s most proud of in his career so far.

Liquor Lab and TopGolf have a shared history: The lead investor in Liquor Lab also used to be the largest investor in TopGolf. This thread would ultimately lead Mehta to land his current role at Liquor Lab, but not quite yet. After TopGolf, Mehta spent several years in private equity and entrepreneurship at a few different companies. Finally, he joined Liquor Lab in mid-2023.

Mehta’s breadth of business experience has led him to enjoy problem-solving, an essential facet of his role as CEO of a growing, scaling business. Mehta says he can think of at least ten things to do, big and small, that would make a notable impact on Liquor Lab’s business each day. It’s his job to prioritize those initiatives, work around obstacles, and put together teams that can make the magic happen. There are a few new initiatives already on the horizon.

Liquor Lab
Photo Credit: Liquor Lab

Moving forward, Liquor Lab is venturing into private events, during which guests will partake in all the fun and festivities of the hour-and-a-half public classes, but in an intimate format curated for the group. Private events are fully customizable, with specialty themes like Margaritas & More, Bourbon & Beyond, Iconic Cocktails, and Seasonal Cocktails. Attendees enjoy two to three incredible themed drinks they create throughout the event. Private event hosts also have the option of adding catered small plates to the experience from delicious local spots like Peg Leg Porker, Hattie B’s, and FatBelly Pretzel. Mehta will play a key role in launching this venture — and, of course, he’s looking forward to the challenge.

At the end of the day, Ani Mehta wants Liquor Lab guests to have unforgettable, joyful experiences and then share that energy and happiness with the people around them. With a visionary, numbers-obsessed, optimistic CEO like him at the helm, this is one business goal destined to come true.

By Jordan French Jordan French has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Jordan French is the Founder and Executive Editor of Grit Daily Group, encompassing Financial Tech Times, Smartech Daily, Transit Tomorrow, BlockTelegraph, Meditech Today, High Net Worth magazine, Luxury Miami magazine, CEO Official magazine, Luxury LA magazine, and flagship outlet, Grit Daily. The champion of live journalism, Grit Daily's team hails from ABC, CBS, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Forbes, Fox, PopSugar, SF Chronicle, VentureBeat, Verge, Vice, and Vox. An award-winning journalist, he was on the editorial staff at TheStreet.com and a Fast 50 and Inc. 500-ranked entrepreneur with one sale. Formerly an engineer and intellectual-property attorney, his third company, BeeHex, rose to fame for its "3D printed pizza for astronauts" and is now a military contractor. A prolific investor, he's invested in 50+ early stage startups with 10+ exits through 2023.

Read more

More GD News