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Greenville Business Magazine

In High Spirits

Aug 01, 2017 02:52PM ● By Emily Stevenson
By Brandy Woods Snow
Photography by Greenville Headshots

The oldest of four growing up in Texas, Tammy Johnson was born to be a trailblazer, whether by baby-sitting siblings or honing her leadership skills in every sport imaginable, conducting neighborhood plays or presiding as a Teen Court Judge. Her entrepreneurial spirit kicked into overdrive during her preteen years when she spent two weeks at her aunt’s gift shop on the Outer Banks. That’s all it took to convince Tammy that owning and operating her own business was the ultimate goal. The dream never died, not even as she traveled the country, from Charleston to Alaska and Hawaii, working in the hospitality industry. It finally found its legs in 2010 when she was settled in Greenville and working as a marketing and catering sales manager for Sticky Fingers.

When multiple clients requested recommendations for local bartending services, Tammy found the options lacking, and that’s when her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in overdrive with an incredible business opportunity—a bar-only catering company serving the Upstate. From there, Liquid Catering LLC was officially established on Jan. 4, 2011. Within a few months, the service had grown so popular that Tammy quit her full-time job and focused solely on the business. She’s never looked back, and now, more than six years later, Liquid Catering is one of five business arms underneath the parent company High Spirits Hospitality.

“What started with a handful of Liquid Catering employees working out of my garage and my fielding business calls from home, turned into solid relationships and local connections, which helped market and promote the business,” says Johnson.

From its homegrown beginnings, Johnson’s venture grew from the home office to a warehouse in downtown Greenville, and she’s since opened The Old Cigar Warehouse event venue, Bravo1 Protection private security company, and High Spirits Events. Now, Johnson boasts 18 full-time employees and more than 70 part-time employees through High Spirits Hospitality’s brand companies.

“It was important for the success of our brand companies that we create a parent company to oversee the growth and operations of each business while also providing stability and structure to the employees within the company,” says Johnson. “After starting Liquid Catering six years ago, and then having the Old Cigar Warehouse and Bravo1 Protection begin soon after, it made sense to bring those services, along with the event production of High Spirits Events, all under one roof.”

Originally providing full-service bar packages and services, the High Spirits Hospitality’s brand companies now provide venue management, security and event protection, parking services, event production and coordination, and staffing for clients’ events. 

“Because our foundation is in hospitality and our ownership has all collectively worked in the service industry to get our start, we excel in providing premium customer service, always attempting to go above and beyond for our clients,” she says.

But clients aren’t the only ones reaping the rewards of High Spirits Hospitality’s success. The company is not only dedicated to promoting their business but also the health of the community. 

“We promote, encourage, and motivate all of our clients to use local vendors and services to help our community prosper and benefit from the entrepreneurial growth and small-business mentality that is unique to Greenville,” says Johnson. “Our companies work directly with organizations like Euphoria, Artisphere, and Visit Greenville to foster the arts, community, and family-oriented attractions in the places we live and work.”

Going forward, Johnson says she has several ideas and dreams in the docket, and is simply waiting on the right timing to coincide with the right opportunity. 

“We’re always looking to expand our business to cover more and more events-based services for the wedding, corporate, and nonprofit industries.”

In the meantime, she’s focused on her latest venture—managing the opening of the Topside Pool Club and catering to the membership base for the venue. Topside Pool Club is the first rooftop spa and social club located in downtown Greenville in the Falls Park Place building right off South Main Street.

Likewise, Johnson is anxious to continue bringing her top-notch customer service and hospitality offerings to the community at large. High Spirits Hospitality’s long-standing relationships with partner vendors in the local community have enabled the business to serve hundreds of Upstate companies and private events. 

“We know events and are knowledgeable in the process of planning events from start to finish,” says Johnson. “We’ve successfully held sold-out festivals and outdoor concerts, food and wine events, private gatherings, corporate training events, weddings, charitable fundraisers, formal dinner parties, open houses, and many more at our own venue as well as expertly provided staffing and beverage catering services for dozens of other area venues. You name it, we’ve done it!”