Joe Keeper, owner of Bar Keeper in Los Angeles California, USA.
Bar Keeper sells all the tools and accouterments needed for making fine cocktails. The shop is 50% vintage and 50% new. I am networked with many vintage shops in the US and typically can find the hard to find, esoteric, barware.
How did you get started collecting?
I am not so much a collector, as a merchant. Previous to Bar Keeper I was a Reality TV producer. After literally scaring the piss out of contestants, I had an epiphany. Was this the best I could do with my life? After some soul searching and conversations with the wife, I decided to swap financial bliss for spiritual bliss. I have always been passionate of exquisite cocktails. I happened to read an article in the Wall Street Journal that focused on the next generation of young people coming of age, and their lack of understanding of spirits and cocktails. That was the genesis of Bar Keeper.
How many shakers do you have and how do you store them?
I currently own about 45 shakers. The shakers I carry mostly are post WWII glass shakers with ornamental paintings and etchings. They are stored in display cabinets. I only display a few at any given time. The exquisite shakers that I personally cherish are stored at my counter on a shelf behind.
Which is the oldest and which did you buy last?
I believe my oldest shaker currently is a 1930's Gaiety Cocktail shaker. I recently picked up a Gaiety set that includes the original tray and four cups.
Which is your favorite shaker and why? And do you have one with a personal story?
My favorite, and it's my favorite for it's novelty, is a Whipster Cocktail Shaker manufactured by the Sullivan-Waldron Products Company in Seattle Washington.
As a vintage merchant and living in Southern California, I often have the pleasure of acquiring the shakers from the original owners. I typically spend a few hours listening to stories of old Hollywood! Interestingly enough, the merchandise that I acquire that is "loved" by it's original owner, is the first to sell. People internally are attracted to items that have been cherished.
Is there still a cocktail shaker or bar item you have heard about but never seen? Something like the Holy Grail of Shakers?
While attending The Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans last summer, I had the pleasure of holding a 12" silver-plated 19-piece Zeppelin. Mr. Steven Visakay moderated the lecture. He is simply wonderful!