The Team

coppersea_scott_gordon_bleicher-386x580Christopher Briar Williams Chief Distiller & Blender / Orchardist

Chief Distiller Christopher Briar Williams conceives and develops Coppersea’s spirit expressions, manages general distillery operations and represents the brand in the market. He initiated Coppersea’s floor malting, mashing and distilling techniques and is responsible for barrel management, blending and overall quality. He also oversees Coppersea’s pear orchard.

Christopher honed his skills as a brewer and distiller in the Chicago area at Metropolitan Brewing and Few Spirits. Prior to that, he spent several years working on farms in the Hudson Valley.  He is a founding board member of the New York State Distillers Guild. Christopher holds a BA in American studies from the George Washington University. He is an avid backpacker and spends much of his free time in the Catskills backcounty.

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Sam Zurofsky Stillman / Distillery and Farm Operations Manager

Sam joined Coppersea in April 2013 following two years as an assistant distiller at Tuthilltown Spirits. Prior to that, he spent five years growing vegetables on an organic farm and managing its 60-member community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. In addition to his work at Coppersea, Sam and his wife own Long Season Farm, a small organic vegetable farm in nearby Kerhonkson. In the distillery, Sam operates our battery of direct-fired copper pot stills and is also responsible for daily operational logistics. On the farm, Sam establishes our crop rotation, planting schedule and organic compliance. He has earned a certification in Small-Scale Organic Grain Production from Cornell Cooperative Extension and holds a BA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College Santa Fe. Sam enjoys experimenting with fermentation in the kitchen, making his own kimchi, miso and tempeh.


Patrick Franco Maltster / Mashman / Livestock Operations Manager 

Patrick joined Coppersea in October 2014. He has a broad range of experience in sustainable agriculture with several seasons each at both Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, where he trained extensively on heavy machinery and compost production, and at the Farm at Locusts-on-Hudson, where he co-managed the vegetable and livestock operation that serves restaurants both in NYC and in the Hudson Valley. In the distillery, Patrick is responsible for the production of our floor-malted grains, grinding and mashing. On the farm, he can be found leading our heritage-breed pig raising efforts. He holds a BA in English from the City College of New York.



Michael Kinstlick, CEO,

A driven entrepreneur bringing acumen from his 20 years in business, Michael Kinstlick has worked in finance, software, and commercial insurance. He has a BA in Economics from Columbia, a MS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley.