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About the Event

Boozy Business: A Framework for Thinking about the Food and Beverage Industry

Grape & Grain started as 750ml, a struggling retail wine shop in downtown San Mateo. In the summer of 2010, Adam Simpson and Tyson Mao decided to take a chance and took over the business. While keeping the theme of wine, Grape & Grain added a craft beer program, and transformed the space into a bar. Like any business, the thinking behind Grape & Grain has evolved over the last six years. Through trial and error, and shifting market dynamics, this talk serves to share some of the learnings and perspective, and to draw parallels between food, beverage, and the tech startups that surround us in Silicon Valley. 



Tyson Mao (BS ’06), a native of San Mateo, graduated from Caltech with a degree in astrophysics. He spent four years in high frequency trading and then joined Zynga as a product manager in 2011. He now runs Hadron Labs, a software and hardware development shop that partners with startups and entrepreneurs.

He became involved in Grape & Grain due to his penchant for business execution. And honestly, who doesn’t want to own a bar? Tyson was also founder of the World Cube Association, the international governing body that regulates competitive Rubik’s Cube solving.

Adam Simpson, born and raised in San Mateo, has worked in management and operations at multiple food and beverage venues throughout the Bay Area. At 750ml, a combined retail wine shop and tasting lounge, Adam saw an opportunity to tap the local Peninsula community. In 2010, he formulated Grape & Grain, a craft beer and wine bar. Focused on practical operations and market trends, today, Grape & Grain is the top rated bar on Yelp in the Peninsula, and has been profitable every month since opening.

Additional Details


The Caltech Alumni Entrepreneurship Group (CAEG) is a technical (not consumer) forum group designed to provide trusted, interdisciplinary input during the research, exploration and development phases, and provide entrepreneurs access to a network of skills and experience.

The CAEG hosts monthly business mixers with a Caltech alumni presentation on business and entrepreneurship. The event is for Caltech alumni only.

Do you have an idea you would like to vet? Do you know where to start? Can you help others with your expertise and experience? Are you looking for a new job position, or have one available? Do you want to be a mentor, or need a mentor? Would you like to join a board of directors, or are you looking for qualified candidates for one?  

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