Meet the Earl Giles Team

We succeed because our team is the best at what they do. Learn more about our team and how our passion inspires our products.


Our Team

Jesse profile

Jesse (Earl) Held

Co-Founder/Owner | Chief Marketing Officer; Earl Giles Distillery | Bottling Company | Restaurant

Jesse has spent his entire career grinding his way through 25+ years of 4:00am closing shifts, sacrificed holidays, having “un-normal hours”, and a broken-down body to have an opportunity to fulfill what used to be a pipedream.

Opening the Earl Giles Distillery and Cocktail Lounge in his home state of Minnesota, surrounded by friends and the thousands of people he has served over the years is a dream come true for Jesse.

Erkkila profile

Jeff (Giles) Erkkila

Co-Founder/Owner | Chief Research Officer; Earl Giles Distillery | Bottling Co.

Jeff Erkkila is co-founder & owner of Earl Giles Bottling Company & Distillery. To say Jeff has made the rounds and paid his dues in the service industry is a severe understatement. With 20+ years of restaurant experience, Jeff has done it all from dishwasher to executive chef, line cook to bar manager, rolling sushi in Sayulita, Mexico to conducting Fishmonger classes as an instructor at Coastal Seafoods.

A graduate of the Arts Institute MN Culinary Arts School in 2005, Jeff continued perfecting his craft by extracting and transforming flavors of fresh raw ingredients into something magical. While in Lake Tahoe, California, Jeff took to gardening and learned about botanicals, herbs, and vegetation. He built a foundational understanding of plants and how to get the best out of them.

Nick profile

Nick Kosevich

Chief Executive Officer; Earl Giles Distillery | Bottling Company

Nick Kosevich has been a figurehead in the creative cocktail scene of the Twin Cities and beyond for nearly two decades. Nick spent the last ten years as a Brand Ambassador for Bombay Sapphire and Owner/Producer of Bittercube Bitters and Heirloom Liqueurs.  He has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles over the last decade inspiring bartenders and assisting them in elevating their competition drinks throughout North America.

As a beverage consultant, Nick has trained over 600 hundred bartenders and has helped open more than 65 projects across the country. Most Recently Nick has created Drinks Apothecary, a custom cocktail ingredient flavor house and has partnered with Earl Giles to open a new distillery this coming Spring. Nick currently supports Malcolm Yards with their beverage program and is a partner at Mr. Paul’s Supper club.

Kevin profile

Kevin Bruyette

Chief Operations Officer; Earl Giles Distillery | Bottling Company

Kevin grew up in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, and lived there until 1993, when he joined the Navy. During his 21 years of service, he conducted a broad range of tasks which centered first around intelligence gathering and analysis, and later as a Surface Warfare Officer, the ‘Swiss Army Knives’ of the Navy. He retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander in September of 2014 and returned to Minnesota.

During his time in service, he graduated cum laude with a BA in Sociology (minor in Linguistics) from the University of Texas. Later, while stationed in England, he graduated top of his class from the University of Portsmouth with a Master’s in Business Management.

He was fortunate to have visited 44 countries during his service time, many of them with his wife of 20 years. Throughout their travels, they developed a deep passion for food, wine, drinks and travel itself.

After retirement, he finally found himself at a point where he could finally harness two decades of operational, management and organizational excellence with his passion, in a city whose food and drink scene had exploded in the time that he had been away.

Jeff Fricke

Owner | Director of Distillation; Earl Giles Distillery

Jeff is a native Arizonan is a natural host at feels most at home when engaging with people. He found his calling as a bartender, leaving work in Phoenix as a session musician and has never looked back. His love for the food, beverage and hospitality industries found him working every position possible in the bar and restaurant scene, and even picking up a hammer and building out venues himself. He was determined to know the business inside and out.

While bartending, his desire for knowledge and passion for new flavor combinations soon led him to creating his own liqueurs, vermouths and spirits. He became the regional Minneapolis winner of the Bombay Sapphire 11th Annual Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, and then head distiller at Lawless Distillery. He’s excited to be on a new stage of his career, leading the Distilling Department and as a part of the leadership team at Earl Giles. Jeff lives in South Minneapolis with his wife Alexia and kids, Ayla and Owen. He supposes Minnesota winters are about the same as Arizona summers: miserable.

Matt Reisenger

Executive Chef; Earl Giles Restaurant & Distillery

Matthew John was born in Delaware on a cool September morning. He moved to Minnesota at the youthful age of 5, being raised in the land of ice and snow by his mother and father. Much of his family remained on the east coast, in and around Philadelphia and upstate New York. Through countless visits to his place of origin, Matt has embraced his East Coast roots through his love of cheesesteaks, home cooked Italian dinners, and colorful language during traffic jams.

By age 12, Matt was cooking dinner for his parents on a regular basis. Finding a certain calm in the organized chaos of a kitchen setting. When asked if he wanted to be a chef someday, he responded “only if every single guest personally thanked me for the meal.” A lot has changed since those elementary days.

After working as a bartender in a busy college bar, Matt attended MCTC for a culinary degree. Once he graduated, he took an opportunity to get his feet wet at the newly opened Butcher and Boar, immersing himself in the competitive kitchen realm. Since then, he has worked around the city under some of the most talented chefs that Minneapolis has to offer, with sous chef jobs at Il Foro, Martina, and The Dough Room.

Matt originally connected with Jeff and Jesse during his stint at Borough/Parlor back in 2013 while smashing that infamous burger. Back in the good old days of watching Jeff tinker with new elixirs and flavors in the converted upstairs apartment, to experiencing Jesse’s wildly successful Parlor Bar. The next chapter with this trio will be the most exciting yet! Matt has two cats and enjoys metal music, video games and golf.

Aja Jones

Director of Restaurant Operations and Events; Earl Giles Restaurant & Distillery

Originally from Gig Harbor Washington, Aja grew up in a small town in North Dakota where she learned the value of hard work and loyalty. Over her years, she’s found joy in being curious about life by studying different majors, working in different industries, and studying people. With nearly 20 years of experience in the service industry, she enjoys staying inquisitive about the people she encounters, as well as the positions within an operation, and finding ways to create balance with communication and strategic planning.

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