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Matt Gunderman saves lives for a living.

Some people do work that seems sexy…exciting…but when you dig a little it’s just another job. Other people make a difference in the lives of individual humans every single day. Matt Gunderman is one of the latter: an everyday superhero.

Matt is the Director of Air Care & Mobile Care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He’s in charge of the helicopters that fly wounded people who cannot be reached quickly enough by ground-based first-responders. Needless to say: he’s seen it all.

After starting his career as a paramedic firefighter (during which time he won the Benjamin Franklin medal for Performance Beyond the Call of Duty) Matt became a flight nurse with Air Care Cincinnati, and eventually (through many hours of training, education, and countless on-duty flight and rescue hours), rose to the position of Director. Matt is humble, funny, and inspiring to listen to as he talks about his work, his personal and philosophical approach to safety, and how he views his responsibility to his team and the people for whom they care.

Matt Gunderman, Hannah Lowen, Brandon Dawson, at New Riff Distilling

Brandon (right) with Matt Gunderman and New Riff General Manager Hannah Lowen

A couple of unexpected tidbits? Matt went to college on a “surprise mountain biking scholarship;” and he cares deeply about tea, as you’ll hear during the conversation.

We spoke with Matt at New Riff Distilling in Newport, Kentucky. New Riff General Manager Hannah Lowen welcomed us in, gave us a tour, and set us up in their 3rd floor event space, which was perfect for our conversation. And not only that… she provided us with not one, but two delicious offerings… a cocoa-nib infused Manhattan, and their delicious O.K.I. Bourbon. Needless to say, we were charmed.

It’s also safe to say we’ll be back and New Riff very soon. Thanks again to Matt and Hannah for their time, the wonderful stories and insights, and the delicious whiskey.

Recipe: Cacao Nib-Infused Manhattan

From Hannah Lowen at New Riff Distilling

  • 2 oz OKI Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz Cacao Nib Infused OKI Straight Bourbon Whiskey (rest a bottle of OKI in a glass jar or bottle for 1-3 days with 1/2 cup of nibs)
  • 1 oz Contratto Sweet Vermouth
  • 2-3 dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • Bada Bing Cherry for Garnish

Serve over ice or neat, depending on your preference.

The Distiller with Matt Gunderman at New Riff Distilling

Brandon Dawson and Matt Gunderman at New Riff Distilling

New Riff Distilling

The Distiller - Matt Gunderman


New Riff Distillery drinksThe Distiller - Drinks

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