A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Jacques Bezuidenhout fell in love with the bar industry while pursuing studies across the world. After he studied Marketing in South Africa, he began working in London bars for three years and received a certification from the Beverage Alcohol Research Five Day. Bezuidenhout worked in a slew of establishments, including Irish Bank Bar, Tres Agaves and Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, and as a Spirits Ambassador for Plymouth Gin and Partida Tequila. While at the Starlight Room he met future business partner, Ken Luciano, and in 2006 joined Kimpton to oversee the beverage program layout for all new openings. Bezuidenhout is a founding member of the San Francisco chapter of the US Bartenders’ Guild and holds the titles of “Best Bartender in San Francisco” from Tasting Table and “Ambassador of the Year” from Tales of the Cocktail. Additionally, Bezuidenhout served as a Judge for the San Francisco Spirits Competition and currently as a Judge for the Ultimate Beverage Challenge. In 2015, Bezuidenhout joined Luciano at the
PlumpJack Group to establish Forgery Bar and Wildhawk.
Luciano possesses a unique insight to the industry, having previously served as manager of Harry Denton’s Starlight Room where he met future business partner, Jacques Bezuidenhout. In 2008, he transitioned to become the General Manager of PlumpJack Group’s MatrixFillmore while concurrently working with sister property, Balboa Cafe in Mill Valley. From there, Luciano began at Kimpton as Director of Bar Programs where he opened 32 properties and oversaw bars for 72 Kimpton properties. In 2015, he rejoined PlumpJack Group as partner in Forgery Bar and Verso in mid-Market. In the spring of 2016, Luciano and Bezuidenhout in conjunction with PlumpJack Group opened Wildhawk.
As Head Bird of Wildhawk, Karri Kiyuna (née Cormican) draws from her Midwestern roots and passion for hospitality to create a warm and convivial atmosphere. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Kiyuna began in the restaurant industry as a server at the age of 15. After high school, she headed south to study photography at Savannah College of Art and Design. Upon arriving in San Francisco, she began at working in a neighborhood establishment, Noe’s Bar and Grill. In 2010, Kiyuna joined celebrated Comstock Saloon where she was quickly welcomed by neighbors and industry veterans through her hospitable nature. In 2012, she began as the assistant to Master Distiller, Carlos Romero of Campo de Encanto Pisco. Kiyuna holds the 2014 Miss Speed Rack San Francisco title, was named a 2015 Bar Star by San Francisco Chronicle and is a member of San Francisco’s United States Bartenders’ Guild. In 2016, Kiyuna joined the PlumpJack Group to open Wildhawk.
ABOUT PLUMPJACK GROUP
Founded in 1992 by Gavin Newsom, PlumpJack Group has expanded into a well-known west coast hospitality management firm with a portfolio that includes wineries, restaurants, bars, retail stores and boutique hotels throughout California and Colorado. Co-presidents Hilary Newsom and Jeremy Scherer partnered with Luciano and Bezuidenhout to open Wildhawk in 2016, making it the 16th property in the PlumpJack Group portfolio of more than 19 properties.
The PlumpJack business philosophy is built around three core principles: honest, approachable and passion. These principles guide the team at every level to ensure that each guest feels welcome and taken care of so that they, too, feel as though they are part of the #plumpjacklife.
To learn more about PlumpJack Group, visit plumpjack.com