Merchants of Thirst is importing and distributing fine wine and spirits throughout the state of California. Based in San Francisco, California with a strong connection to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain.
Our passion draws us to family-owned boutique producers, whose wines represent a sense of place (terroir), and are produced with the bare minimum of intervention both in the field and in the cellar.
Our extensive professional background in wine, retail and hospitality allows us to offer a curated and service oriented approach to wine and spirits distribution.
Co-Founder / President
Antonio Hidalgo is the 6th generation of Sherry winemakers and still family owned and operated - Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana. The winery was founded in 1792 by Pantaleon Hidalgo in Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain. Surrounded all his life with the wonderful world of wines and wine makers has given him the opportunity to be front line with the changes and evolution of Spanish wines in the last two decades.
Antonio envisioned from his native Spain to position wines from his country in the United States and that is how Hidalgo Imports was born in 2006. While continuing to operate Hidalgo Imports in Miami, Antonio has partnered with Kayne and Ian in 2018 to start a California based import / distribution company based out of San Francisco - Merchants of Thirst.
Co-Founder / Director of Sales & Operations
Snowboarder, avid concert goer and co-founder of Merchants of Thirst, Kayne Guzowski grew up in the restaurant industry working for his grandparent’s bar and restaurant in Northern Michigan. While pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in animation in Atlanta GA, his enthusiasm for food and wine was formed by working in various restaurants across Atlanta.
In 2010 Kayne moved to San Francisco and began working at NOPA and also Arlequin Wine Merchant where he developed his strong passion for wine and spirits. Kayne left the restaurant industry in 2014 and made the switch to wholesale wine distribution.
When not talking wine and spirits, he can be found drinking Sherry and obscure wines at various restaurants and bars, snowboarding in Tahoe or attending Phish concerts with his wife Samantha. Kayne loves cooking, live music, traveling, and camping. He is also a proud cat father.
Director of Spirits & Fortified Wine
Ian’s career in hospitality began while pursuing a Jazz Performance degree in Los Angeles where his time on stage quickly led to a passion for performing and creating behind the bar. In the years since, he has worked as a bartender, sommelier, manager, and educator in a variety of settings, from LA nightclubs to Texas steakhouses to San Francisco fine dining.
Since 2011 he has curated the pioneering program of Sherry pairings and cocktails at 15 Romolo which led him to the coveted international Copa Jerez competition, where he and his team became the first and only Americans to win the grand prize for Best Pairing Menu in addition to being named Best Sommelier. These accomplishments have opened a number of doors for Ian to pursue his passions for Sherry and education around the country.
When he’s not sipping on Manzanilla, Ian can be found exploring and celebrating all that his native San Francisco has to offer. Long swims in the bay, camping trips in the redwoods, Giants games, record stores, and snowboard trips to Lake Tahoe are some of his favorite escapes from his obsession with wines and their stories. He would love to meet you and share some of his favorites.