I have known Julia for quite some years now. She is a self-proclaimed spirits consultant from Germany, that – quite frankly – never impressed me. Not in the meetings I had with her. Not in the forums we sat on together. Sure, her consultancy was unimpressive, but that’s not the reason I put a Buyer Beware out on her.
The reasons I do? In the last few months multiple customers have told me that Julia badmouths iStill. And I have just been informed that she was arrested upon trying to enter the USA.
It is a sad story, that does cry “karma”. It is more consultancy-induced shit that hits the fan and that needs to be exposed to the wider industry. Why? Because there are huge legal and financial liabilities for those that hired her services or are in the process of doing so.
Multiple customers have informed me that Julia talks bad about iStill. Now, she is a consultant, so maybe she has bad experiences with iStills? No, she hasn’t. In fact, she (unsuccessfully) applied to work for us a few years ago, wanting to learn more about the iStills, and becoming a consultant for our customers.
If one hires a consultant, one should be able to trust him or her. The advise the consultant gives should be trustworthy. How come Julia speaks negatively about iStill, even though she hasn’t worked with us, and hasn’t had any training or experience with our machines? Because she works for Mueller.
From personal experience, talking to two iStill customers that hired Julia for recipe development, I can corroborate this. The customers reached out to me, afterwards, and told me that Julia really wanted them to buy a Mueller. Mind you: not a traditional copper still, but specifically a Mueller. And when the customer didn’t, because they were invested in iStill, she’d talk negatively about us.
The reason why you shouldn’t hire Julia is not because I find her consultancy unimpressive. You shouldn’t hire her because she performs the worst kind of hypocrisy. She pretends to be objective and on your payroll so on your side, but in fact she is in close cooperation with a specific still manufacturer. You pay her, but you are not the only one. Julia has it both ways and hasn’t been honest about it. You cannot have it both ways, something has to give. And something just did. Dishonesty just caught up with her.
Today I learned that Julia got arrested, when she tried to enter the USA, just over a week ago. Why? Because of undeclared income and for not having a work permit. She apparently has been entering the USA on a tourist visa for many years now, while working for her American customers and earning money illegally. That’s fraud. In fact, it is a crime, as one is not allowed to work in the USA without a work permit.
But there is more. Not only wasn’t she not allowed to work in the USA, she also hasn’t paid taxes on the money she earned. Now that’s an offense everywhere. She conducted business, as we have been informed, without having an actual business. No company means she didn’t have to pay company taxes. Until she got caught.
Two crimes, there you have it, that resulted in her being detained for a day. And after that, she had her visa revoked, and was returned to Germany. She is no longer welcome to the USA. She is now an undesirable alien, as I have been told.
Julia’s consultancy comes with risks. She is not just on your payroll, so not really on your side. She is not objective. She is not open about her affiliations. She performed consultancy in an illegal manner, as I understand it, in more countries than just the USA. Our initial research adds the UK, Canada, Australia, and India to the mix. We fear she also illegally worked on the Faroe Islands. And all of those countries, as well as her home country, still have a tax claim on her.
Her fraudulent behavior may have grave consequences for the distilleries she consulted with. Distilleries that host illegal workers face huge fines. Simply put: each and every distillery, that employed her services, is at risk. And every distillery that ever worked with her and deducted her costs on the company accounts, owes their government additional taxes, because her costs aren’t tax deductible.
Julia is not a consultant to your company. She is a liability to your company and to the industry at large. To everyone that worked with her: please consider taking legal council. You want to play this pro-actively, not defensively. Especially, now that you have been informed about what I have learned.
Everybody deserves a second chance. What is needed for me to withdraw this Buyer Beware on you, Julia Nourney? What do you need to do for redemption? For your second chance, if you feel you deserve one? Not sure it is just up to me to establish that. I mean, we got dealt the rotten end of your wrath on multiple occasions, but I am much more worried about the legal and financial damages that you caused to craft distillers by working for them illegally and without paying proper taxes on what you earned. Here is what I think is needed, but others may chime in later with additional demands.
The first thing that is needed, Julia, is an understanding of your affiliations. How did that work? We all need to know how and how much you benefited, as it is a measure of how much you cheated on the distilleries that actually thought they hired your services to the fullest extend.
Secondly, a list is needed of all the distilleries that you worked for illegally. That way, these distilleries can prepare their legal defenses.
Thirdly, please give an update on how you expect to deal with the outstanding tax bills. If the governments that you still owe money to are satisfied by how you handled your financial obligations to them, there is less risk of your customers having to face the bill.
Fourth, you need to personally apologize to each and everyone of those distilleries, where you take full responsibility for your actions, to alleviate the legal and financial consequences your customers face.
The fifth thing that is needed is a list of all the distillers where you badmouthed us, so that we can establish damages, execute repairs, and prepare our own legal case against you.
Sixth, a personal apology to iStill and to our customers, for the badmouthing that you did. An acceptance of damages inflicted is the least we expect, to our customers and to us.
Finally, a written declaration by you, where you define your future work ethics to be:
- Open and free of any affiliations
- Fully in the service of those that acquired your services
- Objectively and professionally
- With a quantified yearly measure of education followed by you to further hone your consultancy skills
Honestly, I don’t know Julia. I don’t know what she has or hasn’t said. But I don’t feel that this is a good look for iStill. Slagging off someone who may or may not have said something about iStill. And whatever this person’s relationship is with a country is irrelevant. I think we can all be better than this, especially if you want to be a leader in the industry. It just sounds like sour grapes.
Hi Johnny, thanks for your feedback. I have thought long about posting this or not posting this article. We have been aware of the badmouthing for a longer time now. Would it just have been that, well, maybe that would have warranted a warning and a buyer beware for at least those interested in or customers with us. Or maybe I would have stayed quiet, like I have until now.
Yes, I decided to keep my mouth shut and be the better person. That all changed when her actions not just harmed us, but the industry as a whole.
It isn’t that she has some sort of relationship with a country that is the problem. It is the sort of relationship she is putting on her customers that is the big issue. The unwillingness to seek work permitting, the unwillingness to pay taxes puts the craft distillers that hired her in a bad place, both financially and legally.
I have seen businesses being ran out of business by the government for knowingly or not knowingly “employing” people, even just family members from another country, helping out for an afternoon, because of a lack of formal registration. In short: it hurts the industry, and that needs to be called out as it is bigger than us. And there is more than “just” the badmouthing and “just” the unbelievable damages her actions may cause to the craft distillers that thought they hired a professional.
How ethical is it to work as a spirit judge and benefit from that role to make money? How ethical is it to align yourself with a still supplier and not disclose? Yes, we should be the better person. And sour grapes on a personal level shouldn’t be a driver unless one wants to sink to that same level as the other one. But fraudulent behavior that affects not just us, but the entire industry, well, it is my strong belief that it should be spoken out against. Even though I may reap wrath, I would have felt the lesser person not speaking out about this.