Congratulations to Department of Political Science alumnus Travis Barnes (‘10), who was named one of Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2018 Forty Under 40. Barnes is president and founder of Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery in Indianapolis.
After serving three tours in Iraq, the U.S. Marine veteran spent four years at IPFW working toward a bachelor’s degree in political science. His academic abilities led Barnes to an internship with former U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, through which he engaged in local, state, and federal politics.
After IPFW, Barnes studied law at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. While there, he began experimenting with a backyard whiskey still. He also convinced some of his classmates to help him take advantage of a new state law that allowed small businesses to distill and serve alcohol from the same location.
Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery opened in 2014 and was an instant success. Today, Hotel Tango whiskey is available in stores throughout Indiana and four other states. Barnes credits his political science education at IPFW with strengthening his skills and providing a springboard for his personal and professional life journey. In his words, IPFW stands for “It Paved the way For Whiskey.”
Want to try some of the Hotel Tango whiskey, but can’t make it to Indy? Visit their Fort Wayne sister store, HT2. The bar is owned by Barnes’s childhood friend, Nick Ladig, and features Hotel Tango spirits and local foods and food trucks.