Yianni Barakos


Age: 33

Lives: Gettysburg

From: I was born in Hanover, lived there a short time, and eventually ended up in Lancaster County for most of my life

Educated at: Washington and Jefferson College

Family: Wife, Nicole. Dog, Mash

Job: A very hands-on president at Mason Dixon Distillery

Job’s reward: Helping and, in turn, watching those around me grow and become better versions of themselves.

Job’s frustrations: I love my job almost every minute of every day. Anything frustrating gets dealt with immediately and then its gets crumpled up and thrown away.

Very first job was: Dishwasher at Silk City Diner in Denver, Pa.

Favorite food: Spanicopita (Greek Spinach pie), BUT it all has to be made from scratch, even the dough.

Pets: Mash, my in-love-with-life rescue dog from the Adams County SPCA

Hero: I’m not sure I have one. There are a ton of great people who do great things that you can learn things from, but I have yet to find somebody else that is the person I want to be.

Hobbies: Just about anything and everything outdoors. From lawn work, to camping, to just floating in a river. Outside things are the best things.

Pet peeves: People who choose to be angry/unhappy all the time.

Collects: I do have a pretty cool collection of different liquors from all different places that I dip into occasionally.

Best friend: I’ve got two, Andrew and Max. It’s a definite yin and yang situation and I don’t think I would have it any other way.

You would like to have witnessed what event in history? Oct. 28, 1940 Greece. Greece had managed to stay neutral in WWII up until this point but this was the day that the Axis powers told Greece to allow them to them to occupy certain strategic locations or face war. Greece’s response was “Oxi” or simply “No.” Despite being a small poorly armed country the Greek resistance caused a large portion of the Axis resources to be diverted to Greece, resources that were supposed to help the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union which went on to fail.

Event that changed your life: A car accident that I was part of in 2012. It set off a series of events that led me to being here in Gettysburg.

Your scariest moment: A little over the one-year mark after my car accident being told that there wasn’t anything else they (doctors at the time) could do for me and that I should consider going on permanent disability.

Your first memory: Oh man, not sure I can say for sure which was first but I remember always being fascinated with how things work, specifically mechanical things. My parents literally bought me a book called “how things work” because I was asking them questions they couldn’t answer (or they just got tired of all the questions….). I would take things apart and try to put them back together or build new things out of them. There it is, my first childhood memory: being in complete and total awe of the world around me.

Trait inherited from parents: My fathers ability to deal with an upset or angry person.

Piece of advice that you live by: The only thing that you have absolute control of in life is how you react to something.

Who needs a hug? Robbie, Robbie always needs a hug.

Favorite reading/author: Godin, Ferris, Vaynerchuck, Gladwell

Favorite spot on earth: In the woods somewhere very specific and I’m not sharing where that is.

Website you visit most: Spotify for podcasts

Would like concert tickets to see: I love music but concerts were never really my thing, I’d sooner have tickets to a live Q and A with any of the authors I listed above.

One bad habit: caring too much

3 items on your bucket list: Start distributing Mason Dixon Distillery liquor into other states, own a cabin in the woods, finishing fixing up my old Firebird and start regularly driving her.

Five minutes with: Gary Vaynerchuck

What skill or lesson would you like to learn? I learned the basics of welding when I was kid, I wouldn’t mind learning/practicing more.

What would people find surprising about you? Nobody should be surprised by anything about me. We literally document the best days and the worst days on at Mason Dixon Distillery and post them in video format for the world to see.

What would make this world a better place? More face-to-face conversation with everybody. Better yet would be with people who think you don’t have anything in common with. You might find that you actually do have something in common or at the very least they aren’t nearly as bad as you think they are.

What is the best piece of news you received lately that you would like to share? Good news? Its all good news. Life, while it has its challenges, is great.

How would you like to be remembered? As a person that spent the best years of his life pushing everyone around him be the best possible version of themselves and that I was successful at it.

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