From Booze to Boutique Hotels—The Peter Fleck Story
My wife and I, and another couple, recently returned from a trip to South Africa. A wonderful experience as we toured from one end of the country to the other—major cities, photo safari, animal reserves, seaside towns, and, of course, wine country.
I’ll be writing about South African wines at a later date. But, now, I’d like to tell you about a former Seagram colleague and the incredible boutique group of hotels he owns, called The Last Word.
About Peter Fleck
Peter’s work life started as a journalist for a local newspaper, which led to a PR position with KWV South Africa (Pty) LTD, a large wine cooperative, and currently a leading producer of wines and spirits. From there he moved to International Distillers and Vintners (IDV), a predecessor company to Diageo, starting as a brand manager and ending up as the South African CEO. Along the way, together with James Espey and Tom Jago, he created Malibu Rum. (He also has been involved with James and Tom in the Last Drop Distillers.)
In the early 1990s, he joined Seagram to start a new affiliate in South Africa and was the country’s GM until the sale of Seagram in 2001. Those of us who knew Peter in those days always admired his tenacity, business skill and sense of humor—an all around terrific guy with a focus on innovation. But I didn’t realize just how innovative.
On a business trip to the Cameroons, in West Africa on behalf of Seagram, an idea struck him. He had just finished lunch at “the best eating place in Africa.” The restaurant was …