November Practitioners & Organizations

Anson Mills Headshot


To help you understand our mission at Anson Mills, we must first explain something of the Carolina Rice Kitchen. This “Rice Kitchen” is not strictly Carolinian and it isn’t a physical kitchen, either. The term, popularized by food historian Karen Hess in her eponymous book, refers to a cuisine—one that emerged in the early 19th century along the coasts and in the midlands of Carolina and Georgia, which took Carolina Gold rice, rather than wheat or corn, as its staple grain. Carolina Gold, a sweet, non-aromatic rice of superior flavor, texture and cooking quality, created a culture of wealth and influence and brought fortunes to those who grew it. But in time, it nearly passed away.

Carolina Rice Kitchen cuisine arose when three distinct rice cultures came together to build rice canals on the sea islands of Carolina and Georgia: Venetian rice farmers who designed the canals, Africans who brought their rice management methods to the endeavor and Native Americans who worked in the fields. The association of these peoples and their cultures resulted in a vibrant melting-pot exchange that ultimately became a new cuisine.

Cuisine in colonial America was cuisine for the wealthy and at its peak, the Carolina Rice Kitchen possessed ingredients that would thrill any chef today: local estate-grown olive oil (and oil from benne, peanut, chestnut, walnut, pecan, and sunflower); locally produced and imported wines; fresh and lagered ales and alembic spirits; fine herbs and spices; abundant vegetables and legumes; seasonal nuts, berries, mushrooms, seeds and greens; wild game and fish; rice-fed beef, pork, lamb and poultry; creole charcuterie; wheat, corn, rye, oats and barley—and let us not forget, Carolina Gold rice.

The word “cuisine” implies much more than cooking, of course: it represents a complex expression of community that emerges in a distinct locale and is dependent on soil, agriculture, preparation and rites of consumption. Carolina Rice Kitchen cuisine was a local and sustainable cuisine supported by full animal husbandry and a farming system based upon sustainable rice horticulture.

Kill Cliff Energy Drinks

Kill Cliff®

In 2015, Kill Cliff®, the “best tasting clean energy drinks”, became an official partner of the Navy SEAL Foundation and has since been committed to their founder’s mission of giving back to the community. To date, Kill Cliff® has helped raise and donate over $1 million for the Navy SEAL Foundation in cash, event sponsorship and product equivalences and continues to support service members, veterans, and their families.

Cassie Beato


Montage Palmetto Bluff Naturalist

Cassandra “Cassie” Beato joined the team at Montage Palmetto Bluff as Naturalist, overseeing all environmental and historical programming for resort guests, in April 2022. A knowledgeable and passionate environmental scientist and naturalist with experience in the hospitality realm, Cassie leads the naturalist program at the resort and specializes in educating guests on local flora and fauna and sustainability through guided tours and special events. She also aids in wildlife and land management and works in tandem with the non-profit Palmetto Bluff Conservancy to protect the lush maritime forests and winding tidal creeks that crisscross the region.

Prior to joining Montage Palmetto Bluff, Cassie spent seven years as an environmental coordinator and senior lifeguard trainer at Disney Hilton Head Island Resort. In this role, Cassie curated educational programs on local wildlife and wetland conservation efforts, and conducted interpretive nature walks focused on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. She also instructed and certified the resort’s lifeguard staff, maintained the quality of pool water, and integrated the resort’s golden retriever mascot “Shadow” into programming as a companion animal for adults and children. Cassie has additional industry experience having completed an internship at the Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head, as well as volunteer experience at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the largest aquarium in the U.S.

Born in Westchester, New York and raised in Cumming, Georgia, Cassie earned a bachelor of science in marine biology and biological oceanography from the University of South Carolina-Beaufort, and a master’s degree in environmental policy and management from the University of Denver. She has been certified by the National Recreation and Park Association as an aquatic facility operator, and also holds certifications in SCUBA and as a lifeguard and water safety trainer. In her free time, Cassie enjoys shark tooth hunting, going to the beach with her dog and boyfriend, planting, gardening and she is a Pure Barre enthusiast.

Dr. Mary Socci


Ph.D. Archaeologist and Historian

At Palmetto Bluff, we have uncovered more than 13,000 years of history. It is because we have a full-time archaeologist, Dr. Mary Socci, on our team that we have been able to uncover these details of our past. Dr. Socci is dedicated to learning and preserving the rich history that surrounds the Lowcountry.

Mary Socci, Ph.D., completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University and graduate work at Yale University. She has been the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy’s archaeologist since 2004 and is responsible for the archaeological sites and cemeteries at the Bluff.

Service Brewing


Service Brewing was seeded by passion, literally: It all began on Valentine’s Day, when Kevin Ryan received a gift from his lady love, Meredith Sutton. An artist constantly seeking to imbue life with inspiration, Meredith had asked Kevin what interests he had outside of cycling, and finely-crafted beer topped the list. Instead of his favorite six-pack, however, she brought him home brewing supplies. After an obsessive practice period, Kevin’s tasty brews found their way into the glasses of friends and family.

The West Point graduate and former Army commander had also been seeking something more from his career, and in 2014, the couple launched Service Brewing with the help of almost two dozen investors–most of them Army, Navy and Marine Corps veterans. Kevin leads the company, continuing to develop recipes and research the craft. Meredith, a SCAD graduate, designed the stunning Savannah tasting room based off of the stories Kevin told about his military experience and has creatively built the brand to pay homage to American military history.

With the help of an eager and thirsty community, Service Brewing has helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for local, regional and national organizations that assist our veterans and first responders.

Partners in life and in business, Kevin and Meredith remain passionate about brewing great beer and honoring those who serve.