Born and raised in California, Daniel returned to Việt Nam working with Oxfam America, the American Wetlands Foundation, and the Việt Nam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on sustainable Mekong Delta development, focusing on agricultural supply chains.
He transitioned to working on forest land allocation policy in the Central and Northern Highlands among minority highland communities, particularly with Red Dao, H’mong, Nung, H’re communities.
During his time there, he participated deeply in everyday life in remote villages, foraging and documenting native botanicals, eating local foods, drinking local spirits.
His work focused on terroir, botany, spiritual animism, and local culture, deepening his connection and knowledge of these regions.
He started Sông Cái Distillery in 2018 as a transition from policy and community work to build an economic model and brand that uplifts the story of Vietnam (the people, place, culture, and biodiversity) through craft spirits and beverages.