Who We Are
Brut was founded in 2016 by Owner Nicole Mangis and Founding Sommelier Mike Fifer with the initial goal of opening a wine bar in Detroit. Brut quickly became a unique company with our wine bar pop-ups and hosting unique tasting experiences throughout the region. We quickly realized that our clients wanted to bring our unique flair for events, community, and culture into their private spaces. Thus, we began our journey into providing exclusive private event services for our clients...
When Brut Detroit launched in 2016 with a series of wine tastings at Pages Bookshop in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods in Detroit we could have never anticipated the journey into becoming the dynamic business it currently is. We have a recently expanded catering menu full of grazing boards designed to mimic communal/family-style experience and nurture conversation. We now have two new mobile bars - Vesper, a 1960’s refurbished horse trailer, and BB, two 1970’s seasoned wine barrels topped with a custom Amish bartop and strung with fun market lights. We also offer professional and experienced bartending and staffing services as well as event planning or day-of coordination services for any occasion. And, of course, we continue to nurture wine, beer, and spirits consumption through our tasting experiences and educational workshops and events.
Nicole's 20+ years of experience in the service industry as a bartender, manager, and event coordinator was emphasized by her passion for travel, culture, community, and of course wine. These passions took her around the world. On such adventures she found herself making new memories and being immersed in new cultures and communities by taking the road less traveled... steering away from typical tourist locations. It was these detours that allowed her to meet new people and break down barriers usually by sharing a glass of wine (or a local spirit) and finding ways to communicate. These diverse experiences complemented her background in community development, economic development, urban planning, and entrepreneurship. She has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan and also teaches Entrepreneurship at Wayne State University and the Build Institute when she isn’t tending to her growing young family.
Brut’s evolution since 2016 has only strengthened Nicole's passion for bringing people together around good food and drink. Her commitment to co-creating amazing experiences with her clients is evident in the way she works with them to perfect their vision for an amazing event and bring to life a unique experience for her client's guests.
Every event is a new adventure!
Meet the Team
learn about our experienced professionals
Bar Manager & Head Bartender
Ashton Kramer is a long time Detroit resident and has found her love for the city intrinsically connected to her love of quality people enjoying quality beverages. A social bar fly by nature, she finds herself most at home serving both drinks and sass, combining the professional and personal bar experience many have come to know her by.
Always willing to think outside the box (or inside as recent wine trends have dictated), she relishes the many challenges that an ever-evolving bar culture provides.
Mike is a Sommelier and currently serves as the Assistant Wine Team Leader for Plum Market in their Ann Arbor West location. Over the past decade he has developed his passion and knowledge for wine through research, classes with local wine experts, travel throughout France, Italy, Australia and China and years and years of wine tastings. Mike's wine work experience includes time as a Beverage Director for Vinology in Ann Arbor and as a Wine Sales Representative in and around Metro Detroit for Woodberry Wine.
He believes that as popular as wine has become, it is still underappreciated with the majority of people. Paired properly, wine can enhance food and food can enhance wine changing a "meal' to an experience. Mike believes in the adage -- "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine."
Owner, General Manager
Nicole is passionate about social impact, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Nicole also loves traveling, exploring, and a nice glass of wine.
It was her passion for travel that grew her love of wine. As she explored new places around the world, or even as she enjoyed the comfort of her backyard, she found that the best of times were to be had over a nice glass of wine, sampling great local cuisine, and always with good company.
Ofelia Saenz is a marketer and writer who joined Brut Detroit in the summer of 2018. She works with the team to concept and execute distinctive wine-tasting experiences that allow people to explore wine, have fun and be social.
Born and raised in Southwest Detroit, Ofelia has been writing for marketing and PR for more than a decade. She specializes in lifestyle and entertainment promotion, and is excited to dive into the work of spreading wine culture through socially diverse and culturally rich food and drink events.