Bourbon Pursuit

By Bourbon Pursuit

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The Official Podcast of Bourbon. Featuring interviews with people making the bourbon industry happen. Bourbon Pursuit invites icons in the bourbon industry to tell their story. Topics range from brands, distillation techniques, speculation on the market, and more. Guests include master distillers, tasters, production managers, bloggers, authors, pundits and more.

Episode Date
Rare Bottles and High Bids with Joe Hyman of Skinner Auctioneers

Do you have a really old bottle of whiskey? What about a unicorn that’s coveted by every bourbon enthusiast out there? We’re joined by Joe Hyman of Skinner Auctioneers to talk about what it’s like to buy and sell high-end bottles at a legit auction. We talk about everything from the bottles they accept, how they process auctions, and how they spot fakes. Every year a whiskey breaks the ceiling for sales, who knows what it will be this year.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • BevAlc Insights:
  • Dating Old American Whiskey Bottles:
  • Whiskey Advocate Article:
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Bottled-In-Bond.
  • How did you get into spirits and auctions?
  • Did 50 year old scotch ruin you?
  • How do you get these rare bottles?
  • Talk about the legalities of selling and shipping alcohol for an auction house.
  • How do you transport or ship the bottles?
  • What do you define as a rare bottle?
  • How often do you get something in and it's ruined somehow?
  • How do people react when they bring you a bottle that they think is amazing, but you can't sell it?
  • How do you spot fakes?
  • What would happen if you auctioned a counterfeit bottle?
  • Do you research on the secondary market for pricing? How do you gauge value?
  • What do you attribute fluctuations in the market to?
  • Any advice for people wanting to participate in an auction?
  • Do you still get a thrill when finding rare bottles?
  • Are there things you won't sell?
  • What's the record sale?
  • What's your commission rate?
  •  Who is cooler, Scotch or American whiskey buyers?

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Jul 02, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey

On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Corsair Triple Smoke Whiskey. This single malt whiskey is aged for 7 months, 80 proof, and $45 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 30, 2020
259 - Bourbon Trail Tips with Eric Carrico

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone was able to give you the best tips for planning out your bourbon trail experience? Look no further. In this podcast we cover the distilleries, experiences, and some restaurants you can’t miss. It’s impossible to get to every distillery in a short amount of time, but this episode will give you the scoop on how to navigate the areas of Kentucky to make the most of it.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about a bourbon that is $22.99.
  • How did you get involved with AirBNBs?
  • What is the difference between AirBNBs and hotels?
  • What's a good number of days to spend on the bourbon trail?
  • When is a good day to take a tour?
  • How do you recommend distilleries to different groups?
  • Tell us about the different pods.
  • Where does Maker's fit in?
  • What distillery would you hide out in during a zombie apocalypse?
  • What is the bourbon chase?
  • What are you thoughts on the bourbon bubble?
  • Ashford Key Properties:

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Jun 25, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Frey Ranch Bourbon

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Frey Ranch Bourbon. This 4 year old bourbon is 90 proof and $50 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 23, 2020
258 - Freddie Johnson at the Legends Series

Freddie Johnson is bourbon. You are going to hear that, among many other praises for one of the most well respected people in the industry. He’s a never short on stories and makes any experience together memorable. Of course, Freddie talks about tours and his impact at Buffalo Trace, but then answers questions about bottle flipping and the secondary market. It's great insight into Sazerac's approach on this issue. Make sure you attend the Kentucky Derby Museum's Legends Series next season.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about the latest deal between Brown-Forman and Sazerac.
  • Discussion about white dog.
  • Tell us about giving tours 12 years ago.
  • Talk about the promise to your father.
  • How do you customize the tours?
  • What do the people of Buffalo Trace mean to you?
  • Do you have to buy your own bottles?
  • What is your favorite part of a tour?
  • How do you feel about seeing the high aftermarket prices for Buffalo Trace products?
  • Do you ever get challenged about your products on the tours?
  • What do you think about flipping bottles?
  • What was the most special drink you've shared?

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Jun 18, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: New Riff Backsetter Rye & Bourbon

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review New Riff Backsetter Rye & Bourbon. Both are 4 years old, 100 proof, and $50 MSRP each. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: This whiskey in this review was purchased by Bourbon Pursuit for reviewing. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 16, 2020
257 - The Best 10 Year Age Stated Bourbon, Knob Creek Picks, and Father’s Day Ideas on Bourbon Community Roundtable #45

Today’s roundtable is a potpourri of bourbon questions. We talk about our favorite 10 year age stated bourbons that are readily available. We look into the high aged Knob Creek releases, including the 15 and 12 year, and what this could mean for the private barrel selection program. Then, we talk about some Father’s Day gift ideas that we would like to have. Lastly, we take a moment to look back in time and ask ourselves what we would have done differently if we got into bourbon earlier. This episode is dedicated to raising funds for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Bourbon Pursuit has pledged $1000 to help bring awareness and equality.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund:
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about aliens.
  • What does your spouse think of your bourbon habit?
  • What's the best age stated 10 year old bourbon?
  • 15 year Knob Creek is being priced at $100+. What happened to the 15 year picks for $45?
  • Father's Day is coming up. If you are buying for the bourbon hobbyist, what's the best possible gift to get? What would *you* want?
  • We all got into this bourbon hobby at different times and learned a lot along the way. If you could go back to the beginning when you got into bourbon, what would you do differently? Aside from buying up every rare bottle on the store shelves.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 11, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Maker's Mark 101 Proof

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Maker's Mark 101 Proof. This non-age stated bourbon is 101 proof and $50 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: This whiskey in this review was purchased by Bourbon Pursuit for reviewing. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 09, 2020
256 - Inside the World of Woodinville Whiskey Co. with Brett Carlile

For today's episode, we traveled to Woodinville, Washington and sat down with Brett Carlile, Co-Founder, Distiller, and Lead Hose Dragger of Woodinville Whiskey Co. Brett gives an inside look at how him and his best friend, Orlin Sorensen, built one on of the most explosive craft brands on the market. It starts with an idea, enlisting late great Dave Pickerell to provide guidance, and good luck. Their whiskey began turning heads and led to an acquisition by Moet Hennessy. Get insights into their production process and their aging facility, which is a few hours away from the distillery and has a Kentucky-like climate.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

    • Du Nord Benefit Discussion Panel:
    • Du Nord Fundraiser:
    • Distilling Research Grants:
    • Barrell Craft Spirits Private Release Whiskey:
    • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about how the world needs a drink.
    • How did you get into whiskey?
    • How did you decide to start the distillery?
    • Where did you learn to produce whiskey?
    • Tell us about working with Dave Pickerell.
    • What was your first distillate like?
    • Why Woodinville?
    • Where did you get your mash bill?
    • Was it a success out of the gate or did you run into issues?
    • How long did it take to be successful in Washington?
    • What is the whiskey scene like in Washington?
    •  How long did it take to bottle your product?
    • When did you realize you had good juice?
    • Tell us about the whiskey.
    • Why 90 proof?
    • Talk about your barrels.
    • Where are your warehouses located?
    • Tell us about your rye whiskey.
    • Talk about getting purchased by Moet Hennessy.
    • What has the partnership meant to you all?
    • What markets are you expanding to?
    • What are your plans for distillery expansion?
    • What are you trying to accomplish with the port finish product?
    • How much of the product is lost to evaporation?
    • How do you store the barrels?
    • What do you admire about your partner?
    • Any plans to make an older product?

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 04, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Four Gate Batch 6

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Four Gate Whiskey Company Batch 6 The Kelvin Collaboration II. This non-age stated bourbon is 126.4 proof and $200 MSRP. Let us know what you think in the comments. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

Jun 02, 2020
255 - How We Built Pursuit Series

What does it take to build a bourbon brand from the ground up? In this podcast, you get to hear our story of building Pursuit Spirits. We discuss how we source barrels, design packaging, and navigate the law. Fred interviews Ryan and Kenny on motivation, risks, and how to secure your future with contract distillation.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Rum.
  • How did you all meet?
  • How did you all decide to start the podcast?
  • Talk about starting your own brand.
  • How did you finance the project?
  • Who came up with the idea to call the releases episodes?
  • After creating this brand, do you have more appreciation for distillers being less transparent?
  • What was the most annoying thing about starting the brand?
  • Do you ever get nervous that your model might come crashing down?
  • How have you been able to meet the demand of your audience?
  • Has launching the brand helped you understand the distillers more?
  • How much time went into the packaging?
  • Talk about the cork.
  • Why is there so much variance in TN barrels?
  • How have you reacted to negative criticism?
  • What distilleries have you partnered with?
  • Do all of the episodes sell out?
  • Any thoughts about doing a batching process?
  • Would you consider outside investment?
  • Any plans for contracting distilling?
  • How do you not oversaturate the promotion of Pursuit Series?
  • Favorite episode?
  • What distillery would you want to partner with if you could?
  • If you had to pick between Bourbon Pursuit and Pursuit Series, which would you pick?
  • If you could buy all the bourbon you wanted from OZ Tyler, would you?
  • Where would you want to spend marketing dollars?

Support this Podcast on Patreon

When we can put it into a single bear offering a cash ranked like, this is what we've tried. Like, I guarantee you, you're gonna love this because we're not going to put it sound like a men's wearhouse commercial. But if it did I love the way you look.

This is Episode 255 of bourbon pursuit. I'm one of your host Kenny, and I hope you've had an enjoyable week in this podcast finds you well. So let's get on to some bourbon news. We missed the deadline for putting this in the podcast last week. So unless you've been staying away from social media, then you probably already know about the new Weller single barrel orange label that will be coming to market soon. The new Weller will be bottled at 97 proof which is a middle point between the traditional Green Label special reserve at 90 and the Red Label antique at 107 will also have a suggested retail price of $50

You can also check out Fred Minix YouTube channel where he was the first person to review it. So make sure you go subscribe and check that out. There's also a new whiskey coming to market. It's a Tennessee whiskey, and it combines golf, Marion eaves and the Mannings. It's sweetens Cove. The investors behind it have some major name power, including the likes, of course, Peyton Manning, tennis legend Andy Roddick, sports caster gymnasts, singer songwriter drew Holcomb, among others. The story behind sweetens Cove is that it started somewhat off with like an off the grid, nine hole golf course at the end of a gravel road in Tennessee. It was described by some because of its breathtaking views as doffs Field of Dreams. So a group of friends, including some of the previously ones mentioned, bought sweetens Cove back in 2019. With no clubhouse, no plumbing, or really anything else to offer. It has a tradition of a celebratory shot of whiskey for first timers on the first tee. This will be a 13 year old Tennessee bourbon with multiple batches that have been blended by Marion Eve's will continue

Around 14,000 bottles and have an MSRP of around $200.

In distillery news, the governor of Kentucky has said that distilleries can reopen for visitors starting on June 8. But please make sure that you put in your phone calls to any distilleries that you plan on visiting because it's up to their discretion on how they're going to reopen. So please make sure that you do that before making any plans to go to visit any.

Now for today's podcast, many folks have asked us before, what does it take to actually start a bourbon brand. And today, you get to hear our story. We switch things up a little bit. And Fred interviews us on the brand, how we got started our process for selecting barrels for pursuit series and what our future plans entail. We can't say thank you enough to everyone out there who has purchased that bottle of pursuit series and been a steward of the brand because of you are able to help continue and grow this into something even more amazing down the line. We've even got more plans to release something awesome in the fourth quarter of this year. So

Tune for more details. We've got three barrels that are available today on seal box comm along with less than 65 bottles remaining across specs in the Dallas and Texas and Fort Worth and Austin area so make sure you can go and get all the details on pursuit because we have one barrel that is in the Texas market. And if you got a friend or a relative that found bourbon is something that they enjoy while at guarantee, make sure you tell them about the podcast help spread the good word of bourbon and Joe from barrel bourbon wants you to know that it's gotten a whole lot easier to get their unique cash drinks whiskies from around the world, including their rums, malt, and many others. Just visit barrel bourbon calm and click the Buy Now button today. You can get bourbon to your door. Alright, enjoy today's episode. Here's Fred minich with above the char

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the chart. Whoo. It's becoming a little warmer. It's coming soon.

summertime. I'm seeing the blooms the flowers. Oh, the sun's out more and maybe you can get a little bit of tan I'm grilling every night. It's just Oh, it's so exciting. I can't wait to hang out. Oh wait, yeah, there's that whole damn pandemic thing, man, but you know what the other thing that summertime does for me, rum cocktails. Rum, cocktails rum punches. I'm constantly experimenting with different rums Listen, I know bourbon bourbon, bourbon bourbon. We talk about bourbon all the time is bourbon pursuit. But ROM is my you know it's my it's my second love all the spirits I love rum so much and I it is so much with fruits. So listen, everybody I'm just telling you right now, get on the rum kick this summer and let's start making some rum punches together. Go get go get go to the liquor store or get online at drizzly or go wherever it is you shop right now in the middle of this pandemic, and look for the different rooms. Okay, here

a shopping list or these are the rums that I'm telling you right now will make you excited as a bourbon fan. Total wine has a brand that's called a doorless. d'Orleans is made only for, for total wine in the United States. It's made by Foursquare, which in my opinion is the best distillery in all of ROM it's in Barbados. And that ROM d'Orleans whether it's the 12 year old or it's the basic one, it is beautiful. Start out making cocktails with that or drink it neat. Go over to Jamaica, get a little Appleton get a little bit that Jamaican funk on up in there and use that for punches. So get you some orange juice, get some limes and lemons and just squeeze them all in together and throw in some, some sugar and maybe like a look sardo stir that thing up and you got yourself punch, head on over to America and get a little bit of privateer out of Boston, the Boston area. That privateer is absolutely fantastic. Now the three thing that all three of these

rums have in common. They don't add sugar. That's right. A lot of rums actually add sugar after they have

dumped in so they'll add up to like 50 milligrams per liter in sugar. Now a lot of people like that a lot of people like that, but hey, I'm a straight bourbon guy. I love my bourbon neat. I love it with just a piece of ice sometimes. And if you are like me, then you probably gonna want something that isn't adulterated with a sweetness, and so privateer Appleton and Foursquare or door Lee's made by Foursquare, take a look at those three things and get back to me at Fred MiniK on whichever social media platform you like. And for a moment, let's talk some rum because it's summertime. And that's this week's above the char. Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook And oh, by the way, I got a YouTube channel. Go check it out. We have a membership area where there's a lot of exclusive content

Until next week, cheers.

Welcome back to bourbon pursuit. This is going to be a fun episode in which we discuss the pursuit series something that I am not a part of. But Kenny and Ryan of bourbon pursuit are so I get to turn the tables on them a little bit and ask them some questions about how they got where they are. And I kind of want to start this off, gentlemen. Oh, no, I'm sweating.

Well, given given what you told us told me off air you should be. Okay. Yeah. Well, we'll hit me up on on social media. I'll tell you what, read what this is really about later, feed you all the dirty secrets and that's

got another nod. So Alex at the party stories this this episode is about. This is about the pursuit series in the building of it. But of course, you cannot talk about the whiskey that you all own together without talking about this podcast. So I want to go over

From the very beginning, how did you to actually meet your need? Yeah, you know, it's like we're awkward school, Utah.

So, I had been listening to podcasts, with my current business, my real paying business. I'd listen to podcasts and in my truck a lot and at the time, I was going to start a lawn care business. Well, I've quickly learned that there's not going to be many listeners or follow on your podcast. I don't think we'd have a Patreon community. Yeah, donate. I'll send you some fertilizer or something. I don't know. But uh, anywho I was really into bourbon. And my brother in law kind of said, Why don't you do a podcast about bourbon? And because you know, so many people you're from Bardstown, as always say, and so

I was like, Yeah, that'd be cool. But I didn't know how to execute it. Kenny and I had become friends. How did you guys become friends? What where was that moment of where you all became friends because we're in target and we were walking

past the pop tart aisle we locked eyes and I don't remember that now that now our y's are mutual Kenny. Is that how you wanted the meeting to go? Or I mean, you know, you ever you ever look back and you think like, I wish I could do something over? You know, that might be one of those times but yeah, exactly. Yeah, so our wives were mutual friends and I had a derby party every year. And Kenny would come and bring his mid juillet mix and bring several different bottles. And so we kind of started and he actually liked electronic dance music, and I did too. And so we kind of had it similar, similar interest. And so I knew what he did it and his job was a lot of tech and presentations public speaking, which I had no experience in. Still, to this day, I kind of dread to getting in front of microphone people. But uh, so I needed somebody to call Kenny or I emailed him and said, Hey, what do you think about this? And he's like, Yeah, let's do it. But he was like, we gotta need to come come from this angle. And so we met in my basement for the first time.

One and we had a laptop and a USB microphone and we just kind of sat around and talked about bourbon and whatnot. And while we were doing this and then I think we recorded it and then we listened to her like we got delete that That's terrible. This was bad. And then for really, and then I still have that recording. I don't know. Gosh, I might actually on my old I would love to my old mic. Actually I put that out for like a bond like GarageBand I need to look that up. That's a good that would be cool to me on fun episode to do. Yeah, it's just one of those things where, you know, when you start anything, you fumble your way through it. Yeah. And, you know, we've we've both gotten much better at the podcast execution, interviewing style, everything throughout the years. It's just been a repetition and you just, you know, you start working at something and you you get better at it as the years go along. Yeah, it's it's kind of a testament to like the theory that like, you know, the the

10,000 hour rule or something like that, if you want to do something like just because you suck at it first, like, you can become good, just got to do it. So don't let like, perfection stop you from doing something because we've had a lot of imperfections along the way. And it's taken us a long journey to get here, but it's been a cool journey and how when, when did it start getting serious for you in the podcasting space? I would say it, I mean, I'll kind of I'll kind of take that one a little bit, you know, for us it was it was one of those things where, you know, Ryan had he's a very good idea person, he's very driven by it and he's, he's very creative when it comes to it. And then it comes to the execution stage and making sure that it stays consistent and it stays on schedule and it stays like that. And so there was there was kind of like a turning within the responsibilities where you know, he really wanted to run with this and go with it and I said, Sure, like all you know, I've got I've got my own work stuff going on like I'm okay like all kind of just be the the extra voice of reason if you need it and he was taking care of all the editing and stuff like that.

And then, you know, it got to the point where, you know, I kind of took over a little bit the editing, making sure that we had, you know, the right kind of sound quality and all this other kind of stuff over the years. And there was a point as well where, you know, during that process, you know, when I was picking up and doing a lot of this and putting in tons and tons of hours a week into it. I mean, most people don't understand that, what goes into a one hour podcast, there's at least 20 to 40, even sometimes 60 hours of work that just goes into that one hour. Correct. And so when you when you get to that point, you're spending that much time plus you've got your other 40 hours a week day job, you get burnout pretty quickly. And so it got to the point where we I just said, you know, like we're gonna let it lapse a little bit and we let it lapse, and then all of a sudden, you had people on Twitter saying like, Hey, guys, when's the new episode gonna come out? Yeah, I'm like, oh, people listen, yeah, what year was that? I mean, this was probably 2016 timeframe, had been somewhere during that timeframe. And then there was a

So I think it was like December of like 2016 as well, actually, it's probably 2015 timeframe when that tweets happened. And then it was 2016 when it was a lot of the work that was really going into it. And I was feeling the burnout. I mean, I was really feeling the burnout from it. And I just said, He's like, I don't really know if their ROI is here. Like, I'll have to go ahead and reevaluate, like, what is this really gonna be worth the time? You know, and I put that tweet out there, there was a lot of good positive responses, Mark Gillespie from whiskey cast saying, like, hey, like, I know, a lot of stuff goes into it. Like he said, Keep at it and stuff like that, too. So even even like competitors in the space were like saying, you know, like, the water a lot of just good, you know, patting on the back and stuff like that. And then there was somebody else that said, Hey, like, why don't you all start a Patreon I'd be happy to support you. And I was like, What the hell's Patreon? And so you go in, you start reading about it, and you're like, hell let's, let's run with it. And then from there, it's just been that's been kind of the the growth and medium that we've needed to help support and sustain this place.

podcast because it's it's one of those things that you know, this is this is a new medium, it's hard to find advertisers in this new medium. Because there's a lot of companies that I mean, mindset it before it's like it's whiskey, it's distillation, you haven't changed anything in 200 years, probably not gonna change a whole lot of things. And it comes to the marketing aspect of it as well. Right? So it's one of those things that we're waiting for them to kind of catch up with it. So it's, you know, we go and we try to sell we try to talk these people but you know, a lot of times that they'd rather buy a billboard or a bus stop, right, whatever it for you magazine ads, yes. And they love magazine ads still, that's just great. But I mean, like I said, this is just one of those things that we saw Patreon as really our catalyst to really support and grow the show. And that's really what it's been now for the past few years. And it's awesome, too, because we, I mean, we have a great partner with barrel but they've been great and, you know, let us be us but we don't have to like answer, you know, we can kind of be us. We're not like on anyone's agenda or anything. So we could just be true to ourselves and we do what the community wants. We really rely on them to kind of give us ideas and

What the what interests them and feedback from them. It's been great having that support and you know, ideas bouncing off of them and stuff. So it's, and I remember when you all reached out to me for an interview,

there were a couple different times you all reach out to me, I helped you get into the legend series. And then when it when you all reached out to me to be an interview about about bourbon. I remember, at the time, there were so many podcasts coming on and you know, there are people trying to do stuff. And you guys kind of had a different feel, you know, and it was just, it was like, he was like, I could be friends with these guys. You know, he, even though I think that was, that's the one of the interviews was where the marzipan thing came from. It's like, yeah, you were like what it was.

I'd never heard of that. I'm sorry. We never had marzipan and gardening. But it was it was very clear early on that there was some spark there and that you guys were

trying to do something in this space in a in a medium that I think was

you know, filled with people who really couldn't, you know, contribute to to the community in some way and I you guys came out and you did it and and the one thing that you know obviously I came on last year I guess a year and a half ago now, you know I came on because I respected what you guys built in and then when you all came out with with your own bourbon that that threw me off so I was like I wasn't expecting that as like that's the kind of move that you don't see media people make. Yeah, I remember off to the result too because I remember we were kind of in like negotiations of

our partnership or whatnot and the ironing out the details and we were at like an old forest or event I think it was like the President's choice or whatever. But we had just kind of like confirmed that we were going to start this brand and I was like what is friggin and think of this because these are

reviewer you know, is this gonna throw the deal off? we you know, we set you aside and you're like, we need to talk about this and you went about the bourbon but about our deal and then we told you we're like we're starting our own bourbon brand. You know, you don't we don't want to be involved. We know it will let you to be

out in the sense that we don't want you involved but we don't want to, you know, implicated Okay, anything for your reviews and whatnot. So, and you're like, Yeah, I don't care if it's totally fine. I was like, Whoa, monkey off my back. Yeah, that was gonna be a total deal breaker. But anyways, well, it's there have been some, some history there of like,

whiskey, whiskey media. You know, starting a brand there. Whiskey magazine actually had had its own label for a bit in Scotland. So it's not unprecedented. It's just not popular. You know, people tend to to frown upon it. Did you all have any concerns that you know, you would, you would piss off like, you know, the distiller.

That now you're competing with them. Jimmy concerns like that when you guys were thinking about this? No, not really. I mean, when we, when we look at what we're trying to build, and what we're trying to do, it's we're boutique, I mean, we are not going to be kind of kind of person that we're not going to have to to $20 million to dump into a distillery and build one. We're not gonna be one of those people that are trying I mean, it'd be amazing to get bought out by somebody that's not on the radar, it's probably never gonna happen. Because we're not at we're not that kind of level, right? We're not at a level where we're sourcing hundreds and hundreds of barrels and then creating these crazy single barrel programs and then aging stuff and then trying to release to mass market. Like that's really not what we're trying to do. Yeah. And not only that is you know, we took this as an opportunity to kind of divert it in a in two different ways. So first and foremost, yes, we sourced like, that was the kind of the way that it was all built off of. But when we started this, even to how it all even began was the idea that, you know, we talked about a brand on the podcast, and then a few weeks later, I get this phone call from a guy

He's like, Hey, I helped build that brand. Would you be interested in doing your own? Like, never, never even crossed our mind, right? The time we were doing, we just kind of start doing single barrels for the Patreon community. We're done. And then they were selling out really fast. And so I was just thrilled doing like single barrels for from other distilleries. And I was totally content with that, you know, at the time. And so like, yeah, our broker called us and he got the idea. And Kenny called me and he was like, Are you interested? And I was like, not really.

You know, and then he's like, Okay, and then like, two weeks later passed, and he's like, well, I'm going to meet that guy that has let you know this. And I was like, Alright, I guess I'll go you know, it's like, Monday night, how we met it like hell or high water and I never been there like, Oh, go check it out. Go get a cocktail. Yeah. And so we we sat with them, and they were, to our surprise, they were like, I thought they were gonna be like two older guys, like, you know, just kind of real sharp, like, businessman like, you know, kind of like

Don't know, there's intimidating for some, but like we met them, they're really cool. They like had really great ideas. And the whiskey they had was really good. And I was like, You know what, I think we can make this work. And at the time, I think Kenny just thought, you know, we were gonna do like, a barrel picker too with it. And I was like, No, no, no, Kenny, we need to start our own brand. And like, we could make something much more bigger than just one or two barrels from that. So I immediately left that meeting and I could not sleep for like two nights. I was so excited about the opportunity. Like I told my wife I came home and I'm like, this is this is something I've been dreaming of my whole life. This is opportunity. Like you always wanted to own Well, no, I never did but like that. You know, I've grown up around this my whole life. And I've always been enjoyed bourbon and I love being around the community and just even the opportunity to have my own brand like was like, just shocking to me and like I was so excited about it. I couldn't even put into words. I just bet

All my attention went to for like, four months. And so Kenny and I gone, you know, got on. I was like, I know a designer, let's get call him get a bottle design made up. Let's go. And then the broker sent us some samples, you know, to kind of pick our first barrel to see if we're still interested in tell him about, you know what we did up here? Yeah, I mean it was it was we had three barrel samples. And we all kind of know that it was coming from Tennessee. We knew that and that was one of the things that we thought ourselves. So we had we had we go into it with the same exact mindset that every other whiskey geek goes out there and they're like, I don't drink Tennessee whiskey. Yeah. And basically in like, no way. We're like, we're like we're from Louisville Bardstown. Kentucky is in our blood. Like, why would we ever do this? And so I said, Alright, you know what, like, let's give it a try. I said, Let's take these three barrel samples. I'll grab a bottle of Henry McKenna. And I said, if it's better than hundred McKenna, this was right after you'd like named whiskey.

When I say better, like better did our palates, right?

That day at that time, whatever it is, yeah. And so we sat outside or barrel proof versions of it, you know, we're just sitting there and we're drinking of it, and we're drinking it and home behold, like the first barrel that we lost that we liked. I was I, we loved it. We said, this is it. This is the winner. And that ended up being Episode 001 the first barrel release that we ever did. Yeah, so we went down there.

I think the first one we went on, they rolled out like 10 barrels that and our intentions were to just buy one barrel, and you know, and we get down there and we taste it. They're like, I don't know. 10 or 12 I can't remember exactly. And we found three that were like really good. And I was like, man, we got about three of them and I'm freaking out. Like how much is this gonna cost? How do we ship them? How do we do all this like there's like, you know, all this anxiety but I was excited because I knew the whiskey was good and I thought that people would enjoy it if they would just, you know, drop the stigma of Tennessee but if they open up the bottle and try it I was like I would because we taste

A lot of good stuff. I mean, not to say that we're gifted or our palates are better, but we, I mean, we're whiskey geeks like everyone else. And we've tasted pretty much anything and everything. And we thought that this was in that realm of really high quality product. And so I was like, Yes, I'm, I'll put my name on it. And let's get it to market. How did you all get the money to start this to just come from your own financing? Yeah, I mean, this is all completely bootstrapped by what we put into it and everything like that, we've got a pretty good deal that we cut out with our distributor, or our distributor, I'm sorry, our broker where our deal is basically says that we and this is this is also kind of the way that we built this as well. pursuit series is nothing like anything else that you can get in the bulk market because we've talked about the bullet market on the podcast before you want to start a brand. You need 50 barrels, here's your check for whatever 80,000 $90,000 maybe even probably $250,000 whatever it is.

Few trucks show up, your barrels roll off, you get what you get, right? Where to be empty, some can be half full, some could be full and some good taste like hell, some good, you know, it's just you don't know, it's a huge gamble. And so what we get the opportunity to do is actually go to the broker, and during the day two to 5000, barrels and inventory, he'll roll out what he can for us, and we'll sample through and we will select every single barrel we get to choose from, from the broker. So it's unlike everything else where it's actually a true single barrel that we are choosing out of amongst a lot of these. And when we're looking at a lot of the Tennessee stock, we reject about 80% of the barrels that we go through, right, so we're looking for really the best of the best when we go through this, that those guys that we work with, I won't name names, because you don't want to give them right. Well, no, I want to help them any way I can.

Because he's been instrumental to our success, and we wouldn't be here without him. But yeah, I mean, from the initial meeting, he was like, he's like, I know, you know, we have you

are not like typical people we sell to, you know, you're going to buy a barrel here, a barrel there. That's not what we typically do typically, like Kenny said they move 500,000 barrels at a time. And so he was very creative and like, how we could finance it, how we could make this work, he was very interested in making us succeed. And so that was one thing that, you know, is really helped us, you know, be able to cash flow this and kind of get to where it is. Otherwise we, I mean, we put up a lot of money upfront initially, but we were able to kind of recoup that pretty fast with the the financing terms He's given us. Yeah, and those financing terms may not last forever, because I know because like I said, we go and we select barrels now like now when we go when we select barrels, like I said, the first time we went we had 12 or 14 to select from. Now when we go it's anywhere between 30 to 60 barrels, and we do it over the span of two days. And we're slapping stickers left and right. And we're taking like, you know, maybe 1010 to 12 barrels when we do this. And he does the bottling too. Yes. Yes. So that's that's the great thing.

That's kind of like a one stop shop operation for us they'll do bottling they do labeling so we're able to source our glass source our tops, get our labels created, local design agency that we have and everything like that have them shipped down there. Yeah, you need if you're a bourbon brand out there you want some repackaging, or when to start relay design. They're incredible. Yep, here in local relay design as the one who actually helped build our, our label and everything like that. So um, so I was curious. The who came up with the idea of calling, you know, first of all the pursuit series, that makes sense, you know, but who came up with the idea to call each one of them in episode that was me. Really, just a brilliant idea I loved it was like each barrels, you know, a single barrel, so they're all unique, and I was like, we're really trying to

play off the podcast keys and that's where we were successful. And so I was in, you know, most bourbon bottles when we were doing the packaging and design. Most of bourbon balls are really masculine and they're very light

Serious, you know, they're dark, they're, you know really kind of like leather manly kind of and I wanted to brighten it up kind of make it fresh and fun and playful and our designer had the same kind of vision too. So he kind of, you know, if you'd look at a bottle, you know, it looks like you know, an iTunes

podcast player. So there's a play button, you know, there's the show notes and so I kind of came up with the episode and then I think you might have came up with the show notes I can't remember but we just wanted to play off the podcast as much as possible because you can do that with single barrels because they're all unique and they're all individual and they have their own different things that we like about them so I thought it made sense. We also stand on the shoulders of giants at the end of the day, right? I mean, we look at we a lot of this inspiration came from the brands that we already like and we cherish I mean when we look at what you can do from will it family estate, which you get with old forester birthday bourbon, when you look at that we took a lot of those cues and put them into there. You know with Will it family stay

Having a single barrel offering and knowing that like when that bottle is gone that's it when people are out there and they're like I've got to have barrel c nine D like gotta have it and then you know if that translate to the same thing as somebody says like oh I need Episode Five from you know procedures whatever it is they kind of translate that and we we try to be as transparent as we can on the label like that's one thing that we come from a whiskey background is like as much as we can put out there from you know, the proof the age everything like we want to make sure everything is ha did as much as possible. Not only that, as you know if we can

divulge the distillery we will we do that again with some of the craft offerings that will do yeah, and with the art labels are paying the s and are the most inefficient thing ever and it's my fault because of the episode and also, I did steal from birthday bourbon when I was looking at bottles on the shelf. I thought I liked how birthday bourbon had a different color of each one. And so when you look at a shelf, and you look at the different colors, you can say oh I have that particular

year two particular so I wanted that each episode to have their own color. So you look when you have them lined up, you're like you know which episode you have. Yeah, so both of you have been a part of the narrative of trying to get whiskey distillers to be more transparent. Now that you're on the other side a little bit. Do you understand? Do you have a little bit more appreciation for those distillers who may not be as transparent as they should be? Well, I can see in some instances, yes, I can see it because they've worked hard to build that brand recognition build that they, you know, they spent a lot of money to trademark you know, and protect that name so I can understand that they don't want some like piggybacking off that and kind of in particular, like we're talking about someone who may, like source their whiskey out or sell it at like Barton wood or decal, or even in some circumstances at once upon a time brown Forman or for Rosa heaven hills sourced a lot. Yeah, yeah. So I can understand why they don't end there. You know, at a time there were so many

People source and they still are, but there's so many different brands sourcing so I could see it, you know, just being confusing and

but at the same time too, it's like, it also helps them because it's like, you know how many like Lux ro s or Brooks seven or you know that you know, it's heaven Hill juice and you're like, Damn, that's good. It just elevates the heaven Hill brand even more in my opinion. But what I find fascinating is when one of them when a when one of them win an award, they're like, Well, you know, whose whiskey that really is? I was like, Yeah, I know. It's brown Forman. Why don't you let the world know? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and that was one of the things that we try to do is we try to take a lot of the things that the whiskey geek would find appreciative, right, and we try to divulge as much information as we can. And at the same exact time, I think that we've had a lot of good success and a lot of good feedback on the show notes portion as well. Because if there's somebody that says

I don't feel like taking a risk and a gamble on an on a 75 or $115 bottle, like I don't want to do that. Well.

What we do is we try to put our show notes like we try to find a prominent flavor or a little spin on it, that is a way that you can kind of get an indication of like, this is the flavor that we are getting inside this bottle, right? So you have a little bit of a better estimation of what you're getting yourself into that you're just not blindly throwing money at it as well. Let's go on to take it back to like the starting of the brand. I want to ask both of you this question, what was the most annoying thing at the very beginning about starting a brand? The government like paperwork, the paperwork is so annoying and so slow and so cumbersome? It's, I mean, they they really like they want you to quit, like they don't want you because the amount of paperwork and the waiting and all the stuff you have to fill out the trademarks, all this stuff. It's I mean, it's a lot of legwork and upfront costs just to even like get a label approved. And that that was the most annoying for me. Oh no, I agree with you because

Even going in navigating the process of figuring out like, okay, like what kind of license can we get? Like, we can't get a DSP because we don't own a distillery. We don't own a warehouse. We don't own these things. What kind of license do you get? And you look around, you're like, Well, I know this company x and this company, why like they don't own a distillery, like, how are they doing this? So there's this whole world of these even navigate to figure out like, Oh, that's what it means. We had to get our wholesalers license, and then we got our wholesalers license, and then we're like, Okay, well, let's go ahead and we'll start navigating this path. And then even trying to like we don't we haven't released anything from GP we have a bottom in GP, but we said, there's some good stuff from a GP, like, let's go ahead and get samples. And we talked to them and they're like, hey, okay, we need your DSP. Like, we don't have a DSP. Here's a wholesale license. They're like, What the hell's a wholesalers list? So it's like, you know, there's this whole world that it's just like, it's It's so confusing, that's underneath the covers, and even the people and they're like, we don't even know what you need sometimes, like, like, you fall with the Kentucky ABC. And they're like, we don't even know what you need. Like, let me try to get my supervisor well.

call you back in like four months.

That's a true story. Maybe not four months, but it was at least a few weeks. And yeah, there, we try to get registered with the state of Kentucky when we're trying to trying to least open up distribution in the state. And it was kind of like, well, what papers do you need? Well, I don't know. What do you have? Yeah. And then like you're you're buying and then you're buying whiskey and trying to transfer pause, the government's on shut down and you can't, so then they they're not doing anything. And then they have a backlog. So it takes even longer and you're like, you know, I own several businesses. And it's like, I like to move at a fast pace. I like to get things done. And Kenny's the same way in tech. And it's like when you try to do anything is you have to plan at least eight months in advance because it just takes that much in paperwork, shipping distribution and all this stuff. It's so slow. Wow. Yeah. I mean, our first bottles we were supposed to release of november of 2018. Right now they're supposed to be in September, and

they didn't Yeah, they didn't release till what December.

Yeah, late December. Yeah. All right. So you guys, it takes a little while to get some approvals. But you get it you get, you get your look of the bottle and everything ready to go and then you get your first release out. And it's a pretty successful release. It's sold out quickly. Within a within a day. Yeah, I mean, that's, that's who I mean, what new brand can say they sold out their first release in a day. Well, to be fair, it's only it's a single barrel. So it's only 100 fake. You know, that shit, guys, it is. It was surreal. I you know, I thought it I thought it'd be quick, but not that quick. And so it was very, it was very cool. But with that, you know, is new to us and new with our our distributors toolbox. They were just kind of up and running. And so there were a lot of just roadblocks from both ends, like we didn't know how to do customer service or some shippings didn't get, you know, correct, you know, not their fault. Just

Just things happen, you know, when you're shipping things and you're like, from now on, we got to hold back so many bottles so we can make sure we can cover you know, all the, you know, anything have any things happen because we, we literally need to sell out everything to like recoup our money like so we didn't, you know, keep a bunch of bottles, you know, so we're just like, we need to sell it. And so we definitely learned that aspect. We need to hold back some to

Yeah, fix any errors. Any you know, on that note, you know, you know, big shout out to Blake. Yeah. What didn't mean what he wasn't trying to talk? No, no, absolutely. But I'm just saying like this. This is only successful because of him so far, right? I mean, yeah, Blake has been a great part. It was it was one of those things when we were I remember being there at our broker. And you know, we had to take a break because there's another person there doing a barrel pick. And we go we're in the break room, and I'm on the phone with Blake because Blake was just like just getting steel blocks off the ground, just like kind of like an idea. And I said like, Alright, man, you got to tell me how this works.

Because we have a national audience, we're not going to sit there and try to cover the entire US and try to get distribution in all these different states. Like, tell me how it works, right. And so that has been instrumental in being able to get this in the hands of our followers and listeners across the nation. And this is kind of why we are also a big supporter of breaking down the, you know, the Commerce Clause and the opening up shipping between states and everything like that. And, you know, we've we've seen the power of what, not having a distributor can actually give you Yeah, I mean, that's that's really what we've ultimately found at this at the end of the so one of the one of the things that

what how it's being operated is a threat to the three tier system. And there's so much money behind that and there's so many people out there trying to defend it right now. Do you ever get nervous that this model might come crashing down at any time

Any minute when we we bring a day. Yeah. And we branched out because that there, there was a time last year.

In the summer I kind of was like, Alright, we need to kind of diversify how we're going to get this into people's hands. And so we've, we looked at our biggest states and where we have the most listeners or who who have

followers who's purchased things from us. And so I was like, Alright, let's look at those states. So it was Kentucky, Texas, Georgia. And so I was like, we need to get some distribution, traditional distribution set up in those states, because we want to be able to get just in case something we want to be able to get the product to where we have the most fans. Well, you have you have that's twofold, right? I mean, you have one where you have stores that want their own exclusive single barrels, like they want to be able to have that for their customers. And then second, you can't get away from the eyes that you get just eyeballs Right. I mean, when somebody just goes into a liquor store and they start looking and

What's on the shelf? What's behind the glass case? Blah, blah, blah, blah. It's a lot easier to get eyeballs on your brand doing that than it is to say, hey, go visit this website. Yeah, right. I was amazed like, when we when our list our audiences found but when you tried it like we did a friends and family barrel where we were like selling just to our friends and family to say thank you for the support, you know, and you know, a lot of my family members are like, like, what do you mean I can't go get on the shelf like I can't go to liquor barn again. I was like, No, you gotta go this website and like ordering like, that sounds like too much work. I was like, really? You'd be on every day. Like while I was gonna say when Bart did they just get internet or

I've got dollop now, you know, thanks a bit, you got mail. But even just like everyday consumer, you know, people that are whiskey geeks like you tell them they're like, Where can I go get on the shelves. There's still this mindset of in which I like it to like go on the store, talking to people seeing it on the shelf and see what it looks like holding it and so there's definitely that you

kinda have to like change people's mindset that you can get online order and it'll show up. Yeah. Because there is something about the experience of going to the store. And having that built in audience to it. You want to you want to be able to supply

you know, meet the demand of this audience, this podcast audience, and how have you all been able to do that aside from silver box? So I mean, that's it's see boxes, it's the main driver, right? I mean, going online was the main driver. And that's only because that is the best mechanism to get it in the most hands across the US. We can't get into everybody's hands because of certain states. But that's why we said traditional distribution. Yeah, I mean, those states and that was one of the things I think I think Ryan had that that lightbulb moment when he had to actually go to Texas for for an event. And he realized Houston alone has more population, the entire state of Kentucky and what just I was in Dallas, but yeah, Dallas has like 7 million people. He says like 11 you're like Kentucky has like

Three or 4 million people, you know, there's a ton of people here. There's more barrels of bourbon here, then then people as Yeah, like to say so Exactly. We're a small state. But yeah, that's one of the main drivers when we look at population that's and that's one of the things when now we start connecting those dots when we start talking. And you start hearing about other distilleries, and they're like, Oh, I'm sorry, this brand is not going to launch in Kentucky. And people are like, oh, like, you're not gonna launch in your own backyard. And it's like, no,

Transcribed by

May 28, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old. This single barrel bourbon is 90 proof and around $200 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: This whiskey in this review was purchased by Bourbon Pursuit for reviewing. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

May 26, 2020
254 - The Present and Future of Jim Beam with Fred and Freddie Noe

What can you say, sitting down with the Noe family is always a treat. Fred Noe, Master Distiller at Jim Beam, and Freddie Noe, 8th Generation Distiller, are about as genuine and real as it comes. This show takes a bunch of turns. We talk about the new Fred B. Noe Distillery where new projects and small batch blends will take place, Legent, Little Book, and... we ask Fred Noe if he’s ready to retire. You’ll love his response.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Weller.
  • Tell us about the property.
  • What are your plans for growth?
  • What are the plans for the Fred B. Noe Distillery?
  • How did you get interested in blended whiskies?
  • What's the hardest part about blending?
  • Fred, what was your past blending experience?
  • What did you learn when creating Legent?
  • How long was the creation process for Legent?
  • Where did you disagree in the process?
  • What kind of ideas do you have for the new distillery?
  • Do you like focusing on consistency or innovating?
  • Will Little Book always be a blended product?
  • Did you always want to be part of the family business?
  • Fred, are you ready to retire?
  • Talk about the ham house.
  • Any hobbies outside of bourbon?

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So if we're going to do any innovation from was putting knob Creek on it, it needs to be in that knob Creek family you can't go off and have a run punch knob Creek. You know, who knows?

Welcome back everybody it's Episode 254 of bourbon pursuit. I'm one of your hosts Kenny, and let's talk about some new releases. We have touched down in Texas. Yes, our first release of pursuit series is now available in five different specs retailers across the entire state. Episode 26 is a 15 year old Tennessee bourbon, our tasting notes, our brown sugar churros with a chocolate caramel dipping sauce. It's got me thinking about dessert already. So listen up because there's only five stores carrying Episode 26 across Texas and it's only expected Retailers so you've got Dallas at 9500 North Central expressway in Fort Worth at 2750 South keulen Street, Austin, Texas 4970 West highway 920 San Antonio at 5219 does avala and Houston at 2410 Smith Street. Happy Hunting Texans with more pursuit series news Episode 24 and 25 are now available on seal box comm if you're looking to get your hands on another bourbon with a high h demon, Episode 24 is another 15 year old release that can be shipped nationwide. This one it's all chocolate milk. I know many of you are looking for something super unique and we also have a weeded bourbon from Finger Lakes distilling and which is our episode 25. Our last two barrels from Finger Lakes wet quick so we're excited to bring another one to you. So go to seal box comm search for pursuit or you can go to pursuit spirits calm and click the Buy Now button on Our website we also have some other single barrel picks coming in our 17 men to foolproof and to Buffalo Trace barrels will be landing very soon, so heads up to our Patreon community and pay attention to your emails when they start rolling in. And other release news Wild Turkey has announced that they are releasing a 17 year old bottled in bond under the Masters keep label. The Masters keep bottled and bond will be a limited release with approximately 14,400 bottles with a suggested retail price of $175. On the trade of new releases, the TTB has approved over 180,000 products over the last 12 months through April of 2020 which is about an increase of 5.1% over last year, around 8700 labels in beer there are around 42,000 products that were approved in the last 12 months. Wine 120,000 in spirits 17 point 4000 however, the one that has The biggest gainer is actually spirits because in beer, the last three months there was only 10 and a half thousand which is actually 21% less than last year. And wine there were there almost 30,000 over the last three months with is 22% less than last year, and then spirits by about 4.7 thousand over the last three months, which is an 11.3% increase over last year. Now let's talk about some industry news. Earlier this year the Indiana alcohol and tobacco commission denied total wine a liquor license in the state because it does not meet the state's residency minimum requirements. Under current state law, at least 60% of a company's common stock must be owned by people who have lived in Indiana for five years. In true total wine style. The retailer promptly filed lawsuit against the agency and bit based on the Supreme Court opinions on Granholm and total wine versus Tennessee. The district court's decision will grant to the retailer's preliminary injunction prohibiting state from enforcing its residency requirement. This is again one more Domino to fall where we will soon see more interstate commerce law start lifting. And for today's podcast, what can you say? sitting down with the nose, it's always a treat Fred and Freddy note are about as genuine and as real as it comes in the show. It's gonna take a bunch of turns. We talk about the Fred Dino distillery legend, little book blending. And we asked Fred No, catch this one. If he's ready to retire. I think you might be shocked at his answer, and we're not going to give it away. All right, so Joe from barrel bourbon wants you to know that it's gotten a whole lot easier to get their unique cat strength whiskies from around the world. Just visit barrel bourbon, calm today, and click the Buy Now button. Up next we got Fred minich with above the char, so continue to stay safe and enjoy the show.

I'm Fred Minnick. And this is above the char Oh, I opened my email with excitement when I saw that headline, new welder single barrel. Oh boy have we been waiting on this one? Have we known about it for so long and wanted to see that press release and see the price on and how it would be distributed and where? how we could get it. Oh, I couldn't wait to read about it. It was a few paragraphs long. And you know it said MSRP of 4999. Now, listen, I love weather. I love weather weather is probably I think the most successful product line and all of bourbon you got a special reserve allocated? Well our 107 antique allocated well a 12 year old allocated well our foolproof allocated, William LaRue Weller super allocated and every single one of those over the course of my career has had 90 points or higher from me and they're all typically quite delicious and those that aren't supremely delicious are better than Pretty much just about everything else in their category. So it's it's a great line of whiskey and Buffalo Trace does such an amazing job there whiskies so good. But the fact of the matter is, as soon as that gets into stores, that MSRP of 4999 will be shot all to hell by household retailers who want to mark it up for 100% by flippers who go in and buy a bottle and find somebody on the internet Who will pay two $300 for it. I know there's no easy way to do this. And I know Buffalo Trace really, really does hope that you you the bourbon fan can be that one person who gets it for 4999 and they think that this is the way to keep everybody engaged and hope that that price keeps them coming back for more. But we got to be realistic. These SRP s For whiskey, that's so great. So great. They're just they're just not. They're just not there. I would love to be able to pay $50 for this whiskey, I really would. But the fact of the matter is, I would be willing to pay far more. And I don't know this. I don't know this. And the reason why I say the reason to say I'd be willing to I'd love to buy it at that SRP. Don't get me wrong. But I wonder if if they raise the SRP, just enough to cartel the retailers from increasing it from 4999 to 100. Or if it was just enough to cut into the profit margins of a flipper. I wonder if that would stop some of it. Now, I don't know it's all based on consumer behavior. And right now we're all acting very differently. So maybe this is the one time because of the virus, maybe this is the one time we will actually see a suggested retail price of a Weller be just that on the shelf. And you know, if there's anything good come from a pandemic, which few and far between, maybe that's at least one positive we can take out of it. Now, not even that it's that positive, because still, we're in a friggin pandemic. And that sucks. But I do hope that you can find it on the shelf at your local retailer for 4999. And if you do find one of those, if there's two bottles there, grab both of them. Call me and I'll get the other one from you. And that's this week's above the char. Hey, I've got some great news. I'm so excited about this while the pandemic has taken away 100% of my live events, I mean, bourbon and beyond gone, all these private tastings I've had gone. I now have a way to book me for private tastings. Go to Fred MiniK Topeka dot live. That's Fred MiniK dot Topeka dot live and you You can book me for a private tasting. I've also got a regular Lecture Series setup, called bourbon revealed. The history myths and scams. So if you wanna learn about bourbon scams, go check it out. But that's this week's above the char Until next week, cheers.

Welcome back to episode of bourbon pursuit, the official podcast of bourbon. Kinney and Ryan headed down to Claremont, Kentucky today, sitting in an office that we've we've been familiar with before, we had an opportunity to sit with this master distiller one previous time on the podcast, but now we got him and his son on here, the next in line, hopefully to take over the throne. But, you know, this is also an opportunity that first time we've had one of these people on the guests or on on the podcast, but you've also had a history with one of our guests as well, too.

I guess you said yeah, we were. Well, we play football together basketball. went to the same high school. I'm a little older, he's probably more mature than I

wouldn't say

but yeah I was good sharing some funny stories about football and stuff so now I'm happy to see Friday It's been a while so I always forget out great the view as to when we come here like I mean when Do y'all ever just walk out you're like damn you know oh amazing but

sit on the front porch a lot. Yeah, I just want to get away from emails Squadron sit. Yeah, marinate. I see what's going on. Because when the sun shining and it's

nice. Yeah, so

super camera row, you'll see a lot of photos or just random sunsets or sunrises here just because you know, sometimes you come in and you just kind of takes your breath because like you say, sometimes you take it for granted even Oh, now you know being here every day.

Well, yeah, when I grew up here, you drive to 45 Volvo and you like, Don't even think twice about Bernheim forest or anything now I'm like looking at it's like it's this magical place. Go see the


So you've heard their voices now. So today on the show, we have Fred and Freddie no master distiller And the in training, if you will to be taken over there one day of Jim Beam. So fellas again, Fred, welcome back, Freddie. Glad to have you on back. Yeah. So yeah, I kind of want to talk about that view a little bit more too because I think it's something that is kind of wrong. You kind of put it the best way to kind of like takes your breath away a little bit. You know, you probably it's one of those things that it might be in your backyard. You only think about it, you know, even being in Louisville. everybody's like, Oh, we think a slugger museum and like, I've probably been there since I was to grade school. Almost like you just don't think about it when it's in your backyard. But it's it's awesome to finally like come up here and you said probably after that day, you just kind of go out there. Pour soft glass and kick it in the rock or something like that.

Absolutely. It's perfect spot and I want to set up my office up here. As I

hit that watering hole, you know, after hours.

I used to be in the basement with no windows where

maybe they figured they'd kept me in jail long enough. It was time to turn me loose.

Yes. Let you see the light When did when did that happen? One of the we're like we're because so anybody that's unfamiliar with the grounds, the visitor centers.

The caddy corner to this bigger White House that you see over here. Where was the when did the move happen? Well, in 2012, we opened the steel house, and our Chief Marketing Officer at the time, I thought that I should be closer to the visitors because he'd saw my interaction with people just walking around. And he said, we need to get your work closer to the folks that are coming out of season. Why don't we put your office in the beam house, which is kind of ironic. Baker beam, my cousin gave me a picture of me in the same room where I am where my office is, when I was two years old, sitting in my dad's lap with my mom. So it was kind of he said, You're coming home full circle, and I'll come right back to where I was when I was two years old. And actually my dad sits just about where that easy chair was Booker was sitting in and we have here real close and being Baker actually lived here. This house he was the last beam family member and we turned it into offices and conference room upstairs. So in 2012 mobs came from down below the hill to the top of the hill. So

my vote would have been the knob Creek house, you know, to like get away from everyone get a

nice view when they when they redid the house up there. Yeah, I saw be my office. I said we'll never find you.

You're on down.

That's the point. Yeah,

well, so I guess I don't really know about the knob Creek house. So where is the knob Creek couser. I'm assuming it's by knob Creek, but

no, actually, it's on the property here at Claremont. And it's kind of funny how we acquired it. We went into it. It was owned by the everbank family, which owned the Cadillac Dealer in Louisville back when Jim Beam was was still running the distillery and I guess they had signed a some kind of agreement that we could utilize that water source. There's a lake back there. Use that water source when we needed it for distillation purposes and somewhere that had gotten lost and so in the was it early 90s I think is like 92 or 93. We ended up buying this property to gain access to the water. And then through purchasing it we actually found out that we already had right of use of the water. So we didn't nearly need the property after all, but the knob Creek team put up some money to redo the house. The house was kind of falling down, because like I said, we were there for just the water. And now it's kind of turned into kind of a little getaway place. We've got up on the hillside on the other Hill, we're on one Hill. If you go back down to planting up on the other side,

on Airbnb

it was the White House on Yeah, they're on. They're on Airbnb. So it's a pretty cool place. It's got a nice Lake there in the back. It's up, as we say kind of up in the holler. So there's not much. Not much going on up there. Dad's kind of got a little funny story about some people that stayed it's kind of good. I want her to hear this. I want her to complaint, you know and the whole time as we let Customers are coming in to purchase barrels or you know just coming to visit the client to stay there it's a three bedroom house and there was a group from New York bar owners and went up and visited them and they got him settled in and live next morning and came to the office as How was it? I don't know man sir. is too dark and too quiet. I

guess if you come from man had like good like sound machines have their

sleep in New York they used to yeah horns and he has a discerns and then up there there's no streetlights Yeah, so I mean you know the dark when the sun goes down, it's dark. I said well, we could had a lot of fun with him. We just snuck up burned picked on the wind. It's funny say the banjo in the background or something.

Really get them scared,

right? Fair enough as it was it sounded like but

you know, I'll have to read the review on Airbnb. Great place Lake but to quiet.

Three and a half, three and a half star

So the other thing I want to talk about the property alone, I mean, the bourbon boom is still growing. You all are still building warehouses. I mean, I used to drive by here going to Bardstown quite a bit in the past year, and you would be able to see there was you could see the skeleton growing outside of the warehouse. That was you could just see going down towards Bardstown. What are you all seeing right now with the growth in regards of like, are you able to still acquire more property around you? Or is it just kind of like hey, we've just got to make use of what we have right now.

We're making use of what we have but we're always looking with burn arm fours burner neighbor we're kind of you know, there's no way we're gonna get put warehouses over there but we're looking for joining property we can find any for possible growth in the future

with promise there's no flat ground here. There really

isn't a lot of waiting to get young.

I saw Yeah, I saw the you know, they're knocking out some limestone up there. Does that for another warehouse sir.

That's actually where the Fred B no craft distillery is gonna go. That call the new distillery is going to be going there we're getting some dirt work moving. But you know his point of Burnham actually they bought some land behind us here as well. So we're kind of surrounded on on two sides by Burnham which I mean you know all their conservation work so it's great for us as for our watershed to be able to have such great neighbors but it does from time to time kinda with no I mean there's just no land really available around us it's all kind of you know, bought up or housing has kind of come around a little bit as well. But luckily we do have a little bit of space at Boston where we can continue to put some new warehouses so all is good for now it beam we'll see how it goes in the future because you know, land is a very valuable commodity if we need to keep expanding warehouses.

I know it's harder one of the things to actually plan out if somebody was in the land or like Okay, now we're making pay top dollars, right?

real bad, right? Yeah.

Oh, yeah. That's running here. We want it Yeah.

Nobody cared about this stuff. for 20 years now they want the this land.

Well, it is funny even you know, we talk About the price of land around here and we're like, oh man, but the people in California, New York, they're like, what you pay? You pay? What? For? What? Yeah.

13,000 an acre. It sounds

crazy. Yeah, that sounds it sounds too cheap. They're like, yeah, they pay that in a mortgage for one month or something like that was some of the places some, so it kind of talks about about the Fred Urbino distillery, like what's what's the grand plans for it? You know, what's the what's the idea for it?

Yeah, I guess I'll kind of start on that one. It was an idea that I had had, I guess really, as as I was working on little book, and really getting into kind of product development. I noticed that you know, with blending, there's so many different aspects that you can go into, and drive different flavor through bringing these different streams together. And so as I was actually sharing the first batch of little book, coincidentally at my grandmother's bereavement, actually, our CEO would come down and we just chat and you know, after it was over, and he says anything on your mind. I said, you know, I'd really like to have a small distillery where we could do some experimentation, whether it be through mash bill through operating parameters, different barrel lengths, things like that on a smaller on a smaller scale. And so I let him taste a little book as kind of a teaser there to say, Hey, you know, this is kind of some of the things we could maybe come up with. And so that's kind of how it got going. And it's kind of evolved over time as it's been probably about a four year process of us getting kind of locked into what a where we want it down there at the bottom of the hill now. And then kind of what what it was going to serve its purpose and so we're going to be pulling into Booker's and bakers production. And kind of basically anything that is in our small batch or super premium category will be made in this distillery once we get it up and going, but it's also going to serve as kind of a playground as he said a couple of times for myself and some of our r&d team to really get in there. And, and for me, it's a lot about Learning about our current whisky even, you know, having the opportunity to get in there and put, you know, new probes and things like that, as you expand distilleries, a lot of times your your app or experimentation kind of goes to the wayside. And it's more about production needs,

and that and consistency, and I think that

you're exactly right quality and consistency. And so being able to kind of step back, almost kind of start at a smaller scale and be inefficient on purpose to where we can

actually screw up. Yes, right. And your work, you know,

you know, and that's kind of how I pitched it as we kind of got into some of the meetings was Hey, you know, I could make some of these adjustments in the distillery today, but when you all get a phone call and see the amount of gallons that I've, you know, made an adjustment just to see what would happen, whether it'd be a good or a bad thing you know,

know that all right, this

one thing quite turn out right? We have to scrap it. What

exactly so given us a good opportunity to be able to explore a lot further as as we try to look to expand the American whiskey agree

that was actually just kind of answered my next question because I was about to ask like, Why couldn't you just experiment with something else at this? And then you just said it's basically because of the larger production. So if you want to change a different ratio of the corn to the rye or anything like that, then you're not everything. Oh, yeah, you're kind of stuck with it for the next x to the X amount of years. Right?

You're exactly right. I think a lot of it comes down to having that smaller batch size to be able to do some of those things, whether it's tweaking the grain, or even, you know, we have a lot of unique vessels in our distillation system. We utilize some of them, we take some of them offline for some of our products. But as you say, it is today's time if I want to do a just that, you know, for Booker's, we bypass a retention tank. If I wanted to bypass the retention take in something else, essentially, I haven't been making Booker's it's an experiment. And we're pretty tight on still time. As you know, bourbon is just can't make enough of it. So really, those experiments can can be counterproductive, even if it do you do. Hit on Something good, you know, because you're missing regular production to do these things. Yeah.

So Fred, what do you think about that? Are you like, I think it's not broke, don't screw it up.

What are you doing? Either you have to my dad, he was always tinkering with stuff. Yeah, over to Boston plant over there, you know, in the book or no plant. You know, it was funny watching him, you know, Chicago folks would come down, they always visited Claremont. This is where the conference rooms were, this is where the bottling was. So over there and he always kind of called them in Siberia. I can do whatever I want to do. And the people from the house of knowledge as he used to call it, they didn't know what I was doing so he could he could tweak things and do things like Freddie's talking, and they never knew so he could make something and ease it right in and try different things. And nobody you know, ever knew but now everything is so allocated and steel time is so tight because you know, in the 70s they shut the Boston plan down so you know, they didn't really need the Liquid as much as we do today. Every hour is money big time. We need whatever we're making there. Now Freddie can play and do some stuff and that's when he took the ball and ran with it. There's a lot of people been trying to get this craft distillery for several years. But when he brought it up to Matt Shattuck, our former CEO, Matt jumped on it immediately. Then he goes back to as I called it, the house of knowledge and said, we would like to do this and all of a sudden, all this interest became Okay, we're gonna do it. You know,

Freddie, where did you get the interest for blended whiskies? What was that? What draw drew you to that?

It's kind of crazy. I've thought about it probably 1000 over 1000 times with like, when I like it came to me. I don't remember talking about it. Now I don't need I was gonna say I was gonna ask you to blend in but

we won't talk to one

whatever. You can find it the Time, right?

No, you know, I guess in reality just through learning in the distillery, you know, I don't recall if it was even before I came to the distillery, but I know as I had an internship, right as I was probably about a year and a half before I was finishing up College, where I went around to each department in the distillery or in the facility, not just the distillery, they're bottling and everything shipping. And it was kind of during that time that the the idea came to me because you know, I had had a beat in my head we use corn, rye and malted barley for Jim Beam. So from a very young kid, I knew those three grains were what made the liquid of Jim Beam. But so as I got into distilling and learning, I just kind of took me to if you took corn, whiskey rye whiskey and malt whiskey, individually and then blended them to those mash bill percentages. My thoughts were at four years old, what it tastes like Jim Beam or what it tastes like something not even close to bourbon, even though you're utilizing the same grains and so we're That's where it kind of started thing. And so at the end of that internship went back to school. I just remember thinking about that and thinking, I'm not gonna ask anybody this question. So I don't feel like a dumb man. Because I didn't know you know, I mean, I was like, is this a stupid question? The hell? I wouldn't know. Right? So I got a chance later to do an internship with our r&d team. And really, really, it was about me getting in there and learning their processes and how they affect our our day to day business. And they kind of pitched to me to come up with a couple of prototype liquids while I was there. One of them I don't really like to talk about, but it's kind of funny. Let's Let's hear it. Okay. I will go on and bring it out. The best part about it listen to these things are things that just no lighter. Yeah, right. So I tell it from time to time, but not too much. But so they said we want you to before you go back to the plant, I want you to kind of act as an r&d product developer, and pitch to us two different prototype liquids. And they gave me a couple of rules. One of them could be a bourbon or a whiskey. And the other one could not be. So I couldn't just do to you know, I couldn't just go get a six year old and a nine year old and say, Oh, this is two new whiskies that aren't out on the market. And then one of them because I had been working with flavoring, you know, we at Pinnacle vodka was very popular at that time. So we were working on a lot of different flavors in that aspect. So a lot of my time was working with them as well learning what they do. So they had pitched it as one of them could be a bourbon, one of them couldn't. And one of them needed to have some type of flavoring to it. So I went to work on which also makes sense because even like the apple and everything like that they're very popular absolute drinks out there for a lot of the consumers. Absolutely. So I, you know, me being me, I guess I wanted to knock out both of those rules on one so I could focus on the other and do exactly what I wanted.

Fred is this is this, just another shortcut that he's just taken? Is that what this is I get to go

back a long road versus Short road he's gonna take it which is that's good. It was much like his grandfather. I see a lot of booger in Freddy. It's a It's amazing. So you know, as a kid I liked Hawaiian Punch juicy red juice. Oh, I think everybody loved

it. Yeah.

But so i thought you know, we go to the beach every year for vacation, I thought if I could develop a liquid that I could just sip on the rocks or even if you just put it in a cooler and chilled it and just drink it neat. You know, I like fruity cocktails on the beach from time to time. It's nice and nice and warm out. So I thought I'm going to create this. I called it rum punch and it was going to be juicy red juice flavored

romaine. I thought you're gonna say push up.

Close, but not quite. It's a Howard's down drink. Yeah. So I went to work on that. And dad was there. This is where it was interesting. So as I'm getting ready, do my presentation. They're like, Oh, we invited your dad and I think even the plant manager to come see your presentation because I was presenting the sounds like great. Not only did I work on Something with flavors and kind of rum. They invited my dad to taste the same thing. But so that one that one wasn't very good. It didn't taste anything like Hawaiian Punch juicy red juice. And I wouldn't I don't know that anybody's even sipped I've still got the sample bottle at home. I don't know if anybody's even tried it since I

since I made it. What did it turn out to be like? What did it actually taste like?

It didn't taste it kind of tastes like fruit punch a little bit. Just a boozy fruit. It was kind of a boozy fruit punch

wasn't before your time like now the ready to drink category is booming right now so maybe it's just a few years too early

to revisit exactly one of our marketing guys gives me some some shit I guess he'll say you know because he talks about a little bit he's like your next products going to be that that room punch I promise you we're gonna make sure that's the next probably you and i t shirt. Don't give him any more. I got plenty on his own. But so that's kind of I thought, you know, got that one out of the way. I will Walking around up there to the lab and I seen some samples of four year old corn whiskey. Obviously we had four year old rye whiskey. And that's kind of where that thought really sparked in my head was I'm gonna try this blend that I have been thinking about, that hadn't really talked to anybody about. And so that's kind of how it started. I created what I call it was Jim being blended. And it was a four year old corn whiskey blended with a four year old rye whiskey and a four year old malt whiskey blended back to the percentage, the Jim Beam Asheville. It wasn't very good either. It was very corn forward, you know, it's organic, right? In theory that Yeah, early and today I was excited. And, you know, to be dabbling in blending. I already had a good idea, you know, with the mash bill percentages, that I was going to do the certain percentages. So it was a little bit simpler than that. And then some of my blending has become as I've worked on little book, but it really opened my eyes because that one wasn't that great. But I tweaked it a little bit as I was in the lecture. Just to see if there was any differences as you change and that's really what sparked my interest in blending was getting in there and, and traveling something that I had kind of had in my head and was really honestly a little worried to share it because I thought it might be a stupid question, you know, but I kind of come to learn that there's there's not a lot of stupid questions sometimes. The most simple question can lead you to some great things. What's her

what's kinda like the hardest part about blending that you've really found out? Like, is it just trying something you're like, it's gonna work I'll get a bunch of wasted product like what's what's the hardest part you figured out about blending so far?

I guess the for me the hardest part is, or I guess the most challenging would be, you know, if you've got four liquids and you put them at 25% each, by doubling up on one or you know, doubling a little bit, not doubling but adding a little bit more say 10% more of another and dropping percentages. It's not as apples to apples as the flavor being closer to the original one stream. As those liquids kind of mingled together. They really take on different For an identity, and I think that's where I thought blending, you know, if if I like this at 20%, if I add 23%, and I'm looking to get a, say a longer finish, and I know the other two liquids I'm using or three liquids I'm using have a shorter finish. You know, sometimes you think by adding more of the one that is giving the attributes, you think it actually throws the whole blend out of balance, and has negative aspects of it. The one good thing is you get to taste a lot of samples. And when you're blending, as I say, with with straight whiskies or straight spirits that that are phenomenal on their own, it's, it's kind of hard to say that it's a bad blend, it's just maybe not the exact direction you want to go. So I get a taste a lot of good samples. But I think the challenging part is, when you have an idea or you're trying to hit on something, whether it be like I said, a longer finish or maybe a little more aroma on the nose. Getting to those places from where you are is a lot more challenging than just maybe adding a couple more drops of this or that and

go ahead I was gonna say After you come up with the kind of your blend and it's like nail, you're like this is awesome in the tube. But then like, does that always translate to a bigger batch you know, Are there times when they get bigger like this did not turn out like they always tell us every barrel is a little bit different

it is you know, and I think we do a really good job after I've gotten to a prototype in my my test tube there, we'll go out and get some more samples of different barrels from the same lots that I'll be utilizing for a little book or whatever we're working on, just to make sure that because when we're doing a small blend, you could go get one barrel of each liquid, and you could blend for months because you know, it's just one barrel. So a lot of liquids there and you're only blending in a lot of times, maybe 3753 or 750 ml sizes, so there's a lot of whiskey. So going back and then picking different barrels from that same area or same date that it was distilled, just to make sure it's hitting those profiles. So before I finalize, we make sure that the liquids are going to be variable Similar. And then of course, at the end, if when we're dumping for bottling knock on wood, it hasn't happened yet. But for the first three little books, each of them was was very similar and aligned with the profile that I was looking for. But we'll see how that continues to go because we do keep reserved barrels just think I never tried to use every single barrel because if you want to make a little tweak, and you've already dumped every barrel, you're kind of kind of pigeon holed there. So hopefully, like I said, knock on wood that our process continues to go as it does. But as you said it every barrel is a little bit different No matter if they're side by Saturday and totally different warehouses. So it's, it's that's kind of where the art comes into it a lot, for sure. And so Fred, part of this is, you know, what was your kind of like past blending experience? I mean, is it if you try to recreate something that Freddie's doing here, have you been focused on like, production operation and stuff like that, rather than sitting here and saying, like, okay, let's start blending a lot of different products to see if we can make something new. Well, we you know, we mingled a lot is funny. We don't blend we mingle when Freddie got into the blending has no that was always a curse word in bourbon. Yes. You know until a little book, you know, he really crawls the path that got people thinking about blending in bourbon because, you know, when you say blended in this state, you start thinking about great neutral spirits and colors and flavors, which that's not bourbon. But when we had the Suntory acquisition, I was tasked and it was actually after Freddie had done his first version of little book to work with Cindy the chief Blender from Suntory to bring east and west together. So we actually blended and created the product Legion, which it was essentially was doing the same thing dad did, we're finishing bourbon in secondary barrels and then taking those fluids and putting them together. So that's where we kind of dip my toes in, in the blending but we were tasked For the from the CEO of Suntory. And that's what they wanted us to do to bring the two cultures together. And it was a learning experience for me. First we had to learn to be able to understand each other are

very, very different. You have a translator between you too,

like no, we used to, I guess our eyes when we tasted, you can look at each other's eyes and tell he speaks much better English than I do Japanese.

So mostly it was Cindy trying to figure out what I was saying. And then sometimes when we get on conference calls, I didn't have a clue what it was okay, whatever you say Sanjay and he was sent samples, and we would get together whenever he was here in the States. or whenever I was in Japan, we would sit and just taste, taste, taste, taste, taste, and it was a it was a learning experience for me, but I kind of saw what Freddie did with his little book because the variant just a little bit more of this and a little bit less than that. It can change it dramatically. Also, the mingling in the tank, just because it tastes like this today, it doesn't mean it's gonna taste like that tomorrow because we did sign with Legion we would taste and then the next day we taste it was wait a minute didn't taste the same. So the mingling together after you blended the fluids, so we've got tanks that we built specially for this product down here and it's got a slow row agitation in it. So that mix it up and we don't just mix it, blend it and bottle it we make sure it sits in this tank in the tank never goes dry. Some of the techniques that Cinzia uses in Japan, which over here for four, we fill the tank with liquid, we ran it dry and then we came back and did it again. We never left heels as we called it in there and dumped it on top of them.

I mean is that the same thing as considering like the selection method, but usually people call it

in regards to that maybe a little bit but we don't let it go. Lately driving a little bit left and he's dumping on top, so it's as all new and we had to train our operators here at the plant because they weren't used to that kind of technique on production. So it was a learning curve for all of us here in Kentucky and I know it was a learning curve for Cinzia in Japan because he'd never played with Bourbons before, he was amazed the temperature here and the finishing, how quick bourbon will take on the flavor from say, red wine barrel, or Sherry cask. You know, he was thinking maybe two summers after one, we'd already picked up flavors that he was ready for. So kinda. It was like, a big learning curve just like Freddie's learning with he is, we learned a lot for this Legion. And so it's been it's been fun to watch and to get involved even late in my career to get to do a little blending and play with it. And it makes me appreciate more what Fred has been doing, because I understand it's not just dumping things together. A graduated cylinder and saying, well, I want to 20% of the 30% of that. In loans, your numbers add up to 100. And you're good, not. That's not how it works, you know, it's trial and error. And then what strength Do you bottle at? I mean, there's a lot of variables that you can change a lot by just a little bit of water maybe or your finishing times. It was a, it was a great,

great experience for me. I just realized, I've been saying it wrong the whole entire time. I always said legend, right. So Legion now now and I believe I'm starting to say, I don't

know if that's a

word or not.

It's coming from the Gospel of you right now. So that's what I'm gonna talk about the

gospel of Fred.

I sent you down some dark paths.

So gonna also talk about the time commitment that went into it, because I mean, you just said that there were times when either you know he was coming here. You're going to Japan your mailing and shipping samples back and forth. Like what was the I'm assuming it was a at least had been over a year or two ago. Somebody said, Hey, we're gonna go ahead and do this. But how long did it really take to actually start from concept to finalization? There are more craft distilleries popping up around the country now more than ever before. So how do you find the best stories and the best flavors? Well, rack house whiskey club is a whiskey of the Month Club, and they're on a mission to uncover the best flavors and stories that craft distilleries across the US have to offer rack houses box shipped out every two months to 39 states across the US and rack houses April box there featuring a distillery that mixes Seattle craft, Texas heritage and Scottish know how rack house whiskey club is shipping out to whiskies from two bar spirits located near downtown Seattle, including their straight bourbon, go to a rack house whiskey club calm to check it out and try some for yourself. Use code pursuit for $25 off your first box.

Transcribed by

May 21, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Heritage 2019 Edition

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Heritage 2019 Edition. This non-age stated whiskey is 100 proof and $70 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of a Patreon supporter. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Support this Podcast on Patreon

May 19, 2020
253 - OKI Relaunch, Craft Bourbon Bust, and Return of Age Stated Knob Creek on Bourbon Community Roundtable #44


Today’s podcast featuring the roundtable talks about the controversial relaunch of the OKI brand. We examine the potential motivating factors behind New Riff selling the label and if it’s a pure money grab by the new company that owns it. We then look at the current landscape of craft distillers and if they will survive the COVID-19 conditions as over 43% of all craft distillery workers have now been laid off or furloughed. Lastly, we see an age statement return to Knob Creek.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about buying whiskey for cheap during the pandemic.
  • OKI is being relaunched with new ownership. Why would New Riff do this and is it a money grab?
  • 118 craft distillers surveyed recently, 42% said they do not believe they will able to stay in business for more than three months with COVID-19. Is the craft boom going to bust?
  • The return of 12 and 9 year Knob Creek. What does this mean for private barrel selections?
  • Thanks to Blake from, Nick from , Brian from, and Kerry from Subourbia for joining.

Support this Podcast on Patreon


There's two things you can count on on the roundtable. That's I'm gonna be here and that my Internet's gonna go out.

Welcome back because it's Episode 253 of bourbon pursuit. I'm one of your hosts Kenny. And on our news this week, we selected a barrel of wheat whiskey from old elk. But we're also joined by special guest and master distiller Greg Metz, you might recall back from Episode 154, because he was also the previous master distiller for that big factory in Indiana we call MGP virtual barrel picks, they might be the new normal for a while, so we're looking forward to bringing more of those to you via live streams. So make sure that you are subscribed to our YouTube channel, so you don't miss a single one of them. Now onto the news. Will it distilleries master distiller drew Cole's Veen has been named a finalist for the coveted James Beard award.

Award for Outstanding wine, beer or spirits producer. The James Beard Foundation awards honor the best in food dining from cookbooks and rising shifts to the best restaurants and of course distilleries in the US. Time magazine even called it the Oscars of the food world. Drew Colvin first joined Willett distillery back in 2003. And overtime, he's developed mash bills that extend the company's bourbon and rye portfolio, which earned him for semi finalists nominations for the James Beard award. However, this is the first year that he's actually been named a finalist. So hats off to drew congratulations and awesome work on the recognition. The winners for the James Beard awards will be announced on September 25.

The 2020 release of the mixers 10 year old single barrel Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey will go on sale this may of 2020 it is 94.4 proof and it will sell for suggested retail price for around $130 in the US new bottles of larceny barrel proof and alarm

Craig barrel proof will be coming soon to a shelf near you both bearing the code B five to zero. The letter B means it's the second release of the year. digit five means it was released in the fifth month of the year, which is May. And the last two digits, you guessed it 2020 denote the year. The new batch of Elijah Craig barrel proof will come in at 127.2 which is on the lower end of the spectrum for the line. And the larceny barrel proof is now in its second release when you bottle that 122.2 proof and that's just one point lower than the initial first release, comprised of barrels ranging from six to eight years old. The larceny barrel proof will have a retail price of around $50 whereas the 12 year old Elijah Craig barrel proof will be around $80 you can look for both of these coming to a whiskey quickie in the near future. For those that enjoy the shutter Bock, we're from Texas comes a collaboration with bow Cody's and their new Texas Bach. It is a malt whiskey made from the exact recipe

shiner Bock beer, utilizing the breweries Nashville and proprietary lager yeast strain, to what they call create that remarkable flavor profile. It was Asian first fill American oak barrels for at least two years and made within Nashville of over 51% malted barley, about conus. Texas Bok will be bottled at 50% ABV and will be priced around $40. It will also be available for sale at the distillery and retailers throughout Texas and Oklahoma for a limited time and keep it on that Texas trailer bourbon. The garrison brothers bourbon distillery out of high Texas is releasing their garrison brothers bowl Maria bourbon. This bourbon is aged for four years in staves that have been dry aged for at least 25 months in the Ozarks. Then the liquid was transferred to a second new American barrel and aged for another year. Of course we all know is re barreling. It is finally bottled for this second release at 115 proof the 2020 bull Maria release

We'll be around 6000 bottles with a retail price of around $160. Now with more release News, New riff is doing their spring 2020 special release with the new riff back setter bourbon and rye. For this release, new rep really focused on sour mashing process and use the back set from the pizza malted barley in their mashing of their standard bourbon recipe. as they've mentioned, it resulted in a smoking flavor that is hauntingly unique with layers of peat envelopes a creamy spicy bourbon and rye. The back setter to pack will be listed for a total of $99 and 98 cents. And for today's podcast, we're featuring the roundtable it's another yet potentially controversial topic where we talk about the relaunch of the okay AI brand and we examine some of the motivating factors behind it not only just from New Roof but from the new owners as well. We then take a look at the current landscape of craft distilleries and if they will survive the current COVID-19

conditions. As a personal note, please make sure you're going out there and you're supporting your craft distillers. You're going to hear more about it in the podcast today. And lastly, we also talk about the return of H statements that we're seeing on a brand of knob Creek. We're all excited to see that now as well. Joe from barrel bourbon who wants you to know that it's gotten a whole lot easier to get their unique cash drink whiskies from around the world, just visit barrel and you can click the Buy Now button bourbon to your door. It's as easy as that. Up next is Fred minich with above the char, so continue to stay safe, and we'll see you out there soon. Cheers, everyone.

I'm Fred medic, and this is above the char. This is not going to be a pleasant above the char if you're someone who is eagerly waiting for the prices to drop because of the pandemic. Some time ago, I was having a conversation with somebody and I saw it also on Facebook and Twitter. This is a considered

A theme amongst people in the bourbon community talking about how they cannot wait for the bourbon to drop in price to take advantage of the pandemic. I thought to myself at the time, you know, it's it's not a very nice thing to think because if we drop in price, that means people are going to lose their jobs. That means businesses are going to be going bankrupt. That means the bourbon boom that we've known that's kind of helped support this podcast and other cottage industries such as Mint Julep tubers, and r&r limousine Pegasus,

such as the travel industry that has become Kentucky bourbon trail. That means if all those prices start dropping, and all those wholesale barrels go out on the market for far less than they were, oh boy, yeah, you can maybe get a 160 $5 bourbon for something like 40 bucks, but you know what, and also means somebody can't feed their face.

Family, that means somebody is going to be out of work that means that the industry that we have known and love that has been thriving and growing is on its way to a major, major decline. But when I first saw that I was just kind of just kind of like ignored it and kind of moved on. And then people like jack rose and silver dollar started putting up their products for sale out of survival. And I was like, wow,

okay, I get it. We're going to be okay, we're going to be okay. But as many of you know, I am also an active

an active vintage, you know, buyer and I'm always looking for the market for like, you know, rare gyms. I was having a conversation with somebody

about a week ago. And I was talking about like, all the lots that are up for sale. And he says, You know what, I'm going to wait just a little bit longer, a little bit longer. When people

People are much more desperate.

And I don't know why that bugged me so much, because that is a part of business when you are someone who was looking to buy something you do want to buy when the person is, you know, willing to sell for the least amount. And that just bugged me. And I'm not saying that we should. We should be overpaying for things in the vintage market. But I believe in fair markets, I believe in fair market value. I believe in paying for a rare bottle of dallying bottle and bond.

I believe paying for what it's actually worth and not waiting for someone to they can't feed their family. I think right now what we have seen in bourbon, to a lesser degree, but what we have seen with this pandemic, we have seen people for who they really are. We have two sides that are constantly bickering and fighting over how we should deal with this and blaming one another all the time. And then you have the

Majority of America right there in the middle trying to figure out what to do. And it seems we also have those who cannot wait for you to hit rock bottom so they can buy up your collections. So, if that's you, or if you know someone like that, I asked you to please not be that way to change your mind to think of this as like a moment of a human just being human. If somebody comes to you, you know, for you to buy their collection, or to buy a bottle, you know, even if it's out, you know, encourage them to do illegally, of course, but be fair about it. Be fair about it, because you don't know what that money can mean to that person's family.

And that's this week's above the char. Hey, if you have an idea for above the char during this pandemic, hit me up on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, just search for my name, Fred MiniK. Cheers.

Hey everybody and welcome to the 44th recording of the bourbon Community Roundtable. We've got a lot of people joining us live tonight as we discuss a good popery of What's New in bourbon news. And thankfully, we won't have to talk much about COVID because that really hasn't really impacted much in the bourbon world. Everything is just kind of status quo. There's a few hints of releases coming out however, I think it's actually a good thing that hasn't happened because it keeps people away from going out and running and chasing bourbon right now in a time when you shouldn't be probably doing that. So everybody's kind of being a little safe. Ryan has your purchasing habits for bourbon decrease now? Yeah, all my funds have allocated towards to go margaritas swirl Margarita.

We do those carry out Margarita is like three times a week. It's like when we first started they would just give you the Margarita was in a straw and you're like, Oh well, you know

I guess I'd have in the car on the way home and then and then then they went to we can't give you a straw and you're like, Okay, so I start bringing out straws. And then they went to you have to order an appetizer when you get it. So now it's a, which is fine. So just get the chips and walk with it. But the swirl Margarita mojitos if you're in mobile, excellent. There you go. So that's what you've been spending your money on. I actually bought my first bottle in a while today I saw I went to my local store to go and buy some things. Oddly enough, I had to get more tequila because we are running low because of margaritas and such and considering we just kind of had, you know, Taco Tuesday and everything like that. And, you know, cinco demayo. So I think the one thing that I did buy was the the makers 101 that new like fancy box. So look for that in a whiskey quickie coming soon at some point when we can Yeah, exactly. So let's go ahead and let's, let's kick it off tonight because we've got a lot of good topics as we start diving into this. And so I'm gonna go with the person that that

In the middle towards the bottom you start with Brian Harris sipping corn everybody where you blog and then let's start with a fun fun question night indeed believe in ghosts yes I absolutely believe in ghosts and maybe I'll write a there's some whiskey blogs that I might need to do on on ghosts but they're they're true find me at sip and corn mostly on Twitter also Facebook and Instagram and online the the website is sip and corn calm you can also find it at bourbon justice calm. Thanks for having me again guess of course. And let's go to our good friend Carrie over here Carrie. How's it going? Good. Thanks guys for bringing me in tonight. Carrie from suburbia calm. It's up to you our bi a. You can find me on Twitter at bourbon underscore gamer and Instagram at suburbia. And yes, I absolutely believe in ghosts. And sometime when we're off on a tangent, I'll tell you all about the stories growing up in a house in Atlanta, that was definitely haunted.

Okay, well, I'm sitting on pins and needles can't wait.

Call me later, right? Yeah.

All right, Nick, your turn. Hey, everybody. Glad to see everybody tonight. I'm Nick one of three founders of breaking bourbon. Find us online at breaking bourbon calm and check us out on social media. All at breaking bourbon. We're on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Patreon and now, tick tock so throwing up some videos up there too. And you gave in. I'ma be like, yeah, I joined you guys. We joined you guys, but I guess I'll burst the bubble here. I'm not a believer in ghosts myself. I like a good ghost story. But that's about as far as I go. So all right, Blake, you're up, buddy. All right. I'm Blake from burner and toolbox calm. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, that's Bo you are Bo n r and then seal boxes. S e lb a CH

And I'm actually you know, let's see. Where's the vote Ed? I don't know for split but I'm with Nick on this one. Yeah, that can't can't go down that goes throughout. You know, maybe it was too many like, corny tours as a kid through St. Augustine, Florida, which is about 30 minutes from us that that did be in But no, if, you know, they've made 10,000 TLC and discovery show TV shows about it, they still can't track it down it goes, I'm gonna go ahead and say they don't exist. So

few more of these Bourbons, so and you never Yeah, you're right. It doesn't exist, but I can go to Instagram and see that it does exist. So that's

20 says the truth is out there. Ryan, did you believe in ghosts? Uh, sure. I don't know. Yes, Ghostbusters. Like one of my favorite like movies. So like, I gotta believe in it. You know, I had the whole you know, backpack and like thing you slide out and catch them. So right yeah.

I'm all for them. I mean, it just kind of makes me wonder if like bourbon and Ecto cooler would be a good combo then. Hey, I'm all for it. I mean even remember Ecto cooler that was like the the with Slimer. Like that was that flavor back in the day? Oh, shit, I was good. All right, so let's kind of move on to our first topic because I think this is one that is a little polarizing. And so this is something that has recently happened is that okay, I the brand that was originally owned by new roof and kind of what put new roof on the map is really kind of recalls they were putting out anywhere between 10 to I think like 14 or 15 year old 36% higher I MGP towards the end of it. We've had Ken Lewis of new riff on the podcast before telling his story about how he bought those barrels when he was still when he owned the party source up in Northern Kentucky. And then he finally found a way to be able to turn that into another business and then sell those as a way to kind of you know, really got

To get the launching point going for a new roof now what we found out is that the is that new roof has sold off the brand. And it is now being owned by two people. Then it also started the

blank. We're just about before we started the what were the brands where they started ramus Yes.

Yeah. What was the other? I don't know. We just we just totally blanked and we're terrible. I'm terrible hosts that I shot.

volstad except the one. Well, it was there's the Jordan grants George Freeman. I really want I know of offhand, but exactly the MGP burn. Yeah, MPP bought it from them. They got 16 from them. So let's kind of break this down a little bit because the one thing that that I'm kind of looking at this I look at it in the first aspect and I'll kind of throw this out there is why would new riff want to sell? Okay, I Well, I mean, I think that you know, they've kind of made it clear that they want to be all about the district.

They waited those four years. Okay, I served this purpose. So why not cash in on it? You know, I don't know what the you know usually go on like a base of

sales multiples and that kind of thing for a brand. So this is probably a little bit different, but we talked about it a little before of, it's kinda like the black Maple Hill, you know, black Maple Hill was this old brand. That

I guess was it originally with kbd? Or will it in a, you know, the people out of California bought it and it dropped out of quality? Then it moved to Oregon in. I can't tell you how many people say, Hey, I found a bottle of black Maple Hill and it's like, well, is it in a short squat model? Because you're not going to want to drink it for 100 bucks. Right? But that but that business model works, you know, people they've heard about this brand, it's got a little clout in the community.

So why don't I go ahead and and, you know, put some more bourbon in it. But I get that i think i think my my question is

Why would why would new ref and why would Ken Lewis actually want to get rid of something like they had something for so long it was it was successful. There's nothing that said they couldn't revive it years down the road. Why would they just take it and sell it to somebody else like it? That's one part that I'm still trying to figure out how to understand here. So I think they I think originally actually dug up I was looking around at websites actually dug up a website that's that's still out there. And it's new riff I think their old website I'm going to share it up here on on YouTube but it's got a whole kind of page dedicated Okay, I I'm not sure this is supposed to still be up or not on the web. But you know, I almost feel like they've kind of at this point realized their success with new roof is so strong that that idea of ever going back that okay, I brand as part of new roof. Maybe they've just gotten to the point where they said we just we just don't need it. That's not part of the vision anymore. You know, the idea was it was always going to be a short term brand.

I think but I get it, you kind of hold in your back pocket just in case you know, 10 years 15 years down the road, you may want to reintroduce it. It's almost as if now they're looking saying you know what, we're not going to do anything with it. We still like the brand if we've got people that are interested in taking that brand to a new height, we don't want it go ahead guys. You guys take it and we're doing our thing over here. So I think it's a lot attributed to numerous success that they've had now in the idea that there they probably don't plan on putting any resource into Okay, I or didn't for a long time and they're saying if somebody else is going to so be it, take it we'll take a little money and be done with it. Yeah, I agree with that. I mean, they think about the single barrels that had a lot of success in 2019 and a lot of them were new riff I mean they're they're proud of what they got with good reason. To me you know, think of another example Who else could do this and it's smooth Ambler. It's like smooth Ambler getting rid of old scowl once they have their own distillate. That's that's a bigger scale, I think and that would be really surprising if they ever did that.

That's the same idea once you're once you're proud of your own distillate and your own product you move toward that and and help keep the lights on by selling a brand did that did okay I ever get distributed outside of Kentucky Ohio and Indiana

the small that it wasn't much outside was it? I don't think so. I think Yeah, I was like the tri state area was what they had like 50 barrels in total right or it wasn't like there was massive amounts was there dudes a finite number of barrels they started with and that was always the idea was it was just going to fun there next thing you know it's never going to be a brand that continued in it was never going to be a brand new we're going to go try to source more to somehow continue at least that's what the how the story goes. Yeah cuz new is made its way now and it's coming to Georgia. And yeah, I feel I kind of with Brian. On that whole thing. You put your initial investment into that that one company but once you see that you

your heart and your soul is in the product that you're making and the label that you're proud of. It's like, what's the point of keeping behind? You know, I mean, money speaks at the end of the day, right? So, you know, you make money from selling that label, why not? Yeah. And then the last time we were there, I mean, they got a ton of like, expansion going and building stuff. And it's like, they probably could have used the cash. You know, the capital. I mean, I don't know how lucrative of a deal it was just to sell the brand off. But it might be to to meet some short term cash needs that they need to, you know, keep growing the new roof brand and it's like, Hey, you know, Hell, I can't tell you how many Okay, I bottles I passed on like, just because I was like, I just MGP again, you know, who? Stupid me But uh, yeah, I mean, I don't know. I mean, it probably. I don't know how valuable that brand is really. I mean, it's somewhat noticeable. But I'd say in the grand scheme of thing it's not, you know, that well known of a brand in the grand scheme of things. I mean, we as hobbyists, we know, aka Okay,

All right, I want to go out and ask 20 people, you know, if they've heard of it, they haven't heard it yet. I can tell you people were like, okay, that, okay, bring it,

bring it to a big market and see if anyone knows anything about it. And yeah, I don't think they would, I think they're gonna have to put a lot of effort into it to really get the snowball rolling again and take it anywhere from from where it kind of is sitting right now, you know, beyond that, the tightly knit enthusiast market, but I don't think it has that massive, you know, appeal of like other big brands, but it's an easier story to tell of, you know, where it came from, and people kind of, oh, have you heard a new riff and you know, it kind of it. For me, it's just an easier segue for retailers to explain to customers why they're charging $120 per bottle, but yeah, we'll see. And so I kind of want to put a thought in about, you know, the whole sales aspect because I look at this, as let's rewind the clock back like

I'd say a while ago, you know, when other brands were basically doing mash trading of labels and distilleries to basically stay afloat. And Ryan, you're probably right. Maybe this was something to get a quick cash grab, because who knows in 10 1520 years, if anybody's gonna care about it, but it could also be in 10 2015 years, when people like us for like, holy shit, it's back like, Oh my god, right? Like, we would have like a party about it. This is just kind of like, Oh, this seems a little weird, right? I mean, yeah, it's weird. And it's like, if it's just two guys doing it, and you look at a business venture out of it, like how much do you really think they paid for it? 10,000 20,000 If you really think they paid like $50,000 for this brand. Oh, I was thinking at least 100,000 I was thinking 100 myself too. I was thinking I was I was also thinking New Roof might they might have told this story. You know, these guys might have told a story. This is our plans with it. And that could have been something that the folks at New riff kind of said okay, we're kind of seeing the vision.

And we're, it's not just about the money, it's about the idea that you're going to do something with this brand that we're never going to do and that we don't want to do, and don't have any plans to do. And that might have been part of it too, because they did talk about kind of retelling that story and, you know, doing some things with this brand to kind of revitalize, which obviously, they need to do. But that may be part of it as well be really interesting to know what was paid for it. Yeah, gosh, I wouldn't think I just couldn't imagine paying more than, like, 25 $30,000 for it, but maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. I just think I think I see. I'm trying to think of like a I'm just trying to think of like percentage of business that limited releases are you know, for for Okay, or anyone and it's not that much and then you're trying to think about the margin you make on that and I'm like, okay, that just doesn't seem like a valuable that much. Like, I wouldn't pay much more than that to to profit off that name, I guess but maybe I don't know. I'm an idiot. So who knows? When they're when the bottles come out and see how expensive they are? Then you'll know how much Yeah, you'll figure it out. Really quick.

Yeah. And so that kind of like tails and dovetails in the next part because we we look at this from our perspective and our perspective as enthusiasts and also keep this in mind. Nobody gave a shit about Okay, I until the MGP. hype train started. Right, right. I mean, it was around for a while some people were getting some bottles, they were 1213 years old people like that, then all of a sudden the MGP chasers came around, cleared those out, then kept going and moving to the next distillery until every distillery is basically cleared out of this high aged MGP. So one thing that people have to understand is that this will not be the same product as you had before. And if you want it to be that, maybe you should not buy a bottle and wait additional 10 years, and maybe it'll be there because we all know that what's available in the market today that you're going to get from a GP is probably around five years old. If you're lucky, maybe six. And so I guess we we look at this and we think like okay, if you are going to be under new ownership with this, how like what is that price point do you think that you need to be at

Do you look at this as like a pure speculation of just like, hey, let's just ride the coattails of a brand that was known by a bunch of people in a bourbon community in the tri state area, and then try to make a national brand out of it. But what's that? What's that price point got to be at to be able to do that? And how do you stay competitive against everybody else in the market? Who's pushing MGP? Because you're not you're not you're not unique anymore? Let's keep it to say they're gonna be MGP, though. I mean, oh, you know that? Yes, because it says it in the press release that they are sourcing. 36% high right. MGP to do this brand, they're not steering away from what it was before. Yeah, you gotta be at like $100 or more. I think $40 is a good price point for if you're looking for something that you want to say I want to take it national, I want this to be just about every state or every state. It's somewhat similar to other Bourbons out there, you're going to buy it because the flavor because the label, maybe the story a little bit, but I think $40 is kind of that sweet spot where you're not

so high that people are just going to ignore it and bite your high enough that they're going to look at it as an elevated brand out there so if they're putting out a $40 bottle and it's hitting everywhere I think with the right marketing behind it and a decent flavor decent age I think they I think they could do it and make it something like like smooth Ambler we're seeing that coming coming back now and that's at that price point. For example, you know if they want to go higher if they want to go into this 70 hundred dollar range they're gonna have to really we've quite a story I mean, think Kentucky owl kind of you know, they're gonna have to source some stuff that we didn't really know was available to source or that was, you know, kind of a surprise to kind of hit those higher numbers or they go above 100 but be interesting to see if they kind of go towards that limited premium side or if they go towards that make it available to everybody side on that lower price. I think you guys underestimate the ridiculousness that people will pay. Yeah, or ridiculousness. Well said I always think of my head.

Is that heaven store? bourbon. That was that total wine? I think it was like 399 or 499 I'm sure it was sourced from somewhere. Maybe MGP have a bootleg one. Yeah, the one that was like it was like, seven years. It was like 27 years old. No, not that one. It wasn't that old. But it said something like, here's heading included a guitar string from somebody and had a leather bound notebook and and it was 499 and I'm thinking nobody's gonna buy that this is bullshit. And a week later, all three of them were sold out. You know, I think it's, it's, this is the ideal market. If you want to push into you know, marketing bullshit. This is the market for it right now. People are gonna buy what you put out. And all you need to practically do is charge a high price. Yeah. And a fancy bottle. Fancy bottle has got instant prestige and there might not be anything to it. Yet

Yeah, as the comment is right now just put a horse on the bottle and it's

that's it. I think this is a mark. It's a perfect mark. Well, you know, Douglas Pendleton put it in the chat. Price dries perception. And that is extremely true in today's market. It's like, well, it's under dollars. It's gotta be better than the bottle. That's $50 Yeah. Why would they only charge 50? If it's worth 100? Yeah, cuz they had to pay $200,000 for the brand, right?

It just went out and he says the price is double Blake. Yeah, just double. Yeah, I mean, the one thing that I see this and this is just from a pure whiskey perspective, is that we've we've seen this story before. And we've seen and we've tasted this whiskey before. And we know a bunch of different places that are putting out five year MGP 36% high rye, sorry, all it's not ready yet. In my opinion, it's still not there. And I think there's still going to be a lot more time that needs to go into the barrel to actually make this live up to the hype.

what it was before and so you're gonna have the same exact people that are getting burned by the same products and then it's just gonna be history repeating itself. Yeah. Are y'all ready for the big reveal? It's me and Kenny who bought it?

totally get it

opens and it's $1,000 is that is that pursuit release 340

Yeah, episode

together. Yeah, we're getting our own boxes that have like hydraulic lifts in it that just like raise it up three inches so you can take it off its pedestal. They're they're holograms of Kenny's tic Tock videos.

We've got to take the sticker game to the next level, right? We've just had to figure out how to do that to make people really want to know what's what took the sticker game to the next level and is underappreciated is gifted horse. It was a terrible whiskey. But did you know it was Scratch and sniff? Yeah, I don't know if everybody I can't believe you.

Nobody I can't believe no one else has done that after that because it's such a crazy funny idea to me. I want a bottle just so I can have a scratch and sniff label again, like I don't even care that the whiskey sucks. I want gifted horsetail. man you love orphan barrels, I do like a round table Buffalo Trace for a gifted horse. It's worth $140.

Get on it, man. Make it happen if you can. Alright, so let's let's kind of move on to the next subject because this one is it's kind of a sore subject. This is definitely dealing with COVID and everything that that's been going on because according to a survey that has been released by the distilled spirits Council of the United States, as well as the American distilling Institute, with a survey of 118 craft distillers they found that two out of three have worried not only about the short term, but also the long term survival of their business. And 42% believe that they will not be able to stay in business for more than three months, and another 21% of worry that they will go out of business for the next three months. And I believe

We've also said that 43% of all craft distillery workers across the US right now have either been laid off or furloughed. So we look at this right now that we're potentially in the craft boom bust. Now, the the question for you all that I kind of have with this is that in a capitalist sort of mentality and opportunity here, why aren't more big players in this game, trying to swallow up craft distilleries? For dimes on $1 right now?

Before before y'all Sorry, guys, y'all know a lot about this, but I just have a question do they say? I mean, did they say why? They're struggling because it seems like the spirit tree is booming, right?

Yeah, local distilleries, they own their yard. So like they really depend on tours and, you know, local events and tourism. You know, I was I was digging into that more to carry because everywhere you're seeing is how

All sales are up, and you've seen it all over the place, if you're not seeing it on the news, seen it with people, you talk to just your friends and family and so forth. You know, I was looking at that too and started digging around a little bit about that, and kind of found this this whole kind of changing dynamic of this idea that people aren't buying on premise now that they're buying from the online retailers or some of the big brick and mortars you know, for the most part, and that's that hurts. They're basically the these craft distillers or major margin is what they're selling on premise with their bars, the restaurants, the stuff they're selling directly with the bottle, so where they're seeing their profit is basically dried up, even though they might be still selling some of their product. But then a lot of that stuff being bought online is the big name, lower price kind of stuff that people are just, you know, kind of repetitively buying. So all this crap stuffs going to the wayside. And these guys are sitting on a lot of them and insane amounts of debt that they need to service and it's a very short it's really pretty sad. I hope they don't

Go under to the you know, to the extent that it looks like they could, but it's a very short window for them to either survive this thing or not survive this thing.

I didn't think about how much is that how much of their revenue is from people coming in and on site? So they make a lot of their profit derivative. Yeah. 30% is a pretty conservative estimate for most craft distilleries have tasting rooms.

And, you know, they have a bar and that kind of stuff, it could be even higher. And, you know, so all that's just gone out the window. So they're kind of making up with it with hand sanitizer trying to, you know, do what they can into next point. You know, whenever people are buying for a pandemic, they're grabbing, grabbing fodder grabbing. Yeah, I think I think that's a good point. It's like, people are drinking more, but they're not, you know, like one seven fives of like Evan Williams, and that's what they're, you know, that's what most people are grabbing for. They're not going for the higher price craft stuff. And so it's a and do it like

You know people are buying alcohol but you know, restaurants and bars are like zero. And so they you know, a lot of the tastes like you all said the tasting rooms and visitor centers, you know that these guys depend on or just it's gone from to zero and so and I don't really think they're getting any help either I mean the PPP stuff goes to two employees and a little bit to rent and that's not their expenses I mean they they have a lot of suck sunk and expenses that they're just not really getting anything from the government on here. Yeah, you know, their revenue and they've still got a, you know, fun that Vendome still and their construction costs and everything else there. I mean, it's it's serious. I agree with Matt. Matt's comment there that hand sanitizer production has kind of caught up now. Yeah, yeah. So what do you they don't need to do that anymore, either. Yeah. And they struggle with that, too. A lot of regulations were tricky. A lot of them ended up making it and not even really being able to sell it.

They just, you know, made it a lot of pro bono. And a lot of cases that really wasn't a moneymaker per se. I think they just got stuck in a place where they didn't really need to produce whiskey and they were trying to help and, you know, trying to keep staff. Yeah, and a lot of these places have a pretty low staff count to, you know, to Brian's point. There's not a lot of people that work in a small craft distillery, usually, a lot of times, it's actually just the owners, maybe that are that are working there. You know, and they're there. A lot of times they have just an incredible amount of debt to service that even in a perfect world when everything's going well. It's a hard business. So you just you just pull out one little piece, you know, it's like a thing of Jenga pull out one piece the whole thing's gonna topple. And it's very, very well could be the piece I'd be curious Blake, what you're seeing on the sealed box side, from the, you know, kind of like the online sales side there and people approaching you from the craft distilleries. I mean, what's kind of been your feel for these folks that you are

pretty well. Yeah. So a lot of them are, you know, definitely feeling the feeling the effects of it. Most are making it but most are making it we got it. Yeah, no, no, I'm like, What can we send Blake an arrow or something? Like, uh, I think it's I think it's fun for my computer. Oh,

it's a ghost behind you, Blake. I left the podcast almost two years ago and Blake's internet still stayed the same.

So true. True. I, you know, I, I would say as much

as this has been damaging for so many small businesses and restaurants and bars and distilleries, and etc. I kind of feel like maybe we're getting close to good news starting to prevail and hopefully coming out of this thing within a month. I mean, you start to look at at least here in Georgia, we buckled down March 14 is when pretty much everybody

Went indoors and

our hospitals are at a very low rate right now. And I'm just hopeful that we can kind of come back out now and support these craft distillers I know that right before everything hit the fan. wilderness trail was distributed here in Georgia. And I kinda was just very curious to see how their sales went. And my local store had bought a couple cases of their they had the weeded the regular bourbon and the the rye. And all of it has to has sold pretty well. He said he's ordered more of it. So hopefully, we can get out of this thing and get back to these craft distillers. This is the one thing that that kind of strikes me a little bit. So I'm sitting here I'm trying to read the chat. And there's some people that are saying like, oh, like, it doesn't matter, like their whiskey sucks. It's too young as to whatever. Like this is the this is the moment this is the movement that we need, unless you want to keep drinking the same whiskey from the same six distilleries for the rest of your life. And I think that

Blake made a very good point in his presentation that he did at whiskey from home during that that online conference and saying that if you're buying craft whiskey, you're not trying to buy something that is just as good or comparable as the big guys. Instead, what you're doing is you're trying to get something that makes you drink or taste something different, right? Like you're finding either new grains, you're finding new ways that the they you know, they put it like a different age proof or they you know, they did whatever it is different because we all know that if you go to heaven Hill, or you go to a beam, you go to these different places. They've got, you know, like one, two, maybe three or four recipes, and they are cranking out stuff like on that still 24 hours a day. They're not changing. They're not experimenting, right? And so it's it's really hard for you to sit there and try to figure out like, okay, like, I hope your palate or your taste doesn't change over the next 1020 years because that's essentially what we're going to get. And I know it's been a bad rap on a lot of craft distilleries that they get, you know like in this, this, basically

pigeonholed in this part where they said like, oh, sorry, Your whiskies too young. It's two, three years old. And it's, you know, it doesn't meet my flavor profile. I get it. I'm kind of with you there. But we've got to be able to give them a chance to be able to get to the point here at 5678 910 years old when this whiskey is really going to start being mature and it does taste phenomenal that we've got a lot of options out there as consumers. So yep, yeah. And

Transcribed by

May 14, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Riverset Rye


On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Riverset Rye. This non-age stated rye is 93 proof and $40 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

May 12, 2020
252 - Distilling in Memphis: Filling Barrels Ten Feet Off of Beale with Alex Castle of Old Dominick Distillery

We went on a road trip to check out Old Dominick distillery in Memphis, TN. We’re excited to let Alex Castle, Master Distiller at Old Dominick, share the history behind the brand and how it was resurrected. We learn about her time at Wild Turkey and then dive into their current operations and product lines. If you are in the Memphis area, make Old Dominick one of your must-stops so you can check out their incredible facility.

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit
  • Share a sip of pure Memphis with Old Dominick Distillery. Learn more at

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Whiskey from Home.
  • Tell us about your background. Did you grow up around bourbon?
  • Talk about your time at UK.
  • What did you love about working at Alltech?
  • What happened after graduating?
  • What was your role at Wild Turkey?
  • How did you end up at Old Dominick?
  • Did Old Dominick have an initial vision?
  • What are honeybells?
  • How was the transition from Kentucky to Tennessee?
  • Tell us about the history of the distillery.
  • How did you decide to launch with the Memphis Toddy?
  • Talk about the design of the facility.
  • What was your vision for the still?
  • What was the inspiration for your recipes?
  • Tell us about your products and mash bills.
  • Talk about the barrels.
  • Why keep the barrel wood regional?
  • Will it be harder to keep the wood regional as you scale?
  • Talk about the rooster.
  • Tell us more about your gin.
  • What hurdles did you have when opening the distillery?
  • How have you been received in Memphis?
May 07, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Legent Bourbon

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Legent Bourbon. This non-age stated bourbon is 94 proof and $35 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: This whiskey in this review was purchased by Bourbon Pursuit for reviewing. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

May 05, 2020
251 - Pairing Country Ham with Bourbon Drams with Steve Coomes

Bourbon and ham, is that a pairing you would expect? To be honest, neither did I. I’m a sucker for killing a plate of prosciutto at a dinner party, but thanks to our guest Steve Coomes, we’ve discovered a new love for country ham. When done right, the saltiness of the ham just hits all the right spots. We sit down with Steve as he talks to us about a past life as a pizza judge (yes, a pizza judge!) and then we get into hams. The diet of the pigs, curing processes, and even his professional opinion of those ham legs you see hanging inside rickhouses. I think it will surprise you. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t do a bourbon and ham pairing. Try not to salivate too much.

Show Partners:

Show Notes:

  • Bourbon in a Decanter: Does is go bad?
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Derby.
  • How did you get into spirits writing?
  • Tell us about your bourbon and ham parings.
  • Talk about your culinary background.
  • How do you judge a pizza?
  • Tell us about the hams you brought today.
  • How do you come up with the pairings?
  • Are the pigs fed a specific diet?
  • What is the difference in the thickness of country ham and prosciutto.
  • Tell us about curing.
  • What sizes do hams come in?
  • What flavors are you looking for when pairing?
  • How much does this ham cost?
  • Where can you buy country ham?
  • What do you think about hams aging in rickhouses?

That country ham industry is its own worst enemy, many times and understanding what it needs to do to make itself look on par with Italian cured hams. Yeah. My wife it's charcuterie. She's like, Oh

yeah, you say it's like oh no, no way. It's like

Welcome to Episode 251 of bourbon pursuit. I hope you all are hanging in there with your quarantine here, because I know right now, mine's looking pretty Shaggy. I'm due for a haircut. But before I get to the news, I want to tell you once again about whiskey from home with the help of some of the best names in bourbon. We're doing a five and a half hour livestream of whiskey soap entertainment on May 2, starting at 12pm Eastern. So right now go to whiskey from home calm and get your free ticket there sessions on bourbon history. The best Bourbons on the shelf right now. Blind flights how to hunt for great bourbon, a virtual food pairing with Peggy no Stevens and a virtual bourbon tasting with our good friend, Fred MiniK. The shopping list for everything that you need to follow along. Is it whiskey from home calm, so go there. Check it out. It's a free event. So come and spend your Saturday afternoon with us. Now, bourbon into decanter doesn't go bad. This is a question that was asked and answered with extensive research from advanced mixology calm. After you buy a bottle of bourbon, how should it be stored? does it stay preserved for years or even decades have left on open? What about the canning of bourbon? Can it go bad then? Well, it all comes down to aeration, and without giving too much of it away. You can read all the answers to these questions to the link from advanced mixologist calm in our show notes. For today's podcast, we talked about bourbon and ham. Is that a pairing that you would expect? Well, to be honest, neither did I I'm a sucker for killing a whole plate of for shoot, I was at a dinner party. But thanks to our guest, Steve Coombs, I found a new love for country ham. When done, right, the saltiness of the ham, it just hits all the right spots. We sit down with Steve, as he talks about his past life as a pizza judge, you heard that right up pizza judge, I mean, talk about a dream job. But then we get into hands, the die to the pigs, curing processes, and even his professional opinion of those hand legs that you see hanging inside of Rick houses. I think it's gonna surprise you. Of course, it wouldn't be complete if we didn't do a bourbon and hand pairing. So try not to salivate too much. All right, don't forget it whiskey from home calm, go register and get your free ticket. If you haven't had a chance yet, go to barrel and you can get cash drink bourbon, whiskey, rye and rum. All delivered direct to your door. Just look for the Buy Now button at the top of the page. All right. Now here we go. Yo, here's Fred minich with above the char.

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char. I'm a little sad right now. I'm actually really, really sad. We've had to cancel bourbon and beyond. I think many of you all know that. But that's the festival that I co created with Danny Wimmer presents and COVID is forcing a lot of cancellations, especially in the music world. What's gonna happen to the Kentucky Derby? No one really knows. But this Saturday would have been my 13 Kentucky Derby in a row to attend. And I'm just sad because that piece of that that moment is gone. It that it's gone. That piece of culture, that piece of celebration. And it's not necessarily about the horses. It's about the gathering of the people the smoking of cigars, a sipping a bourbon, seeing my wife go through, you know, 15 thousand different hats before she chooses one. So many great moments I've had over the years. I want to share one with you. Now, if you followed me you know that I've, I was a guest of the governor last year and I've been a millionaire's row and I've been around the celebrities and all that. And a lot of people be like, that would be that would be the one that would be like the one memory that you would want to take away when you think about your experiences as the from the derby. I've also been a photographer on the derby. I was on the finishing line in 2008 and got some really beautiful photos of a Belle's before she passed away. And yet, that's not it either. Now, my favorite Derby of all time, was when I was in Peggy know Stephens box with with my wife. We were just pregnant. We're just getting out of that first trimester where we could start telling people you know how it is if you've been pregnant? Well, I've never been pregnant. My wife spent pregnant but I say we as in like, you know, family, and you get out of that first trimester and you're so excited to tell people and we're Catholic. So that first step is always like, Alright, who are going to be the godparents? So it was on Derby Day, like, two, three years ago, that we were in Peggy's box and we asked Peggy, if she would be the godmother to our son, Julian. And she cried, said yes, of course. And it was just a magical moment. It was a wonderful celebration. And then I think I lost a couple hundred bucks on the race. But there's no replace in the derby. We can't replace that. That's just a magical, magical moment. If you've ever been, you know what I'm talking about, but we're doing something that is as good as we possibly can present right now. And that's whiskey from home. It is an amazing lineup of bourbon personalities. And I hope you will join us all day Saturday. As we drink bourbon as we talk bourbon, we're going to be streaming across the interwebs. Unlike any time before, this is the first, this is the first time my knowledge that we've ever seen something like this a virtual conference in the bourbon world. And my hat's off to Kenny Coleman. He's just done such a good job, you know, stepping up and getting this thing going. On the back end. I'm trying to get all the streaming stuff set up. And Ryan's going to be making cocktails and you know what, I'm going to try and make them alongside him. So I cannot wait to see how this goes for everybody. And I hope you will join us. It's this Saturday. I'm sure Kenny's already talked about it, and you're going to hear more about it later on. But it's going to be a great time is it going to replace the derby? Nothing can replace that in our hearts. But what it can do is it can help us get us through the fact that we are missing missing the greatest two minutes in sports. So that's this week's above the char. This one came from the heart. If you have a heartfelt story about the Kentucky Derby, hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or go to my website Fred medic comm and send me an email. I like reading those kinds of stories. Until next week, cheers

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon, the whole team here today we've got bourbon and we've got ham where we talking pigs and bourbon today so this is this is something that I know Ryan and myself we're big barbecue guys, we got our green eggs, you've got your drum, you've got all kinds of things so terrible, but yes, it's a better omen. Yeah. And you know, for me, I love I love charcuterie boards when I go out to restaurants to can't get enough a ham. And I mean you remember we were talking about going to North Carolina you're talking about the gym. Oh, and ham. Is that what it is? Yep.

Yeah, the Serrano Hamza Oh, the ham on Hello. Yeah.


that's a source that's your jam on or GMO yeah

Jay Michael Jackson working there.

It's the jam the jam and ham. cured meats are like you're talking about love language and I used to raise pigs I used to raise pigs so like this is like ham to me is like it's what I grew up with. We used to raise do rocks and Berkshires and everything's kidding

yeah I had my Linux I knew you're in the hug business you ever notice had their day their pig in the mud? Did everyone pay the pig you know in the mud?

Yeah, we made them yeah, we literally like I'd had to clean them all the time because they would get it get really bad and we had some we did have some some hampshire's as well. I had like, like one of these really nice prized hampshire's, and the damn thing died when it touched concrete like it was it was a carrier of what they call a stress gene. And one of my big contributions to the hog community is that I donated him to science instead of eating him

After he died, you get a tax write off for that or something. I

don't you know what I think we did, but if they actually they've cured they've bred most of that out there.

Yeah. And you can't eat them unless you cause its death. Right? If it does that on its own, you gotta

take there's any rules on

that to show up live to the budget,

whatever it sounds delicious. So if

you hit by a car, I think that seeing well we don't want to know how the sausage made, you know, no pun intended.

Who knows we might get back into that action today and kind of talking about cured meats as well as we go through here. But you've already heard our guests today. So today is our guests. We've got Steve Coombs. Steve is all over the place. He knows about pigs. He knows about bourbon. He's been a writer for bourbon Plus, he's also an author. He's been a contributing writer for bourbon and banter. So Steve, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.

Yeah, so I mean, we kind of talked a little bit there but let's let's kind of talk about some of your your bourbon cred. You know, how did how did you get into actually start writing and kind of Knowing and exploring the spirits world,

I always call this the confession moment in that I was probably 4748. before somebody got she was the tourism director in Bardstown. And I was down there doing a story for Southern Living magazine, y'all remember Don crystal? Oh, yeah, Don, Don said, we pulled up to heaven Hill. She said, Steve Coombs, you get out of this car right now go inside and do that tasting said you're not going to do an article on my town without tasting some bourbon and believe it or not honest truth, it really clicked that day. It was funny that 92 proof larceny lit my mouth on fire to the point of numbness. And I mean, and now we're drinking barrels, barrel strength, dry, you know, it's no big deal. So I got hooked on it literally just because of the culture. And of course, watching Fred, Fred and I worked many years ago together and seeing what it did for his career and becoming attracted to the characters in the business. My gosh, I mean, I've written about the culinary business for 30 years and never had Have I found such a concentration of friendly characters in one single business? And you especially talking about how rough it was in the wine industry, you know how snobs were in that like you didn't want any more involvement with that the low ego part of this businesses just you know gold for writers don't think yeah,

I mean the the characters are amazing. I remember that time in your career you You called me I've really how did you get here? How did you do that and all that and I and it for me, this has always been easy because of the of the people and at the time, you were like thinking about, you know, teetering with tequila a little bit. Remember I was and I still love it. But it's a whole country away.

And here we live in the country of bourbon country, and it's right here and you can drive to barks down to 15 minutes and be interviewing the geniuses in the business or Frankfurt or, you know, Larkspur,

one of the great things that you've done is that a lot of people come into, into in bourbon and they just, they kind of repeat the same stories. You know, not a lot Have people you know, try to go outside of what's already been done. And you've kind of you've done that. And I've been telling you for a long time that people want to be, you know, learn more about ham and the pairings of it and now you're doing seminars on it and everything. So how did that how did that start? How did you develop this whole new platform that really no one's explored Really? And this ties back to you? Hopefully you remember the answer to this gotta stop this kiss fest over Yeah,

it is. Yeah, all right

later, but let me let me say this. he mentored me 15 years ago when we really started he was your supervisor. He said your light just like today? No, I'm kidding.

I'm totally kidding.

I was always on time. You were I told him that the company didn't really tolerate that crap and you still ended up military and you just show up on time?

Yeah, that was that was back when I was still falling a little bit my military code now I'm 10 minutes late to everything cuz I just don't care. Fred. Fred

called me in July of what was it? 2014. You said that a publisher called Do about doing a book on country ham? That's right. And you said I don't know anything about the subject but I have a feeling I know someone who does. And he called me and he said call the publisher and see if this will work out for you. And I wound up writing that was my is my It was my first book country ham, a southern tradition of hogs salt in smoke, which came out the year after that. And so by then I'd already begun enjoying bourbon and I'm tasting it just like we're gonna taste today. It was late night it was it Believe it or not, sounds so fake, but it's really true is midnight, I was editing the book and sipping it and tasting it with this. Oh my gosh, this works really well together.

Yeah, it's a match made in heaven.

Oh, exactly. In and that's really where it kind of clicked. But Jay Denham, who is one of the great cures and Kentucky who's moved back to Cincinnati, had come to me, we're friends. We're talking ham and he said, you know, we should do a big whiskey and hand pairing some time and somehow or another led to the bourbon classic. And we did One with have not had been hell I'm sorry Jim Beam. And it was a hit from then. And ever since I've been doing a lot of these tastings My gosh, we've got six books already this year through March out of town. And it's a lot of fun to spread the gospel of both I mean, pork gets a bad name the United States and this is this is really good stuff that we don't try today. The other other white man and he is really really read me forgot that tagline. Yeah, so horrible. I kinda want to rewind it back to you even a little bit more here. So kind of talk because you were you were a chef previously in your life too, right to kind of talk more about your culinary background. So I my mother was a good Southern cook but never did understand restaurant food until I had to start paying my tuition at St x and my parents said you know, times are a little tight you boys need to get some better jobs if you're gonna keep going to say next pay for it. So I start working and fine dining. And it was the restaurant that really gave Louisville its own restaurant boom was called Casa goes on. It's long since gone. But that was the first place that I tasted really, really good fresh fish, real asparagus, Hollandaise, all these kinds of things. And I realized that was wired for the culinary industry. didn't know what I wanted to do when I graduated college and was stuck watching the chef's and thought that looks interesting. I'll try that. I wanted to be a writer. I've always wanted to be a writer, but I was an absolute terrible manual typewriter typist, mine was the last class at St x in 1982 that use true manual typewriters. And the best I ever did was 32 words a minute. And that wasn't gonna fly at a newspaper. About five or so years later, I got a laptop. It was an IT WAS AN NTC multi sink if anybody remembers it, you guys are toddlers

weighed 11 and a half

pounds when that one had like a real floppy like the five and a

half inch floppy? No, not that 123 and a half no hard drive. And that was the first time that I ever discovered that word processing allows you to correct your mistakes and like well maybe I can do this thing after all. And then so I started writing about the rest Strong industry that was 1991 I still do it not nearly as much because of, you know, publications like yours and, and I'm really digging the spirit scene but to be in it this long and have gotten to travel to really neat places in the world, just writing about food has been a treat and I'm in a food town. So it's been a good career. I let me let me add something to this. He was the editor in chief of pizza today. And then he later was the editor, editor of a website called pizza marketplace. And Steve was a god in pizza around the world. And if you think about pizza, it's like its own sounds delicious. Anyway.

Steve likes too skinny to be like, doing all this food cookies, but

he would he would write about these like pizza dough throwing contests and it'd be like Italy versus United States or Canada and that was going on when you're there, man. And it's just it was just it was fun. For me from a career perspective, that was the first time I had ever seen anyone cover a beat very uniquely, and that I've never told you this, but the way that you own pizza gave me a lot of like motivation, you know, to, you know, to discover, you know, in that or in the early times in my career to find what I could like your neck hat, find my niche like you did. And like, he was a god and pizza. If you Google Steve Coombs, you know, we put the quotation marks around it, and then pizza, you'll find a lot of his old stuff and it's beautiful. I kind of want to talk about both. I know

I kind of talk about pizza just for a second. So kind of talk about like, how do you judge a pizza like in your mind when you were going into judge a pizza like what how does that how does that work?

there? It's It's the last contest that I did for a long time was in Columbus, that client I was telling you about that I had been up there was the North Custom was a minute American pizza contest can't recall but we judge it on crest quality Christmas. You would look at what you know the rim of the crest which at the time is called the corny God or the cornice. And you'd look for the texture of the dough. You judge it on the the flavor of the sauce how it presents itself well with cheese you don't want to slide off. That's a problem. He looked at the ratio of toppings with sauce and crust. And when you look at the marketability of it is this thing really something that would sell in a in a pizza restaurant or do the guy just make it up on his way in and then do you do thumbs up sideways? Thumbs thumbs down? There wasn't there was there were 38 judges in this contest to manage you know, the volume of pizzas that were coming through. So you really did have to have a rigorous pizza quickies now it's a bookies. Yeah, we could Yeah, yeah. So it was it was pretty rigorous judging, and I'd seen a similar system in Italian I'm sorry in Italy, but uh, it's basically based on what you know, making the Italians win. What's their system What style do you prefer? Like?

Okay, I really do.

Yeah, me Neapolitan, New York. Go neck and neck. Yeah. And I like that salt mine like a Pete not pizza. Taco foldable floppy.

Yeah, there seems to be a trend right now of people bashing Chicago style pizza saying it's not really pizza. It's just like a big like a lasagna. Yeah, it's

Are you in that? Are you No, not at all. That that's it's a derivative of an Italian version of pizza called torta pasqual Lena which means Easter tart or torte. And it was basically you know, the deep dish and they would put another layer of crust over the top and it was it was like kind of like we will roll out a big lasagna for celebratory event. And and that's the way it was treated. It wasn't the Italians don't see pizza as a slice after slice thing. Like we eat it here. I mean, we're committed. These dudes have had an appetizer, some wine, the little bit of pizza, then, you know something afterward. We look at Pizza as a whole meal sometimes our meal. Yeah, no. So

kind of goes back to that old saying like, any pizza can be a personal pain if you want to try harder. Yeah.

Yeah, yeah. So

they would look at that at a pizza that size and say, Man, that's for 10 people. 12 people, you know, and we look at it sometimes they will you get two friends. Yeah.

All right pizza pursuit come to you in 2021 Yep. All right. So let's let's kind of head and kind of dive in here with with what we have in front of us. So kind of Tell me Tell us a little bit about like what you brought today and variations and why you chose this.

So we have a couple of hams before us today. And I like to focus on people who use the very breeds that Fred was talking about having raised years ago. Heritage breed hogs because the quality of the meat is higher. The fat is much more present. It's better marbled, there's a better cap like this area here is called and you get a much better balance of flavor and texture. encoding a lot of the things that we talked about with bourbon but only presented in a solid form. I also when I did the book several years ago, I really got to taste a lot of country ham and these specific cures are the one that I ones that I really like to use in presentations. I have found that their meat tastes best with whiskey out of you know many others, partly because of the fat partly because of the complexity that's gained in aging just like bourbon.

Yeah, I was about to ask like how what what the rigorous process of testing all that was like to be able to figure out exactly what would pair well

and what no more rigorous and you guys sitting at the bar, just tasting lots of different things and lugging it somewhere in your memory or Notepad. It's just tasting and tasting, tasting and tasting and think it through. It takes it again like bourbon, a little goes a long way you don't need a ton of country hand three ounces, a country hand would give you your full RTA dose of salt, so you don't need much of it. But I've really gotten to where I'm very fond of this first hand nearest us is from the hammer it in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This is a guy who his name is Bob woods and he's the one that coined my favorite phrase that he used in presentations and he said, Steve, country ham Ain't nothing but hillbilly prosciutto that's what it is. A traditional ham is cured basalt only a country ham is cured with salt and sugar and various other peppers if you like but that's basically the difference

now these particular pigs you talked about that are worth or they spent a specific diet or they just like you know, in Italy I've seen you know, the swine are fed like a corns only and like massage Do you know? sure that's the procedure department hawks, but they do like to let him get out and free range and did you guys or did you have to keep them in pens or it varied?

You know, there were some breeds that we would like kind of roam Chester hogs were ones that we would let roam around. You could kind of trust them and they were diggers. They route the hell out They were real readers.

Very what's rude or mean? Guys? You gotta understand.

They stay with their nose. I'm gonna say slay

their noses into the ground to get at grubs and such. Right,

right. Yeah. So they and they also like to get a nice cool spot to get underneath there. the Berkshires were runners. And so like, if you let them out, there's a pretty good chance that coyote would get it, you know, because they would go out in the woods or something. And they do rocks for really, they were just kind of lazy. They didn't really want to do anything. So even if you open the pin up, they'd be like, yeah, there's a lot out there and I got this water bucket. We're good.

I love the accent do rocks. Because here in Kentucky me Derek now. Yeah, same spelling,

just like him. Oh, and and Jim. Oh, well.

What's fascinating about that is that we would buy hogs from all over the all over the country. You know, because we were competitive. We were showman we were competitive, you know, trying to win jackpot hog shows and stuff. And you go to you we'd go to Illinois, which Illinois had like For a long time, they had like the best genetics for hampshire's and everybody was trying to get a little bit of Hampshire in their in their breeding processes. And they would you would go there you couldn't even understand and they'd say hag, you know, the different enunciations of the breeds? It's fascinating you can it's one of the few kind of light words where you can tell where someone's from, based on how they pronounce breeds. Yeah. And if you look at all they're all most of the of the breeds come from like some kind of European You

know, when did when you said free range so like, I'm trying to think like a, you know, a cow, like if you have grass fed beef or versus like corn fed corn fed, like much more fatter, like, more flavorful for me anyways, whereas you get grass fed, it's kind of more grainy, kind of earthy kind of flavors, is that do they do the similar things with pigs or?

Absolutely, I mean, you can you can tell the difference and it just tastes this against some neutral pork sometimes if you cured it, and you do. If we didn't have that diet to begin with, it's not going to influence the meat

in a thing to that they do with with all animals in, it's very prevalent amongst swine is that they actively add antibiotics because these things are always getting sick. You know, if one of them gets, you know, some kind of flu or some kind of cold, it could wipe out an entire herd or a farrowing house, which has all the piglets in it and you you lose your entire investment so that a lot of these farmers will actively add antibiotics into the feed. And so like when when you hear someone talking about free gain free range or natural or a lot of that means is that they're getting a feed that is not as you know, doped up if you will, and also like they're able to see

the mo corn thing for you know, hang their hat on that you know, but does it make a difference in the you know, antibiotics versus not any biotics with the meat flavor.

I've never heard anybody yeah say whether it just always I think it's a no better than I sure

I think a lot of that also too when you look at this a lot of like ham and sausages is about the processing. So very few people are actually are actually just getting the you know, getting the getting the meat from the hog, you know slicing it and cooking two of them, you know the same way everyone's doing a sauce or they're doing a special cure. It's very it's not like before you can cut you get two steaks, slap it on there, cook it up, and you can tell you know, it's very it's very different with this because much of the art is in the curing and I'm fascinated to me. I'm very fascinated with the art of curing because we go into warehouses and Kentucky, you know, bourbon warehouses like will it and you can see these little, you know, hams just kind of in the rafters. We won't talk about that.

Alright, we'll see you later. So

yeah, I want to talk about Yeah, no, I have my opinion on that.

Well, let's go ahead we'll come back Let's taste I don't know let's let's definitely taste I kind of want you to kind of talk us through, you know what, what we have and like what we're pairing it with. We already talked about what we what we have and then we went on, despite what your brothers

told you. So what are we left or so let's go with the front one, the one closest to you. This is from the hammer. This is an 18 to 20 month old hand it's called a tin Shuto. So I'm like Fred. I like to hold it up. I like to see the marbling in it. Oh wow, I've never done a efficient Oh wow.

Can you imagine being do i mean i don't know if I've ever gone to a restaurant and then like I never seen anyone,

anybody. I don't do that in a restaurant. They bring a light to this and make me a flashlight.

That smell I mean, I guess like I'm not using

this particular ham has huge Parmesan cheese note to me, but it also has that very Porky note that barnyard note that I love Parmesan cheese is definitely there on Yeah, for sure. And it's like to lay it right on my tongue.

I've also I don't think I've ever gone through and like tried to I mean, dude, I'm assuming since you do this and you judge you try to do the palate tasting and trainings like it's the same way you do with a bourbon you're sitting there you're looking at the color you're looking and you're actually smelling it you're nosing it the same way you would do with a whiskey or something like that.

Believe it or not the way they judge ham contests you don't see the internal part of the ham it's never cut to look at it is in Italy they typically use a horse's cannon bone and they kind of sharpen it down to a point in they stick it into the near the H bone of the ham to see if the thing is properly cured because you know instantly about that aroma that comes out a stick it in the stick through their nose and say yea or nay. And that's one of the criteria for judging here in Kentucky is is that thing properly cured and so you put it in a couple of parts of it the Beavis and Butthead joke in the butt face of the ham. And so they're checking on aroma. They're checking on appearance, how it's trimmed. Typically a country ham is smoked so that The way that is colored is important they don't want they don't want to just super mahogany like Western Kentucky cares will do that sometimes it's not

a favorable the typical to use mahogany wood for no or they use all different okay oak is really common

I'm sorry hickory Hickory, Hickory. Okay. So yeah but it's much more superficial than you would think they'll probably palpate it you know smash around some but it's not nearly as intense as you might think. But taste that with the toasted which is on the left you know it's gonna love This is Lauren when she added this guy's like smacking our lips we're gonna do and

she's always never do that.

I sound effects

is if this didn't have enough brown sugar on its own. It's really bumps it up. Andrea Wilson at makers not talk about when we do these pairings we want to compliment, contrast or elevate when we make a pairing. Compliment means they go well together. Contrast means they make each other interesting. Elevate means each makes the other better. And I think this is a

pairing appearing that elevates so why go with the the toasted on this one? What was the? What was the significance behind that one just

it's a simple approachable whiskey. I mean, it's it Who doesn't like toasted? It's not my favorite of the mixtures line but I really really like it. And it just pairs well with food. I've paired with a lot of foods and you think you guys can jump in on this with me, but for some reason, their line the mixtures line pairs better than any and I'm thinking that there are two things that are noticeably different from everything else we've done. And that's low barrier entry proof and low proof in the bottle. And for some reason that seems to result in a really good pairing food. I don't know if you've ever thought that through But

no, I mean, I guess with alcohol overpower. Yeah, I would say that's probably

but I think everyone's different to you know, some people have you know, burned their power. What's out they need that barrel proof all the time. I wanted to ask you a question about about like the the the the sliced country ham always feels sticker to me then prosciutto and I when I was in I was in Italy and I was at a price Judo place and they had me go up go behind and cut they they let me cut and I used actually did the bone and when I cut they were like you're too thick Get out of here. So it wasn't that thick it was like this but so why why what's the difference between like you know the standards of the thickness?

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What's the difference between like, you know the standards of the thickness In contrast, I think it's a great question

in the United States and certainly in the south. In United States where country ham is most prevalent people don't eat it and people I say eat it raw No not yet rots cured it is chemically and physically transformed into a shelf stable product so it's cured it's not raw it My mother was one of many who just abused ham country ham and would cook it to you probably had it Ryan in Barcelona baseball leather consistency and intensify the salt it was just overwhelming absolutely no fun but when I did this book I can't tell you how many people how many cures did not like it like this. They they thought that this is kind of like it with a little red add gravy or whatever and like this is the best expression Yeah, this is the barrel proof barrel strength expression of their product

or essentially throw it in a sandwich with tomato and you know let us in pickles.

Well done like well yeah done like that. I've enjoyed it too. It Nancy nuisance place I think I posted a photo A couple days ago of it but yeah Fred This is the shark eatery cut that really shows to me respects the the product and its natural best and did you cut it with I not like you're talking about like off the the hammer itself I'd still be doing it to try to get these things done you got to be an expert or an expert to do that I can do it but I'm slow I have a commercial slicer in my house. Oh

nice and then I know what I'm getting at Costco next commercials

I'll help you find one on the on the US market will be a lot better go where one out with a ham

I got a question after you cut yes or no because it's cured do you have to do anything to like seal it to preserve it or how do you preserve it after you've already cut into it?

Well, before we started you probably saw me taking it out of those vacuum packages that just do that but

oh you and I'm talking about the actual whole ham. What do you do with that after?

I like to break it down into as large sections of muscle as I can both to make it easier to slice But to do is you say get it into a vacuum package and and seal it that way so that the more muscle integrity you have the better it's going to be preserved I can keep them in a refrigerator or a freezer for a long long period of time and they're fine

What size do these typically come in when say you want to go buy like a hammer

so a country ham depending on the maker or the cure, I should say starts out at about 20 to 23 pounds green weight is Joe recall that to green that seems to be industry and industry time. And what's that? What's that mean though? It means fresh. Yeah, fresh

jiggling way so it's basically like trying to buy like an eight ounce filet or an eight ounce steak and then you cook it and then it

but that's been that's probably been dry aged for a little while so that this this thing was only King you know, 48 hours ago.

All right then. So remember my role and stray from butter dogs. It was just it was raising them. Put them on a truck and say goodbye. Give me the check. Yeah, once they were done, I was don't name them. I did name a couple of

yeah But But yeah, they'll they'll shrink to about if they start out at 22. There'll be ready it, you know, at about a year at 17 pounds so they lose. That's their Angel share, you know them losing that moisture to intensify the flavors that are inside the ham and to trigger I'm trying to think of the garden it's an enzymatic reaction that that really makes the meat shelf stable. All that works together and it works together because the place we live just like bourbon is so good here because of our climate. The same thing happens to hams that you know that once you hang them outside and let them be subject to the weather. It's amazing. Now there's not that many places in the world that you can do this.

Well I've never I've always wanted to get into like curing my own ham or something like that. Because I know a few people and a few different bourbon groups and that's like one of their kind of like side projects or side hobbies assisting

at 89 guy yeah, he's got some good ones going

yeah. So with the One

of those in my refrigerator home All right,

perfect. So I mean, so talk, I mean, because I don't even know like, even the process of how you would even start doing that, hey, you'd have to require the leg, but be like, what, what's that? What's the next step in that process?

It's it's pretty crude, frankly, it's, you trim the trim away certain parts of the hand to make it look good. And you rub the hell out of it with carrying salt. You know, I mean, you're sticking in every little nook and cranny because you want to get that salt in there to penetrate to the bone and push the way with and push the water out essentially. As cures would say it's a race to the bone if if, if bacteria gets to the bone of the hand first, you've lost your ham if if salt gets there first you've got a cured ham. And what it does, basically is created by getting the water out it starves the bacteria, that's what they need to thrive. And that's all the salt does is pushes it out. And of course flavors it very deal

to I just did the second premise. I'm sorry I jumped ahead

I couldn't I did it too oh my god it's perfect oh my god i mean it was it was funny like going into this you know I have a I have a little bit of I don't want to say a criticism but I have a little bit of that that kind of I hold back a little bit be like oh can you really pair like ham and bourbon together holy shit yeah you can

say that's so fun about this is to see that happen and people you know the scales fall from their eyes they go really

you can do this well I mean it's in I think it kind of just gives you a little bit more you know a benefit to hear to say like okay, you were able to show me like for me to sit there and say like, I don't even know where I would go and find a different kinds of handy and start experimenting with around here. But if I did, and I came down here my basement I started pulling, you know, Jefferson's reserve, I started pulling Booker's I pulled you know, whatever, you name it across the line and tried to figure out like, how did these pair I don't really know if I'd be able to do that. So I guess when you're doing this, what are some of those new wants his or flavors in a ham or a bourbon that you're trying to pair with a particular Wang Kenny. I wish I could French it up and give you some fascinating answer. But it is mostly trial and error. But But the key

attribute that I want from the ham to actually from a country ham is fat content to coat the palette and smoke a little bit of smoke in there. Salt is everywhere it doesn't matter the to AI know how to cut the the hand correctly so choose correctly. So really it's it's fat. And one of the virtues of a whiskey that pairs well is that it cleanses the palate. Yeah, and and this this so what we tasted here just a second ago that Fred and Kenny cheated on wisely. was a 24 month old Broadbent country ham. Yeah, broadband done from a Berkshire hog. Yeah, Burke charade. Yeah. And it's just as there's no app That's it. This is one the the the company's won the Kentucky State Fair country ham championship 18 times out of 53 or so.

Transcribed by

Apr 30, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A120

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Elijah Craig Barrel Proof A120. This 12 year old bourbon is 136.6 proof and $60 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Apr 28, 2020
250 - The Future of Bourbon with Eric Gregory, President of the KDA

The Kentucky Distillers’ Association does more for bourbon in the US than just Kentucky alone. Eric Gregory, the President of the KDA, has been on both sides of the government trying to put the interests of the distillers and consumers first. We talk about his experience with government lobbying and how he revived the organization. What is the future of bourbon? Are distribution laws changing, what will happen with tariffs, and how will the Bourbon Trail maintain growth?

Show Partners:

  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit and click Buy Now.
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about up and coming writers.
  • Tell us about your background.
  • What was it like at the KDA when you first got this job?
  • What was your first lobbying experience at the KDA?
  • Any good horse racing tips?
  • How do you see bourbon growing?
  • What do you think of the tariffs?
  • Tell us about the lobbying process.
  • How do you keep it bipartisan?
  • When you hear rumblings of new taxes what do you all do?
  • Tell us about the steps you have taken from the promotional side of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Affair?
  • How many trail visitors did you have the first year?
  • Talk about partnerships.
  • What are some of the weirdest requests you've gotten from people?
  • Are there other states that look to your organization for guidance?
  • What is your position on the secondary market?
  • Why do so many people oppose shipping alcohol?
  • What do you think about bourbon tourism growth in Bardstown vs. Louisville?

How many visitors Did you have at that time?

The first year we did the passport in 2007. We had 189 people complete the Kentucky bourbon trail

and send them a pin.

Hey, it's Episode 250. Another big number mark and we're glad you're still here with us. And well, it's not much has really been going on because of COVID-19. It's putting a stop on pretty much everything except delivery services. And that's where we start this week's news alcohol delivery app drizzly says it has seen sales explode in the last week of March climbing 537% above the company's expectations. What's more is that 42% of those orders came in from new accounts. The company says that new buyers on the platform have jumped 900% year over year. Same goes for minibar, sales are up 143% new buyer is up 547% and quarters are up 100% with an average order size up 22%. If you haven't had the chance yet, go listen to our podcast back on episode 248 when we had drizzly CEO and founder Corey rellis on the show to talk about his business. A recent study by economics at john Dunham and Associates estimates that America's wine and spirit wholesalers can expect to lose up to $921.4 million in uncollectible or difficult to collect receivables, due to on premise accounts such as restaurants, bars and clubs that have been impacted by the shelter in place environment, and Massachusetts craft distillers are urging their governor to allow permission to deliver spirits. The Massachusetts distillers Alliance asked Massachusetts officials to take steps similar to those made in a handful of other states, such as California, New York. Washington, Kentucky and Virginia to eight independent distillers that are struggling during the current crisis. In a quote by the Alliance's board, they wrote we pay over two and a half times the rate of excise tax per proof gallon paid by brewers. Yet during these challenging times greater latitude is being extended to restaurants, breweries and wineries. While our businesses remain bound by the rules and laws that put us at great financial risk. We have a significant struggle ahead for some good news, and you all are the first to hear it because we are putting on a free online bourbon conference called whiskey from home happening on May 2 2020. Starting at 12 o'clock pm eastern This event will be streamed live through multiple properties with speakers from the entire castle the roundtable but also Peggy knows Stevens. It's bourbon night, the bourbon review, dad's drinking bourbon and more will have live seminars, panels, virtual tastings. The list goes on or incorrect credibly excited to bring more of this great content to you all. And if you can, please share it. Spread the word. Let your bourbon friends know, let your bourbon societies know let your friends that aren't into bourbon and want to get into bourbon know about it and family as well. This is a full five and a half hour jam packed event that will be streamed live, and you will get the chance to network with other people in real time and ask questions through chat. Go to whiskey from home comm and register today for your free ticket. Now for today's podcast, I was super excited to interview our guests. The Kentucky distillers Association does more for bourbon in the US than just Kentucky alone. Eric Gregory, the president of the KDA has been on both sides of the government trying to put the interest of the distillers and the consumers First, we talked about his experience with government lobbying and how it led him to reviving an organization that was struggling. He's maneuvered the KDA into a model that other states can follow. So we discuss what the future of bourbon looks like. Where the laws changing with the regulation of distribution? What's gonna happen with the tariffs and how will the bourbon trail maintain its current pace of growth? All right now Don't forget it. Whiskey from go register now to get your free ticket. I also talked to Joe from barrel bourbon this week and he has a special message he wants me to share that will lift your spirits. You can now buy barrel craft spirits products and have them shipped right to your door. Just visit barrel from the comfort of your home and click Buy now. Alright, here's Fred MiniK with above the char

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char. This week's idea comes from Kyle man or at bourbon numbers on Twitter. He writes nothing better than expanding my whiskey perspective. Are there any up and coming writers in bourbon that deserve the above the char spotlight? Or are there any underrated sites we should add to our family favorites. Thanks. Listen, there's nothing I like more than promoting good writing and a perspective that is different than mine. Listen, I am a big, big fan of the cocktail walk. Now I as you know, I am a big rum head. So I would I would get you to start with the cocktail wonk. That's Matt Patrick. He actually writes for me at bourbon plus, he writes the vintage column and that is a writer, you need to check out he wrote the book, The Tiki minimalist. So that is a great book. He's a great guy. And if you're wanting to learn more about another spirit, rum is the one I would recommend going to of course, I wrote a book called rum curious and Matt edited that for me. So I'm a big fan of Matt and everything that he does for the rum community. After that, I would say if you're not already following him, whiskey jug is a young up and coming writer. He's been at the game for Little bit of Joshua Peters is a. He reminds me a lot of myself about 10 years ago when I was out there kind of investigating and trying to break news in the whiskey circuit. he's a he's a very good, he's a he's a very good no bullshit kind of writer. So I'm a big fan of what Joshua Peters is doing. I think he's got he's got a bright future ahead of him. And I also wanted to ask you to go and check out the classics, the writers who are no longer with us. Gary Reagan wrote the book of bourbon, probably one of the one of my heroes in the, in the bourbon world. He because he kind of came at bourbon in a very similar fashion, as I did, but he was a bit before his time, and he broke into like, he broke away from bourbon a little bit and made his own bitters and kind of got a little bit more into the cocktail movement. And then you have the greatest whiskey writer of all time, in my opinion. Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson, the guy with the glove and the jacket and the weird stuff, I'm talking about Michael Jackson, the beer, the beer critic and whiskey writer. His words just flew off the page. And we're just so beautiful. So check those writers out. I'm a big fan of all of them. And I think they can all add to your perspective. But at the end of the day, it's about whiskey is about an experience for you. While the writers, the bloggers, THE podcasts, were all about bringing the information. We're all about trying to explore this community with you. At the end of the day, it's about you, and what's in your glass what you like, and what conversation Do you like to have around whiskey? So thank you for the question, Kyle man or at bourbon numbers on Twitter. Now that came in on April 4, when I asked people to send me their ideas for above the char. I love getting a good idea. So hit me up on Twitter. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or go to Fred medic comm and send me your idea. But that's this week's above the char until next week. Cheers.

Welcome back to an episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon. Kinney and Fred on the road today down in Frankfort. The you know, it's always funny. There's always a good joke that says How do you pronounce the capital of Kentucky? Is it Louisville or Lewisville? And they're like, Nope, it's Frankfort.

Yeah. You know, hopefully our guest today is part of a campaign to move it to Louisville, you know,

oh, well, I mean, they just got this new place that we're sitting and that is true.

That is true. Well, so this is where at the headquarters of the Kentucky distillers Association. And you know, 15 years ago, these guys could not get a meeting with a lot of the legislators. Now one of the first calls a new governor makes is to the KDA because bourbon is political capital and I believe that the Kentucky distillers association is the most powerful lobby in Kentucky. And that was confirmed to me by the Senate Majority Leader, David Thayer. I asked him, I was like, hey, how powerful is the KDA? They're like, and there's really not anyone more powerful right now. I mean,

is it basically coming from all the taxes from? Well, like it's fun and back in the mistake, let's take a look at what bourbon has

done for the state. It's really one of the only good conversations that people can have when they're talking about Kentucky you got the derby but the horse industry has been falling for for a while. I mean, it's that's a signature industry and it's it's been hurting. Yeah, getting the gambling, you know, they're trying to bring it in, but Ryan keeps getting denied. And the coal industry is turned to us. Sadly, I mean, it's not. If you look at Eastern Kentucky, it's hurting. And bourbon is the one thing that's kind of carrying the state forward. And one of the reasons why is because of the man we have sitting here and what the KDA has done for the last 10 years. In 2009 you know, when there was a new sales tax Taxes coming in. They protested. And they poured whiskey on the state capitol steps in the way of their protests. And they've been every single year, they have been peeling away ridiculous laws county by county and in the state and in town by town. And that's why we're able to like have a sip of bourbon while you visit a distillery a mean people don't realize that it wasn't that long ago that we didn't have tours, these guys created the Kentucky bourbon trail. So that is why everybody who's listening to this should be thankful that we have someone like this who has their interests at heart fighting for them in the bourbon industry.

In Frankfort. Yeah, there's a there's a lot to go over today. And with all that, I mean, taxes, tariffs, you name it. So we'll we'll get to a little bit of that. But you know, we'll first introduce our guests. So today on the show, we have Eric Gregory Eric is the president of the Kentucky distillers Association better known as the KDA. So Eric, welcome to the show.

Well, thank you, you, you guys are making me blush here. So thank you for the kind words. And I've got to say, we obviously couldn't do this without strong support from our membership. So let me lead off with that we appreciate and value all of our members. And they say guess before

we before we kind of dive into the KDA in the membership and really what the key days mission is like, let's kind of talk about you real quick. Like, where's where's your background? Where'd you come from? Did you I mean, were you part of, you know, moonshine and you said you know what, I'm gonna go ahead and make this legal and get off

get into business. I this I liked where you were moonshiners?

No, no, no, no, I grew up in the cornfields of Western Kentucky. My parents ran a grocery store. My dad was a huge Maker's Mark fan and my mom like ofits and in the 1970s I mean, I could still you know, see in my mind's eye my dad coming home every day from work, boring him little makers and in a glass with one cue, my mom Love ofits and some sprite or some ginger ale and then go on the back porch and sit and that was their time and they talk about their day and have a drink. And so it was just always surveillant in and in our household. So no, really just, I'm the luckiest sob in the world. I started my career many people know as a reporter, with the Lexington Herald Leader newspaper, spent eight or nine years there, immigrated to Hawaii for a couple of years and worked at the Honolulu advertiser. Oh my God, why would you come back here that everybody asked me, you know, how crazy are you? So have you ever lived in Hawaii? It's a great place to visit but it's really really expensive. And it's pretty far away from family. And, you know, once you get over there and you realize that everything that you love deer in the world, to me was in Kentucky and not only my family, my wife's family, but I'm a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. I love Keeneland I love the horses. I love Berman. I love UK basketball and they just want a championship without me and Kentucky and things and the tug of home really starts kind of, you know, getting pretty strong. So since those

those you'd be late night tip offs, right, I mean, if you're sitting now I

will do a six hour time difference. I'm sitting there having lunch, you know, at the local bar. And in watching the games that was kind of kind of crazy. But move back to Kentucky work for the paper again for a couple of years, went into political consulting. After that one of my jobs in the newspaper was covering the state legislature and back then the limit every two years. For 60 days. A happy channel used to say that he wished the legislature met every 60 years for two days instead of every two to two years for 60 days. So I covered them and I kind of had the political bug a little bit so when political consulting and public relations running campaigns in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee That led to one of my clients was the electric power cooperatives and doing lobbying and things for them and they ended up hiring me as their GM lovers manager. So I spent almost eight years working here in Frankfurt is their contract lobbyist, and, and September of 2007, I got a call from one of my best friends. He said, your dream job just opened up. And I said, What's that? He said, the president of the Kentucky distillers Association, he said they want somebody with a media background check. They want somebody with public affairs, government affairs background check. And they want somebody with lobbying experience to check and I love their product. So check that check. But in a resume, three and a half month interview process, Oh, wow. And they they offered me the job on December 7. And it's funny because they asked me in my last interview, how long do you think you'd stay at KDA Acid Are you kidding me This is like the best job in the Commonwealth outside of UK basketball coach you know where President a church on downs or something like that you I said I'm here as long as you'll have me You can drag my cold dead people body out of that chair someday but but we haven't slowed down since it since taking over it is been an amazing run so far

I kind of want to kind of want to give a little bit of a historical perspective here about the KDA. At this juncture Go for it. It was not really an organization that was known for doing anything or getting anything done. And no offense to interior history, but they didn't do anything. You know, other than like some some efforts in the 1800s and the 1950s. They were mostly just kind of a drinking club of the distillers getting together and they just, they just let things be dictated to them. And I'm curious because everything changed when Eric took office. And you know, Bill Samuels, Jr, who's the longtime Maker's Mark Chairman, has told me many, many, many times is that A lot of the growth of bourbon is because of this man and his leadership for the KDA. So I'm curious, you get the job, what are those first 40 days? Like, what are you assessing? And how are you? What are you looking at?

Well, it's funny, because the job description in those conversations, they were saying things like, you know, we'd like you to, you know, can you promote this bourbon trail thing we've got going on and, and I went into one of the the meetings and the interviews, and the New York Times had just done a front page travel section feature on the Kentucky bourbon trail, and actually held it up at the at the interview and said, What did y'all do to get this? And they literally said, Well, I don't know a reporter just showed up one day and like, you're getting front page travel sections in the New York Times without drying. You know, you don't know what you've got here. This is amazing. So, yeah, that first 40 days was really transitioning. My predecessor, a great man senator, former state senator Daniel out of Springfield have I don't think is enough credit back in the 70s and 80s when he was a state senator, he really worked hard to keep the ad valorem barrel tax issue from just exploding and driving a lot of distillers and those aging warehouses that Sandy out of Kentucky. And really, you know, he was running the KDA out of his law office in Springfield. And most people don't know that Katie went part time in the 1980s Oh wow. Because bourbon you know, had taken it on the chin and most people had written it off as Matt Shapiro said to the great liquor store in this guy and there was not much you're right for the KDA to do so. He You know, he but Ed for saw the the bourbon revolution coming and the Kentucky bourbon trail picking up speed and said you need a full time staff again. And so that's that's where I came in. So yeah, that first 31st 3040 days was really quite frankly kind of relaunching the association from scratch. We had to find an office in in Frankfort. We moved our operations here from here was running it out to get him his law office in Springfield, Washington County, find an office. After three or four months, I was allowed to hire an executive assistant and just got thrown into a legislative session, you know, with no idea. We need to come up with priorities. And you know, just really, like you said, start to get the KDA build an image bank among the legislators that we're here and we're lobbying and we're not asleep at the wheel anymore,

quite frankly. Can you remember that that first lobbying experience you did for the KDA?

Oh, yeah. They started talking about tax raising taxes in 2008. And myself and the wholesalers Association, and the retailers all went in and started talking to, to the legislators because they had just raised our taxes in 2005, wholesale taxes went from 9% to 11%. So we went in and say, Look, as you just, you know, raise our taxes a couple years ago. You're Gonna do it again and we fought it back that year and 2008 but then it came, you know crashing down upon us is very mentioned in 2009. But, again, I was doing all this I'm a bourbon geek. First of all, I'm a longtime bourbon geek. I'm one of the people that stood in line and you know, outside of liquor barn waiting for the different wax colored bottles and whenever bill Samuels I was one I am one of the first before I took this job, I was one of the first bourbon ambassadors at Maker's Mark. I worked my way through college at a liquor store right before Keeneland All right, what bottles were you stashing away back? at you know, we hidden makers gold that was really about the height of bourbon back then, but I remember vividly when we got the first bottles of Blanton's in the liquor store, and they were $35 and we were like Who the hell in their right minds gonna pay $35 for about a bourbon you get makers for 10 over here, right you know and Because we were the last liquor store before Keeneland in the airport, Toyota had just opened up and all the Japanese executives would stop at our liquor store and stock up on bourbon that before they got on the plane to take back home, and they fell in love with blends, and they love the bottle and the horse on top of the bottle. And so every Friday night, when they were making their rounds back to the airport to go home, there was a line of camrys waiting at the draft through and I knew I had to have cases in cases of Blanton's there and I would just go out and load them in the back of the car and they hand me over the cash and go so is more and more of the small batch really the bean products, the small batch selections, the you know the the knobs and things like that as those started rolling out. I had to really become more knowledgeable about what was coming out for our customers at the time. And so my friends all kind of, you know, kidding me about them being the bourbon geek and in teaching about that. So that's awesome. It really

does run through your veins.

You know and again and I got a lot of great tips track tips you know from the trackers coming in I think between that and you know that kind of kept me in school paid for for

me people can say that they made their way through college just like having a good few bets here and there right?

Especially my bets I guess what's your percentage on on betting?

I do. I don't do it anymore. You know when you've got young children Fred so once you your children start growing up and I've got you know, I'm putting my first into college later this year and then my son who is getting ready to turn 16 I got to get a car for him and everything else. My sister works at Keeneland and so you know there every now and then I'll get her to place a bet for me, but, boy, my bidding has gone down exponentially is a head start.

And he said a more attention and he's like winning by that by that.

Yeah, what's the best bet is Keep your money in your pocket, right? Yeah,

exactly as I'd say, if you do have a good horse racing tip, what would it be? Oh, wow, you are gonna go bet.

You know, I'd probably have to have a form with me, you know, to answer that question. Again, I really used to study that form. And there was a group of us former reporters who are now lobbyists and in everything up here who would hit kealan all the time. So I'm big on Kentucky born and bred, you know, I do get a lot of great tips from from my sister who sees them come through as yearlings, you know, in the Keeneland sales and stuff like that. But mainly, I look at bloodlines, you know, a when a family coming down the form the first thing I'll do is start circling but bloodline so that know that that'll be a good, you know, and then you get to look at, you know, how long it is. And if they're closer. I mean, there's just, I don't know,

that's a that's a good one. It's nice.

The Kentucky way, right. Yeah.

My dad's tip, he said Always circle, the ones that were the owner and the trainer are the same person because he was like they put a little bit more effort into that that horse. Right. That's a good point. That's, that's that's his little tip. But yeah, I like to go ahead and try to run with it again, you're still gambling at the end of the day. So let's go ahead and kind of want to shift gears a little bit and kind of talk about the growth of bourbon and kind of really, where have you seen it? And kind of, you know, you've been a pretty instrumental part of this. And so a few months ago, there was a press release that came out about now that there are more barrels of spirits aging Kentucky than there are people, twice as many, twice as many barrels twice as many. You're right, twice as many. Yeah. So kind of talk about like, Where, where do you kind of see the evolution of this going? And like, do we expect three x four x now coming here in the next two, three years?

A short answer? Yes. I'm typically pretty optimistic about that. I guess the biggest challenge that we faced are the tariffs, the retaliatory tariffs that are put on us. Because you know, everybody asks y'all, you know, what's feeling The bourbon revolutionary thing and we all know, you know, the rise, the cocktail culture, the madman effect. I think bourbon tourism has been has played a big part of that maybe a bigger part and most people understand the fact that we're just putting out some of the best juice that the Commonwealth has ever delivered, again is good. But really the opening of the global markets to me has been one of the if not the driving factor in the growth of Kentucky bourbon, because the I don't think it's any coincidence that back in the mid 1990s, when we had NAFTA and the EU treaties, that's when you start to see the spike in production, and the you know, the growing global thirst, but because we're fine, we were finally on a level playing field with our friends in the scotch industry who've had a 600 year head start on us. So, yes, you know, we have seen bourbon growth exponentially in the past five years. We're currently in the middle of a $2.3 billion capital investment spree. And most of that is Pre production for that, for that global market. We've you know, especially to the EU, you know, in the past three to four years, you're looking at 20 to 30%, even I think two years ago was 43% growth every single year to the EU market. And so that's when we got the call 18 months ago that the tariffs were starting to be used as pawns in a trade war that none of us saw coming. My first reaction was damn we made it we're being used as pawns in a trade war, then that was that was oh my god. Now we're really, you know, what are we going to do now? I really do believe that. You're going to continue to see growth and a lot of people ask us after that press release came out, you know, because not only do we have more than 9 million barrels aging right now in Kentucky. We filled 2 million barrels for the first time in the modern era of Kentucky bourbon in 52 years. And you know, we'll we thought the tariffs are hurting wires. Are you feeling that many barrels and begin the blessing and the curse of Kentucky bourbon is you can't make it overnight. So administration's change, you know, you're looking six, eight years out, hopefully this issue would be settled. But, you know, if the EU market which is almost half of all of Kentucky's whiskey exports, if that continues to escalate, as it has with the new tariffs on scotch whiskey, then you know, to me, that's a game changer. You know, it's, it's something that could really have long term effects if we don't get this resolved pretty soon.

And you're you're pretty knowledgeable person on this particular subject. And there is people that talk about this all the time. But when it talks about tariffs, they talk about exports, and they have this very narrow minded view and they're like, that's fine. More bourbon here in America. kind of tell people maybe they I don't believe that's right, but kind of give your kind of explanation rationale on that.

Yeah, well

Well tariffs or taxes First of all, and in we'd like to say there are no winners in a trade war. You know, there's no really good way out of this because what most people don't understand is when bourbon took a nosedive most of the bigger distilleries diversify their portfolio so they own a scotch whiskey distillery or an Irish Whiskey distillery, a Canadian whiskey distillery. Tequila distillery. And so that's when you saw the tariffs, you know, enacted back, you know, it wasn't just you. It was Canada and Mexico, and other places as well. A company like brown Forman or Jim Beam that owns multiple distilleries across the world. They're not only taking a hit on the retaliatory tariffs on Kentucky bourbon. They're also taking a hit now on scotch whiskey and Canadian whiskey and Irish whiskey and things like that.

So they're getting both ends of it. Yeah,

you know, and so they're taking five punches through the gut right away. So you know, that's not good from an industry standpoint because You're, you know, that that for destroy a purely business standpoint, it's hurting business, then we have, as an industry have done so much over the last generation to convert scotch drinkers, you know, mainly from a global community over to bourbon drinkers. And that's a lot of investment in that that most people don't understand. And that market helps us, you know, grow here in Kentucky and produce more alcohol. So if you're a scotch drinker, if you're a newly converted scotch drinker, to bourbon and you go into your favorite watering hole now and you see that bourbon is 25%, higher in price, do you go back to what you were drinking, and now we've lost you, potentially for a generation, that that's not good. Then you've got the situation where, if you're a company, you try to absorb that 25% or as much of it as possible as you can Which means less jobs and investment here in Kentucky, which again, hurts the Commonwealth. or going to your point out, you know, hey, I've just invested $50 million and doubled my production and I've got these stills do I keep them running? Well, okay, you do that. And suddenly, in six years, there's a glut of spirits on the market, that's gonna cause a price war, which probably the first casualty is gonna be the craft spirits market, it's going to put people out of business. And that's not good from a global spirit spirits industry, as well. So we don't like door number one, door number two or door number three on all those and that's why we've been lobbying awful hard to get this resolved as quick as possible.

So talk to me a little bit through about what your processes when you're lobbying against efforts like this,

bang the drum as loudly as possible. We've met with pretty much anybody who would listen to us And I've got to give a hand to our partners at the Scotch whisky association that still spirits counts the United States the American craft spirits Association, the American just just distilled spirits Association I mean this affects all of us. So one of the things that we did in Fred was actually there a couple years ago we brought the world whisky community to Lowell and had a W nine some of their Nanos so we called the W nine and talked about this you know, what are we all going to do about this because it affects everybody and we met for two days and eventually put out a resolution calling upon the world's leaders to get together and resolve this quickly before the long term consequences you know, send them became real and even planted an oak tree right in front of the Frazier there and got a lot of press and we got a lot of phone calls about it and and we all kind of went back to our corners and, and did what we we've continued to do is is just talk to us. Every Congress person, you name it. Congressman Andy Barr in Kentucky was having a fundraiser with Vice President Pence flying in. He managed to get our major companies in a meeting with Vice President Pence who from Indiana knows exactly what bourbon means to Kentucky. And he took that message back to President Trump. The governor here in Kentucky had Vice President Pence in last year during the derby did the same thing for us to help us. We've got you know, we're on speed dial with Senator McConnell's office checking in consistently with them on what more they can do. We've had meetings recently with commerce, cabinet, finance, cabinet trade, you know, Senator Grassley, his office, all these people just really explained to them how devastating these consequences could be if this goes on much longer. And the answer to them is all you know, we understand, but these decisions are being made itself high levels. That's where the frustration comes in. And, you know, we know that the US does have trade issues with countries and we get that. And we know that the steel and aluminum thing is a real issue because here in Kentucky, we have great steel and aluminum plants because of our historical low energy rates. So, you know, we're not pointing fingers at anybody, we're just, you know, going up and just trying to tell our story on you know, what this could mean to the industry. You know, because it's like, again, it's like just putting the brakes on a freight train, which is trying to sell bourbon at the end of the day, or at least

get and I want to remind, I want to remind people to who are listening, and we're never we're never really going to get a lot of backlash on this. People are gonna think all this is political. You know, you're you're you're bashing Trump and what he's trying to do. I want to remind people that this is not political. This is this is an industry who speaks to both sides. Absolutely. And talk bipartisan Talk Talk to us about about that about how you how you have to kind of keep your personal politics out of it and how you have to work with both sides. What's that like?

Well, you know, let me start from a state point here. You alcohol bills in Kentucky are incredibly hard to pass no matter what the subject is. I mean, we've even had people up here that will vote against our social responsibility efforts. Just because the word alcohol it's in the title of the bill. So we have to have Democrats and Republicans supporting alcohol measures or they just won't pass. So yes, we are constantly we say we support our friends and we have friends on both sides of the aisle. And the great thing about our Kentucky General Assembly is they understand that because they know that some of their members because of their constituencies and coming from drag counties just cannot support alcohol yet but without like how he said yeah,


yeah, TBD drywall wedge, the you know, the The great thing about one of the smartest things that the KDA did, you know, years ago back in 2010, was invite the craft distilleries are coming into Kentucky into the Association. We change our bylaws, because not only is it good for them and our our legacy distilleries have been tremendous mentors to them, but it also spread our political footprint across the state now in 32 counties. And so we've had legislators now who never voted wet, who vote wet because they understand the the economic impact and the tourism impact, especially of that craft distillery in their district. So that's really helped. But we know you look at you know, we have a political action committee, we raise money for that. You look at our donations, they're almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, because we have to have support on both sides of the aisle. So we're very fortunate in Kentucky. Yes, we have Senator McConnell, who can be a lightning rod, obviously, if you're, you know, in politics, but we're lucky that we have his leadership up there because he has the President's ear and he is always, you know, carrying our agenda. That's why we have given him awards in the past. We're very fortunate to have john Yarmuth out of level now chairing Ways and Means and so met with him recently and, and he gets it because congressman Yarmuth is a huge rabid fan, and especially in local bourbon city right now, you know, and all the tremendous growth there he sees the tourism impact in the economic impact on a daily basis. Having him in the house carrying that message for us is equally as important. And, you know, he and Congressman Brett Guthrie started the bourbon caucus in DC which which is growing and as more and more states you know, produce America's only native spirit. So we have to be bipartisan and it's funny because as presently Katie, you know, you have to be kind of like a chameleon on my Republican friends think I'm a democrat and I'm a democratic friends think I'm a Republican. And I say well, I must be doing something right. Y'all don't know what I

guess. Yeah. Yeah. Well, you also have to be careful to with your membership of when you go to bar what you pick?

I do. And it's funny, obviously, you know, when people ask me, what's your favorite bourbon Kentucky bourbon is always my answer. But in it, what I usually try to do one of two things I'll usually try to drink from the county I'm in. right then. I also tend to favor our chairman or Chairwoman right now, at the time if you know this year is the heaven Hill, year to chair the KDA. And our great friend Jessica pentagrams. For heaven Hill, general counsel is is the new Chairwoman, so you'll probably tend to see me drink more heaven Hill products this year. But then there are some bars I go to and you know this Eric, what do you want and just surprised me, you know, just just mix me a good old fashioned then and I'll go from there.

Yeah, the his memberships got spies on him.


They have to though. Yeah, that's right.

And so I guess one of the other things I want to talk about a part of the lobbying effort here is, you know, There has to be it's got to be frustrating because we're This is a syntax basically at the end of the day right like it's alcohol and I would imagine that government just look at it like it's an easy target right an easy target attacks. When you won't like your rumblings of anything like is it like Alright, here we go like put the bat signal in the everybody get together. We're going to fly there. We're going to squash this before it ever blows up.

Well, first of all, yes. That's when you look at the government affairs strategies for your strategy number one is always hold the line on taxes. Everything else is one a one B. And Fred, highlighted our 2009 bourbon Tea Party in which we poured bourbon on the Capitol steps. And if you go to my office on top of the cabinet, I have the empty bottles in there that serve as a daily reminder for me and never forget that you know, yes, right now they're your friend but in thirst or for revenue. The first place they usually look is cigarettes or alcohol or one of the what they We think of as sin industries. But I think we've done a good job, you know, challenge changing the conversation in the culture in Frankfurt, especially from sin to signature. And that 2009 bill was probably the best wake up call for the industry and the association. That is one of the best things that ever happened to us. I mean, I can tell you the dates It was announced, if it's ingrained in my memory is announced on February 6, they pass it on Friday, February 13. That took effect on April Fool's Day. I mean, you couldn't have written a better script for how all this went down. But you had the bourbon industry and not just bourbon the alcohol industry in general because you had the beer truck circling the Capitol. You know, we galvanized they in you, we fought the governor, the Senate president and the Speaker of the House on an issue and came within one vote of killing that in one week. And it brought us together more, more and quicker than anything could have. So it's actually a blessing in disguise. For us, because we held an emergency meeting after that, February 26. See, these are how important these dates were to me and the history. And one of our board members looked at the rest of the board and said, Are we really a signature industry? Or is that a self portrait? And you could see everybody just kind of living, they physically took a step back from the table and went, you're right. Are we really a sanction? We'd like to think we're a signature in se, but are we? And so they said, what do we need to do? And so we said, All right, we need to have an economic impact study that shows what our impact is to the Commonwealth, we need to start talking about bourbon not just as a drink, but as part of the culture and the economy and tourism and things like that. And so once we started doing that, and we did, we came up with the first ever economic impact study and it is such a tool for the industry, you know, to showcase what we mean to Kentucky that we do it every two years now. And it's a no brainer. We just know we do it every two years. To update and so that gives us also the ability to forecast right what jobs are going to do what we think is going to be coming in there and down the line. But once we started talking about bourbon as economic development and tourism in and investment in jobs, it really changed the focus here in Frankfort, that we weren't a sin industry more as as Fred said earlier, because I remember sitting in a meeting in 2010 with Bill Samuels and and senate president or Senator Robert Stivers, who's now senate president and him looking as the saying you are not a signature industry. You're an image industry, but you are not a signature industry. Coal is a signature industry because he's from the coal fields of Eastern Kentucky. And now to hear him stand up and say you may be the only signature industry left in the state because coal is is dying tobacco is dead. You know, horse racing definitely has its challenges. That's, that's been, you know, a 180 turnaround from where we were 10 years ago. But it's a lot of it's been a lot of hard work, educating legislators. And, you know, in all, like all the other tools that a trade association uses, like political action committees and things like that, to make sure that they know that we appreciate their support and changing these laws.

Transcribed by

Apr 23, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Strength. This non-age stated bourbon is 130-135 proof and around $70 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Apr 21, 2020
BONUS: Cutting Out The Three Tier System with Adam Koenig and Christy Trout

If you don’t live in Kentucky, you still need to listen because this is the first piece of legislature that could hit your state next. Adam Koenig, State Representative and Chairman for the Licensing and Occupation Committee in the House, and Christy Trout, Lawyer, Former Commissioner the KY Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and Special Counsel to the Speaker of the House, give us a break down of the Kentucky House Bill 415. HB415 is the beginning of dismantling the three tier system. Giving consumers the ability to buy directly from distilleries and producers themselves, putting more money back into the pockets of the distillery. No distributor in the equation AND the distiller also acts as the retailer. Second is shipping. Distilleries, as well as breweries and wineries, can now ship to your doorstep in reciprocal states. Listen to get all the details

Show Notes:

Support this podcast on Patreon

Apr 20, 2020
249 - Will COVID-19 Change Bourbon Commerce Laws Forever? Bourbon Community Roundtable #43

Today’s podcast, as you guessed it, is a reflection on what’s been happening with COVID-19. The whiskey industry is going to see some big changes. We’ve seen legislation pass as it relates to shipping and delivery of alcohol because it’s deemed an essential part of living and our culture. How long will this trend stick around and will we see this continue when the pandemic is over? Do you want to see more relaxed liquor laws? Lets hear it in the comments.

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • Barrell Craft Spirits has won a few medals at some of the most prestigious spirits competitions out there, but don’t take their word for it and find out for yourself. Learn more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about grains.
  • Lots has changed since our last roundtable with COVID-19.
  • Are people actually drinking more? Or are they just hoarding?
  • Is distribution down with distilleries producing hand sanitizer?
  • Will COVID-19 change consumer demand indefinitely with services for shipping and delivery?
  • KY HB415 has passed. What could this mean for the greater United States?
  • Should these large corporations that have donated 50k, 500k, or 1M be donating more? Billions in revenue vs a small donation amount in comparison.
  • When this is all over, what’s the best thing that will come out of COVID-19?

Are you interested in preparing your expertise on the distilling process with key business knowledge such as finance, marketing and operations, then you need to check out the distilled spirits business certificate from the University of Louisville. It's an online program that can be completed in as little as six courses. The program is taught by both UVL business faculty and corporate fellows. So you are getting real experience from experts at the most renowned distilleries, companies and startups in the distilling industry. We're talking leaders from Brown Forman beam Suntory, jack daniels and more. get enrolled to this online program at U of Slash bourbon pursuit. So your meetings of the day are Andy, Donald Trump.

No wonder you drink Jesus.

This is Episode 249 of bourbon pursuit. And it's another week stuck at home. I don't know about you, but we're party hopping. We're going from the living room to the dining room, the kitchen, all just looking for some entertainment. And as you can guess the industry news has also been pretty slow. So you're in luck. We've got a short intro this week. We all know that restaurants and bars are feeling the pain right now. So one man in Tampa, Florida stepped up with a $40,000 cashier's check to purchase a bottle of the old Rip Van Winkle 25 year decanter that was listed for $20,000 to help save debts one of his favorite restaurants in the area. This bottle was only one of 710 that was released back in 2017. That had an MSRP of around 1800 dollars. In bourbon pursuit news. Our jack daniels barrel proof single barrel went on sale this week. And then it's sold out. Because of COVID-19. We've had to delete three of our barrel selections this year, and we're hoping we will have to reschedule anymore but I hope everyone can

Be grateful that we've got ourselves a few good bottles that get us through this process. And if you want to see all the barrel selections that we have scheduled, and the ones that we have for the rest of the year, go to Slash bourbon pursuit. During this time when you're hanging out with family or friends on zoom, they might be seeing you there sipping a bourbon neat. While they've got a cold, refreshing beer in their hands. Ask if they want to try some of your bourbon, fill up a sample bottle or to walk it over, drop it in their driveway, put it in their mailbox, take this opportunity to spread the good word of bourbon. And since they're stuck at home, tell them to check out your favorite bourbon podcast so they can binge and catch up as well. You'd be doing both of us a favor, and we'd really appreciate it. As you know, we're pushing out more content on live streams. So make sure that you're following our social media handles. And you may have even seen some bonus episodes this past week as well. Remember to subscribe to the podcast and make sure that you never miss those bonus episodes. today's podcast as you guessed it is a reflection on what's been happening with the Coronavirus

The whiskey industry is going to see some big changes. Because of this. We've seen an insurmountable push for legislation. And that's been passed because reflects the shipping and delivery of alcohol because it's now deemed an essential part of living in our culture. But how long will this trend stick around? Can we continue to see this as the pandemic is over? Hopefully, we get to see more relaxed laws continue to happen. And if you want to see more relax laws and what you'd like to see changed, let's hear it in the comments. Once again, enjoy this time inside with your family. Have a nice pour bourbon, and now you get to hear Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich, with above the char.

I'm Joe Beatrice, founder of barrel craft spirits. Our Bourbons have won a few medals, some of the most prestigious spirits competitions out there, but don't take their word for it. Find out for yourself. Use the store locator at barrel bourbon calm.

I'm Fred MiniK, and this is above the charm. This week's idea comes from an old email

Keith Norton wrote on March 3, sorry for the delay Keith wanted to know, what's the difference between bourbon rye bourbon, and a weighted bourbon from a taste perspective? is one sweeter than another? does one have a multi flavor? And, yeah, happy to approach that. It's actually a good good chunk of that information in my book bourbon curious that you can go to and it's a pretty good guide. Look, when it comes to breaking down the flavors of all whiskies, not just bourbon, but scotches. There's so much that goes into it. The mash bill is something that we tend to get

connected to because we understand it, we really start formulating thoughts about how one profile is different when in fact, a weeded bourbon has is historically going in at lower barrel entry proofs and I would argue that hey, maybe it's

Not the wheat that's causing it to have that real velvety structure and the deep caramel notes. Maybe it's the barrel entry proof. And then you have

the high rye Bourbons that tend to be extraordinarily spicy. I've had some of late that tend to be more floral than spicy. And where does that come from? Why it's a matter of fact, the yeast, but talking about the yeast is not necessarily as sexy as as the grain. Now there are definitely those that are more malt forward and heaven Hill is a kind of a like a classic example for me that they tend to a lot of their whiskies will have like a caramel malt flavor to it. Now where's that coming from? ag could very well be their distillation technique or the the way the barrels raging. But when it comes down to it, you do have some generalizations to how these whiskies will taste in nine times out of 10 the higher the right content, the more spicy

You will find okay so I'm talking about like pepper, cinnamon, cardamom all these like baking spices that you would like have in your your baking spice rack, you know you'll find a lot more of those and the higher right Bourbons, you'll also tend to find like a nugget of herbs from time to time. Now the weeded Bourbons will they tend to be a just a touch sweeter, just a touch softer and they don't have that same kind of vibrant finish on kind of a generalization. Now you give me a William LaRue Weller from the Buffalo Trace antique collection and you're gonna get your socks knocked off, you know, so I mean, it varies but Maker's Mark which is kind of like the everyday standard, you know, we did bourbon, you know, four or five years old we did. recipe, you know, a lot of people will taste that and says it's very wood forward has nothing to do with a wheat

So more more of the things that we taste in a nose out of whiskies, you know, grains only probably make up 20 to 30% of, of the, of the flavor. Most of it's coming from the barrel and the techniques, if you were really you need to lump the grains into like the fermentation techniques. So if you put that if you put the grains in the same kind of like soup as the fermentation and the yeast, you know, then I think that that 20 to 30% goes up to about 40% it's all about who you talk to, and you know what distillery prioritizes? How, you know how they make it. So is the grain important? Oh, God, absolutely. It all starts with the grain. But is it the end all be all for the taste and flavor that you get? No. But it sure is fun to talk about and it's easy to understand. So that's the

This week's above the char Hey, if you have an idea for above the char like Keith, why don't you write me an email you can go to my website Fred that's Fred minich comm click that contact button, and at the very least, maybe we can start a conversation about good bourbon. Until next week. Cheers

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon. This is the 43rd recording of the I know that sounds like a question. It is the 43rd recording of the bourbon Community Roundtable actually to have the second guess myself because it's so many times but Fred Ryan, good to see you all again on this glorious quarantine evening. How are you all? Great. I feel like I see you all more on quarantine virtually in real life.

No, it's Oh, it's always just good to hang out with my with my fellows. It's good to see you guys. Well, I would say that I'm I'm getting

Getting a little stir crazy, like I'm ready for this stuff to end. It's that or I'm also getting to the point now where I have to get on like zoom meetings for my daughter, because she has like virtual soccer practice or like classrooms and stuff. And it's killing me because I've been using zoom for three years now. And I know how to press the damn mute button, and you log on and it's just chaos. There's just sound coming from everywhere.

Well imagine what it's like to be a teacher. You know, I mean, this whole thing has made me realize that we don't pay our teachers enough in and whatever we can do to increase their salaries. Let's do it. Yeah. Yeah, we can pay their salaries.

Exactly. I'm all about it. I'm all about it. So we've got it. We've got a good lineup of stuff to talk about tonight. But let's go ahead, we'll go around the horn. And you know, because a lot actually changed since we're here at the Ross roundtable with COVID-19 but I was able to just do the regular introductions.

So we'll start off with Blake Blake, just kind of tell people where you blog at. And, you know, if if you know, where do you think or how do you think Carol Baskins actually killed her husband?

Yeah. So I'm Blake from bourbon er. You probably know me as the Cal Ripken roundtable still undefeated on the roundtable that you know, if you're undefeated by just showing up that's how that's what I kind of W in this in this world. But no, always fun to be here. So thanks again. Yeah, everyone who watched Tiger King, go back and listen to the podcast. I feel like that's the new debate. It's like, well, was the movie better? Was the book better? You know, our generations debate was was the podcast better? Or was the documentary better on Netflix? So check that out. Definitely more entertaining. So I'll go out and check the podcasts. We actually ended up watching last night the the kind of like after, whatever it is with Joel McHale. And so it kind of talked about, it was just like a one hour series of just you know, interviewing pretty much everybody

Except the tiger king himself, so it was, it was pretty good. Yeah, check that on Netflix if you haven't yet. Officially on Netflix, I saw everybody complaining on Twitter that Joel was basically just making fun of everyone.

He made fun of himself too. So, okay, that's what makes a good host. Yeah, he was also tied in so we me and Joel McHale something in common.

Yeah, just go ahead and just dm each other on Twitter. Yeah, yeah, but the glory days.

All right, Jordan, what do you think was did she feed into the Tigers are buried in a septic tank? Oh 100% the Tigers quick, easy. They were hungry. Why not? So this is Jordan from breaking bourbon calm and catch us on the socials at breaking bourbon. Make sure to visit this site for our near daily Release Calendar updates. Awesome. And Brian, what are your thoughts? Do you think Carol did it or you think you think you think maybe she's she's clean on this one.

I mean, you are the wall here. Well, I'm gonna throw you for a loop on this. I haven't seen it. I don't have Netflix. I'm also the person who avoided seeing Titanic and Avatar, so I try not to do those things. Yeah, I'm really exciting like that. Yeah.

Titanic was it because you like you already knew what the end was gonna have. It was well is knew what was gonna happen and it was it people were too far into it. Well, it was too big. I guess I was contrarians on that.

But I can't so I can't. I mean, I know from Twitter what's going on, but I'm clueless when it comes to it.

But if so, if you want boring stuff that's not up to date. Come see Brian here, right. sipping corn mostly on Twitter, sipping corn calm and bourbon justice, calm. Thanks for having me on again, guys. As always, man, always happy to have you here. So I guess the one thing we want to start talking about is because a lot has happened since the last time we talked, I remember it was what three weeks ago

Go. And it was maybe actually it's probably four weeks ago things were like just starting to snowball, right? Just a little bit. I know Jordan in Pennsylvania like there was talk of like some things happening but they hadn't closed down all the liquor stores yet. And now they now they like reopen them up somewhat like online like a hot mess. Yeah. So yeah, so for those at home that don't know about PA, it's a state run system. And it's beyond sloppily managed on a good day, right? Oh,

they shut down the liquor stores. But before they did that, they announced that they're gonna shut it down. There is of course, a mad rush and ever ignored social distancing. And they also shut down online delivery. And then they've opened up online delivery maybe like a week or two ago, but I have yet to talk to one person who has figured out a way to get in. And it was really funny. So they did an article, like basically saying the came out touting the success of the online liquor.

Store and how well it's going right? They basically measured it by saying, Well, on a normal day we get, we processed four orders an hour, but now we're up to like 50 orders an hour. Right? And you think about that, and that's an entire state, right. So like any other private business would go out of business long time ago. And somehow pa spins out for a wind. So it's been a hot mess, the good news, local distilleries around pa or shipping. You know, we've seen a lot of uptick in supporting local, which is great. And I'm a huge advocate, especially during this time supporting local for all businesses. So we've seen a huge influx of people around the state buying from their local distilleries or trying out new distilleries around the state, which is really nice, but point at the state just dropped the ball on this one. And I guess that kind of goes into really like the first subjects when we look at the way that consumer demand has really changed from COVID-19. I mean, let's let's not beat around the bush like we've been touting this for a long time. And you know, Blake's been on the forefront with opening sealed box and trying to get shipping happening in and making that happen.

And then all of a sudden you see drizzly and instacart and Bart and all these different kind of services like they're gonna meet like five or six x three annual projections now, and you now are also seeing every single liquor store every single restaurant scrambling to get their, their, their online or basically get their store online. And not only that, I mean, we'll talk about how 15 Hospital for 15 and a little bit, but I mean, do we see that after this thing starts ending like after it's over? Are we going to see some of these services start going like back to normal? Or do you think this is this is gonna be the new normal? thing, Pandora's Box been open when it comes to liquor delivery, that's for sure. So, you know, other businesses aside, I think consumers now are realizing Well, we should be able to everything else. When we get to our doorstep, we should, you know, be able to get liquor to our doorstep to and the convenience is just there, right. I mean, if you can avoid a trip to the store, they don't have it in stock, all that stuff. Sure. And I think people are once they once they get used to it. They're going to continue to

expect that afterwards and I don't blame them. And it's not going to take along the east to this. I mean, if we can get drive up cocktails made ahead of us for the from the restaurant and get that and if we can get curbside service or delivery service from the liquor store. I mean, it's the trains leaving the station already. I hope that's I hope this lasts. One thing that I noticed that after after I wrote that Forbes story, and

I can't remember what the title was, was something to do with like a pandemic, you know, bring a war between the distillers and wholesalers. I got a lot of feedback from distillers thanking me for this the one thing that I have realized in this in this current state is that the distilleries really really want shipping. I mean, they want they want shipping, probably more than anything that's out there. And

you know, they don't all come out talking about it, but they all really want it

Because it's another revenue driver for them. And this has shown that this is where the consumer populace wants to live moving forward because we're not. I don't know where when you know, when we're going to go back to normal. I mean, everyone wants to talk about, you know, when that's going to be a nobody got a crystal ball, but everybody needs a drink. And that drive thru is nice. That delivery is really freakin nice. And so let's I want to talk to the guy a little bit that that actually could show us a graph of sales like Blake, what have you seen in regards of like, just your online sales? I mean, have they increased at all? Or is it kind of status quo? It definitely has, um, it's a little hard because it is a newer company. So like saying that it's up, you know, 90% over last year's is a little bit of a, you know, a false sense of what's actually happening because I don't have a ton of historical data but in general, you know, you have what they call OMD. So October

November, December, then it slumps. And we still haven't seen that slump yet. You know, it's it's been jumping right up. And, you know, it's funny, you can kind of see as some of these states, certain states in particular will, they'll call for a lockdown, and we'll see an increase in traffic from those states. So it is a really interesting thing because I think a lot of these government officials are having to think about this for the first time whereas before they just had a lobbyist or whoever was saying, nope, we can't do that. It's not safe. And it's like hold on with all this. It's like, what Why is this not safe again, like it's not safe for people to go to a liquor store. So explain to me why it's not safe for them to have it delivered to their home. So you know, you don't want to say like something good comes out of this where we get this push through because it is so minor compared to what we're facing, but it it has a lot of people rethinking it and, you know, just on the steelbook side, we've seen a giant increase in in sales and people interested

from other states that we can't ship to, and it's like, hey, why can't you ship to me in New York? We're, you know, we're locked down and I'm like, I'd love to, but your state says we can't. So.

Yeah, a fear I have

is then that they're going to be so busy trying to rebuild their states and do deal with so much more important issues that's gonna get put on the back burner even more. And so like, I don't know, it's every day It seems like Andy gets at contended our governor gets asked like, so why are liquor stores essential? You know, and like, it's so you know, there's still people trying to like prod that there. You know, because we have some inch, we have an interesting demographic in our state. Well, I think I think we might have talked about that last time picking back on that though, Ryan, so I know. Right? And that's what was surprising for a lot of people in Pennsylvania because there is you know, I've read a lot of articles from just doctors and nurses have the same thing as much as we don't want admit it right like alcohol.

abuse is a large issue for a large amount of the population and if you don't give them access to alcohol then they're the ones clogging up the hospitals oh yeah right no doubt so and but I think that also should show you like it should be eye opening for a lot of people yeah for sure no doubt i mean i i totally agree and this is kind of broke down that barrier like that distributors could say Oh, it's not safe but now they're like we need this to keep sales going. So it's like you know it's a it's pretty funny but yeah, I hope it all continues on because I mean, it's it's fantastic. We tried the drizzly app and got stuff shipped to our house and now I got all my neighbors doing it for party mark here and like they're like loving it. It's it's pretty sweet.

You know, there's a there's been another wrinkle that's come up from this and you know, while the the shipping stuff and everything is Come on, I you You always hear me talk about this. But the anti alcohol people have started coming on saying that this is

they're looking

To try and ban alcohol and every single state right now. So they're they're taking advantage of this pandemic in a very different way. They're saying that this is going to lead to more abuse in the homes there's going to be more domestic abuse, there's going to be more alcohol related problems, there's going to be more liver failures and stuff. So they're taking this as an opportunity to say, hey, look at all these sales, you know, our country we're going to be hurting from this we need to ban all liquor sales. I mean, that that's some of the stuff that that's also going going on right now back door, and I just with legislators, I feel like we should make an amendment to the Constitution then if that's what it's gonna be to

try that.

Yeah, Brian, you're not busy, right?

Let's do that. Round two. I know there's a surge in sales, but it's more of like a stocking up thing. Like I just don't see it continuing down this path. Like if things kind of slow. Well, I go back open and so like, is this stocking up or have you guys seen those videos of people going on and

Dog filming their neighbors recycle bins 17 bottles of wine Yeah. And and bourbon bottles all over the place. Yes. I don't know if it's stocking up, you know, in full transparency my my consumption is definitely up because I don't know everyday feels like a Friday and a Saturday kind of so it's like Alright, well it is five o'clock I can go ahead and have a drink and then some days like alright, it's three o'clock I'm not doing anything the rest of the day. You know, I'm not getting drunk or hammered any of the times, but it's definitely more than I normally would during the week.

So you know that that adds up over time. Yeah. Oh, yeah. My consumptions way up it actually yesterday. I was like, I'm taking a day off yesterday. Yeah, fires me. And I still haven't had a drink yet. And I'm like, I was like, I haven't not drank ever since since it started it. You know, I would usually drink take like three or four days off a week. But now it's like you

You just do 234 every night because you get off at five o'clock with Andy. And then he cut in President Trump's lawn and then you have dinner.

And then you put your you have dinner with your kids and you turn on a movie, then you have more drinks. And then next thing you know you're in bed and you wake up, repeat. So so your meetings of the day are Andy, Donald Trump.

No wonder you, Dre. Jeez.

I might be the only one like, I feel like I'm still like my, like normal scale like myself. I'm right there with you, Kenny. Yeah, I was like, I don't really think anything's really changed in that regard. However, there were a lot of stats that came out. I mentioned them. I believe last week on the opening of the podcast, talking about really like there has been a spike in alcohol sales like it's there's, there's no you know, there's no hiding it like there has been a surge. But then there was another great article that came out an opinion article by Steve Coombs last week that kind of talks about like are people actually doing

making more or are they just hoarding? Because if you look at the actual sales of things that are happening, it's a lot of like 1.75 and one liters of stuff. And so that equates to a lot of unfortunately Tito's, but there's also a lot of 1.7 fives of Maker's Mark and other types of, you know, basically bulk whiskey that people are actually purchasing rather than going out and you know, getting this little 750 here or anything like that people actually making these big bulk purchases. However, I think most of us here have enough bourbon in their library or their

choose any random choose any random closet in your house that could defeat the most general populace out there. So I tell you, I've been doing these nightly tastings and I've been trying to be creative with the stuff I taste and, and

and that's when you I found that that's, that's the one the one way to like determine how much I really care about a bottle because I'm finding myself

been very reluctant to go into my stash of like 1930s the 1950s stuff. And

and I'm like, I, I know it's I know people want to see me drink that, but I can't do it. I can't open it up yet. I don't want to open it up for that I want to open up for something else. So maybe it'll we'll get there. But what I have noticed is that yes, well we have a lot of stuff. It's very interesting to see what I am drinking. Because, you know, when I'm that, you know, live streaming or something, I'm drinking something very different. And it's not stuff that I would know that I wouldn't think I would be drinking. So just Evan Williams bottled and bond

it's nothing like that. It's mainlining it it's funny you say that phrase because I think you know, mean economic have talked about this a few times. We've almost taken like the opposite approach. In fact, Eric did an opinion piece on the site not too long ago where, you know, the more we The more we know, people are getting impacted especially from economic and being in New York. I think

Almost switched our mindset to be like you have a special bottles we're holding on to maybe we'll start cracking one or two more of those more often just because you never know. Right? So I think it's interesting you say that and it'll be even more interesting to see how your mentality changes the longer the actual lockdown goes down. Right? Yeah, that'll be truly interesting. Yeah, it's definitely a psychological thing and it's not really it's, it's I'm definitely still drinking the good stuff Don't get me wrong, but I mean, I've got some of those really, really rare bottles that I hunted for worked hard to get and, and, you know, I was looking forward to like cracking them open with friends and like, our night or something nothing and it's like when the hell am I ever going to be around people? Yeah. You know? Yeah. I mean, I'd like to look at the see that that hopefully the lies at the end of the tunnel, but man, I just something tells me it's not though. I really want this to be over soon. But today was pretty. It's pretty grim. So yeah, yeah. How do we how do how do we get to it?

point where we're not. We talk about it, but not like in the depressing sense. It's like, Oh, yeah, so make sure you wear your new mask out there, by the way, the weather is going to be 55 and sunny today. You know, it's only when you become used to it, and no one no one's bracing for that. Yep. It's a maybe a poor analogy, right. But in terms of so think when the smog index came out, and you know, you go to a polluted city or pluta country stuff like that, and used to be home in the smog, like off the chart now. It's just like, you know, la or, you know, if I go to India or anything like that, it's like, here's a smog for the day. Gonna be bad for your health. Moving on. That's it, and you're like, Oh, okay. normal part of life now. All right. It's just gonna be kind of like that, like, viruses are breaking out. Just be extra productive today. All right. Great. Thanks. So the trash cans, employees, please don't. But it's a good question that came in from Brian here. And he's wondering if, if the distribution from distilleries distributors is way down right now, especially with hand sanitizer production going on. Along with folks being quarantine. I mean, what

What do you think is the the short term and the long term outcome of what we're going to see here? So I actually talked with a couple people about this from the distributor aspect. And they were saying that basically, their sales numbers were about pretty close to dead on what they were in prior months. And that's 100% because of off premise. So they lost all of the on premise. And we're able to make up the majority of it with off premise sales.

Now for other distilleries who rely heavily on their tasting room or that's even you know, they lost that part which really hurts but as far as like the big guys go, I don't know that they're that affected because the demand through distribution has been so strong because retail has been so strong.

So I don't know it'll be interesting to see how that all I think the hand sanitizer thing is great for their, for them just kind of giving back, but it's not really making up

A huge part of their revenue. And ultimately, I think it's the smaller guys who are going to be affected who, who have a bigger, you know, tasting room and all that kind of all those kind of sales going on. Yeah, I mean, anybody who geared up for tourism is just looking at this scared and glammed up scared, kind of want to get, you know, Brian or Jordans kind of thoughts if we see any kind of short or long term effects of these distilleries haven't been shut down or producing sanitizer. Yeah. So, sanitizer. I think it's great. I'll address that first. I think it's awesome. I think it's great. I have yet to see some hit areas or at least even be available online. I think it's going to first responders, which is the right thing, so that's even better. But I was thinking about this the other day as I was going for a run on the treadmill, right? So all these distilleries the last two years have just dumped money and expanding their visitor centers right Woodford just opened up their new one right buffalo trail.

was doing a huge expansion. Everyone's that was the whole the whole shtick, right? let's dump more money, let's think big thing, right? But those who have put all this money in there, it's almost a shame because I don't know if it's ever going to go back to the way of having just a crush of people line up at a bar right thing of going to a Woodford for a Buffalo Trace on a Saturday, right, with all the tourists. Everyone's just lined up getting shots and tasting your samples and stuff like that. And that may never go back to the way it was. And, you know, they might be regretting that that influx of cash, they just put in that this your experience now. I mean, I think it'll come back to at least some extent, but that's never where they're making their money. I mean, they have to get the people there in the first place. And there are a lot more people who are drinking Woodford than ever that ever make it to that tour or to any other distilleries. So they've they've got plenty of bourbon that they've distilled in the last few years socked away, that'll still come to the market.

They just need to find a new way to market it. And instead of trying to bring people to the distillery, which I think is a small percent, I mean, it's a growing percentage, but it's a smaller percentage. So we're taking a hit on the old bourbon trail, as far as that marketing goes, but there's, I think there's plenty more to do and they can recover from that. Yeah, and humans forget things. I mean, it's, yeah, we're I mean, it's easy now to say all we can but it's like even like after the last recession, you know, like and people got in trouble with you know, loans and mortgages or whatever and like a year later, they're doing the exact same damn thing. Yeah, we're still giving like no proof mortgages in like, you know, I AR, whatever you call it, but just alarms and all that. Yeah, arms. Yeah. We just need like two more tweets that says whiskey kills the virus and it'll open.

Start just spreading the rumors now might as well

So I guess that kind of makes me want to go into sort of like the next segment here. And that's looking at House Bill 415. So I know that a lot of us have been kind of following this for for quite some time in regards of what this means. And there's this, this great PDF that got sent out by some of the people that were for the bill and making it happen. So just to kind of like digest this down. What this really means is that, and hopefully what this means is a potential domino effect of what we could see for the rest of the United States to hopefully latch on to. And this is the giving the ability for distilleries to now ship direct to consumers, completely bypassing a distributor and bypassing and actually, I guess they function as the retailer in this point, right. And that's what I know that there was a lot of

commotion, I guess, you could say from distributors and everything like that and retailers that didn't want this. I mean, of course, you don't want this right. I mean,

Kinda like it pokes a hole in your whole business model. But the the other side of this is that this is now putting spirits and putting Kentucky as one of the first states to now have the same exact law as around what is it like 40 or 42 other states that allows shipping of wine, right i mean shipping and wine from California or anywhere else like that's pretty, pretty standard.

However, this is now starting to allow this to happen for for greedy spirits. So looking at this now, I'm all for it. I think this is something that we've been offered for a while Blake, I know is he's over the moon for it. But I kind of want to think is there because I know Fred, we had brought this up before and this that you know you you had talked about the warning signs of saying like, well, all it's gonna take is for like, you know, one kid intercept something and then this could all all go under. Has this bill passed like sort of change your mind and regarding

of of potentially like the shift we're starting to see in in the legal side of things

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you had talked about the warning signs of saying like, well, all it's gonna take is for like, you know, one kid intercept something and then this could all all go under. Has this bill passed, like sort of change your mind in regards of of potentially like the, the shift we're starting to see in in the legal side of things. Well, first of all, I've always been for you know, some type of shipping. I've always thought that you know if wine can do it, you know, whiskey should have that same, right. I've always just taken the side of like, taking the kind of devil's advocate side of like, I know like how the wholesalers think and as soon as this bill was passed, they came out against it.

very heavily. And basically said it was a shame that Kentucky took advantage of a, of a pandemic to get this thing passed. And they called the they called the KDA. And a bunch of people who push for quote bad actors. I they use that a lot in their press releases. I still don't understand what that means. Well, still hasn't like approved or vetoed it right. He's hasn't even like, right. Didn't auto into Milan? Yeah, but not until like June or July, I believe. So there's a 90 day period before it become goes into law. But it's like it was but by him not signing it or vetoing it, it basically passed and that was just the weird provision to it. So it's, it's good. But yeah, I think from a from,

from an overall perspective of like, people have kind of swung to this pendulum of like, as long as someone is checking the ID

And oh, by the way, the wholesalers, they own a little piece of a company called drizzly. So they're okay with delivery as long as they are getting, you know, it's as it seems as long as they are, have like a guaranteed structure of someone, you know, being 21. And someone texted me today and said, The wholesalers are okay, as long as they're getting their cut. That's what I was gonna say. I was like, making sure that we're getting there. 25% that's what I was making sure that that's what they're gonna say. And and that's a, I get that. But, look, if wineries can do it distillers should be able to that's it. You just sound like a bad actor. That's all it is.

But I mean, I mean with this, it's still only two like six reciprocating states, right. So it's, it's more than that. It's like 12, I believe. Yeah, it's a handful. But yeah, it's a handful and it's in that it's in that release.

But the some of the big wind states are on there. So

California is not on there. But you know, Rhode Island. What are we going to get from Rhode Island or Hawaii? I mean, hold on the islands get some decent distilleries. How do they do it?

Alright, so here are the states. Alaska.

Arizona. I you know what? No, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington DC giddy up. I mean, when I look at this, though, I try to think picture it from. And I think this is one of the things that Chris, one of the people that helped draft this and lobby for it kind of looked at this as really the first domino to fall, right. I mean, this is this is a radical change in consumer demand and the way that laws have to now adapt to what we're going through. I mean, I think john Henderson said it in the YouTube channel, but earlier, like, it only took a global pandemic, for us to finally move the industry forward. Right and

And if you look at that, I think we are moving in the right direction. Now it's a move in the right direction, but you need you need a legit state to jump on board with this to make it matter. And I think we're the first logistic unit. Well, the thing is the the list of states you just listed off there nothing in the record, you mean like a large long Nabila? gorgeou, Florida, you're nice. No, I like that. And that's when it's gonna make the most difference, like because the no offense the other states, but they're, they're peanuts compared to those and like, I just have a feeling to those states are gonna iron fisted, you know, to keep it in their states as well. So is that right move in the right direction, but it's not there yet. Well, I mean, do you look at this as a move for that? Or is it a move to actually help distilleries? Right, this is this is another another way that we can look at putting more money back into the pocket of the distillers. We've, I don't know how many times we've talked about this on the show that the three tier system has been a problem.

That's why the secondary market exists because, you know, they it goes off to the distributor and distributor goes, Well, I don't know, like it goes to whatever kind of algorithm that they want to however they want to do it. This now puts a little more power to the distilleries, if they want to do it. Yeah, they are. But they still have to have the distributor to process the tax payments and stuff. So the distributor is going to charge something and get a little bit but it does, it's definitely great for the distiller because they're gonna keep more revenue, but the distributors have, because I doubt each distillery is gonna have their own, you know, maybe they will, but I don't see enough. I just don't see enough shipping demand with those states to justify having a dedicated team to deal with the tax implications of you know, shipping and cutting out the distributor as the current level, not just attacks the right building out three commerce capabilities, building out the team, that shipping everything dealing with the customer experience online and all that stuff. It's it's harder than people realize to just snap your fingers and do those things. I think

Transcribed by

Apr 16, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Driftless Glen 51 Rye Whiskey

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Driftless Glen 51 Rye Whiskey. This non-age stated rye whiskey is 102 proof and $60 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Apr 14, 2020
BONUS: Bourbon Trends in Journalism with Aaron Goldfarb
In this special bonus podcast, we take a moment to talk to Aaron Goldfarb, whiskey and cocktail journalist and the author of Hacking Whiskey. We talk about his origins and how he got into journalism. The state of NYC at the moment during COVID-19. Then we talk about what led him into covering spirits, his thoughts on the secondary market crackdowns, some of his favorite articles, and where inspiration strikes.
Show Notes:


Alright, you knew I couldn't do a whole podcast without screwing up. You're gonna think I'm a boomer all these guys at home.

I'm Generation X. I swear it. Starts from the top.

Welcome to this special bonus episode of bourbon pursuit. We're all stuck at home during quarantine. So I can't think of a better way to make the time go by faster than bringing a few bonus podcasts to you all. In this episode, we're joined by Aaron Goldfarb. He's a renowned whiskey and cocktail writer. So you've likely come across many of his articles through vine pear, calm,, whiskey advocate, bourbon plus, and many more. He has a book out called hacking whiskey and we talk about that later in the show as well. Now at the beginning of this podcast during that blooper, it sounded pretty good. Did that sound about normal? Well, it's about the sound a bit muffled because I

wasn't paying attention and didn't realize that Aaron was talking into his computer microphone instead of the external one. But don't worry just a few minutes in, we fix it and it all gets squared away. Now make sure that you are subscribed to our Facebook and YouTube channels because we are doing live streams pretty regularly now, and we'd love to have you join us. So enjoy this bonus episode and remember, keep those hands sanitized. We're all in this together. Cheers.

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit, a special COVID-19 edition. Kenny here and we are talking with somebody that had tried to join us in the last roundtable but we had some technical difficulties so I wanted to reintroduce everybody to the man Aaron Goldfarb. So welcome back. Take us back to the show. Yeah, I think I might have faked those technical difficulties just because I wanted that one on one conversation with you. You know what? I you're you're making a little money.

blush a little bit. I appreciate the appreciate the kudos there. But honestly, we're happy to have you. You know, actually, I got a message from Ryan and Fred earlier. They're like, hey, Are we recording something tonight with Aaron? And because I just I just put it in our BP calendar. And Ryan was like, man, I hurt my back today. I can't make it. I feel so bad. And then, Fred's Fred's. So everybody probably knows that he's doing live streams every single day at one o'clock and nine o'clock. And he's like, he's like, I can't make it just let Aaron know that he's one of my favorite writers. And I was like, it's like it's okay guys. Like I can I think I can handle this on my own.

I don't get double team. Yeah, when we start talking about whiskey and it's an easy way to kind of get going. So I kind of want to you know, learn more about you, I guess, you know, we've I've read a lot of your stuff before, through various media outlets and everything like that. But you know, I, we don't really know much about you. So kind of talk about a little bit like about your entry, like, first into journalism. And then really what

got you into whiskey as well?

Yeah, you know, my entry into drinks writing and whiskey is kind of just consistent failure over 20 years I, I went to film school

at Syracuse and I wanted to be a filmmaker. I kicked around in the early aughts and Manhattan, writing screenplays and trying to make films that didn't work very well.

wrote a few novels those worked a little better. But this whole time, like any good writer, I was drinking heavily.

helps me get through the good times in the bed. Right? But unlike the other writers who might have been slugging handles of vodka, I thought, well, you know, there's a better way to get drunk.

And luckily, you know, I moved to Manhattan in 2001. And that was right as craft beer was emerging. That was right. As you know, the craft cocktail scene was emerging in New York, the epicenter of all places. That was as you

You know, bourbon was again becoming hot, you know, Pappy 15 comes out in 2004, I believe and you know, you can get on the shelves for 30 bucks or 50 bucks. And that was a lot of money to me back then. So I didn't buy as much of it as some of my friends that had normal jobs did at the time. But, you know, it's very lucky to just be old and growing up at the right time, that naturally I was in all these scenes at the same time.

So I developed a knowledge base. I never had any plans to write about this stuff.

You know, your college counselor or your high school counselor doesn't say, you too, can be a whiskey writer when you grow up.

You know, maybe they say that these days, but they weren't saying that in the late 90s and early 2000s.

You know, I think maybe David wonder was the only booze writer on planet earth Michael Jackson, maybe

I've heard that name.

Before I know Fred's talking about Michael Jackson before, and everybody wants to think of the pop singer, but no, there was somebody before that, that or maybe not before that, but still a person in the scene that was writing a lot about about Jackie and about cocktails. Yeah, you know, Lou Bryson, I guess was there, he's always been there.

But you know, I built this knowledge base. And then, you know, around

the late aughts, the early 2010s. Now, all of a sudden, the mainstream publications were realizing, you know, these things are red hot, and we haven't cultivated any writers that necessarily know about these things. So I was a writer, not a magazine writer, or website writer, and I knew these things. And so my first gig ever was for Esquire, I kind of fell backwards into one of the best, you know, in my opinion publications in in the history of America. And I was writing beer and whiskey and cocktail stuff for them. You know, from

I don't know 2008 2009 on and then I kind of worked myself backwards and started writing for more niche publications, you know paunch fine pair whiskey advocate bourbon plus, and, you know, everywhere I've written for everyone by now, you know, I'm sure I'll be fired from jobs and right for new ones I mean it's the life of a freelance writer you take what you get and move on to the next one. That's it's interesting to like just like fall into Esquire that's like somebody like in my world just saying like, Oh, I got my first job. It's a Google right it's like in the in the tech world. So I think it's it's really interesting and cool like how you want to do that so have you been Have you been in Manhattan in New York most your life or like his his New York something? Are you your homeboy, you Norco your whole life? No, I kind of have a weird growing up too. I'm, I believe, a fifth or sixth generation.

Born in New York, and I lived there till I was about three or four and then, you know, this was the early 80s

In New York City, which I don't know if you've heard there were some issues. My my family moved to Oklahoma City. So along with Fred, I would be the second Oklahoma regular. I'm here.

live there till high school then, you know, back to New York since then. And I went to college at Syracuse and upstate New York, and I've been in New York City, now Brooklyn, since 2001. And I've been a Brooklyn since 2014. And so you're also in the kind of like the epicenter of what's happening right now with the Coronavirus I mean, especially with I shouldn't say the episode that's actually in China, but I'm saying like in America, like where all the eyeballs are on right now. It's like where you're at because it's it's the most you know, between you and San Francisco. It's the most densely populated area inside of the United States and you know, the numbers that are coming out and staggering like, I'm assuming that like right now it's it's pretty chaotic, like you'd be able to just like, look out your window and just like to see the rat start scurrying because there's no people out like, kind of give us an idea of like, what what's

Life in New York City right now. Well, you know, it's funny, I'm, you know, I've had some professional successes in my life, you know, books and whatnot. And that doesn't lead to strangers from my past necessarily writing me but this everyone I've ever met in the world who's got my email or phone number has been messaging me i think i think people assume with all the death and whatnot. It's a zombie apocalypse here, but

you know, I, I go outside every day. Some days I take a jog. There are not a lot of people on the streets. I am in a quieter neighborhood in Brooklyn. I'm in Park Slope, which is a family friendly neighborhood, but it is. It's, you know, a brownstone neighborhood. It's not the sticks by any means. I don't know what it's looking like in Manhattan now. I haven't been there in a month and I'm not sure if I'll be there for another several months. But um,

yeah, the streets are empty.

There's a lot

around the block space by six feet to get into every supermarket I go, I go Trader Joe's he's going crazy for Trader Joe's during this and it's it's funny like you say that cuz I've noticed that even our Trader Joe's there's people like lined outside so we'll say I would never go to Trader Joe's because the aisle width and news York is incredibly tight so I kind of go to the places where I don't want anyone bumping into me getting close to me.

You know of course unlike a lot of places we shop in New York by carrying it home so I go to my you know, snobby supermarket across the street and I put as much as I can possibly carry and I don't even really think that hard about what the week of meals is going to look like. And today my family just ate a grilled chicken with you know, whatever scraps we could also find some days we're eating incredibly and others were not like we ordered delivery about once a week that's still very avid here.

If you haven't heard just about every great cocktail bar is delivering cocktails right now. I haven't done that a lot. Because I have lots of booze myself, as you can see, and I know to make cocktails, and I'd rather deliver him and not coming to my house, both for both of our sakes but um, you know, if if you

you know, if I didn't have a family, I would just be reading a book a day and writing an article a day and watching a movie every night and drinking some whiskey and 90 days later, I'd come out of this, but I'm living in a house with a three year old and a newborn, and a wife who's on conference calls 10 hours a day for her busy job. So it's it's very stressful. It's very hectic, I'm outside of this dwelling 30 minutes to an hour a day if I'm lucky.

And you know, that's life right now. It's it's for people that are single and alone. It's probably lonely and incredibly boring. For people with families. It's It's It's probably the most stressful

In aggravated and tense I've ever been, you know.

So I kind of want to get back into your a little bit of your your journey into bourbon and your journey into whiskey. Like Did you have a Sherpa along the way that kind of taught you? You know, because I can look behind you in the camera right here and I see a bunch of wild turkeys decades. You got some knobs you got, but I mean you got more Russell's picks than probably rare bird 101 so

that's, and that's that's part of it too. So kind of talk about like, who was who's kind of like taught you the ropes.

You know, I kind of have a weird Sherpa. It wasn't you know, an older gentleman. You know, a good buddy of mine from college. You know, we were talking about I was kicking around making, you know, $15,000 a year writing screenplays no one wanted he became a salesman from day one. And this is my friend Derek.

And, you know

He had a massive expense account. So he didn't know more than me. But he could afford to learn things on someone else's dime. And I mean, a massive expense account. You can't even get guess the number and I won't say it in case there's

lessons and causes Listen, well, he doesn't work there anymore. But in case any litigation is pending. No, he lived in DC, which, you know, of course, at the jack rose. We've heard about what's going on with them right now.

And we, you know, he'd come to New York a lot for business. And again, this was when the emergence of really great bars in New York were coming, you know, milk and honey 1999 pegu club, I think that's 2005.

PDT 2009. Now New York's never been a really great whiskey city. To be fair. There's just too many rich people that, you know, if jack rose existed in New York, it wouldn't exist on day two.

They just got to make their prices even higher than if that's what it takes. You literally cannot price trophy bottles high enough in New York to keep them in stock.

But anyways Derek, you know we'd come to New York and we just spent silly money trying every cocktail on the menu at PDT trying any good thing in the house and you know, in the in the arts in New York City

it was still a wine city. So, you know, things like Pappy were in George t stag and stuff you could, you know, get for a reasonable Port $20 report wasn't reasonable to me back then. But of course it was reasonable to people with money so you know, even when I wasn't a writer, even when I had absolutely no money, I tried every every great whiskey released from you know, the late 90s on I never owned any of these bottles till till you know the last decade when I actually started making money by

You know, I remember when Derek got I think a case of tornado survivor and just all this stuff we were we were trying all this stuff and I you know, we were both learning together on on his his company's time. I mean, learn the learn on a case of tornado I think that's your living right are you know the right people I mean that's that just kind of give us the whole thing of like, you know you never own a boat, but you have a friend that owns the boat. And even better if the friend owns the boat and someone else is paying for it. See, there you go. That's, that's 10 times better. 10 times better. You know. And there's one thing that you kind of mentioned right there about, you know, trophy bottles like in New York just being always astronomical and always rocket high. I mean, I'm assuming at this point, like you've given up the chase in regards to finding something around New York, you've got your local spot, or do you just rely on as you mentioned earlier, just like buying pics from some of your favorite people in the scene?

Yeah, well, you know writers like me.

are lucky I get to at least try everything

released because because companies send it out they don't necessarily send full bottles but Buffalo Trace since you know the B tech lineup every year and you know, every company wants you to taste their stuff.

And I like all that stuff if I ran into, you know, George t stags or hands at reasonable prices, I do buy them.

But you know, one of my favorite things to drink is is Russell's reserve pics and they're 50 bucks or 60 bucks. That's what I'm drinking most nights. That's what I was drinking earlier tonight. This is what I'm drinking right now.

Oh, there you go. The bourbon Community Roundtable internet friends pick. I thought I thought I'd kiss some ass. We'll take it. But you know, some of this stuff is extraordinary. wilderness trail is extraordinary right now and even though I have you know, thousand dollar bottles in my house that I really don't give a crap about them being

drained. I'm reaching for wilderness travel right now I'm reaching for Russell's reserve single barrels almost every single night that I'm drinking.

So, you know, I don't I don't know why. That's what interests me. You know, Blake said to me, you know, he's drank so much great stuff that he kind of enjoys the rawness of young young craft whiskey. And I wouldn't say I enjoy that that much. But you know, wilderness trail has a flavor profile, you're just not used to, you know, how many more, you know, aged mdps can you drink? How many more you know?

weeders from Buffalo Trace, can you drink you know, at a certain point, it's fun to try new flavor profiles. And that's one reason I think you're seeing a lot of bourbon geeks get into Armagnac or wine or other stuff just because they're bored with with their palates. After you've drank everything. You're just like, you know, I need something else to excite me. Yeah, that's true. I think you I think you bring up a pretty good point too, especially when we talk to a lot of people in the whiskey realm. And I think it was probably what

Three years ago, maybe two years ago when this whole like MGP craziness, like what? A Well, I mean, just it went off the off the rocker. And there are groups that were searching and hunting and just trying to find this, you know, anything over 10 year MGP and just clearing out these smaller distilleries that had anything left of it. And people are really hung up on it. And, you know, when they look at even like what we did, and starting on whiskey line and saying, like, Well, why don't you go MGP right, because everybody else was doing it. Right. And, and I think that's, hopefully it's at the point that you people will start getting that sort of fat or palate fatigue of trying the same thing over and over and over again. I think Blake's a little bit of a special character thinking that like, Yes, I want young, young Raul whiskey.

I wanted to see if he get that tattooed on his back or something like that. But um, I think I think you do bring up a solid point there because there's a lot of not only great values, which you just talked about in the Russell's world, and you get a lot of diversity, especially with those pics

There's a lot of good stuff coming out from younger distilleries now that are starting. And I think this is a while we see the the plunge of MGP stock in B, you know why I think people are going to start changing their their minds here in a little bit. Because there has been this idea that, oh, like, I'm not buying gun whiskey, I'm not buying something that's not from Kentucky. That's I, I was that person like two years ago, maybe even three years ago, I was that person too. But now like, we're starting to get to the point where a lot of these distilleries around the country outside of Kentucky are having products that are four years old that are their knockouts, I mean, they're fantastic. And we're going to get to the point here in the next, maybe another two, three years, where the shelves are just gonna be littered full of just goodies like that. Yeah, well, you know, it's funny, a lot of people used to think craft whiskey sucked because it wasn't old enough. And now you have craft whiskey.

That's you know, and it's second decade and some of it still sucks which proves

the reason it sucked was not because it was young and then you have wilderness trail and new riff which are you know, four or five years and they're they're incredible you know a lot of craft whiskey I drink one time just to see what it tastes like well there's Tron New Roof I actually reach for over you know, the big boys

So, you know, it wasn't he that a lot of these brands that I will not name unless you you know, get me in a bar, not on your podcast were bad was because they were bad because they were distilled poorly because maybe they were fermented poorly because who knows why.

But you know, wilderness trail is as certainly shown that youth is not

any excuse for not being great. So so you know a lot about whiskies we can get that we can look behind you can read a bunch of your articles about whiskey, but you make a lot of different articles about mez cows and

About everything, like, kind of talk about your journey into other spirits like, it's it's cool to have your buddy that helps you get into this wonderful world of bourbon that probably spoiled you beyond belief. But then how do you how do you get into all these other sex of like figuring out I know you've done stuff on like the perfect Martini or stuff like that to like, kind of talk about, like, how do you get into the realm of doing that as well? Well, the cynical answer is I'm a freelance writer, and every article I write makes money so

you tell me what to write about. I'm in exactly. I'm writing an article right now. I'm sorry, Fred. Pay to pay was good.

But no, you know, I have a theory that guys like us.

We collected things and we were obsessed with things from day one. I collected baseball cards, comic books, anything and I collected them as hard as but I needed full sets. I needed everything I needed to know every any passion I need.

To know everything, and then you know on to the next one. So at a certain point, you don't know everything about whiskey That's impossible. You're still learning stuff. That's why I think a lot of people have moved back towards towards dusties. Because, you know, once you've kind of mastered the modern whiskey culture, you got to start learning. Oh, that distillery produced that Oh, that's where you know, you know, stilts or whatever. And then you start moving on to other things and other tastes.

You know, as I said, Armagnac has become an inexplicably kind of big amongst, you know, upper echelon geeks. You know, it's just fun. I do drink neat whiskey almost every single night. I'm not, you know, reaching for other stuff every single night, but I like to learn

other things.

You know, I drink a lot of rum rums a very weird category as I'm sure if you've read ROM curious. You might know Yeah.

down around here somewhere. Yeah, yeah.

A lot of cool things in ROM. You know, I'm Mike my quarantine drink of choice has actually been gin cocktails, which are fun. Yeah, I will say that I am a big fan of gin cocktails. It's just something that is it's light refreshing guys. Actually gimlet is like my number one. That's what I always reach for. That's actually my my wife and his official cocktail of quarantine the gimlet. See, we can hang out. It's like It's like Gatorade and cocktail form. And I'll tell you

and shout out to new riff. They've got a barrel aged gin, and that's what I've been drinking and it really is. Yes, it's fantastic with it. I have a bottle of that over there. I like their gin, but I've never thought to use a barrel aged and am I gimlet? Alright, tomorrow. Here you go. We're creating new traditions around here already. Yeah. So no, I you know, I'm just a fan of everything except vodka actually, but I will write about it.

You know if if something's interesting, I want

Drink it if something's tasty, I want to eat it. If something's good to read, I want to read it. You know, there's lots of things in this world I don't just don't understand people that you know, kind of get stuck in their lanes and don't try to enjoy and learn as much as they can about everything. It's It's fun to learn things. I mean, that's kind of the most fun thing is, you know, I'm trying like everyone else. I'm also getting into arm and Yak and it's fun to start at zero. And you know, after a year ago, I kind of know a little about Armenia. I could I could tell someone about that. Oh, I know a little bit about mezcal. I don't know a lot about mezcal, you know, that article you're referencing, we did a blind tasting with two bonafide experts. And, you know, I think I have a pretty good palate. So I can say what I think is good and bad, but I can't tell you about you know, the varietals of a golf a or you know why this one tastes like this or where this grew or you know, the different ways of fermentation but they knew all that, you know, and it's inspiring to think, wow, I could learn all that, you know, bourbon kind of really only has one way to make it

mezcal is infinite. You know, rum has so many. Just lots of stuff to learn and so little time, except now when we're all sitting home.

So you're, you're like a leech of information is that what it comes down to? Because you're able to kind of just talk to a lot of these people that are really, really know it alls in this world and just kind of really take their story and harness it and develop something that is appealing to a visual reader. Yeah, I mean, you know, I'll never convince my parents that the most fun thing about writing about alcohol is is actually getting free education is not free booze, but, you know, it's, it's really great. You know, some of my story ideas are literally like, you know, I'd like to know a little bit more about that. And, you know, it's like a con game, I can reach out to the most important person on the topic, and they're going to talk to me if you're an average off the street, and you email the most important, you know, Armagnac maker Gen distiller and said, Can I talk to you for an hour they'd be like,

know why, but you know, they'll move mountains to talk to me just because I will write about them. So, you know, it's it's not just a way to pay the bills. It's not just a way to get free drinks. It's, it's, it's a free education on topics that interest me and you know, after over a decade of this stuff, I still have a passion for it all. So when we get back to like a whiskey article, is there one that you've written over the years that you look back and you think like, man, I loved writing that one like was, you know, was it the person? Was it the? Was it the whiskey? Like, what was it that that really like, drove you for that article? You know, my favorite articles are kind of goofy or dumber, less prestigious ones. I mean, I will admit, like the one you did with, what was it? Janae Yeah. Janae. And she made that ridiculous, old fashioned way back in the day that went viral. And you kind of said like, all right, where's she now sort of thing? Yeah, I mean, those are my favorite to write.

You know, I can I can write a, you know,

interview with a distiller or an article on how a whiskey is made, you know, in my sleep but you know, the kind of weird ones one of my favorite articles I wrote for ponch probably four or five years ago was the history of when it became very trendy in New York and Miami for bars have beds in them literal beds in them.

And those stories are always very hard to report. You know, if you if you want to write a story about you know, a distillery today, it's very easy to get these people on the phone to talk to you, they'll talk to you all day. But if you you know, I wrote a history of of foam parties a few weeks ago for fine pair, How the hell do you find a guy in the 90s who decided you know, we should blast foam into these a booth in nightclubs. It's not easy.

And it's, it's, you know, I could write a lot easier stories I could write, you know, what we call listicles Top 10 whiskies and, and, you know, get paid And work for an hour but you know, I just thought

have a passion for finding these really stupid, weirdo stories and bringing them to you. I just had flashbacks of like Panama City Beach, Florida next spring break. It's just what happened right there.

I can't wait to read that article and it comes out. So there's nothing that you'd mentioned right there about like, top 10 lists. And it seems like that is that seems to be a driver for a lot of lot of articles. It seems that it I mean, it could be articles, it could be YouTube videos, it's anything anything as a top whatever. It just drives people to it. I mean, do you have a like a love hate relationship with it?

Yeah, I mean, you know, every time uh, you know,

Esquire, GQ, you know, best whiskeys to drink right now. 10 best, whatever lists come out, you know, I see the Facebook comments I'm not seeing articles written by me articles written by anyone. And people resume their, you know, the, the brand paid for them or whatnot.

It's it's not that insidious but you know it's it's kind of like an ecosystem. You know, the brand hires a publicist and pays them, the publicist and bottles to a writer. The writer drinks the bottle, the writer wants to keep the publicist happy. The publishing company asked for a top 10 whiskies list. They publish the last 10 whiskies the last 10 publicists they like sent to them, rinse repeat, so I don't really like that stuff.

publicists probably hate me more than most writers in New York because, you know, kind of

bitchy and I don't play those games. But you know, every writer on planet earth writes listicles whether it's David wonder richer, you know, whoever, you know, they pay the bills. They have good SEO. Everyone argues about them. It doesn't matter what website it is. If you write the top 10 whiskeys right now it'll do pretty well for the day. I try to write those as little as possible. They do not interest me

if I'm doing

Those kind of lists I tried to make them interesting. I did a

about every year or two, I try to pick the best whiskey in every state for Esquire.

That'll keep you busy drinking. Yeah, it's tough. It's tough. And you know, people get furious. That's not North Dakota's best whiskey house as this guy ever tasted, blah, blah, blah. The answer is probably no, I've tasted maybe one or two Caesar, but I'm trying my damnedest unlike a lot of writers who are listening, you know, but as I said, the last 10 whiskies they've gotten the mail.

But, you know, it can be very tough to be thoughtful in this industry. When a lot of

you know guys like me, or girls like me that get paid to do it can kind of just phone it in, you know, the amateurs actually put more work in it because they're doing it for a passion not to make money. So you know, whisky blogs are some of the best smartest out there.


You know, a lot of professional websites and magazines, it was just, you know, Hey, could you write this over the next hour? Well, I don't know anything about vodka. Okay, well, right, it's

go to the store, get five bottles, review it come up with a list. Yeah. I mean, is that is that something that in the writing world, I mean, I guess I can kind of even picture it my own world where it very beginning of my career, like I was gung ho, and I was trying to cut my teeth doing grunt work and trying to, you know, doing a lot of like, like, really hard kind of it stuff and like working insane kind of hours. And then at some point, you're just like, Okay, give it up. I'll focus on what I'm good at. And then, you know, kind of just like, let the professionalism take off from there. I guess in like, the growth pattern of what a writer is like is does it kind of have that same sort of trajectory or path in regards of, you know, you start off early, as you kind of mentioned as an amateur trying to like write a top 10 list and then you're like, Okay, I'm done with that, like, I'm going to try to find some more

Interesting. Well, I mean, food and drink writings unlike any other, you know, we're so close to the subjects, you know, we have friendship with bartenders and distillers and whatnot.

And if we weren't doing it, we'd still you know, drink these things and go to these bars. I don't think anyone would, you know, hang out with politicians if they weren't a political reporter. You know, and there's, you know, the famous thing that just sports writers hate sports by the time they've been a sports writer so long.

Yeah, you know, when you're early on trying to break into writing, and it's probably different now.

Or maybe it's even tougher now. You'll take anything someone gives you it just seems like so hard to get paid a literal dollar to write something. So it's less early on for a lot of these writers and I noticed it amongst younger younger writers right now about finding your voice and trying to do in anything interesting.

And more letting you know the site's dictate you. And the funny thing is, if you came to these sites as a, or magazines or newspapers as a 22 year old with these outlandish ideas with these crazy ideas with these ideas that no one else is writing, you probably have a better chance of selling it, you'd probably have a better chance of making good money

and it took me a while to figure that out.

figure out exactly like Oh, you're gonna pay me more I'm gonna go over this way. Yeah, wait, I'm gonna give Redbird a shout out. Yeah, go for it. David's a good friend of the show. So he's an adult and I can see you've got all you got a lot of Turkey breaks over. Okay, yeah. wrestle wrestle the muscle there. so fantastic. So I guess another question is, is that you know, once you start getting into this world, and yet, I can always understand as a writer, you have to be conscious of, you know, where the money's coming from. And so that's what you focus on. But is there something about whiskey that keeps you intrigued or keeps you kind of always tied to it?

We're like, What is it? What is it about whiskey or bourbon that like keeps you wanting to come back for more? Well, the one thing I don't write a lot about is mine. And I never really understood why I don't dislike wine. I'm not a connoisseur. And then I realized and I said to my

editor, puncture Italia, I just don't find wine funny. But whiskey is so funny. And if you've read a lot of my stuff, it's about you know, secondary markets. It's about Turkey dues. It's about you know, California gold. It's about infinity bottles. It's about, you know, geeks lining up at jack rose, even though you know, there's a pandemic, you know, there's just so many funny characters. The distillers aren't necessarily funny character characters, but they're not necessarily funny characters. But the collectors the the people that drink it and pursue it and and the people that listen to podcasts about it. They're just funny characters.

Probably a funny character to look, I live in a 1200 square foot apartment with two children and I got an entire room of whiskey. That's, that's, that's not probably a good use space.

But um, yeah, it just infinitely cracks me up to to go on the internet every day and just see what whiskey geeks are talking about doing and drinking and trading and arguing about meaning and all that stuff. And maybe one day it won't, but it's really funny to me. And, you know, if you're writing a boot story, and there's not something funny about it, it just doesn't interest me that much. As Sure. There are some of the good memes that come out of whiskey and come out of bourbon, especially, you know, even those secondary markets where people get butthurt. And then you've got the the other groups where there's people that basically have court hearings about you know, stuff like that. I'm kind of like, what at what other point would people just have this like fake court system over a transaction of bourbon that happened on the black market, like

It's it's comical. Yeah, I mean, you know, my like, career like, ethos has been trying to explain this weird world to like normal human beings like no you you first of all you have to know like 10,000 acronyms.

Yep. Yeah, I always I always thought that there'd be like a good t shirt like just full of acronyms like everywhere. You have to have like a stock market ticker in your head. What? Happy 23 Pv w 23 is now worth 19,000 You idiot. Then you just have to I mean, you have to know like if I don't pay attention for a week I come back and I'm I'm I'm messaging my friend Derek who's still locked in on it. Like what the hell is going on with this? Is that a real thing? You know? Is this is this will it box club a real thing? And you know, that was I tell you what, that's been one of the greatest recent ones when it's you can just tell the the oh geez versus the new people that are into it. They're like, Where's the signup button? I don't see it. Yeah, well, that's you know, that's

Also really funny to see you know, it drives me nuts because you know even though I said you know from the get go I was trying very good stuff I still you know, paid my dues and spent money on regular Maker's Mark and odd and stuff and these guys who were you know not even drinkers last week or you know, thinking they can just go from like nothing to balling out with you know George t stag or whatnot, it's like you know, slow down

train your palate start with 80 proof let's, let's get you up to

this level. I will say that is is like one of the corner cuts that you are, you know, corners that you can cut here in the in the whiskey world is that if you come with a big enough checkbook, you could have one of the best collections that are out there in bourbon, you know, because it's still, you know, especially in regards of what scotch prices and everything like that our whiskey prices even Pappy 2318 1900 dollars a bottle. That's that's a drop in the bucket for what some scotches go for so

If you come with a big enough checkbook, you could have one of the most insane bourbon collections that are out there just by buying directly off the secondary. Yeah, that's why it cracks me up you know?

Every so often there's yeah well constantly there's How do I get Pappy post have money. I mean, it's not hard.

You know, my friend of mine, Alex Bachman, he, I think he still does he used to

fill bars with with with spirits that was his job to find, you know, a new bar opens and they want the you know, most sick list he'd fill him up and you know, everyone Oh, we got the full Pappy collection. We'll just give him $10,000 and he can do that. It's not very hard. What's hard is finding 1960s tomorrow. What's hard is finding you know, 1950 stencil well, or what's hard is finding, you know, obscure scotches you've never heard of, or Japanese releases of, you know, whatever. That's hard buying, you know, Van Winkle or B tech that comes out every single year. You just need market rates.

Money. And again, it's not that much. You're right. I know you've written on the secondary market, but I want to kind of get your idea of like, Where is your stance on it in regards of how it was taking down or how it was kind of like ripped out? Like, was it a good thing for distilleries? Is it bad for the overall ecosystem of bourbon? Like, what's your what's your take on that?

Well, you know, I used to say, I was a free market capitalist. Now I'm stuck in a pandemic.

You know, you don't really see the secondary market for new scotch. And why is that? It's because it's priced correctly.

A lot of bourbon is not priced correctly by the distilleries.

Because they want to be the good guys who, you know

20 years ago, there was no such thing as bourbon that cost more than $50. And you know, Blanton's you know, in the 90s didn't sell for $30. So they remember that time, and they remember that time is bourbon being in every man's drink. And so

They don't want to charge what it should cost.

And, you know, I'm very friendly with Buffalo Trace, but I don't think you know, releasing their press release every single year and saying MSRP, Pappy 15 $80 or whatever it is, I don't know what it is right now. I don't think that makes him look like a good guy. It just makes everyone else fight over what the accurate prices.

So I don't begrudge anyone for charging what they charge. I don't begrudge anyone for paying what they pay.

And I think it's kind of ridiculous that the distilleries get mad at so called gouging. Well, they should price it what its price because no one's bought an $80. Pappy and, you know, a million years unless they live in a control state I suppose and won a lottery, which is likewise absurd. These places. These places would need lotteries if it was priced correctly.

So now, you know, I think that the the online Secretary

The market does the job that the distilleries didn't do and that everyone's mad at the liquor stores for trying to do.

Do you think that this is also a play by some of the distilleries to say, well,

let's look at the long game here. Let's not try to make a quick buck off of it and price it at the market instead. And you and you know that you've seen pretty much every distilleries putting in multimillion dollar expansions and everything and so they're betting on this on the long term. And it's it's the Amazon model, right? It's it's like let's let's do, you know, massive scale and not try to do you know, just short bursts of high volume? Yeah, you know, that that's true, and that's, that's a fine way to work. You know, how many total van winkles are released a year 80 to 100,000 compared to how many Buffalo Trace Eagle rare whatever. So you know, how much of a moneymaker is it for them, whether it's

Priced correctly or priced at whatever they want to call the MSRP. Yeah, I think that's a fine strategy and I guess honestly, Buffalo Trace is maybe the only distillery that has to deal with that for roses one release a year old forester one release a year, you know, all these places with one release here.

have to figure out what it what it should cost. So, you know, if that's what they want to do, I think that's fine. It feels a little hypocritical for them to price it at, you know, a very low MSRP and then get mad at people for pricing. It is the correct one. I likewise think it's silly for

liquor stores, though to you know, proudly put up their George t stag for $900. It's like, you know, I think you have better goodwill. If you sold it to your best customer for $90. I think you'd have better goodwill if you figured out a way to get it to a true lover for $90. Instead of making that extra three or $400.

But you know, I people,

economist aren't necessarily opening liquor stores. So

that's, that's for sure. Everyone's trying to figure out what works best for them and and pays the bills. Well I think the moral of the story there is that every other distillery needs to come out more special releases. Because if you do that, then they just keep following that same exact trail, every release should be a special release, right? Absolutely. Every bottle of special bottle.

And so I'm gonna just kind of like go back to like one of your stories real quick, because you had mentioned the California Gold stuff. And I know the person that makes that he's a good friend of mine. And I know that when you write stuff, and whether it be about secondary, whether it be about something like that, you might get a lot of blowback catch a lot of flack online, like have you ever like felt like Oh God, like people are really attacking me over something like this? Yeah, I mean, you know,

If you're a writer on the internet, you get called an idiot everyday your life.

But if you feel like you're exposing Fight Club or something, well, you know, it's tough because you know, I'm both a part of the hobby, I enjoy drinking these things. And I don't want to ruin the hobby, but I'm also looking for interesting stories. And after writing these stories for years, it's impossible to ruin the hobby. California gold was again, something I drink at my friend Derek's house.

And for a year or two, I was like, you got to get me in touch with our friend.

And, you know, he's he didn't want he didn't want press and then for whatever day when he said, Okay, I'll talk to you.


my daughter was a newborn then and it was about the worst behave she's ever been. And I was conducting this really tough score of an interview while she was just losing her shit. And yet, it did very well and

Now people I see a story came out and

can't even remember a literal magazine citing California Gold the other day and it didn't even it acted like everyone knew what that was. It was very weird, but I've become friends with Mr. California gold.

We talk occasionally. He's always got interesting takes on things. And I think it's great even though most of the commenters under Facebook will say it's not that good.

Well, most of the commenters are probably the ones that never actually had a chance to try it. And that's what it comes down. Yeah. So joke's on you with that one.

Whiskey. Awesome. So, oh, yes, yes. Make sure you're talking about hacking whiskey real quick. I want to give you a plug for that. Sorry for the shameless plug. No, at least through this is actually a perfect book for this time. came out in 2008 18. has a lot of my funny stories like California Gold, infinity bottles, I think I think I'm the first person read about infinity bottles. Maybe the second I don't know.

But it's

Really funny geeky stories plus experiments you can do from home blends.

Like you know, Travis hills.

The four roses thing Yeah, barrel proof yellow label. Yeah, really fun. you acquire every single four roses and make a barrel proof yellow label. And we did that and he also tried to do creating his own Moray mirages or marriages or whatever they're called, looking all the small batch limited edition selects and then actually trying to go and find those exact age ranges and try to do the race and ages and stuff. Yeah, I wrote about Yeah, I wrote a punch article about that too.

Where Blake mentions that he likes to Vitamix his blends because he puts them together and people were furious about that.

But yeah, there's fun experiments fat washing which is infusing you know, meats and butters and stuff into whiskey for cocktail, smoking cocktails.

Making foods out of whiskey. It's it's a very fun book. If you're

stuck inside with nothing to do except a lot of whiskey and how am I going to use this for everything I'm going to do for the next 90 days? A lot of fun experiments. There you go find it on Amazon I'm guessing Yes. Like everything else and they're still delivering so you don't have an excuse go by hacking with order it right now. It'll be there tomorrow. Well, you know, Aaron, I want to know like I said, this is a really good opportunity to kind of catch up talk about more I guess more about you your writing career and as well as just talk about whiskey in general, and kind of get an update on what's happening instead in New York. So it's been a pleasure getting to talk to you this time. It was fun. We didn't have any kids run in and yell at me.

Technically, I could hurt I hurt I hurt him a little bit the background so yeah, I mean, we'll we'll clean it a little bit and post but yeah, it turned out I think the biggest technical difficulties my quarantine beard.

are you growing it out until you until you can walk outside and and shake hands with somebody again? Or until my wife divorces me?

Whichever one comes first. No a day for whichever one comes first. There you go keep that razor handy though. Yeah.

Well Aaron, that was awesome talking to you. If anybody like wants to get in contact you or wants to, you know follow you on social media how they gonna do that?

If they want to yell offensive things at me Twitter's fine at Aaron Goldfarb,

also at Aaron Goldfarb and Instagram.

And you can probably figure out my email address too if you want to send me crazy tips about blends you're making or weirdo stuff going on in the secondary market that I can turn into a story and get everyone mad at me for ruining bourbon. I guess it's another thing is like, do you actually search Instagram to be like, Oh, that's interesting. Like I could write an article about that. Like, is that are there ideas that pop up like that? Yeah, like like most human beings on planet earth when I have nothing to do, I'm looking down at my phone looking at Instagram, not necessarily whiskey stores.

But there's just so many bottles out there and things so quickly become hot. You're like why is this cool guy making a big deal about something that what is this?

And I usually as Derek I say what is it?

You know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, you see weird stuff on Instagram and you file it away I usually screenshot it

to pay attention to it because I'm usually looking at Instagram late at night after a few and the next day go Is that something and you know if you see it happen a few more times. Okay, now you got a trend. Let's follow this. See what's going on. But yeah, yeah, that's a good place to find stories. See if you can get inspiration from anywhere then. Anywhere just when you're in the house, the only place you can get inspiration from is your phone.

Awesome. So Aaron, thank you again for coming on the show is a pleasure to have you. Make sure you go you follow Aaron on other social media channels. You can follow bourbon pursuit as well. And we'll see you next week.

Transcribed by

Apr 13, 2020
248 - Delivering the Online Bourbon Buying Experience with Cory Rellas, CEO of Drizly

As we’ve seen with the impacts of COVID-19, it’s now become necessary for the spirits industry to adopt technology and delivery services to stay alive. Cory Rellas, the CEO of Drizly, was on the forefront of this years ago. This podcast dives into their business model and how they are helping stores build a digital infrastructure to sell their goods online and get it into the hands of consumers faster. We hit on all kinds of topics such as their competitors in the market, what shipping laws could mean for Drizly, and if there is an opportunity to extend this business model into cannabis.

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  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
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Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about the power of packaging.
  • What is Drizly?
  • How did you come up with this idea?
  • What's the timeline?
  • What was the state of the industry when you got started?
  • What were the challenges?
  • Why did you go through New York early on?
  • What is your big selling point to retail locations?
  • Any pricing restrictions to prevent gouging?
  • Talk about pricing transparency.
  • How are you using the data you are acquiring?
  • Are you sharing the data?
  • Do you have a CRM?
  • How are the products delivered to the consumer?
  • How are you dealing with competition?
  • Are you all interested in getting bought out?
  • What's the end game?
  • What happens if shipping laws change?
  • What is your best selling bourbon?
  • What are the top 5 selling spirit categories?
  • What's your favorite bourbon?
  • How do you work with brands?
  • What needs to change to get more people buy alcohol online?
  • Are you lobbying at all?
  • Is there an opportunity with cannabis?
  • What would the perfect alcohol market look like?
  • What's the latest trend?

To be the best, you have to learn from the best. Louisville and the surrounding regions are home to many of the most storied companies and innovative startups in the distilled spirits industry. And there's no better place to learn the business of the distilled spirits industry than from a university located in its epicenter. The University of Louisville has partnered with industry experts to offer the distilled spirits business certificate, a six course program designed to accelerate your success in this booming industry. Oh, it's all online. get signed up to make your next career move at U of slash bourbon pursuit.

I'd go with vodka. I'd actually go with bourbon, rum, tequila, although I think our tequila selection has been incredibly high end and what we're actually selling which is kind of interesting. And then I'll check for you here in a second on a fifth. I don't think I know the fifth off the top of my head.

You said it wrong. It goes bourbon bourbon, bourbon, bourbon bourbon

right brown, brown, brown brown. At

least that's what we want to hear.

I heard there the his mic cut out there when he said another word I don't.

What's going on everybody? It's Episode 248 of bourbon pursuit. I'm one of your hosts Kenny. We just got just a little bit of news to run through. And as you can guess most of it relates to COVID-19. Pennsylvania State run liquor stores are reopening, but only with online and shipped to home orders. Until further notice. Customers can purchase up to six bottles per transaction from a reduced catalog from thousand top selling wines and spirits from the website. All orders must be shipped to home or non store addresses, and only one order per address will be fulfilled per day. This is possibly in reaction to the losses now being seen by the government in an article Hosted by Trib For the two weeks of not operating, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has lost an estimated $91 million in revenue, or around six and a half million dollars per day. quite staggering numbers. And the Virginia ABC has announced that for a limited period of time Virginia distilleries are authorized to ship their spirits to consumers and licensees in Virginia. Now, there's some legal mumbo jumbo about addendums to these distillery store agreements, but it's another big win for consumers and for these distilleries to help everyone get through this period, you can get more information on shipping, including a full list of all 45 Virginia distilleries on the Virginia ABC website. figures released by data analysts IWA ASR have found that for the week ending in March 22 of 2020, that total beverage alcohol sales grew by 40% in value and 33% volume compared to the same period in 2019. And this is to account for the stockpiling that we've seen during COVID-19 Spirits available in one liter one and a half and 1.75 formats have outpaced smaller variants, and the Ws are noted that the larger size formats and value brands tend to benefit from panic buying, as people look to stock their home with as much as possible in the light of a lockdown. According to IWC, or whiskey brands like wild turkey Crown Royal jack daniels bullet and Maker's Mark have been the ones that have seen this most increased purchasing. Alright, now on to something not about the Coronavirus Buffalo Trace distillery continues its exploration into oak tree varietals with the release of its old charter oak Tinker PIN code. This species of oak is native to the Midwest United States. These large Chica Pin Oak trees are often found in parks and larger States after the Chica pin barrels were filled with Buffalo Trace mash number one they were then aged for nine years before being bottled at 93 proof of a suggested retail price is going to be a $70 MSRP and like all other releases in this series, supplies will be limited. And the chicken folk bourbon will be available in limited quantities starting in April. Now today's episode is one that I'm personally really excited about. I'm like a broken record on here preaching how the spirits industry needs a digital revolution. As we've seen with the impacts of COVID-19, it's now become a necessity for this industry to even stay alive. And Cory rellis, the CEO of drizzly, he was on the forefront of this years ago. And this podcast dives into how he even thought of the idea into their business model and how they're how they're actually helping stores build a digital infrastructure to sell their goods online, and get it into the hands of consumers faster. We hit on all kinds of topics such as their competitors in the market, what shipping laws could actually mean for drizzly. And is there an opportunity to even extend this business model into cannabis. Now if you haven't noticed yet, we are doing lots of impromptu live streams that help give you some more entertainment during this time. We've done virtual happy hours with our patrons Our community, late night blind tastings and more. So make sure that you're subscribed to our YouTube channel to get the notifications and also, consider joining Patreon. We're doing zoom meetings to help connect our community. And we'd love to have you there. Check it out. slash bourbon pursuit. Also, don't forget to catch Fred MiniK on his live streams every single day at one o'clock and nine o'clock pm eastern time. They've been highly entertaining and educational. enjoy today's episode. Stay safe. Stay inside. Here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich with above the char.

Hey everyone, Joe here again. We work with distilleries from all over the world to source and blend the best ingredients into America's most curious cask strength whiskies. lift your spirits with barrel bourbon.

I'm Fred minich. And this is above the char this past week. I'm just telling you, my brain has been suffering. I've been working so hard on I've been doing two live streams a day on YouTube. I've been writing a lot for Forbes, I've been blogging as much as I possibly can. And I hit a wall I hit a wall where I had no ideas left me none in the tank. And I want to thank every single one of you who responded to my query on Twitter, where I simply asked Can you please give me some ideas for above the char? I got so many great ones. I'm going to start with this one from the whiskey stop. It's at the whiskey stop on Twitter. And he wants me to talk about the power of packaging. A unique shape of the bottle. Does it have a twist top a synthetic cork, maybe natural cork a great or unusual label? Did it influence your purchase was a good did it suck? Did the packaging work? its magic on you. What a brilliant question and what a time Hundred like truth is that packaging matters. Oh my God does packaging matter. And let me tell you if you overthink packaging, you will fail and that is where you fail. Most of all when it comes to packaging, what I have noticed is is that many people try to target women and they do it with like a like a fluffy pink or they've got some kind of like special dressing on there and they have like rainbow colors, and women rejected every single time. Another one is when someone tries to be overly fancy, they get like a crystal, a major crystal top, a really fancy label, and then they fill it with like two year old MGP whiskey

adds a big fail.

So the packaging always has to match what's inside the bottle and the packaging cannot overstate Something so the overselling is the case of a brand that went too far with trying to attract women. And the whiskey not matching would be the decanter or the bottle that had shit whiskey in it. And the bottle was just stunning. And I've always believed that to me, you can measure a bottle by what is fascinating it or the closure. I am such a fan of natural cork you can read my cover story and bourbon plus magazine to get an idea of like, what goes into making court but I am really connected to the earth and I love I love the sustainability aspect of cork. And when I hear that pop when I pull the bottle next to my ears and I go that is an undeniable sound that makes my mouth water and makes me want a sip. A screw top doesn't do that. Lot of the synthetic corks are like stuck in there like they don't make that same sound. And the glass tops that are starting to become more popular. I could never get those things off. I have to pry them off with the damn, you know, butter knife. To me it all starts with with a good cork on the top. Now people can argue all day long of the merits of cork, but I'm just here to tell you I know what I like. And I like hearing this sound every time I open a bottle. And that's this week's above the char. Hey, listen, I'm bound to continue to run out of ideas with this Coronavirus stuff going on. Because I'm not stopping. I am driving content every single day. So hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube and give me some ideas for above the char I'll select my favorite and read it in the next episode. Next week, cheers.

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit, the official podcast of bourbon, Kenny Ryan and Fred in our virtual hangout space. And today we are talking about a topic that we know far or should say, we know all too well, you know, when we talked about this on the roundtables, we talked about it, you know, with distributors, we talked about what is the future consumption and delivery of alcohol really going to look like for the the mass market and we look at, you know, coming from a tech industry myself, we try to figure out, like, how can we get, you know, our product into the hands of consumers faster than anyone else. And what we're gonna be talking about today is really talking to a company that's on the forefront of all this. And when we look at this, it's not only just being able to get in the hands of consumers, but you can get it in less than an hour sometimes. So I think it's gonna be a really cool conversation of how we really dive into this. So Fred, and Ryan I mean, you know, we've we've talked about shipping before, but have you all have y'all ever had a service delivered bottles to you yet?

No, not yet. But I'm super excited to learn about it. I'm fortunate I live like a half mile from a liquor store so we can get it pretty easy. But yeah, I mean, the liquor industry moves at a snail's pace. So you know, there's a lot of friction points and getting bottles delivered to your house and I've had plenty of bottles delivered to my house just not legally. But I would like to make it legal so yeah, I'm really excited to talk to them about this today.

Yeah, I've had I've had quite a bit sent to me I also you know, being being a personality on the spirits network, they regularly send me stuff and they you know, that's part of their, their whole thing is that you join and you get to be become a Club member, and they ship barrel pics and stuff to you.

And so let's go ahead introduce our guests today. So today, we Have Cory rellis Cory is the CEO of drizzly, you might have seen him or the app, you've seen probably their logo and a lot of liquor stores are the ones that deliver bottles from liquor stores to your doorstep. So Cory, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me, guys.

So was that a decent elevator pitch? Or do you have a better one? That's usually us.

It's a common misconception. So I would actually like to give you my elevator pitch.

Please do please do. Yes.

Yeah. So So actually, drizzly was formed a lot with a lot of knowledge around the regulations that you guys have been discussing. I know we're going to talk about that further. So I'll put that in the back for a minute now, but the model is actually different than people think we don't do delivery. And really what drizzly prides itself on is digitizing the inventory of local liquor stores, so that a consumer can come online, shop across their stores and find a larger selection, comparison pricing and ultimately get that delivered to them. But the delivery is done by either the retailer themselves or Third parties, that door dashes Postmates shifts to the world. And so we're really a tech middleman empowering the three tiers, but not necessarily changing the status quo.

Cool. So it's kind of like a an Open Table kind of concept for liquor stores, maybe you're kind of looking at what's available and can then kind of pick and choose that way.

Yeah, that's not a bad comparison. And Ryan, you were saying you live next to a liquor store. And I think that's really drizzly, his opportunity is not necessarily to replace the liquor store, but to provide an experience you couldn't get by going to any one liquor store. And that goes again, back to selection, to transparency of pricing to the surface and multiple stores being able to get to you when and where you want it.

And so I kind of want to roll back the hands of time here and kind of learn more about you so kind of talk us through, you know, where did Where did spirits become or is this just like an idea you had and you said, like, Hey, this is fun. Like, this is a this is an opportunity that's, that's basically ripe for disruption. Like, what What got to the point of like you getting here and saying like, okay, cool, like this is gonna be a good venture to kind of go through.

Yeah, it's a it's a less sexy story than you might imagine. And it started with regulation. So going all the way back to my cousin Nick, Nick rellis, and then co founder, Justin Robinson. And it was born out of trying to figure out why alcohol was only 2% online, or even one and a half percent online. When you saw grocery, when you saw a restaurant, we saw electronics and clothing, all these other verticals are coming online at a rapid rate. And we started to think about why that is with alcohol. And regulation became the clear component of this whole piece. And so we started digging into the legal code. I mean, truthfully, looking not only at the repeal and the prohibition, but also state by state liquor codes and trying to understand how does this model need to work for alcohol? How can a tech platform both empower the industry but not be a part of the industry and still be an unlicensed entity within it? And then the third piece is, how do you carve your moat? How do you be more than deliberate because you know, when we start projecting the 10 years down the road, that's a commodity at the end of the day and so we need to be better than going to the liquor store and elevate the status or I'm sorry, elevate the physical liquor stores to do something that couldn't do in the physical world.

Alright, so I don't know if he really answered my question there because I really want to figure out more about you right like Matt

Boyd. All of those Kenny.

Bad we want to get to know a little about you, right? I mean, like, like, we're like so where'd you go to school? Like Where'd it Where'd this really kind of like, really spawn from?

sure my road was a little bit sideways. I grew up in Texas. And I would say that I'm a big bourbon fan for that reason grew up loving bourbon actually, but was a soccer player at Notre Dame spent five years there had a fifth year for soccer and wanted to play professionally after school. But a couple ACLs later, had to give up that dream and ultimately had done an internship after my first injury, kind of preparing just in case it didn't work out in the long run, and took a job out here in Boston at Bain Capital. They're credited affiliates, sanctity advisors. And that's when I started to get to know businesses a little bit better. I started to get to know regulated industries incredibly well, I was dealing with coal and steel and some pretty, pretty old industries at the end of the day. And then the three of us that I was mentioning, started just kicking around ideas. And so this was a big jump for me, I was in, you know, kind of the standard finance track at that point, thinking about what the next couple of years looked like, whether it be business school, or continuing doing what I was doing. And it felt like the right time to jump it felt like the right collection of folks to try something new with and a little bit of naivete got us to the final to the finish line and push us over the edge

to like your own little incubator, if you will.

We had a bunch of ideas. They were all terrible. So

we struck out on a few. This one became, I mean, really, the passion of the other two guys is what got me to believe and then the more we dug in, the more we really peel back the onion, the more we knew something was here, not just as a small thing. company but something that could really turn into something as a larger platform.

Give us a timeline behind this what was you know, when when did the light bulb light bulb go off?

Yeah, so 2012 the light bulb was starting to go off with the text of why can't you get alcohol delivered? And the response was you can you idiot. And so that started down the rabbit hole of when you get called out to some extent, what do you have to do? You have to take the next step and figure it out. And so that's when we started researching the liquor code. And it's funny how things work in Boston being a good microcosm of this project. One question you get and put in touch with the next guy who you can then ask the next question to and it starts to unfold unto itself. And it's not necessarily we saw some grand vision of what alcohol e commerce would look like and what drizzly has now become, but the next step was always apparent if you're willing to take the time. So 2012 was the idea. 2013 was the very first iteration and we've evolved since then. But bringing one liquor store online. Learning about consumers and what they're looking for what e commerce was. And then in the last three years, our models really accelerated.

So walk us through like the state of the industry, then when you guys are getting like what it were liquor stores doing as far as inventory or trying to do online sales, what was kind of the State of the Union when you guys got it started?

I wouldn't say it's too different now. We're moving it forward, but begrudgingly, I'd say for some of them. So what was fascinating about the current landscape delivery did happen, but it didn't happen in the paradigm in which we have now moved it towards which you could call liquor store. You didn't necessarily know it was on their shelves, but you could say, you know, I'm having 10 people over for a party, I'd like to place a $500 order split between a couple things, can you make some recommendations, so there wasn't transparency into what you could buy nor the price behind it. And you had to have big orders at the store is going to take the time, but delivery did happen to some extent. On the other side. Ecommerce within this space was just like not even on the radar for regulators or legislators. So you're talking about prohibition being repealed, that is still a lot of the framework and the intent behind the laws that are written. And so there was nothing to comment on e commerce at that point. And one of the first things we did I mean, this is the time of Uber, right? The cars are moving around you at the touch of a button, the world's changing because you have a phone in your pocket. And we're sitting here thinking, Okay, well, how does it need to look for alcohol? And unlike Uber, we couldn't just get into a city try to stoke up consumer demand, and then ask the regulations to be changed. That's just not the way this industry works. We had to go the other way. And so one of the first things we did was go to New York State, the Liquor Authority, they're the SLS. And we asked for a declaratory ruling relative to our model to basically say, not only we elite, not only are we legal, but we're three tier compliant, and we're doing things so aboveboard, that the SLA is willing to bless our model going forward and so that was actually the first moment where became not just a hobby, but very real and something that we thought we could then Take a run with.

So you you kind of said, All right, we need to sit down, look at the laws and figure out how we can sort of navigate these choppy waters. I would imagine when we've we've talked about all the time, anytime you try to put any kind of disruption into this marketplace that there is you're going to be hit hard with a lot of people that are lobbying against you. What were some of those like early conversations, you remember having people that are like this will never work like you're not going to get it to fly.

I have a hard time remembering ones that weren't like that, to be honest. So I can speak to the other side easier. Most of it was doubt that this is a very slow industry to change. And you have pretty significant entities that control pieces of the supply chain, and if they're not on board, you're not going to have success on a macro scale and other slices of it. That can work. You could do direct to consumer wine, you could do shipping, there's different pieces of it. But on a macro scale of trying to bring the physical footprint of alcohol online. We needed a few things to go right one was New York. And Funny enough, the the woman, Jackie flute, who blessed our model, as the general counsel for the New York State Liquor Authority is now on our team. And she was kind of the veteran in the space when she put her stamp of approval that meant a lot to the industry. The second one was the wholesalers, the wine and spirits, wholesalers of America and powerful group of people and in terms of their lobbying prowess in their space within the industry, and we got them on board as a three tier compliant model that can move forward the consumer experience in a way that they could get behind. So that was that was a big piece of it as well.

So you talked about being going above and beyond what the authorities there were, what were some of those things that kind of helps sell New Yorker where they were like gave you that that blessing?

Well, I think transparency is the first thing and not only transparency, communication, but transparency of the supply chain and what consumers purchasing what bottles from what retailer and if you can track all of that which obviously tech can do and can really enable that process. That is a leg up for many Anything that's happening in delivery today, connect. The second one was, we came with an offering for ID verification through delivery. That was again, not only transparent, but did it in such a way that they could have confidence that under age was not going to be a problem within this business model. And then I think the third part was just being very descriptive on how the flow of funds work. And then also what drizzly is and what just isn't, I think there's a line that needs to get drawn as to what is a retailer's job and competencies. And when you encroach on those too far, you start to erode the license that they have worked hard and in need to live up to, relative to what a software platform is doing on the other side. So it was more just a lot of learning and explaining who we are and how we do it.

So I know that the liquor laws are they're different everywhere. I mean, every state is different. You've got to navigate that everywhere you're trying to launch. And so when I think of New York, one of the things that I know of at least in New York, and who knows if at least There's plenty of stores that actually have websites in New York. And they can deliver within New York as well, like they can run through UPS, FedEx or whatever it is. So what was the idea of going through something like New York first, that might already have some sort of system set up like this versus something like Texas, right, which is a huge market, but has a lot more regulation versus something like DC, which is really like the Wild West?

Yeah, there's a few things to pick apart there. So we actually got off the ground in terms of our model in Boston. And then we went to New York to get the model blessed one because of their size and then to the regulatory credibility when they put their stamp on something. But what was unique about Massachusetts in one of those fortuitous things that happens. It is a an incredibly regulatory driven market for alcohol. So if you're compliant here, you've almost kind of fit the lowest common denominator for the rest of the states. And you can roll it out from there. So I think that was a big fortuitous bounce in our direction at the beginning. The second thing We learned from a consumer side of things, every state is so different, and how consumers buy alcohol. Because of the regulations in New York, as you're mentioning, you have a wine and spirits store and a beer store, you have a license cap so that you don't have chains. But you have a ton of independence, which is obviously very different than Texas or California, where you have a bevmo or some of these larger chains out there. So the consumer experience really needed to adapt on where you are, and who you're going to be working with on the retail side, the East Coast was set up pretty pretty darn effectively for us because we could work with independence, learn how to bring on a smaller shop make a real difference in their business. And then as we rolled out to larger cities and states, we were more ready. We were more ready to have conversations with some of the bigger retailers.

Yeah, I think that's one of the things that we should most most people that are in the retail market should really start looking at is how do you become a little bit more competitive in today's market and just being on the corner and relying on your neighbors to kind of keep you in business might not be able to thing that's gonna keep you floating for much longer. So when you go and you have these conversations, or at least in the very beginning, I'm sure you have a whole team that have these conversations now with liquor stores around the country, what's your what's your big selling point to them to say like, hey, like we can bring your inventory online? Do you integrate with like their existing POS? Or does it say like, Hey, you need to have a new POS system that that we we run and manage, like, how does all that work?

There's a lot to it. But you appeal to them first as a consumer, and you start to think about other industries and how they've come online. And where do you buy airline tickets? Where do you buy hotels? How do you buy or how do you shop? for clothes online aggregator model and starting to get them thinking about this is going to happen in the space. It's not a matter of if it's a matter of when and so you appeal to them on a consumer level to start. The next thing you're really dealing with is fear. You're dealing with fear of competition, you're dealing with fear of transparency of pricing, and that's how far back this industry goes. As you know, they still believe That people can't get their prices if they wanted to walk in, it gets a little irrational. But then you can speak to them around numbers now. And this is obviously changed over seven years. But you can talk to him about incremental consumers that they wouldn't have been able to serve otherwise. And we have data behind that. You can talk to him about how a marketplace actually elevates to the experience to the point where multiple stores are able to succeed at a level that if you were the only one doing delivery in this area, we wouldn't be able to get those consumers to not only come and check out the site, but also come back and shop from you in the future. And then the last thing is, is we need to be more than just the consumer marketplace. And so when you're talking about point of sale systems, we need to be to elevate and help them generate more profit from their in store business, that things there's things like the catalog and the accuracy of what's on their shelves and how they actually think about that there's data on consumer trends and what they want to put on their shelves at what price at what time. So there's a lot of things as a tech company that we have access to the can really elevate their entire business and it's a whole package that when you work with drizzly makes you a better retailer.

So you brought up up pricing. One thing that we've noticed a trend in liquor retailers is there's a lot of price gouging. Do you have any restrictions or anything like that with the retailers you work with that you set them within like a

close to the MSRP or anything like that?

And it's a good question. So in some states, the price in store is legally mandated to be the price online. And I could give it's a couple states, it's not the majority by any means. So that one takes care of itself. But our job is really to bring their in store experience online and the way they want to do it. Our approach to price gouging is not necessarily to give them mandates on what to price it or to keep it in certain things is to insert competition. It's to have a marketplace to keep them honest to the point where if you are going to try to price things 40 50% up because they're rare and Other people that have that same item, they're obviously not going to purchase yours. And so it really just gets back to an efficient marketplace idea and making sure that consumers are the arbiter of what's successful and not regulations or drizzly or someone else.

And so to kind of like tackle or shall I say, like, tack onto that one a little bit. When we think about pricing, we've actually had KL we've had a spirits on the show, because we kind of talked about like, what does it look like to be in an online first kind of market? Right? Like, like, that's gonna be the new consumer drive. That's the new demand. If If Amazon's next whatever's coming next, if it's drizzly next, whatever, it's going to be like that online marketplaces really where people are going to go for. And so the other thing about the pricing aspect is this is like when you put your prices online, you're creating this level transparency, because you know exactly like what somebody's charging for a 750 ml in early times versus what somebody else is charging. Does that ever like Upset any retailers? And they're like, Wait a second, like, how are they able to charge less than I can like, what's their? What's their distributor? charging them versus what they're charging me? Do you get caught any of those kind of situations?

There's definitely yes, I mean, transparency introduces more knowledge into the marketplace for sure. Are we introduced to that conversation? Not necessarily. But I'll tell you one of the biggest learnings from early days it drizzly from switching from a single store experience. I am shopping from the store across the street, who I've been brought online through drizzly to a marketplace where I'm shopping by brand first and then drizzle is telling you the best way to access that product, whether it be selection, you can only get it at one place, price delivery, all those different things. And so what's come out of that though, one store may price something as a margin builder. Another one actually may price price it as a loss leader, and the various strategies within those retailers really come to fruition when you break down those physical barriers and put all of those things on one page together, so it's not necessarily that, hey, I'm getting a worse deal from my distributor. But it starts to highlight what someone does in store online in a much, much more transparent way. And you compete a little differently online. And so it started to me an education of this is how I went in store helped me win online. And there's usually an avenue to do that. That's the bigger conversation more so than I'm getting gouged by my distributor.

Yeah, that was

actually going to be my question how, as a liquor store, do you compete online, it kind of reminds me of the car business, you know, like the car industry used to have to rely on a salesman and try to whittle them down and beat them down to get the you know, the most fair price but now everybody knows the price What can a store do to compete? You know, if if you guys are and what parameters are you kind of determining that makes a store better or worse for someone?

Sure. And it's one of those things when you when you come on a jersey you're going to see a bunch of information and that's really where where I think we can win in the long run. Is asymmetric access to information and that includes price. That includes delivery times, that includes your selection, whether it be longtail wines, or high end and rare Bourbons. And so highlighting that is a big piece of it. And then you start to think about other people that are starting to focus in this industry. I mean, grocery, for example, is starting to come online for alcohol in a bigger way, total wine is being very aggressive. They are feeling independence or feeling that distinctly in the cities that we're seeing that, but there are advantages to being an independent liquor store location, for example, you have access to consumers within 2030 or 40 minutes that a total one could never get to in that timeframe. Not necessarily selling private label. Private Label online is a little bit more difficult. And so what of your selection, do you want to highlight? What are your higher margin products? And how do we highlight those to the consumers you're willing to speak to, and then also providing them tools. Again, going back to this data conversation, there's not a whole lot informing what they put on their shelves except for that stuff. salesmen walking in drizzly can bring transparency to that as well. What are consumers in this area buying? What are the trends? How should you think about pricing it? And how do you build that into an overall larger strategy to have a successful business and in a rapidly changing environment, which we're seeing, depending on which city different rates, but it's happening.

So you brought up data, you bring in a datum, and we are in the age of big data where we are dominated by it. Tell talk, walk us through, like how you use that data? Do you sell it to the to the suppliers? Do you feed it into like a market research hub? How are you using the data you're acquiring at point of sale?

Almost all of the data we acquire, we are using to inform our own offering. And so it's simply commerce things like how do we construct a better flow to increase conversion your likelihood to hit checkout? How do we start moving shelves around in what is effectively a digital liquor store to be more personalized to you So that the next time you come back in, we're more apt to show you the right product at the right time at the right price. That's really what we use the data for. Going back to retailers and brands, we can aggregate it and anonymize it and give them larger trends that could be cut down by geography, but never anything that's highlighting a particular store or a particular consumer more. So just highlighting a different slice of the market. And one of the interesting things about the alcohol industry is you have your Nielsen's and your IR eyes and some of the bigger data providers who have a interesting offering within the alcohol space. But they're big gaps, the independent liquor store market where you don't have receipt data, or you don't have consistency of point of sale systems. Those are not places so New York has an entire market. Those are not places that people have great insight to and drizzly through its 350 retailers that we partner with in New York City can start to really build transparency into a market that is otherwise been only aggregated into depletion data. So Other things. So there's an aggregated view for the external partners. For us internally, it's how do we create a better ecommerce experience?

Because that thread can be

actually, you know, it's fascinating.

There's a lot to take in, right.

I used to cover retail, I used to be the tech writer for the National Retail Federation's magazine stores, and I felt myself going back to the old days. Listen to you talk there. And follow up on that data is that, you know, we don't really a lot of the a lot of the numbers that are that are out there that are public. They kind of like you're saying, like the Nielsen numbers. They're not really complete. So my question to you is like, why don't you guys release these numbers? Why don't you make them public? Since you probably do have the best database of sales numbers of anybody out there?

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My question to you is like, why don't you guys release these numbers? Why don't you make them public and you probably do have the best database of sales numbers of anybody out there.

You're hitting on a great thing. And we actually do believe in the democratization of our data just because we think it's going to make all of us Better, including the consumer experience. So we released something a long time ago called the data distillery. We are thinking about how to do this in a larger way, not only for trend data, but again, how do we create something that becomes a backbone for the industry so that we are sharing data? Not because I think some people think you by holding on to it, you're more valuable. Our view is by using it to make the industry more effective, the consumers will win, which is ultimately what we're all about. One, one quick anecdote. I mean, we see trends earlier, our average consumer is millennial, older millennial 30 to 34 years old, 5050, male, female, and these are folks who are trendsetters. These are social people. And so, Rosie a couple of years ago, I mean, seltzer took off about eight months online before it did on, you know, in the physical world. So it's just one of those things where we can really inform based on the trendsetters that purchase on our platform brands and how they should be thinking about the world and then a larger play as to what you're saying Fred around, using data to benefit the industry.

Fred, you Actually, you know, and you kind of cover my question, but I guess as a liquor store owner, do I have, you know, do I have the same access to that data? Is every single store within your system? Or is it store specific or regional specific? And like, from a CR is do you have a CRM base as well with drizzly for the retailer?

We do we do. So if you're a drizzly retailer, we have a tool that's actually just culturally retailer and that gives you access to all of your sales data, all of the customers that are purchasing from you. And then also an aggregated view on some of these consumer trends and thoughts around the inventory, you should be stocking. So that is absolutely part of being a partner with drizzly and a CRM side. We're obviously aggregating eyeballs on our site. We're aggregating consumers and want to speak to them in an intelligent way. A piece of what we're doing in 2020 is starting to take our technology and utilizing that to allow retailers to do this themselves. So you can imagine white labeled websites that Allow them to merchandise their own products more effectively and almost have control of their own website by utilizing drizzly assets. And you can start to see where that would go in terms of CRM capability, the ability to talk to their consumers in a more discreet way versus the aggregator marketplace that is drizzly. So there's a lot within that, but yes, I can see us more and more powering some of their ecommerce needs, not only to benefit us, but I think it's a necessity for the market to benefit consumers.

I also think it's a necessity to because of course it for me, it always comes back to tech. And, you know, you go and you look at some websites, and I mean, some of them are just they're just archaic, right? You know, a lot of liquor stores, these mom and pop shops that try to build a website, there's a flash banner on it, you know, whatever it is. And, you know, that's why, you know, at least not in this particular segment, but this is why a lot of people that are creating their own businesses, they look at things like Shopify because it makes their you know their system a lot easier. I mean, or is that like one of the big selling points that you have for just lead a lot of these retailers is like, let's Let's take you at least to the 2020. Now,

yeah, that's a great point. So it wasn't when we started, to be honest, we thought more about how to aggregate consumer demand in our marketplace. And so that's a little bit different. That's almost like the Amazon side of things of will collect the eyeballs, we'll build the technology. And we're going to utilize your physical shelf space. On the other side, the selling point there is just incremental consumers incremental profit, so that that works. On the other side, there's so much we can do to look like Shopify to be a platform, which is an entirely different business model, but one that we really think we can enable the hundred thousand independent retailers out there to serve customers, and I keep saying customers because despite everything else that goes on within our business, we talk a lot about internally, the reason for our existence, our purpose behind everything is to to be there for the moments that matter and the people who create them and yes, we sell alcohol and help people transact online. But we're there to actually provide a better consumer experience and allow them the time and the freedom and To find that right bottle at the right price, I mean, we all know how cool that can be. So, it all comes back to democratizing what we do to the benefit of the end consumer.

Well, first off, hats off for trying to make change, positive change in this world. That's always outdated. That's we know, it's we know, it's insanely difficult to actually do. But I think there's one aspect that you know, we kind of want to touch on as well because it is a it is a part of the drizzly system and no, it's not just you know, basically creating the catalog for for what the consumer sees, but there there is a component of actually how it is delivered to the end consumer. So kind of touched on a little bit about you know, you said the post mates the, that sort of model of like, how does it once once a transaction happens online, at what point is drizzly done with it, and it's either on the retailer, it's on whomever, to get that into the hands of the consumer.

So when someone hits check out What we have done is send that order through a gateway to the merchant of record, which is the retailer itself. So just one data point there. If you're shopping from ABC liquors, that is the merchant of record on your credit card drizzly is not within that flow of funds at any point. What we do do on the other side is build the technology so that if the retailer wants to do the delivery, they have the ability to do that it almost is like the Uber driver app to some extent for this space. And that's about 92% of our orders. So most of this is retailer delivery using our technology, and we are providing the customer support throughout the entire experience until the bottle has received at its location. The third parties are interesting just because delivery is such a inexpensive piece of this whole thing and they've added scale and efficiency in a way that you almost need multiple categories, multiple verticals to do and you can imagine a mom and pop getting frustrated on a seven 7pm Friday. Too many orders coming from drizzly too many people internally It would be nice to be able to have a courier of some sort. So that's what we built in. They're all tech based, we have full visibility into when it reaches the consumers hands inclusive of ID verification. So we're always a part of it. And at the same time, we're not the ones physically handing the bottle off.

So you're like a almost like a marketplace, right? As for getting those together? I mean, is I mean, is it really like you're popping out? And it's like saying, like, okay, like Uber Eats, post mates doordash, like, whoever is going to answer this, like, come and pick this thing up.

We don't put it out to bid per se but we do work with most of the partners you just said. But that was also an idea to be honest. And there's people who have created that, we found that having one option per store is a little bit better just because you get used to who they are and do things in a in a bit simpler way.

And so I guess a another question that I kind of want to actually go ahead and because it's I'm sure it's a the business side of this. So go ahead and answer it is

actually a business side. So you talked about how you kind of laid the framework for this whole really, for what is an is an new category that's kind of changing the space and now you got competition. You got all kinds of people coming on board, minibar and a few others. So how do you? How do you how do you deal with that? How do you, you you have to compete with him at individual retailers? Do you guys share retailers? How does that work with your competition?

Well, Fred, I mean, going back to 2013 when we Magneto got back in the stone age's. Exactly. I felt like I got some grit. Now, that was pretty good. In 2013, when we kind of announced the model, there were about 50 meters out there, minibar absolutely being one of them and have a lot of respect for what they've done. That phase isn't necessarily over at any time, but the big boys are now here. And so we're actually thinking about competition, not necessarily for just alcohol specific, but the logistics firms. I mean, Uber Eats has tried to do alcohol delivery. 10 different times instacart has prioritized alcohol and e commerce. Why Walmart and grocers are starting to think about how to do this in a bigger way, total wine. So you can imagine that there's, we almost need to find a way to succeed. And this is what we talked about a lot internally. In 567 years, every bottle on every shelf could be transacted online and sent to a consumer, whether it be delivery pickup or shipping. And in that world, how does your business model succeed? And that's really where it just has been built for. Not necessarily the me twos today that are, you know, predominantly just about delivery and convenience, within that

value proposition. At what point do you stop, you know, you're talking about some pretty big names and they're trying to get in the space? what point do you stop competing and just start? You can't beat them join them in that regard, is that the end goal? Seems like with most tech companies, they want to get absorbed or bought out, you know, at some point have an exit strategy.

Yeah, I mean, there's always there's always thoughts on the next strategy, but to be honest, we're being built for the long haul and alcohol is a bit a bit you I mean, there is a moat, from regulation that comes from embracing them, rather than trying to knock down these laws. Now, if tomorrow, the Three cheers went away, and it looked a lot more like selling electronics online, I might have a different tune as to about where we fit in the long run. But I do think we can stick out a place here for the long term. And a lot of that comes back to kind of this underpinning of how do you take regulation and code that into your technology? And then also, how do you take a mom and pop an entirely fragmented retail base, and then aggregate that in such a way using your catalog, your tech that we know where every bottle is in the country, its price and how to get it to a consumer, what you build on top of that within your product experience? Just kind of opens up the world to you and I just think that's something entirely differentiated and difficult to replicate. All that being said, not looking to sell by any means today, but it's obviously something you sit up a little straighter when Amazon gets into your space.

Yeah, I would imagine so. Yeah, I mean, I think I think Amazon might have been one of the big names that, you know, people are gonna recognize and you know, they're they're definitely trying to get into the space as well. And so, you know, another question that that kind of follows along with that is the when we start looking at, you know, Amazon, you start looking at instacart, and all these different kinds of companies that are trying to get into it. And if you kind of said something like, if the three tier system is goes down tomorrow, like what what would that really mean for you all? And if basically, this gets democratized to the point that it is just like, buying and you know, buying an electronic off Amazon like, What? What is that? Is that truly like gaming or a game over? I mean, are you really reliant on the three tier system to to make this happen?

At this point? No, but I think two things become obvious. Right now brands are about as far away that you can be from a consumer when you're a big CPG right. So they are unbelievable storytellers and brand builders from The awareness message side of things. But it's not like Procter and Gamble and Walmart, where you have co located offices and you're trying to figure out where to put things on shelves and incentive basis. And you know, you're buying shelf space and tap space and the rest. That doesn't happen well, at least not legally, at least today. And if that goes away, then the way brands work with retailers changes overnight. And drizzly has a value proposition there, but it does need to shift pretty significantly. The other side of the coin though, is we almost need to plan for the three tiers to go away because drizzly successful, when the product experience, the consumer experience is so good that they no longer need to go to the store. And that goes back to not just the selection and the availability and the transparency of price, but then packaging it in such a way that again, almost guided shopping or personalization to where you almost feel like you're missing out if you're not going to Jersey because you've learned so much about your product. There's a crazy stat we just learned that you know 40 45% of our consumers Unless you're using Drupal as a discovery tool, and not necessarily transacting on the platform, I think that's fascinating. I think that's something that we can really lean into to drive value for the consumers at the end of the day. And again, I think that's one of those unique things that regulation be damned, we can do better than anyone else.

And how does your game change if shipping laws are broken down? Now, let's say the three tier system still there, and it's great. However, now that you know, New York and shipped to California, Wisconsin, you can go to Florida, and liquor stores can now compete, you know, across state lines, like what is that? What does that do for your business?

I think it'd be a little bit of the Wild West to start, I think you're going to start to see the macro or the larger chains, assert price dominance because they can then start to think of their business on a national scale versus distributor, distributor and state by state. I think we could really take advantage of that world to be honest again, I keep beating on the same point but if we know what's in 40,000 stores We should be able to surface all of the items at the best price possible for you almost kind of this notion of tell us what you want, we'll figure out the best way for you to get it. And I think that's one in which we would really succeed. Shipping is not a huge piece of our business today. But that speaks to the use case, we're going after more so than the consumer demand inherent within shipping. So I think we could really take advantage of it. It would, it would require a little bit of adaptation and how we do things.

All right, I want to jump back into some data stuff. This is I think this is some fun. This will be fun for you. What is your best selling bourbon based on your data?

It's a little different than you might think. It's a brand that we've done a lot of work with, to try to figure out how it resonates with the millennial consumer but bullet bourbon was our largest brand in 2019.

Bigger than it's a

popular brand,

but it's you know, it's not it's not necessarily makers, or Jim are some of these other ones. So yeah,

still a top 10 bourbon from a sales perspective. Now what are The top five selling spirits so like from a categorical perspective

category spirits are the spirit themselves.

The so the know the category spirits so like tequila ROM bourbon like what what's your top five there?

I might get this wrong but we'll see here I'd go with vodka. I'd actually go with bourbon, rum, tequila, although I think our tequila selections been incredibly high end and what we're actually selling which is kind of interesting. And then I'll check for you here in a second on a fifth. I don't think I know the fifth off the top of my head.

You said it wrong. It's goes bourbon, bourbon, bourbon, bourbon, bourbon,

right. brown brown, brown brown.

At least that's what we want to hear.

Well, I didn't I heard there the his mic cut out there when he said another word I don't

bleep me out but it's funny I've I've sworn on this and I didn't hear any negative reaction. Now I say anything other than bourbon. And there we go.

Yeah you get around Fred that's that's the type of banter you're gonna get out of it and so you know as we kind of want to like ask a question because we really didn't ask it in the very top of this because you said you were a bourbon fan like what's what's what's kind of like your go to you got some favorites cuz I see behind you you got a Coors Light came behind there I figured figured we could I mean you're in the you're in the spirits business like let's let's get some bourbon on those shelves back there.

Oh don't worry we do have that this is just one of the rooms

well so I like to play nice because we work with a bunch of different brands in their businesses. I'm a big Booker's fan I love 100 proof Booker's over a glass device when I go home. I'd say that's more of a Friday night drink than anything else. But that's probably my go to if I'm if I'm opening something on the regular.

What do you mean by by working with brands? Like what is what does that mean to you? Well,

I think there's two things. The first would be on the data side. So these are folks who are looking to learn about consumer trends, figure out how their business brands are resonating with consumers. And it's less even about the online spend. It's taking those learnings and apply it to the offline. And again, massive media budgets and trying to make them even 1% more efficient by learning about the online consumer in depth. That's a big piece of it. The second piece is, shirtsleeves, the fastest growing company in the fastest growing channel for alcohol. So to that extent, they are trying to figure out how they're going to win online. Knowing that in five years 10 12% of all alcohol is going to be sold online. So drizzly can be almost a test and learn area for them. You can speak to consumers in a personalized way. You could sell advertising, we haven't done much of that to date. But all of these things are basically a lab for them to figure out how their brands can come online, and either keep or grow their market share versus the physical world.

So what was that you say? 10 to 12% is what it's going to be in the future.

Yeah, if you look at some of the larger data providers, they're projecting 13 $14 billion in 2023. Slightly less ambitious than that. But you're seeing this industry come online at 40 50% year over year, which is significant, we do think it's gonna be the fastest growing CPG over the next three to five years.

So what what do you all need to do to try to position yourselves to say like, we can grow this beyond 10 to 12%? Like how, how do we change the minds of the consumer to say, like, Oh, we can we can get this to 20 to 25%? Like, what do you think has to change in the culture to try and get people to start buying more online?

I think you're actually hitting at it pretty good there, which is awareness. Not many people know that you're allowed to buy alcohol online. And even if you do, there hasn't been a way to do so that should take away from going to the local liquor store. I mean, that's, that's a behavior that's worked for decades and decades. And so to break that behavior, you need to build something that is not one or two times more effective than going to the store but 10 X and really, that's where the product offering needs. to elevate the purchasing to where I don't need to leave my home, or if I did, I need to at least see what's online to really inform my experience in a way that I could never get on store. So it's a combination of awareness, and then a product offering that is just so superior going to the store, that they're going to order it online. Again, utilizing that store, though,

for sure. And I don't know, I mean, I guess there is there is also something about, you know, being a consumer going to the store, looking at it holding in your hand. And maybe, maybe that'll just become a thing of the past. Like, what do you what do you try to do to try to like counteract, like, some arguments like that? I mean, but then again, there's also like, Alright, well, you know, people used to love to have the feel of holding a newspaper in their hand, but nobody really does that a lot anymore, either. Can I still read the newspaper? I gotta be honest, physical core. You're killing me, man. Like you're young. You're young and hip, man. You shouldn't be reading a newspaper.

no and no one I know we call me hip, but that's all right. I wrote for newspapers for a long time. DDS. to bash on them, I mean, for God's sake,

there isn't. There's a key word in there that was it was wrong.

Yeah, but to your to your larger point, I don't want to necessarily be in a world where you can't feel a physical bottle where you can't go look at it, I want to lean into that. And so while the physical store might need to change, I hope it still exists. And I do think it should exist, but in a little bit different format. Instead of trying to have 5000 or 10,000 items on your shelves, and trying to have that inventory in that working capital and play that game. I'd love to see a world where you can almost have a retailer that has an e commerce DNA from day one. And then they have the experiential side of going in being able to taste products being an elevated experience knowing that on the back end, you can get any of those products delivered to you shipped to you or walk away with them from a warehouse around the corner. So they almost become showrooms informed by the DNA of e commerce versus having to compete in the current way of doing things today.

So So drizzly has been very active on the, you know, on the on the trade front. Where what do you do from a legislative perspective? Dr. You do you guys have a lobby firm that you're spending time in DC Do you do lobby in every state that you're in? Talk us through that particular process from the government perspective.

It's a core competency of ours. It's really what we were built on. So we have an internal team composed of General Counsel who has industry affairs experience, and then also the woman I mentioned Jackie fluke, who was on the New York State Liquor Authority, and they're really quarterbacking state by state, both almost legal protection side of things, and then an advocacy side for what we believe to be the best way to bring this industry online. We have lobbyists in every state that there is legislation moving we're in those rooms and our real thesis here is the engagement is important because I mean, we spend all day thinking about content tumors and the intersection of their needs and desires with a controlled and regulated substance. We want to be a part of that. And we think we can actually help doing so. So that actually speaks to something else we're doing, which is taking our platform into the cannabis world in the near future as well.

Oh, that's I think you hit on a pretty good topic there because we've we've actually covered on the podcast before what's the effect of cannabis and the, the, you know, this the distilled spirits market? What do you kind of see is the cannabis market kind of being an opportunity?

Well, I think it's a massive opportunity. And we started, you know, talking about market size. Alcohol is 130 billion dollars sold off premise each year 2% online. So you can do that math. We think cannabis is going to be a 30, maybe $35 billion legal market within five to seven years. But you're talking 40%, maybe even 50% online. It's a different consumer behavior, and there's no ingrained I know how to go to a store and there's no kind of behavior you need to break off, there's actually a stigma from going to a store. So all of that coming together, we think is a great opportunity. We do think it needs to be informed by alcohol legislation and the know how behind bringing alcohol online, it's just it needs to be treated with respect as a category. And that's one of the things we think we can really bring to that conversation.

Okay, so I have a request for your cannabis stuff, your delivery, you need to have guys on with backpacks on bicycles. Doing the deliveries through through town.

You mean like the movie half

but yeah, exactly.

Yeah, that's not gonna.

That wouldn't make it right. A legal team.

Yeah, no, you definitely wouldn't. But you could absolutely work beside me because I come up with these ideas all day long and get shot down. So it's good. I mean, it

is another thing that you know, even with the cannabis market, I mean, if you're, if you're always engrained in these legal discussions. Do you find it like fascinating that the legalization of cannabis and the laws change like that? I mean, it is happening fast, way faster than any kind of deregulation of any alcohol allows any alcohol laws that have been there. Do

you find that kind of fascinating. I mean, there's states that don't allow alcohol to be sold online that are going to legalize Canada. I mean, Cannabis, e commerce before alcohol. I mean, it's so backwards. It's unbelievable. And yet they factor into the same conversation, if not the same agencies or legislators thinking about it. That is usually tied at the hip. And so I do think they will push each other along. But I don't ever want to live in a world where they're not thought of separately than other commodity goods that are not controlled and we get to see it, right. I mean, we do occupy an important position, but under age usage, and just the various respects that come with being in a controlled industry, they do need to be treated with respect.

Well, awesome. And I think that will I gotta leave One last question for you since you are ingrained in all this so let's put a let's put a blank canvas on here if you were to picture like the perfect commerce market of like what alcohol delivery looks like, like what is it in your head?

No other constrictions the perfect alcohol market.

Yeah, like it could be getting rid of three tier system, it's opening up shipping like what what is your, what is your, your, your kind of dream here of how this would all work and create a better experience for everybody else out there.

I would love to shop at a place that had access to any bottle across the entire country, any bottle whatsoever, the rarest of the rare all the way down to the bud lights of the world. And know the best way to receive that product. And that could be different from me to you. It could be price it could be I want to receive it in the mail versus go pick it up and enjoy it with someone else. But that's really what I get excited about is if I knew where everything was every single bottle and consumer got to this Not a distributor, not regulations, not anything else, but a consumer got got to decide what they want when they want it. That's the world I could get pretty excited about online.

Fantastic, Cory, thank you again for coming on the show today. It was great to kind of hear your story, the story of drizzly and really what you all are doing to advance this marketplace a lot further too.

So I did have one last question. And you you, you mentioned that this you had these great trend spotters. What's the trend right now that you're seeing that in eight months, you know, we can cash in on

this may not sound that unusual to you. I mean, just you can you can read about in the newspaper now, but low ABV, low caloric intake, things that are part of the health movement are absolutely taking on. It speaks to a larger agenda, which I believe is people are drinking, sometimes more quality or a little bit more specific on more frequent occasions. So that's drinking less but drinking a little bit better. I think that's Something we're seeing is a larger challenge low ABV and low calorie being a piece of that. Okay.

I must be swimming upstream because for me, it's like give me the highest proof bourbon. And I love I love my stouts that are like 13 14% ABV?

Well, but I think I think you always have to put us bourbon people in a different box because we're just flat out weird. That's true. Don't follow the trends.

That is true. So Cory, thank you again for coming on the show today. It was really was a pleasure to have you. And again, knowing more about you and the company. If people want to know more about drizzly how they can order online, everything like that. Give them an idea of what our listeners can go do.

Yeah, drizzly calm is our website can walk you through what's available in your area, and if not what could be available for shipping, and also have an app on both iOS and Android and that brings the world of online alcohol to your doorstep.

There you go. If you're a small online retailer, you now have an opportunity to start capturing the next wave in the market. So I appreciate it. Make sure you go and check out You can also check out all their social media handles. I'm sure they're everywhere as well. Make sure you follow bourbon pursuit on us. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and if you like what you hear, make sure you support us slash bourbon pursuit. Alright, that's it for this week. Cheers y'all, and we'll see you next time.

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Apr 09, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Hillrock Estate Exceptional Cask #1

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Hillrock Estate Exceptional Cask #1. This non-age stated bourbon is 116.8 proof and $120 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of a Patreon supporter. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Apr 07, 2020
247 - Castles, Concerts, and Whiskey with Alex Conyngham of Slane Irish Whiskey

We started off the year talking about Scotch… and now…we’re talking Irish Whiskey? It’s not another April Fool’s joke. We had the opportunity to sit down and capture one of the most interesting stories in Irish Whiskey with Alex Conyngham, co-founder of Slane Irish Whiskey. We talk castles and rock concerts because that’s one big aspect of his history. Then we get into the dynamics of Irish whiskey and if there are commonalities between bourbon like sourcing, regulation, and financing a distillery. Then we discuss the role Brown-Forman plays and how they are trying to appeal to both bourbon and Irish Whiskey consumers.

Show Partners:

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Show Notes:

  • DISCUS hand sanitizer portal:
  • Less than 100 bottles left from 3 different barrels of Pursuit Series left on Seelbachs:
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about drinking bourbon during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Where did you grow up and how did you get into whiskey?
  • Tell us about your rock concerts.
  • How did you decide to do the concerts?
  • What is a good Irish cocktail?
  • Where is Slane?
  • What makes Irish whiskey unique?
  • Do people source Irish whiskey?
  • What is the process?
  • How did you decide to start the distillery?
  • Did you use a consultant to get started?
  • What's glamping?
  • Tell us about your dad.
  • How did you finance the distillery?
  • What was it like to work with Brown-Forman?
  • How big is the distillery?
  • What age can you sell Irish whiskey?
  • Tell us about the whiskey?
  • Do you have your own yeast?
  • What's the typical Irish whiskey proof?
  • How long are you aging?
  • Tell us about your packaging.
  • Would bourbon drinkers like Slane Irish whiskey?
  • Tell us about the ultra premium Irish whiskey category.
  • What is the price point?

Have you held a bottle of bourbon in your hand and wondered, how is this made? Sure, there's the grains and the barrels and all that science that goes into it. But what about the package design, class manufacturing, shipping logistics, or purchase orders for thousands of cork stoppers. These are only a handful of things that you need to know. But with the University of Louisville online distilled spirits business certificate, you're only a few clicks away from learning from industry experts from renowned spirits businesses like brown Forman, jack daniels, and more. Learn more about this online six course certificate at U of Slash bourbon pursuit.

Well, listen, I always love drinking Irish whiskey in the heart of bourbon country.

Hale you cool cats and kittens out there. It's Episode 247 of bourbon pursuit. I'm one of your hosts Kenny.

I hope you're hanging in there because I'm trying to hang in there. We're all watching Tiger came together to try to get through this. But in the midst of all what's going on, not much has been happening with actual bourbon. And the industry has kind of been shifting focus to figure out how it can help the situation. So we've got some more updates there for you on that. And as you know by now with our reports last week that many facilities have turned overproduction to begin making hand sanitizer. Last week reported that discuss or better known as the distilled spirits Council of the United States was working with the federal government on including distilleries into the Cova 19 relief plan, and they were successful. As a part of the economic relief package. Congress has eased tax regulations so that distillers producing desperately needed hand sanitizer to address the nationwide shortfall would not have to pay a federal excise tax on the alcohol use. This package also includes measures to help small business loans and small business operating costs, that many smaller distilleries around the nation are going to need

While their doors are closed for visitors, and if you're in the medical field and you're looking for sanitization supplies, or need some for your local community, discus has created a portal that lists every distillery in the US making hand sanitizer. The portal also lists distillers who need supplies, and those who need help distributing, you can get this with the link in our show notes. We've also been seeing more control states getting tighter, Alabama has closed down several locations, but Pennsylvania still remains the only state that has all 600 of its brick and mortar stores currently closed. This has led to other opportunities for distilleries in Pennsylvania to begin shipping directly to Pennsylvania residents as well as doing curbside pickup. While discus has also been urging the government officials to reopen their doors immediately. Some Pennsylvania residents are even going to extreme measures of driving to places like Delaware, New Jersey and New York to stock up and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is now discussing

The possibility of reopening online ordering during this time. And two weeks ago, we reported on Kentucky House Bill 415. And what that could mean for interstate commerce. A version of the bill has passed that allows distilleries to ship bourbon and other spirits directly to consumers. Now, here's what it means for shipments coming into the state of Kentucky. So out of state distilleries and retailers can purchase a shipping permit for shipping distilled spirits, wine and malt beverages into the state of Kentucky. shipment details need to be submitted to the Department of Revenue every month or a 15% tax on the grocery receipt must be paid. Now here's what it means for shipments going out of state. In state holders of these permits that allow the sale of alcohol by the package will be able to ship to consumers outside of reciprocal states but also following state and local laws of that particular consumer. Now it's important to note that this bill would only affect shipping

In other spirits from the top of Kentucky's three tier system, that means it's the producer, leaving out the distributors and the retailers now giving consumers the option to purchase direct from the distillery. This is only available so far in Kentucky but serves as a benchmark and a template that other states could soon follow. So it's a huge win for consumers out there. House Bill 415 will head to the full Kentucky house for a vote relatively soon. As this pandemic continues, we've seen an explosion in e commerce. Many platforms like drizzly and thirsty are going to beat their annual projections by five or six x. It's finally a revolution into the digital age for spirits because it's an industry that's been lacking for far too long. And next week's podcast is featuring Corey rellis, the CEO of drizzly, so make sure you tune in and don't miss that. And as a small plug, we've got less than 100 bottles left from three different barrels of pursuit series.

left on seal box comm we know it sucks being stuck at home. But hopefully you can do it just a little bit more with some hand selected barrels from the bourbon pursuit team. Are you really bored at home? Like so bored that you would even have a conversation with Alexa? Well, the team over at go bourbon calm decided to put it to the test. And they asked Alexa, what's your favorite bourbon? And she replied, definitely bullet. They even quizzed Alexa on bourbon by asking, what's the difference between bourbon and scotch? So if you're looking to sit there and put Alexa to the test, go on, give it a try. See what you come up with. We started off the year in 2020, talking about scotch and now we're talking about Irish whiskey, who would have thought, but we had the opportunity to sit down and capture one of the most interesting stories in Irish whiskey. Alex Cunningham is one of the founders of slain Irish whiskey. We talked about way more than just whiskey though. First, we talk about castles and rock concerts, because that's

One big aspect of his history. Then we get into the dynamics of Irish whiskey. And if there's some commonalities between it and bourbon, such as sourcing regulation, and how do you go about financing a distillery in say, Ireland, then we discuss the role of brown Forman and what they are doing and trying to make bourbon and Irish Whiskey consumers happy at the end of the day. If you're a part of the bourbon pursuit Patreon community, make sure you're joining john and the other folks over the discord server where there's a virtual happy hour happening almost every single day and zoom. I think by now many of us are becoming experts in zoom. So come in and join in the fun. All right, let's get on with the show. Here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich, with above the char

I'm Joe Beatrice, founder of barrel craft spirits, we're always trying to push the envelope of blending whiskey in America. Find out more at barrel bourbon calm.

I'm Fred medic, and this is above the char as well.

All isolated and supposed to stay six feet away from one another one very odd and very good consequences came up from this for me personally, and that is my TV bourbon is going dry. If you've listened to this podcast before, you would have heard me complain at one point or another about my TV bourbon and how that's the one vise that I have when it comes to sipping a little too much. That's right my TV bourbon as I'm watching the Vikings are justified or Better Call Saul or reruns of Breaking Bad or the wire. I find myself having one bourbon two Bourbons. Whoa, boy, let me have a third and hey, after that, let's go ahead and have a nightcap of a fourth. It's happened met sometimes twice in a week and you know what? That whiskey goes straight to my hips and my belly and I tell you what, it's the one thing that I cannot shake when I'm in the gym but

For whatever reason, I just don't want to sit on the couch and watch TV as we're isolated. You know what I'm doing. I'm cleaning stuff, organizing things. I'm doing all the things that I was supposed to do you know, when I first got married, and I just kept putting them off and putting them off and putting them off. This past week, I taught my son how to use a drill and we fix the fence and fix the door and I cleaned the garage and I'm like, holy cow, Who's this guy? Where's he been the last 15 years. This isolation business has made me productive, more clean. And I'm actually on a really good schedule with my tastings. The one thing that I have given up, it seems, is my TV bourbon. I learned long ago to look on the bright side. So I hope you're able to find some comfort and find some things right now that helps you get through this time of isolation. And hey, maybe it's a bourbon. Maybe it's two, but I do recommend not doing it while you're watching TV because

that could lead to four or five. And that's this week's above the char Hey, you heard me mentioned all this stuff that I'm doing with my tastings. I'm doing nightly live tastings every day at nine o'clock on my YouTube. I'm doing a face off of something in my office. Never know what that's going to be. So make sure you go to my YouTube and click that subscribe button and notifications. So you can check it out. Until next week. Cheers.

Welcome back to the episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon. But you know, we might be branching out every once in a while and trying new things. And in today's episode, we are again branching out from bourbon trying something different. Because you know, we get we get kind of stuck in our hole in Kentucky and we think that you know, bourbon is the all be all and there's this whole other world of whiskey out there. You know, you've got sir Yeah, exactly.

I mean, we forget that

bourbon is just such a small segment of the whiskey category in itself, you know, you've got scotch and today we're gonna be looking at Irish whiskey. You know, we've I've been to Ireland, I've been to Dublin I've, I've, I've had a few of them over there. And I've, I've enjoyed them. I really know the powers of the world and stuff like that. And I'm excited about our guests being able to to try something that's new. That's, you know, that they're building and everything out of there, too. Yeah, and I'm ready to start this Irish Whiskey pursuit podcast. You know, what we should we should licenses what we need to do now. With everything proceed.

Now I know we talked about scotch and rums and Irish Whiskey is one of the few things I have had and like, kinda really enjoyed because it kind of reminds me a lot of similarities of bourbon not so much but it's just, it's more approachable I guess from a bourbon standpoint to make the transition to it. So, but the thing is, I know nothing about it as usual other than Ireland. It comes from Ireland.

It's Irish. And yeah, so I'm excited to meet our guests. And this is a beautiful looking product and excited to hear what is Irish whiskey and about this product and let's taste it. Yeah, absolutely. So today on the show, we have Alex Cunningham. Alex is the co founder of slean Irish whiskey. So Alex, welcome to the show. Thank you very much. Now, we had talked about this before because I thought I was gonna butcher your name. incredibly bad because it is spelled This is Cunningham, by the way, and you know where we come from around here. It's like see you and and I am his his CEO in y in gh am so I thought it was gonna be something that can be like, how can I say this? He's like, he's like cutting him. And I was like, that's awesome. We just like to confuse people. Yeah. But you'd mentioned that really hadn't been somebody eons ago. They just changed it. Yeah, we put the wire in there and actually the wire ties in with our with our family Christ, I guess. So. That goes all the way back to the 1100s and it's in it's on the bottle of slains that was

Before the See you in and I am so I think that's probably where the posers I think that's probably when everybody came over and they had to change their names that probably had something to do with that. Yeah, my family history had that same exact thing happened to them as well. So, but anyway, I kind of want to talk and let's start a little bit from the beginning about you, you know talk about where you kind of grew up assuming it's Ireland because you you know, you're definitely not from like, East Texas is what it sounds like, you know, kind of talked about where you grew up and kind of how you got into whiskey. Sure. slain is the place that's where I call home and we named the whiskey after that. It's a stunning little village about 45 minutes north of Dublin, in an area called the Boyne Valley. And believe it or not Irish Whiskey was bigger than scotch back in the 1800s. And there were a lot of distilleries in the boiling Valley because we are on limestone bedrock there. So we've got great water. Same is here. Yeah, exactly. There's a reason though. scotch and Irish like

Kentucky because they were off to that water for making whiskey.

Earlier today, yeah, good horses, Motherland, but it's hotter and hill here. Exactly. He's patenaude. He goes a little bit. It's okay. So yeah, the water quality's really important. That's why a lot of the distilleries were there. And also we got some of the best farmland in the country. And so I farm as well. My family's been farming and slain for generations, and we grow barley. And we weren't growing that historically to give it to capital for feed. But we love our Irish whiskey. So we said Why the hell are we giving it to the cattle wouldn't be a lot more fun to turn it into whiskey. So they set out to do your crop rotate. Yes, are really Yeah, really important. It didn't actually used to happen too much, but monoculture and continuous is not a continuous crop cultivation ain't good for the ground. So what we do now is we introduce rotation crops, we plant Hydros every year to boost the biodiversity. So after a crop of volume I put in beans it'll put the nitrogen back in the soil. It'll again

Putting nitrogen eggs. And I think you're talking right my alley over my knees like, let's talk coding.

It's a big part of it right you've got a good whiskey comes from good ingredients. Sure we take that very seriously, but we're the only Irish distillery that would be surrounded by its own land bank. So we've got 1500 acres surrounding the distillery. I grew up about 2000 tons of barley, and you can make a lot of whiskey from that. So that was one of the reasons we got into the business in the first place. My Irish Whiskey journey, I guess, started I was a brand ambassador back in 1999, working on the leading Irish whiskey in the category, so that was where my journey started. But it wasn't until the Reddit is a Jamison Bernie che was okay, just a guess. Yeah. And you know, and that that brand has opened up the category for Irish. And now I think people are looking for a little bit more choice, but

we started our own journey with the whiskey app slain, really back in around 2009. So slightly

At that time, the family home is called slaying castles. So that's where I grew up big old rambling place pretty cold, but wonderful. Hide and Seek was good. And this is this is like real castles not like Walt Disney kind of castles is real. It's a real kitty castle. Yeah, and this is a real one. But there's a big responsibility to a place like that going. So we have survived by diversifying and back in the early 80s. My dad Henry, who I started this brand with decided he was going to turn the front garden into a rock music venue. And so we started doing rock concerts in 81. With a you to the opening act at first show.

Yeah, so that was good. And the gate you do? Well, they were just starting out everybody, somewhere. And then since then we've had everyone from the stones, Bowie Springsteen, and on three weeks time, we're gonna be having Metallica arriving and we just went to Metallica city.

It's awesome. Yeah, it's really good. He's had the chance to meet all those people. But now he gets the idea. It's like that

level, right? This is the real highlight. Yeah, we're the A plus plus. Yeah, totally. So that's gonna be a good show, and we'll be selling, slain to that crowd. So we're gonna have a bit of fun. So we came out of rock and roll and capitalized on the awareness of slain. By adding value to the barley, we grow ourselves and turning into whiskey, which is something that we love drinking. But learning how to make it was a whole different journey. I want to hit on this rock and roll part a little bit more. So kind of like why why did the idea of saying like, let's just turn the front garden into a concert venue, like a field of dreams, we'll build it and they will come? Yeah, well, slightly. So Ireland was a pretty tough place in the late 70s, early 80s. We had some difficult times in the country and dad loved his rock and roll. And he had to find ways to bring extra income in in that climate. And he just said, let's give a chance for everyone to forget about the troubles for a day and come together through music and practice.

approached him from Belfast, and they didn't have any money to put the gig on so a guy from the east on the lending who became known as Mr. Everything, because everything's gonna be alright and

he put up the money and they managed to put that first gig on and then you know we're now Ireland's leading outdoor music. How many people are we talking about? 80,000 Wow, wow. Okay, so it's a big garden so it's like Nokes, or I forget, I forget it's like a castle like I got to keep that in my head here like it's pretty massive. Yeah, not for castle. Yeah, but yeah, an actual castle. Yeah, so lots of people have made that journey to slain and I know they get the chance to try the whiskey while sir or while so there as well. So we're going to be smashing it. Some slang cocktails on the day for Metallica. So should be good fun. You gotta get a particular cocktail you go to because around here it's it's old fashions Manhattan's you know that's that's kind of the go twos and you can mix it with a rye or bourbon, but kind of talk about like a an Irish type of cocktail. It's used with Irish whiskey. Yeah, well, funny. There's there's a good amount of

American influence in slain and actually makes a surprisingly good old fashioned no that's maybe a little controversial as we're hearing a lot about okay, but we've got our readers off some really nice heavy brown sugar notes in the liquid and I think that works very well for an old fashioned in fact the bath one of the better ones I've tasted had no sugar syrup a little huh no it's that's the way to do it. I mean, you know, no flavor additives or anything like that. The D model the cherries or do you kind of like I love a bit of modeling you know? Yeah.

No muddler no muddler for you? Yeah, but you got you got to do the look sardos yeah they're like oh my god I'll delicious if there's there's no like sorrows and like send it back. Now getting so geographically where where is slain? So you're talking in between Dublin and Belfast on the East Coast were a few miles inland, as I said in the boiling Valley. So if you're heading straight up from Dublin about 45 minute journey

and we literally have the room

Boyne which is our water supply for the distillery flows right through the farm. Okay, well with the rock who's the you met some cool people I know obviously us but who are some of the most memorable or do you have any stories like of festivals like that? You know Come on. Yeah, well when I when it comes to what happens with artists what what what happens in slain stays and slay it's like Vegas, but Nivea. I have been lucky enough to to to meet some and and

Dave Grohl springs to mind when the Foo Fighters played. He was an absolute gentle learner in here he performed in the pouring rain and did an outstandingly good gig. Total gentleman. So yeah, I think they love coming to slain because it's a very special place. There's a benefit of the Irish crowd. We got the backdrop of the castle and the river and then of course the whiskey added bonus. So talk about Irish whiskey. What makes obviously being from Ireland, but what what goes into an Irish was good and makes it you know, unique.

So I think Irish is a category is seeing some really strong growth in this country and it's doing doing pretty well in Kentucky for us. I think it's a very approachable category. So in terms of the definitions, we got a pretty extensive technical file that governs the rules are making Irish whiskey and I won't go into too much detail but what's different about slain I suppose the distillery is we actually make three different types of whiskey at the whim of distillery. So across the water in Scotland, you typically have a malt distillery or you have a grain distillery. slains actually got pots and columns. So we got three parts deals, because we believe in triple distillation. And then we got six column stills, because we're a protected heritage site. So we can build two tall columns, which would be what you normally do, we have to split the two into three and six columns. That allows us to make three different types of Irish whiskey. So you've got grain whiskey, which is a little similar

To I guess American as in its column distilled can be a mash bill of malt and other cereals. Then we make triple cereals that's that's when we don't hear too often. You know, most people will talk about different grains, you know, early cereals too often Yeah. Is that an Irish thing? Or just I guess is that is that analogous to a? No, that's probably maybe a bit of an Alex thing. I am a farmer. So I guess we grow different cereals on the farm, primarily barley, though. But the pot stills that we have, we make two different types of whiskey out of that we do a triple still malt whiskey, which is from 100% malted barley, so that's kind of similar to scotch. But then we do something called parts still, which is only made in Ireland. And you take a malted and unmalted, barley and the mash bill and you run it through the pot stills, and that leads to some really big charactered kind of quite oily, delicious whiskies that develop dried fruit nuts, they get older, and we are making that claim now but it's going to take a bit of time for those to be ready. So that's a few years away. What we're focusing

on now is our slain blend. And I think you asked what makes Irish whiskey. Not all Irish Whiskey is triple distill, but a lot of it is and we believe in that too. And that delivers a really lovely, smooth, accessible character. But what we've done on top of that is we've developed a triple cast maturation. So that adds character. So triple the steel for smoothness, triple cost for character. What do you mean by triple cast? So like, is it honoring? Sure, sure. It says it right here in the label. Let me see. So we've got a, I see virgin, Virgin season and Sherry. Okay, so it is right there in the label. Yeah, so three very different animals. So as they go through each cask in separately or as a like a blend of the three different guests know, so it's a little bit like when you're mixing your music, we like to do them separately so that you get a lot more control, because then when it comes to the blending of the three, you can actually fully dial in to the impact of the one barrel. So this is not a sequential, we're not taking the same batch and running.

Through a library. So effectively what we what we did is so the distillery went into production about a year and a half ago. So fairly recently now anyone who knows anything about whiskey is you don't make whiskey that quick. So to get ourselves started, we actually bought malt and grain whiskey from other distilleries in Ireland, between three and about 10 years. And it was good juice. But we wanted to try and create our own flavor profiles. So we actually took that liquid, we blended it in different proportions and split it between three different barrels for roughly two more years, and that secondary maturation are owned. So let's we'll feed through the same violin program, but it's those three different barrels that give you the unique kind of rich, robust character slang. So is that pretty is that common and are like this, so for sourcing to start out, because it's pretty common here? Yeah. So we're up to, we're up to about a, I think, close to 20 distilleries, okay, and come from a base of only three

So this has all happened in the last five years or so. So Irish Whiskey just like it is happening here a lot of distilleries are springing up and yeah to get themselves started. They are they are sourcing from others and we did that too. And we're we're perfectly honest about that. I guess the difference is we didn't just buy what we bought and create a plan and put it out to market we actually spent two years doing our own maturation at slain to try and build our own flavor profile. Is it so like here when we source was I don't we source our own? Do you have to go like through brokers and like or can you just go straight to the story? What's the process like over there? To buy the whiskey? Yeah, to that whiskey. Yeah, I mean, at one time Irish Whiskey because of the growth that was going on, it was pretty hard to get supply. But we were lucky enough that we did get some good juice and some of it was quite old as well, which wasn't wasn't easy, and we probably paid a pretty penny for it. But again, we wanted to deliver one slain launch, we wanted the best possible liquid and that's why we bought good whiskey to start

With and did spend an extra two years staying out of the market to add that triple cast character. So it came with a cost but I think it was worth it for sure in this was 2009 timeframe is when this started. And then I started out small reasons. So the 2009 we originally myself and dad, we played in the whiskey sector and slightly different brand attached to slain initially. So we worked with other distilleries at that time. And then there was big changes in the industry and about 2012 big acquisitions happened. And we actually lost our supply at that stage. And then we did what I had always wanted to do, which was to build our own distillery, because ultimately, the only way to have full control and credibility, I think, is to build your own distillery and it was a bit of a crazy journey to get there. But But we did. So when you're you approached your dad, you're like, we're gonna start a whiskey company, her words, you know, what was his initial reaction? Yeah, I mean, look, if you

grow up in a place like slain. Dad always taught me you know you are, you're never going to own this place. You're just protecting it for the next generation. So that that that long term vision, you need that in the whiskey business. So nothing happens in a day. So people thought were a bit crazy was actually dad's idea to start it and dad as a maverick. I mean, he was the guy who opened the front garden and invited them Lizzie to come stomp around so he what he wasn't fitting was another good banner. Yeah, well, one of the great tracks whiskey in the jar, you know, which dad used to love playing in the nightclub, which we also haven't had in the castle back in the day. So whiskey.

Whiskey was always a global bag with you.

I got a big suitcase.

But, uh, No dad, it was dad's idea to start the whiskey because he he puts laying on the map through the gigs and we wanted to find a way to I guess capitalize on that. Plus, you know, he and I love drinking whiskey and we're already

growing the raw materials so that the kind of the stars aligned. And to see these buildings which are right next to the castle, they're the old 18th century stables. And ultimately they were linked to the farm. So they had grain stores, for example, they now they are now home to the distillery. So we're kind of its history repeating a few like, we're adding the value on site, creating local employment and making some great whiskey. So like, we're when you're starting a whiskey company over there, like are you like, because I'm assuming you didn't know how to make whiskey if I didn't. So is there like consultants and experts kind of like your you know, their, you know, the late day pick roll a lot of people use to kind of, you know, help get them started getting the recipes figured out? How did y'all go about that? So I would have to say the Irish Whiskey industry is very collaborative, and I got a lot of good support from other people in the industry. I asked a hell of a lot of people a lot of questions and I kind of learned as I as I went along. I learned a little bit of I guess, from my

Ambassador is a little bit about selling whiskey but didn't know much about making it. Now I don't profess to be a master distiller and master blender. But if we were going to build a distillery, I needed to know what we were doing and where we were putting our money. So I visited distilleries in Ireland, Scotland over here in America probably annoyed a lot of people a lot of questions. But we built up what I would call a old school distillery in terms of how we make the whiskey. So we got wooden wash backs, we got a hand beaten, copper pot stills, three of them. But when it comes to how we kind of make it, there's a lot of state of the art stuff there as well. So sustainability is something that's really important to me. And so we have a lot of energy recovery built in. So whenever we're heating something up, we're cooling something down. And we've even invested in an anaerobic digester on site which will take those what some people call waste. After distillation. We'll be feeding that to microorganisms.

They create by gas and when we burned by gas to heat stills, so that's going to reduce our carbon footprint by about 25 to 30%. So everything was slain is built to last and I hope that was slain. You know, it's not just about protecting for the next generation, it's actually leaving at that and when you start it, that's all right. Where did you get that from? Was that, you know, was that ingrained in your family? Or is that yes, I think ingrained in family and it's just it's, I guess, my own personal belief.

My wife Kareena, who? Who runs an amazing glamping site, and other reason comes slain on long like glamping Yeah, that's been a thing. I'm sorry. It's glamping be right up your alley. It's like camping for for techies. Oh, exactly. I'm, I'm on board. Yeah. So so we have an organic farm and we grow veggies and we rare animals and we obviously produce barley. But the glamping allows people to kind of stay in immerse themselves in the landscape. So that kind of lower footprint style of living is just hi myself in Korean. I like to live our lives. If we

Can and the lessons that we've learned that we apply to how we make our whiskey. Talk about your dad, kind of like what those lessons that he put on you or like. He said he was a maverick, but he is kind of talking about more about him. So he's a maverick, but he's got great intent. And, you know, he has done, you know, I wouldn't be sitting here and we wouldn't be involved in slaying if he hadn't kept the show on the road by by putting those gigs on back in the day. And he's a very resilient, determined individual. He's also one of my best friends. And we've had a lot of fun working together. I think what he taught me is you, you need to be prepared to take risks in life.

But just don't hurt anybody along the way.

And do things as as best you can. And I think that's how we've tried to approach the whiskey and that's why we ultimately stayed out of the market a little bit longer to spend those two extra years and proven the whiskey. So I think he's he's taught me to

I guess the other big lesson is do what you love but make sure you have fun doing it. So kind of talk about his his growth path because was was he ever involved in the whiskey industry he just like drinking was, again joy drinking that he didn't have any connection to to to whiskey in the past. So it's a new thing for us as a family. Bryce's closest connection was you working working? Yeah, well, it's I guess, yeah. And maybe I guess that's where, you know, when he had that lightning bolt of let's get into the whiskey business. I just as soon as he sat at all the pennies dropped. I was like, You are so right. This is something we need to do. And people thought we were crazy to do it at the time because it's a good few years ago, and I've been at this for 10 years. But look at where Irish Whiskey is now and where it's going. You know, it's really growing as a category in this country. And this is the number one market in the world for Irish Whiskey America. So it's important not in Ireland. No art DPR

the Irish had gotten behind.

You know, we were down to very few brands a few years ago and, and it's great to see all these distilleries springing up and more and more people are coming to Ireland for Irish whiskey, you know, you've got the Kentucky bourbon trail here, which is amazing. But the Irish Whiskey trail is getting going as well. So I would encourage anybody who does want to come to Ireland to make sure they get on that trail and, you know, short come to slain but there's lots of other good distilleries as well, to kind of talk about the bootstrapping process you know, you want to go and you want to start creating a distillery you know, Ryan already talked about the, you know, finding the right people and figuring that out. But like, monetarily, like you've gotta you got to figure out like, how far in debt Do we have to go to figure this out are quite fun. Yeah.

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Got it. You got to figure out like how far debt Do we have to go to figure this out are quite far. Yeah.

It's still going. Yeah. So yeah, no, we did look we were we were lucky in that we ended up partnering with with Brian foreman, and myself and dad financed everything on the project up until 2015. So we hadn't laid a brick so to speak, but we had started restoring the the yards. We had designed the entire distillery and that meant our own efforts, but we did bring in some very talented people. We had a scotch stellar on board. We had one of the people who originally designed the Middleton distillery, which is down in County Cork, so we had a good team on board. And one of the proudest moments actually was when brown Forman came on board. And we shared that our technical designs we kind of expected, you know, hey, we know what we're doing making whiskey. We'll do it our own way, but actually they took the designers read and made a couple of

modifications on energy recovery that I hadn't spotted, but generally they took it as read. But financing it was was tough up until that point and we had to pay the deposit on all of the stills. Our sales come from Macmillan and Scotland. There's only two makers. There's an unsightly left and Ireland but there's four sides to Macmillan, we went with Macmillan. And that was a pretty penny to pay that deposit. And had we not done that we would have lost our place in the queue because there's such demand for stills. So I had a few sleepless nights over that one. But I was lucky enough to meet Gavin Brown, who's one of the brown family members. And we had an amazing lunch where we spoke about the potential for Irish Whiskey but actually more about what it means to be a family business and thinking about next generation. And ultimately, that led further down the road to getting the deal done. And we got that done in 2015. And pretty much as soon as we signed that deal. We started building the distillery who made that initial call or new

Meaning, like really seeking you an Irish Whiskey coming out? Or were you like looking for investors to kind of help get you past that dip? You know, is this that I call? Yeah, Brian foam was a company audit mode for for a long time. And they I knew they had publicly stated they wanted to get into the Irish category. So I guess we both had something the other party wanted but ultimately, you're like I got exactly what you're looking for. Yeah, but that's not the way it comes down to the people. And, and ultimately, it's about relationships and myself and dad felt comfortable working with what is essentially another family business. And not only that, they know how to make great whiskey. And what's really exciting about what's happened with slain or bland is actually the barrels that they bring to the table as well, because we have, I guess an advantage over some of the other brands in terms of those barrels that we can access. Mm hmm. You have an endless supply. I've seen it. Yeah, we do. We have an endless supply, but it's not just the

It's not just the level of supply, it's the quality that goes with us. Sure. So we've been able to tap into some barrels that others just can't, I'm always interested in, because I'm an entrepreneur, but not nearly on your own scale. But like, when you get absorbed by, you know, not absorbed or purchased by another company. What's it like, like, because you're when you're, you're doing everything you can to hustle and mostly make it work and do everything. And then every decision goes through you, but now you have like, you know, a parent company to kind of like, guide you and teach you like, how's that? Like, like, because you're like, Well, I know what I'm doing. But they're like, No, we know what we're doing. So what's that relationship? Why Yeah, it's a it's a transition. I guess. It's an intriguing question. I think a good one. You know, when you've I remember in the early days when the phone rang, and be like, you know, hello, welcome slaying whiskey and they're like, Can I can I speak to a marketing department? It's like, Yeah, sure.


So you get the dollar. So

yeah, let me check to see if the rain yeah

I completely that's how it works, right and, and you're fighting as a small and then suddenly you got all of these resources and additional people.

For me, it's worked really well, because they have been incredibly inclusive, I'm still very involved in everything from liquid decisions to how we communicate about brand and how we behave. So I think the key to success is making sure that you respect and include what you started with, and it's gone better than expected. They're really good people to work with. So they're going to help embrace your core principles. Absolutely. Yeah. But they bring so much to the table. It's not just the barrels, you know, they got they got great technical expertise. So when we were when we were putting the blend together that involved it was a collaborative approach between Ireland and and some of the expertise over here, you know, and, and that worked really, really well. So I think it's a it's, I'm happy with where it's landed, for sure. So how big is the operation now?

That's over and slain. So the distillery can produce roughly we're not up to that yet, but if it could probably about the equivalent of about 600,000 cases of whiskey a year, but we're, you know, we're we're warming up slowly. young age. Yeah, you got age. So there's one thing you need in this business, it's patience. Yeah. But you know, because we make three different types of whiskey and we're planning for the future, as well as supplying stuff that will feed into the blend, where we're pretty busy. We're not up to capacity, but production certainly ramping up. So bourbon like typical as you know, alright, before we can start selling it was it with Irish as though the rules are kind of three years in a day, okay. But, you know, I would never want us to release anything until it's ready. And that's kind of the key is just give it the time it needs. Having tastes a lot of Irish I think, certainly over for the minimum for the grain.

Then malt is going to take longer. And then pot still actually takes the longest. So that's why our launches will come over, you know, give me 20 years, we'll have a lot of rain. And I'm looking forward to that. But we just focus on the blend for now. Very cool. Well, let's try it. Yeah, let's let's actually right. We've done a lot of talk him and he's, yeah, Do y'all have like a jeers thing in Irish last what was what was the scotch one? I guess? So it's similar. It's all derived from Gaelic, okay, so scotch Gaelic and Irish Gaelic? reasonably similar. But in Ireland, it's a little different. So it's launcher. launcher. launcher in a second. Okay, okay. I don't think it's actually a word, but I just made it one. So kind of kind of talk about the whiskey a little Sure. Okay, so firstly, it's an Irish Whiskey blend. So blends account for a good a good proportion of Irish Whiskey volume that is sold.

Blend means you're putting two different whiskey types in this case together. So you put malt whiskey and grain whiskey.

In the same in the same blend. However, what we did was the whiskey that that we originally purchased would have all been in American whiskey barrels, which

the vast majority of Irish and scotch is matured in American whiskey barrels because you guys can only use them once here and we are very grateful thanks very not very sustainable. Well, you know it Do you know what, it's fine because those barrels do not go to waste very, we say thanks a million we'll have those so they come over to Ireland. So that had all been an American whiskey barrels. But as I said, we then spent two years doing a secondary maturation which is which is the triple cost it brings all this lovely character. So when we're tasting slain probably makes sense to talk about these vowels individually and we can try and pick up some of that some of the notes that are there. So I just threw this will do so. Start on the nose. Now probably one of the things is going to hit you strongly as this lovely vanilla hit. Nice rich have even Yeah, for me. It's like

boozy banana foster like, bananas false now you're talking my language. Yeah, it's like, yeah, real boozy with the we talked about the caramelized sugars. You know, the torch just got off of it. Yeah, no, I like that. Actually, that delves into the second barrel. I'll focus on the first one. Sorry. No, no, no, you're totally right because a banana foster now is absolutely where we're at. And I'm delighted to pick that up. The vanilla head that comes first is really coming from that first barrel, which is a virgin American oak. made right here in Kentucky at Brown Forman cooperage. Now what's special about this barrel is it's customized specifically for slain. So all of the research and development of brown Forman have been able to do on different levels of toasting and charring is fed into this barrel. So it's like a, it's a heavy toast, medium char. And that toast is really what makes the difference because it helps to draw out the van islands that then become vanilla.

So using virgin oak for an Irish Whiskey blenders is pretty unusual as what the SEC is most probably aren't united that not they're not. But what is unique is this barrel was made specifically for us for slain and it does deliver that really lovely kind of aromatic vanilla hit nose. Now you will mention that banana Foster and that kind of moves really neatly into the second barrel. So our second barrel we call seasoned seasoned, as you probably know, that's just a term that means someone was living in that barrel before.

And it's an old veteran. Yeah, exactly.

In this case.

So it is American whiskey. Most American whiskey barrels, a lot of them end up in Ireland. However, the challenge with that is if you're an Irish distillery, you're typically going to be buying a barrels maybe through a dealer say say Calvin cooperage, for example, or you might have a relationship with another distillery like order stellar say, Heaven, Hell or an artist.

Brown Forman, but the challenges that they actually make lots of different whiskies and the rain, really any track or trace. So when those barrels arrive in Ireland, you don't know exactly it's labeled as murder and completely so the way the industry deals with it is by blending it all together. However, because of our relationship with brown Forman, we're able to focus in on particular barrels. So we're primarily using as our season we're primarily using a Tennessee whiskey barrel or a jack daniels barrel. And that delivers very particular flavor notes.

Also, those barrels have to be shipped wet because otherwise they're going to dry out and live on their island Island. So there's a little bit of liquid in there and we are not throwing that away. We're just pouring our whiskey in on top. So the net result is you're picking up some of those lovely flavors. So ripe banana is absolutely coming from that barrel. And then Irish whiskeys tend to be blends tend to be nice and sweet. But that sweetness can go from like a nice, light clear honey to a much heavier dark branch.

Nothing that comes out of slain is light or fluffy. We're in the business of kind of rich and complex. So I wanted us to get to a heavier sugar note and that's where that second barrel the season barrel really comes in. So you actually you're right on the money with a banana sauce. Yeah, I mean, yeah, the torch came in. I mean, it's, it's basically like we're two bourbon casks already. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, for us. It's an easy transition. Yeah. And I think that that's a good point. You know, some people have described this as an as an Irish whiskey, a good Irish Whiskey for bourbon drinkers. Because I think there are some familiar familiarities and similarities there, for sure that American influences is definitely there. Do they hook you up on the yeast do here or do you have to use your own power there? So at the moment, we're just using standard distillers used to have our distillery however, brown Forman are one of the few companies that do cultivate their own yeast strains. So I think that's maybe something to look out for the future for sure, because I always get like brown sugar notes out of the old forester yeast. Yeah.

Whatever but yeah anywho but I'll quit talking let you know

why we're drinking whiskey. This is good. So I think if we had just finished with those two barrels, we would have ended up with an Irish Whiskey that probably just tasted a little too like an American whiskey. So we needed we needed something to kind of balance that influence. Now. The person who got me drinking Irish Whiskey was was my grandpa way back in the day probably before he should have but that's a whole nother story. A common theme.

Yeah, but he was a lovely man, but he loved his Irish whiskies that had a Sherry cask influence. Now quite a lot of Irish Whiskey does have a Sherry cask influence. And that really stems from our history where before American whiskey took off, and all of those lovely barrels became available, we would have used what was coming into the country, which was wine, port and Sherry. And so out of those ones, the Sherry ones were the ones that really captured my imagination.

In the early days of drinking whiskey, and that's kind of stayed as a theme. So, at the time brown Forman didn't know I guess too much about the Sherry side of things. They have their scotch brands now. So that's that's changed but at the time, I had to convince them the importance of what a Sherry barrel could do. So we actually we went out to her wrath in Spain, and we taste a lot of sherry there was a lot of fun amazing food out there. But what's been yeah are fantastic. But what a Sherry barrel does for for Irish Whiskey as it It adds this fantastic body and depth and lots of color. So we're talking about an Allah Rosso Sherry cask. It's been seasoned with Allah Rosso for a full two years before we even look at it. It's then shipped wet, over to slain and again we pour our whiskey in on top, and very quickly, it starts to take on lots of lovely color and these characteristics so

So going back on the nose, behind your banana Foster and the vanilla and those lovely sugar notes you may pick up a little bit of a almost like a raisin or a kind of date note maybe even a little bit of fig so you're kind of getting into dried fruit territory and that's the primary influence that Sherry cask and also get like a graham cracker kind of yeah smell on it. That's probably from the barley that I'll dig out what a graham cracker was until, like two states but I get you Yeah, I'm the I'm the I'm sorry I don't know commentary.

No, I I totally get you but on the pilot.

So I find it's as easy as easy to gravitate towards Yeah, so IRA dangerous, delicious. Good. dangerously delicious. Oh, yeah. That Yeah, so welcome. If you're if it's smooth, right and Irish is generally has that lovely smoothness but it is full body on the palate.

Like I said, it's got a lot of depth at the end like Nevada's smooth products, they kind of the finished falls flat, whereas this one's still kind of building a little bit on Yeah, I guess it's, it's a nice linger. I think where the Sherry cast comes in is there's this lovely little brain or kind of baking spice note right at the end.

And it kind of it's not, it's not Bice by any means, but it's a nice little kind of spice at the end. And that's really coming from that Sherry cask. And it's kind of like, nutty or creamy, like peanut buttery. Yeah, at the end. I don't know. I'm pulling all the stops today.

But so this is I was looking at the bottle. So this is 40%. So 80 proof, correct. kind of talk about the reason of going to 80 and not 9095 whatever it is, I don't really know honestly because us we don't know the Irish Whiskey industry that well so I don't know if like if that's a common thing. Generally most Irish Whiskey blends will be at proof. That's fairly standard for

For a blend, if you start getting into your, into your single malt or certainly a single pot stills, you know, that can get a bit of variation, sometimes a little bit higher. We settled at 80 proof, which again, is fairly standard because we just felt it worked really well at that level. Now, it is strong enough to hold up, you know, one of my favorite ways to drink and slaying would be on the rocks. So in that way, it behaves a little bit like a bourbon.

And it needs it.

I guess. Yeah, I mean, nothing wrong with it neat. And you have this with a banana pudding or something like that. It's fantastic. But put it on the rocks and it holds up, it doesn't wash out. And that was really important when we put this together. So it is designed to be a whiskey that's good on its own, but it's not going to get lost in a cocktail or get washed out when you throw some ice at it. What's the typical proof when you're dumping these before you cut it? So typically, well we put it into the barrel at about 62 and a half

alcohol. So that's what 120 and doing my mask in my head, yeah, I'm terrible around 120 proof we use Excel a little a little lighter.

And depending on what style of whiskey you're making, so our malt would be, we'd be taking off a pretty high proof around 160 or so. And then we're going to reduce that down. The grain whiskey element is very high. I mean, grain whiskey is not far off of what you'd be doing grain usual. So you're talking about 96 97% alcohol. So it's, it's very strong. So you got to reduce that down again to around 62 and a half percent alcohol before you put it in the barrel. And then what's the what's the kind of aging that you're looking to do? Or what's in this bottle today? I mean, we, we already learned that it's gotta be, what, three years and three years at a day or three years and three days, two years, three years and three years in a day, so? Yeah.

So in terms of maturation, the key to this product is is that triple cast for extra characters.

So it started out living in an American barrel for a good number of years. So the malt and the grain, they were all the stock we bought was different ages, some of it was up to 10 years old. And then we're adding extra time on that with a triple cast, which is roughly two years. So that gives you an idea of how old some of the whiskey isn't that blend. And then we'll be phasing in our own juice, you know, hasn't when it's ready, but it all goes through the same barreling program. And that's, that's how we get the consistent try to keep it consistent throughout the time. Yeah, stuff like that, too. Yeah. talks about the packaging who's Yeah, a little different. No, yeah. It's a bit different. And then you've got it got this. Is this the crest that we're talking about that? Yeah. So you asked why the why was in the cutting of name and it kind of it's tied to this, this sort of hay fork that is at the center of the crest. And that's so that goes back to my family's time in the 1100s. At that stage, we're in Scotland, we landed in Ireland and 1605. But there was a rebel Prince Malcolm, who was on the run from

Macbeth of the Shakespearean origin of Macbeth wasn't a particularly nice dude. So

Malcolm was on the run, he came to Cunningham's farm and cutting could have surrendered the fugitive or he could stand up for what he believed in which was a rebellion. He hid Malcolm Malcolm survived as a result, defeat him at birth and became king Malcolm the second and he went back and rewarded Cunningham with a bit of land and an arboreal to celebrate the occasion and he chose the hay fork that he had used to hide Malcolm in the hay and hay loft. It's a it's a symbol of rebellion, perseverance, determination, and that's what it took to get the slain whiskey project done and that's why we put it on the bottle. And then it is a black glass bottle so it's a little different. black and red have been our family colors for centuries. And I guess it was a little bit more rock and roll. So we just felt it. It set the right tone for for the whiskey

and you

We have a lot of fun putting that together. And actually, when we did the excavations around the distillery because it's all on the national list of protected structures, we found some really, really old bottles. None intact. Unfortunately, they were black glass. So that kind of confirmed that sticking with black made sense. Nice, as I say, so I'm a I'm a product of the 80s. I don't know if you were big into like, 80s movie culture, but I saw that and I was like, it's a, it's the flux capacitor. It's right there on the bottle. Nice. Okay, I hadn't seen that. But there you go. There you go. Actually, I think it might be upside down. But it's a dolly. But you know, really the whiskies really good. I think, you know, this is our first really good introduction, at least for the podcast due to Irish whiskey and knowing more about it, and knowing more about the history and sort of, really where it's stemming from as well. You know, if you were to like, give our listeners like a good reason, like, you know, they're bourbon drinkers right there. They're real bourbon drinkers or bourbon nerds. Like what's what's the

Selling pitch that you would give to a bourbon drinker to say, go out and try this. I think if you enjoy bourbon you're going to enjoy trying slain because Bourbons generally are very much flavor forward. Okay? And in the Irish category, that's what slain is all about, you know, and people are moving between brands and between categories a bit more. If you want to step outside of bourbon and get something that has an element of familiarity, but it's going to give you something a little bit different and slains a good a good call. So those heavy brown sugar notes, the hits of vanilla, those are going to be familiar, but you add in that heavy dried fruit notes, little bit of spice, it's coming from the Sherry. That's gonna be a nice, I guess, step away without having to jump too far.

Yeah, it's one of the richer kind of Irish whiskeys I've ever had. I've had powers and I've had dabbled into like Red Berets and you know stuff, but it's definitely got more than more depth than I remember of other Irish Whiskey products. So very impressed.

Well done. Thank you very much Well, we had a lot of fun not meant to get knocked out Shakespeare got to now you've knocked out a whiskey brand so we're really Wait How can you even top this? Good question I think by focusing on our on our ultra premiums further down the road so give me a decade I'll have more to talk about. Yeah.

So with the ultra premium category because we don't really know the Scott or sorry, the the Irish kind of ultra premium category, like what's that look like in in your vision? What would that entail as well? So I think in 20 years time, we're gonna be all talking about the Irish answer to scotch single malt which is pot still. So single pot still whiskies which bring that on malted barley into the mash bill, create this really lovely, rich, complex, quite oily, characterful whiskey and we are making that at slain. So we just made our first batches not too long ago, the new makers fantastic. So when that hits the word, it's going to lead some great whiskey

So it's a fairly small category within Irish at the moment, but I think it's going to be where the real kind of high end higher end of the market growth is going to happen over the next 20 years. So watch this space. Stay tuned. So what's what's the price point for a product like this? For slain yellow for the current bland depending on which market you're in for a 750? You're talking in and around 30 bucks a bottle? Oh, wow. Yeah. So yeah, so we when we won the gold medal at the Irish whisky awards, one of the really nice positive feedbacks was that we kind of over delivered on flavor for that price point because we were competing with more expensive whiskies. So that only up for a case. Yeah.

That was always the aim. We wanted to make something that was smooth, approachable, full flavored, and affordable. Yeah, we hit all three. Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, like for us, I think this was a valuable lesson and getting schooled and Irish whiskey. And, you know, Alex, thank you so much for coming on the show today because

It was it was a pleasure to not only meet you and hear your story, you know Yeah, I know You came all the way from Ireland for us and so we really appreciate that you know, it's a it's a badge of honor for us to have you on the show. Thank you. Well listen, I always love drinking Irish whiskey in the heart of bourbon country

like this Yeah. Trading traders. Traders for an hour. Yeah, sorry Chris Morris.

Now appreciate Alex very cool story and ton of history of your family. That's incredible. What I'd love to come over there and party party for a week Come on. We should do burn get with Fred and do burn beyond like we can do bourbon workshops are Irish Whiskey workshops over there, you know? Yeah. and beyond. Yeah, slightly beyond Irish Whiskey pursuit, watch. Go watch that trademark. Be gone tomorrow.

Another question before we go or another opportunity for you to tell our audience how they can learn more about slain. If you're any kind of social media or slain. How can they find out more about that? Yeah, sure. So

The website slain Irish that's a good place to start. Obviously if you are lucky enough to get to Ireland come and see the distillery because that really brings it to life.

You can find this on Instagram, slain Irish Whiskey as well. My own Instagram presence is Alex Cunningham with the Y co n y n th. Yeah, listen to the front. Yeah, remember how to spell you can find me on there. And yeah, that's a good good place to learn. I'd say you got a good man of information from the websites best place to start. What if we want to go glamping where do we go? So that is rock farm for all and my wife loves glamping so there you go. Listen, you've got more and more reasons. My guests will be seeing you pretty soon I get there is home renovation first. there that's awesome. So again, Alex, thank you so much for coming on the show today and you know make sure you follow explain as well as him on all those social media channels. You can follow us bourbon pursuit, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and if you'd like

Like what you hear also make sure that you take a minute and just check out our Patreon page. It's a way that we help build and grow and fund the podcast day after day. Yep, I think you nailed it. So we'll see you next time. Cheers. Cheers.

Transcribed by

Apr 02, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Three Chord Twelve Bar Reserve  

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Three Chord Twelve Bar Reserve. This 12 year old bourbon is 107 proof and $75 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Mar 31, 2020
246 - Ezra, Rebel, and Blood Oath Pacts with Philip Lux of Lux Row Distillers

Today’s episode features one of the largest spirits companies you might not know much about. You’ve heard of brands like Ezra Brooks, Rebel Yell, and Blood Oath, but there is a lot to discover about Luxco. We sit down with Philip Lux, Global Brand Ambassador at Lux Row Distillers and son of CEO Don Lux, as he guides us through the family history of the Lux’s along with their acquisitions of bourbon brands. Then we also get the inside scoop on what’s happening at Lux Row Distillers. After sourcing whiskey for many years, it became apparent they needed to build a distillery and they did it right in Bardstown, KY. We discuss the future of the brands and how they plan to grow and evolve. Don’t sleep on this location during your bourbon trail visit because the facility is incredible.

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • Find out what it’s like to taste whiskey straight from the barrel with Barrell Craft Spirits. Learn more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

If you have a bachelor's degree and live anywhere in the United States, there's now a way for you to take your bourbon education to the next level. The distilled spirits business certificate from the University of Louisville is a six course online program that will prepare you for the business side of the spirits industry offered by the AACSB accredited college of business. This certificate is taught by business professors and industry leaders from Brown Forman beam Suntory jack daniels and more. join this one of a kind experience and prepare for your next adventure. get enrolled into this online program at U of Slash bourbon pursuit.

Let's kind of talk about you know your history your your upbringing, because because you're you're young strapping lad your last names luck, so obviously you have something to do around here. Yeah.

Welcome back, everybody. It's Episode 246 of bourbon pursuit. I'm Kenny, one of the hosts. And here's your Cova 19 updates because a lot has changed since last week. Texas has temporarily adjusted its laws to be more lenient on the drinks industry and are now allowing alcohol as a part of to go orders. This is pretty big news because we know that anything in Texas that is regulated by alcohol is very, very hard to change. And they are also in listening distributor trucks that are designated for alcohol only delivery to support grocers and delivery needs during this time for roses distillery will temporarily suspend their operations of us distillery located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and that began on March 20 of 2020. And based on the current situation for roses expects to commence operations once again on April 6 of 2020. A new statement by the wine and spirits wholesalers of America or known as the W swa their CEO and President Michelle Cosmo warns that in a crisis

consequences are major concerns for industries and private citizens. And they implore all governors to keep Wine and Spirits retailers open as to not encourage bad actors to pop up black market liquor operations. Other industry partners including the distilled spirits Council of the United States, otherwise known as discus has made a similar statement. And Fred MiniK recently published an article on Forbes, referring to the actions taken by the state of Pennsylvania, where they closed the doors of all alcohol stores in the state that the same thing could happen to them, as it did during Prohibition. And you can read more with his article to the link in our show notes. Right now, many other distilleries are making hand sanitizer. Back on March 20 of 2020, the FDA issued a new guidance for the temporary manufacturing of hand sanitizer by companies and entities that are not currently regulated by the FDA as a drug manufacturer. The TTB or the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has found that it isn't necessary and desirable to waive provisions of internal

Revenue law with regard to distilled spirits, and therefore is providing certain exemptions and operations to distilled spirits permittees who wish to produce ethanol based hand sanitizers to address the demand during this emergency. any existing DSP can immediately commence production of hand sanitizer or ethanol for use in hand sanitizer without having to obtain authorization first. These measures are generally authorized under authorities that apply in disaster situations, and are right now approved through June 30 of 2020. There are now over 50 distilleries across the US that have switched to making hand sanitizer including big ones like wilderness trail, smooth Ambler town branch, rabbit hole, old Forester, and there's many more craft distilleries across the nation like co vault, Illinois, Coursera in Tennessee, and Caledonia spirits in Texas. I would love to be able to give everyone a shout out on here but you can contact your local distillery to see if they had any available Republic purchase in a day.

There's a lot of giving going on by bigger corporations. And here's some of the highlights. Beam Satori and southern Glaser's are donating $1 million to support the impacted bar and restaurant employees. Beam centaurea is also working with other distributors across various states, including major brands, badger liquor, Fenway associates, Allied beverage Corp, Empire distributors, best brands, horizon beverage group and more to provide donations to local organizations that will further help to support in the trade of their respective communities. biagio has also pledged $1 million to the US VG or the United States bartenders guild and their emergency assistance fun for Cova 19. biagio is also doing another million euros to support bartenders in the United Kingdom with a million million pounds. Brown Forman is donating $1 million to us big the restaurant workers Community Foundation and one level is separating between those three different organizations. gallows, New Amsterdam vodka and barstool sports

created a new t shirt highlighting support your local bartender program, where 100% of the net proceeds will go to us bartenders guild foundation. And additionally New Amsterdam will donate $5 for every t shirt purchased. Jamison donates another 500,000 to the US big mixers distillery in Philadelphia have made a $10,000 donation to the US BG patrol is donating $1 million to three different organizations. You have the children of restaurant employees otherwise known as core, another round another rally and the James Beard Foundation. Sasa rack and fireball Have you started a GoFundMe called the world's biggest tip jar by starting it off with $100,000 donation, and it will match all contributions up to $400,000 donations with everything going to tax exempt organizations. Tito's is donating $1 million between four organizations focused on those in the industry. We have the core, US big Southern smoke and the world central kitchen. They're all

pledging another additional $1 million as further needs are seen. Zamora is donating 400,000 euros to charities such as Caritas, the Red Cross and the food bank foundation. Yelp, who you all know the app is providing $25 million in relief in the form of waived advertising fees and free advertising, products services and more that during this period.

In addition, we're trying to do our part as well. bourbon pursuit we have our own fundraiser going to help support the US BG or the United States bartenders Guild. So at this time, you can go and you can win bottles of pursuit series and our latest peril picks from will it go to bourbon slash USB G to get entered into our raffle? We appreciate all the support.

Discuss that we talked about a little bit early before the distilled spirits Council of the United States is now asking the government to include distillers in the Cova 19 Relief Fund. distilleries across the nation have close tasting rooms suspended to

And cancel large events to limit the exposure of Cova 19. As a result, the Steelers have been forced to make difficult decisions, including in some cases shutting down production in laying off staff. As a result, many distilleries may not be able to survive during this crisis. distillers right now employ 1.6 million people across the country and generate 180 billion dollars in economic activity for the United States. You can help take action by supporting spirits united with your name and vote with the link in our show notes. This story poured out a little bit over last week, and I'm sure many people know about it, but we need to report on anyway because we all know about jack rose. It's that iconic whiskey bar in DC that's owned and operated by Bill Thomas. But you've heard back on episode 67 and 127. They're putting up all 2700 bottles for sale. In response to the escalating health and economic crisis. The public can now search through their treasure trove by stopping into the bar

browsing their whiskey Bible menu which is also available online and talking to Bill Thomas himself, you can order anything you want. That could mean 20 or 30 year old pours in our bag or MacAllan hard to find bullet family estates or jack roses own private barrels that are made in collaboration with Blanton's and other distilleries. The drums will be packaged in little sealed bottles that could be kept on your home bar in pours of the rare stuff or anything that's $100 plus an ounce will be 50% off while all other pours are 20% off. Thomas says he plans to offer the spirits at a lower price than what consumers would find on the secondary market. If you're in the area, they also have to go cocktails available from all three of their company bars, jack rose, Imperial and DRAM and grain and classics like old fashions a Manhattan's two visible creations that they all have starting at $10 each. The story is spread and when it broke, people were lined up for around five blocks. Their website crashed and they had to use Facebook and Instagram to let everyone know

Know how to contact to them. So please check out the jack rose social pages for the latest and up to date info on how to get your hands on anything. All right, let's change subjects for a minute. Let's get out of the coronavirus talk. Wave financial has finalized an agreement with Danville Kentucky based wilderness trail distilleries to tokenize between 10 and 20,000 barrels of whiskey worth up to around $20 million that will be made publicly available through a specialized digital asset fund. Now if that didn't make sense, this is turning bourbon inventory into cryptocurrency. So known as wave whiskey 2020 Digital fund, investors are able to purchase asset backed tokens linked to an inventory of whiskey barrel this year, that will represent as many as 4 million bottles of bourbon by tokenizing. It wave says that investors can gain exposure to Bourbons value appreciation and can also share some of the proceeds from when a whiskey is sold to wholesale to merchants and three years after the whiskey is first

Still, and the tokens are then issued to investors, users will be able to trade their tokens at whatever price they wish. And wave is also in discussions with some security token exchanges to develop an official secondary market infrastructure to facilitate better trading in the whiskey back tokens. A wave spokesperson added that the token was available for accredited investors from all around the world. And what they first closed at the end of March and a second at the end of June, a final close expected to take into place in September. You can read more about that with the link in our show notes. And didn't more wilderness trail news. The yeast and fermentation doctor from wilderness trail that we all know is Pat heist, who we had back on episode 121. That blew everyone's mind, had his first TED Talk published. It talks about the effect of climate on production and the quality of bourbon. And this was done at TEDx at the University of Nevada. Give it a listen on YouTube with the link in our show notes. All right for today.

Today's episode, we feature one of the largest spirits companies you probably don't know much about. You've heard of brands like Ezra Brookes, Rebel Yell and blood oath. But there is a lot to discover about Lux CO, we sit down with Philip Lux, the global brand ambassador of Lux ro distillers and he's also the son of the CEO Don Lux, as he guides us through the family history of Lexus, along with the acquisitions of their bourbon brands and labels. Then we also get the inside scoop on what's happening at Lux ro distillers. After sourcing whiskey for many years, it became apparent they needed to build a distillery and they did it right in Bardstown, Kentucky. We discuss the future of the brands and how they plan on growing and evolving. Also, don't sleep on this location during your bourbon trail visit because the facility looks incredible. Let's get on with the show. Here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich with above the char

it's Joe from barrel bourbon. Tasting whiskey straight from the barrel was truly alive.

changing moment for me. In 2013 I launched barrel craft spirits so everyone could have the experience of tasting whiskey at CAST strength. Next time ask you bartender for barrel bourbon.

I'm Fred medic, and this is above the char. I have some very, very staggering news. This just in from ACS a or better known as the American craft spirits Association. According to a survey of a CSA 150 craft of 150 craft distillers 67% will be forced to close within three months. 32% of those respondents said it, they won't even last a month 87% of all craft distillery tasting rooms have closed and 60% of the distilleries making craft spirits has already laid off employees or furloughed staff.

This is absolutely staggering to thousand small distillers across the country. And that survey tells us, we may very well lose two thirds of them in a matter of months. Those are people who have put it all in the line to do something that they love and, you know, want to really push the envelope. And this just breaks my heart. This just absolutely breaks my heart. The distilling community right now is trying to get federal support, you know, so they're basically looking for the same kind of federal funds that's going to be given to the airline industry in the hospitality industry. And here we are.

amidst this coronavirus scare, and we're about we're about to see a lot of a lot of great people lose their dreams. And that's just fair.

Very scary.

I think about what we do you know, Kenny Ryan and I, you know, this is, yeah, it's it's my job. But let's face it, I have a dream job. I talk and write about whiskey for a living like all the time. And I have some time said some things that are not so nice about craft whiskies. It was never anything personal. It's just about their whiskey. But never in a million years. What I wish this upon anybody in the industry, I can't even imagine, to begin to think of like, what it what it must be like right now to be a craft distiller and to know that if things don't change, you're going to have to shut down for good. So let's do what we can. Let's, let's do what we can Let's buy their products. And you may push back here and say, Hey, well, Fred, we can't go to the liquor store. Our governor is shut us down. We have to stay inside. You know, that's very well true. But get this. There's a

A lot of delivery services out there right now. That will bring a good old DRAM to your doorstep. You can go to silver box comm craft shack is another one you can go to drizzly calm, and these are all delivery services that will buy from a local retailer and deliver to you. Another one that you can join is called spirits network comm go to spirits network comm I actually have a lot of shows on there, but you can, you can buy booze, and then watch booze TV. So there's a lot of options out there that you can go to and buy craft whiskey or any kind of craft spirit. But listen, we have to band together we have to do what we can to help these small distillers because we can't lose them. We just can't. It's not.

It's very scary. It's absolutely very scary. And so let's do what we can let's band together. Hello

Let's save a distillery or two.

And that's this week's above the char. Hey, make sure you are checking out my YouTube I am dropping content every single day, in hopes of helping you get through the boredom. You can go to YouTube and just look for my channel. Just search my name Fred MiniK. Until next week, cheers

Welcome back to another episode of the bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon. Kinney and Ryan back in Bardstown on the road again often, but this is fun, we love going on the road. And today it's funny because, you know, we drive around bars and we do a lot of these interviews. However, this is one place that I had never driven up and we drive past it quite frequently especially if you're a frequent are over at Keystone liquors. Yeah, you drive by where the cinemas you have the movies in. It's right across the street. It is and but this is it's one place where I drove up and I was I was amazed like

How beautiful the grounds are here at Lux row distillers and being able to in the first thing that we saw a was like some house that you said your buddy grew up in that owned the land here. And then we saw their their resident peacocks. Oh yeah, yeah, this. I've been up this driveway many times. You know, it's a running joke that I say that I'm from Bardstown. But I am from bars town and grew up hanging out here with my buddy john and his family. So

it's a beautiful property got a bunch of old farmhouses gold house and some peacocks and they were like Kenny walked up and they kind of spread their feathers out I think they're excited to see Kenny And so yeah, maybe maybe see us Who knows? Yeah, but I've kind of been you know, just being in town seen the construction and everything but never really seen it till now. And man it's an it's an impressive property with all the distillery and everything. So it's all about the property. But you know, this is also we're getting a chance to talk to

About a company that's kind of like a unknown Titan in the industry, you know, it's they've had a lot of established brands that have been out there. For the longest time, it had been a sourcing product and now that they are sealing the light, they're like, Hey, we got to grow, we got to expand, we got to we got to start pumping out our stuff too. And so we know when we start talking about these brands, a lot of them are gonna start ringing a lot of names like Rebel Yell, like Ezra Brooks, like these are all the labels that these are all the names that you're probably very well familiar with and probably didn't know much about the the distillery and the people that are behind it. So guilty. I don't know much. But now I do know, because we just did the tour got the family history, and it's like a really cool story. So I'm excited to share that with our audience. Absolutely. And that's a good way to kind of segue into our guest today. So today we have Philip Lux. Philip is the global brand ambassador for Luxor distillery. So Philip, welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you, Kenny. Ryan, thanks for having me on. Absolutely. So

Before we kind of get into this and start talking about the whiskey in the tour and the grounds and all that sort of stuff again, let's kind of talk about you know, your history your your upbringing, because because you're you're young strapping lad, your last name is luck. So obviously you have something to do around here. Yeah.

So, you know, the and you kind of talked about like, your family's been in this business? What 40 years now something like a almost 60 years, almost 60 years. Wow. So talk about your first run in with bourbon. My first run with bourbon honestly, was was pretty recent, over the past two to three years when we decided to build this and that so your mom and dad and like

and now I mean, it's really was you know, as personally my my first run with bourbon was was recent, but as a company, we've been in the bourbon industry for over 40 years doing some private label stuff with my grandfather back when you know, he was still still around. And David Sherman, who originally started the business with my grandfather, Paul

Whenever you know it's doing that private label bourbon just for four different grocery stores or, or convenience stores, stuff like that around the country. And then we we bought our first bourbon. And I believe 93 with Ezra Brooks from from Glenmore distillers, who's now owned by Sam's rack and has just kind of grown from there. And, you know, that was a little over 20 years ago now and we've grown. We've had award winning brands and grown our brands over the past 20 years and into into big, big names that allowed us to now break off from sourcing and start our own distillery and have everything distilled in house verse, you know, sourcing our bourbon from somebody else. Okay, so let's get back to the original question. What was your first my first run with bourbon was was probably three years ago. In you know, Colorado when I was when I was living there and decided I wanted to get away from kind of the, the vaca vaca scene so I started to drink some different stuff and my mom actually came

To me and in said that'd be a really good opportunity for, you know, to maybe have an idea of getting into the industry as we're getting ready to build this so I jumped kind of head over heels into the bourbon industry and

kind of ran with it from there went to moonshine University in Louisville and where I really got introduced to bourbon and whiskey and that kind of helped me in golf myself in the industry and in golf myself and what bourbon really is, especially here in Kentucky in Louisville, where it's you know, American spirit and in most popular spirits, so, huh, so she kind of was like the catalyst you didn't really you were like, that's your thing. I'm gonna do my own thing. Yeah, I'd never even really wanted to be in the industry. My I was always not necessarily pressured. My dad always said Do whatever you want to do. Yeah, he was never pressuring me at all. It was always his friends are my friends asking when when are you going to get in the industry? When are you going to do this? do that so because I'm sure your friends are like, hey, yeah,

I mean, I would take boxes of boosts.

to college with me, whether it be vaca Yeah, you'd be Ron knock that probably we just got in the house, we used to own Admiral Nelson. So that was a pretty cool product for us. And that was a fun product in college. And everybody enjoyed that. But, you know, on the bourbon side, I really didn't know much about it until I started taking classes and really engulfing myself in it with Stephen thief, like I said, as well, with moonshine you and you know, my mom is said, you know, take a chance this is something that's different, it's something that's new, it's gonna be something that you can help grow and you can be a part of, I was working in a ski shop in Colorado two years out of school, and you know, love in life, but it's hard to work in a ski shop for the rest of your life. Right? Well, I guess I work in a ski town so I need to find something a little different. And I you know, I've I've used my dad in different people in the company, and then the industry is kind of stepping, you know, stuffing box to help me work into it and learn more about it and I feel

That I've, I'm learning, you know, every day, whether it be with our products or the distillation process or the supplier versus distributor side. And, you know, with my job, it really allows me to learn, you know, frequently and, and continue learning and traveling and seeing different how bourbon and whiskey is viewed in California versus in Kentucky versus in New York. You know, I like to call you know, the bourbon trail like the Napa Valley of the Midwest now because you guys probably see it firsthand as well where everybody's flocking here now for that burden. Even the peacocks even though

they're they're always here and they're, you know, they love it here. So kind of talk about what you do see the difference in in bourbon, whether it's the community or culture as you're doing these travels, you know, just across the US like what is what's something that kind of stands out to you? You know, I think something that really stands out is the, the recognition of the bigger

You know, you go to California where, and I went up to Seattle for Seattle cocktail week and people had never heard of Lexapro but they had heard of, you know, they heard of heaven, hell and Maker's Mark and Jim Beam. And, you know, being, for me my passion and what I really strive to grow not only our brands, but our brands are part of a bigger name now of Lux. Lux row. So I think you know, to answer your question, Kenny, the The major difference that I see is how quickly a brand like Lux row catches on in Kentucky, because, you know, we're a year and seven months out from, you know, putting juice in our first barrel. And people recognize those brands like you know, they, they have, you know, throughout time and they recognize Lexapro now, as in you go to San Francisco whiskey Fest, those are all whiskey, you know, enthusiasts, so they're gonna, you know, they're they've probably been following those brands, but they're not super familiar with it. Maybe they've seen that Lux ro logo somewhere and now they're gonna be you know,

Gonna be there and they can, you know, learn more about it on a first hand basis or up in New York, I was up there and personally introduce David Nicholson reserve into the New York in the Boston Market in front of all the distributors so just different brands that aren't necessarily recognized throughout the country or are and don't have a lot of backing to them that need help you know, growing and with the distillery it's allowed us to help grow those brands in a different way where we can one bring customers here and you know, they can see that product we have people from all over the country if not the globe coming here. When they come to see heaven Hillary Jim Beam or Maker's Mark or limestone branch down in Lebanon, they drive right past us now. So we're in a very unique spot here that

it allows us to help grow. Yeah, I mean, go ahead, right. Oh, no, good. All right. Well, I'll keep going. I mean, cuz i was i was talking about like his Yeah, I mean, we talked about

Kind of beginning to show that you know, the rebel gal David Nicholson blood oath like Ezra books like these are these are pretty iconic names in in whiskey like they've been around for a long time but people didn't really know a lot of the background. And so Lux ro is also is it underneath the umbrella or an extension of Lux co as well? Can you kind of talk about the differences what you have there? Yeah, absolutely. So Lux CO is I like to call it our parent brand. But Lux Lux row is actually technically a supplier of Lux Co. You know, we own it as a family. My dad, you know, is the chairman CEO still of Lux row, but we act as a supplier for Lux, COEs Bourbons. But we're also you know, owned and operated family operated out of St. Louis with my father. myself my brother my mom. My brother's not in the industry. he's a he's an aerospace engineer, but he's the winner. Yes, James. He's a one a little bit of a different path than myself But no, to each its own. Yeah.

I found you know, a niche here but yeah, I mean Lux CO is is a worldwide supplier of spirits. We own a multitude of about 100 different brands everclear probably being the biggest my grandpa Paul purchase that, you know, way back in the day that was his first popular guy in college. And to this day I'm proud to admit I've actually never drink and everclear Yeah, it really is brutal. Yeah, never drink and it was like hooch or something.

So it's, it's, you know, everclear is you know, the biggest one but then we've got you know, provoq arrow cordials we own three different two kilos, whereas tequila, which is our mixto which you can find in you know, like a Texas Roadhouse Well, it's you well Margarita is usually whereas tequila, we have LA or tequila, which is our ultra premium as well as exotic tequila. All based out of Mexico. But it all you know, we're the supplier for that. So we we've been partners with the Gonzales family over there for

3040 years my grandfather worked with Rodolfo Gonzales his father so so very family oriented. And then over on locks row even you obviously can't get to locks row if you don't have locks.

And so we've over the past 20 years we've purchased all of our bourbon brands as your Brooks been the first and 93 from Glenmore distillers. And then we had Rebel Yell in 99. We purchased from Stetson Weller, David Nicholson is one of my favorite brands to talk about because it started originally started in St. Louis, Missouri, and we can go into that story. You got a little bit of a soft spot for St. Louis don't I do I do St. Louis born and raised my hometown. Got to give a shout out to our blue Stanley Cup champions. But you know, all of our brands have a very unique backstory to them very unique roots. That's why here at Lux row we are I guess motto is real roots real family real products. We have the roots not only with the products, but the real roots here in Bardstown with the Ballard

farm. They've lived there and and Ryan you know this but

big john Ballard lived there for 40 years raised his kids there, his grandkids there. I mean, this was their family farm. So we have the real roots with the products as well as with the farm. We've got the real family with myself, my dad, my mom being the creative director. So she worked her butt off, you know, getting this place up the top notch, you know, within two years, and then we've got the real products and the drinkability obviously speaks for themselves when you when you let them touch your lips, but each one has different wards. As what to say cuz the ezard Brooks barrel proof kind of went off gangbusters this year. Yeah, we're going crazy. It was crazy. Yeah. So we'll right when we introduced it wherever we reintroduced it, Fred.

Fred MiniK, who's never heard it never had that. But he called it he called it his,

his 2018 everyday sipping whiskey of the year, which absolutely blew it off the rails, all the allocations from across the country. We're going to

Wire. And so people you know we're in love with it and then somehow some way it one in San Francisco 2019 straight bourbon of the year 2018 straight straight whiskey of the year, which was absolutely huge for us once again. But then David Nicholson reserve back to back 2000 back to back double Gold's in San Francisco and in 2017 2018 as well as straight bourbon of the year 2017 Rebel Yell 10 year old single barrel was top 20 whiskies of the world it was number 12 there were only three American whiskeys on that. So we were really really fortunate to you know to have that one it's also very delicious product as well as won some some gold medals. So each one you know that real roots, real family real products, you know really comes into play with Lux row as well as Lux CO and St. Louis. But you know, very family oriented but Lux Lux row is what we that's what we strive here. So he says your dad ever told you about how you had the foresight to like start buying up these brands like before the you know, the big boom

Like, has he ever talked about that? Like, why did he get why did bourbon interesting, I guess from in the early 90s? When no one cared? Yeah, it's a great question and I'll need to, to pick his brain about that. Because, you know, I should definitely know that I know that. He's always looking to acquire and sell different brands, whether it be bourbon or, or rum or vodka, or tequila, stuff like that. But,

you know, he's, he sees an opportunity, and he'll jump on it. I mean, David Nicholson, he literally bought that product from the Van Winkle family. He was on the phone with Julian Van Winkle, which is pretty cool story, especially. I mean, if you guys want I mean, I can go into you know how David Nicholson 1843 came about, do it. Let's hear it. But so my favorite This is my favorite story to tell about our Bourbons because it hits home for me, it goes back to 1843. I've looked it up on Google, and actually found it. Actually, it actually found David Nicholson's grocery store that I'm about to talk about in St. Louis. Okay. He was a great

grocery store owner back in 1843 in St. Louis, Missouri. So he made that four year old weeded bourbon in his basement of his grocery store 50 years later as well, it's like you can do that 50 years later in 1893, some guy named Pappy Van Winkle. Never heard of them might know something about we did bourbon. I'm not sure. What's that? Yeah, exactly. He purchased that product continued that Nashville and then in 2000, my father, Don purchased that product from from Julian Van Winkle. So which means we've now brought that full circle from 1843. Back to St. Louis, where it originally started, which is a really cool story to tell. It's 100% true, and it it puts that family you know, atmosphere that family feel back in that product that has been there throughout time but might not have been recognized. And then we introduce David Nicholson reserve that won a bunch of awards. It's not it's a seven year ride bourbon at 100 proof so they they interact with each other very well.

They're different taste profiles, one's very creamy, one's still a little bit sweeter because of that we did bourbon.

So that you know, that's David Nicholson is a really cool story with with roots dating back to 1843, but also roots a back to the Van Winkle family. So where was blood oath made? Not a grocery store, right? How not to talk about that, and how it got its name and how it made it wait made its way to your portfolio. So blood oath was a product that were our head distillers very, very fond of john rappy. We wanted something that he could put his name to, and that it could be his in that he could continue to create, you know, delicious blends, you know, year after year. So, you know, john goes to different places and different distilleries and finds very unique barrels that he can blend together. And what we wanted was three extra age Bourbons blended together with a unique bourbon that's finished in something different. So packed, one was

three extra age Bourbons blended together not finishing anything unique barrel after that and pack to three extra age Bourbons, one of which was finished in a pork barrel from Meyers winery in Cincinnati.

also failed and operated with my cousin Paul Lux who owns Meyers winery. Pack three was finishing a Cabernet 70 on barrel for an extra six months. JOHN actually went out to Napa Valley and pick those barrels from the the smiley or the head wine guy you know at Swanson vineyards Napa Valley pack for was finished in Rebel Yell 10 year old toasted oak single barrel. So that was a 10 year old, a 12 year old and a nine year old and that nine year old was finished for an extra six months. So you got very dark chocolate notes. So these are all things that you know, john, personally, you know, puts that bourbon in those barrels and tastes them month over month to make sure that they're at that flavor profile that he wants. So when I tasted that blood oath, or that that nine year coming out of

Those old 10 year old toasted oak barrels It was very dark chocolate tasted not like chocolate milk, but kind of cocoa almost. It had a very, you know, chocolatey taste to it and then pack five you know, everybody's looking for that extra aged, super high proof, very unique Bourbons these days, so pack five, it's a,

an eight year old 12 year old and a 13 year old and that the eight year old rize actually finished for an extra six months and Caribbean rum cast. So that's what we're drinking right now. Nice. That Caribbean rum casks you get

you get very sweet and sweet. Yeah, Ryan signs empty, sweet sugary notes on the front end. You get like dark fruit banana, you get that okayness coming through from that extra age that you know 13 and 12 year old coming through there. So blood oath is something that

you know, the but the blood of the tests is that you know, nobody knows where he finds his barrels or his bourbon but you know, he puts together

product that is very unique and is for the the bourbon enthusiast. And if you'd like I can read you know what the actual blood oath label says on there. But it'll, it'll, it gives the whole story but if you think about it, you prick your finger with a buddy, and you make a blood oath, you know, you don't tell, you know, tell those things. Only you guys know where it's from, and tell you get on the podcast and

reveal everything. It's all we do. We sit here and poke and prod until you run out mash bills and ages and where your source your barrels, we save our blood.

So that's cool. I mean, that's, I think that's a side of, of, at least that particular brand that most people don't know about. You know, for I mean, I can remember when I think blood was packed, one came out, and there was just kind of this, like, what is this? Where do they come from? It's in a box like, what, what is this stuff? And so now we kind of have a little bit more of the information and really kind of what goes into it now. Now I know that each pact is uniquely different as well. It's not so

supposed to be this

similar creation over and over and over again? Yeah, the main similarity and that's only three barrels yet another thing to three three extra age Bourbons is the main submit similarity, excuse me, and, you know, each year, different box different label different flavor profile completely. And it's something that that john can really get behind and put, you know, a lot of his passion to it as well, other than, you know, all the other Bourbons, but he loves the blood oath, and it's growing in popularity, you know, year over year, we've continually made more of it. It's still allocated.

But I believe we made

I think it's 5003 in cases for this one, so about 15,000 bottles, maybe a little bit more might be vitamin 17,000 bottles, but it's allocated bottles for three barrels. You know how you're doing that?

Well, it's not three barrels total. Oh, yeah. Okay.

I thought it would be different. I literally thought it was like three barrels. No, no, so like, math as well.

All right, we'll take about we'll take about 40.

About 40 barrels. So like with the pack for we had 40 to 10 year old barrels that we sent back to the cooperage, they took them apart, scrape the number three char off, put them back together, suck a flaming hot rod in the middle for about an hour, put a very deep toast on them, put it back together and send it back to us. And then we aged that nine year old or finished that nine year old for an extra six months in those barrels. So it wasn't all three Bourbons finishing those barrels, it was only that one. So then john will blend them together in whatever way he finds, you know, best so that he gets those flavor profiles that he's looking for. So it's more than just it's three, three types of barrels. But it's not three barrels total. Gotcha. And so it was was Rebel Yell acquired at the same time as David Nicholson. About a year before but right around the same time. Yeah. Yeah. Because that's, that already has a pretty historic past, you know, being something that was at Stillwell or stuff like that, you know, it's it's good to kind of get the background of

What these are and I'm assuming this is this is the the line that you have right now in your Bourbons. Yeah Miss Rebel Yell at her Brooke split oath and David Nicholson, the Rebel Yell we just reintroduce, or we just new label on it, which you know pops much better than the old one, you can really read the lettering. So we've reintroduced that to the, to the market.

You know, we're coming out with new bottles and new new products eventually, as you know, as we get going.

There'll be there'll be something along the lines of you know, a regular or just like a distillery product from Lux row.

So definitely look look forward to seeing that at some point.

But yeah, this is this is our line. These four products are two mash bills. I ride Nashville and our we did Nashville, we can get to all of our products from those. Hmm. And so I guess let's talk a little bit about the distillery here because

Cuz we mentioned when we were walking and talking, breaking ground around 2016, which was, you know, for us, I remember doing the podcast and we're like, oh, what's this place that's getting ready to start and we didn't really, really think anything of it now, a couple years later, we're here finally doing a podcast. Yeah. And then you realize they make you know, they have Rebel Yell and all those brands, all the big brands, yeah, I'd never heard of before. And so kind of talk about the the timeline of breaking ground. When you first started distilling, getting everything online, first barrel, everything like that. Yes. So see, we broke ground, January 2016.

The ballers lived in that house pretty much two weeks until we broke ground on the property. So it was still their family farm pretty much up until then, I mean, we obviously haven't get out.

So yeah, we broke ground, January 2016. We're on about a two year you know, we wanted it to be you know, up and running in two years. So

January 2018, I think January 10. We filled our first barrel, January 5, we turned the steel on.

And then April 11, we opened up to the public. So that was our grand opening. And that was a huge day not only for our family, but for our company. It was the largest investment that we've ever made for our company. But it was really big in nursery, more morale, but just for the whole team, I mean, my dad shut down our whole company in St. Louis and bust about 350 of his employees out here so that they could stand out on this front lawn while we had bagpipers walking, you know, taking my mom and my dad and David Bratcher, the president of our company down to the flagpole to, you know, to raise that Lux row flag for the first day. So you got people that, you know, have worked have driven a forklift in a warehouse in St. Louis for 30 years, with a smile on their face coming to work every day for my dad and my grandfather. That got to come out here and see firsthand where they're, you know where that Rebel Yell or that Ezra Brooks is that they're pushing every single

All day unloading trucks they got to see firsthand where that's made with with their co workers. And it really spoke volumes you know who our family is and what we're all about and just to have everybody out here is just a really cool experience. You know, April 11 2018 we'll remember that day is you know, the day that you know we we cut the ribbon on this place and open it up to the world and that really is what you know what what we did you know, not only here in Bardstown but i mean i'm going to London next week to you know, work in the market with our with Ezra Brooks and rebel yo with our, our international reps over there. So

to see a grow over the past, whatever it is year and a little over a year and a half now from where it was to where it is now and then just envisioning where it can go, you know, over the next two 510 years and past that is really special and just to see, you know, everybody in the company, really get behind

Everybody in you know, in our bourbon

section of Lux co get behind it and all the events that we're doing, we're now going to be at at every whiskey fest around the country. So Chicago, San Francisco, New York.

I'm missing a couple nights, but there's no whiskey fest whiskey in the winter in St. Louis. We'll have a booth there. So you know, the everybody's really getting behind it, especially here in Bardstown. I mean, you got to tell better mommies, they've got our products and they love it and they'll they'll sell it or

you gotta love Manny's Gotta love nannies you can't go wrong with the country cooking there. Yeah, we had one actually. We had a group that came here. I was like a VIP tour or something. And they went to mommies for breakfast. And they were just like, That was crazy. The pancakes are huge. And I couldn't even like we're bloated. Yeah. secondaries. Yeah.

So talk about why did you all decided to do the distiller here and not kind of do a footprint

You know in St. Louis,

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Why did you all decided to do the distiller here and not kind of do a footprint you know in St. Louis, you know you got a bunch of breweries here

They're, you know, a nice big city like, you know, in your bottling they're still currently why not do it there and instead of kind of putting your foots down here or not your foot putting making your stamp here in Bardstown? Yeah, definitely, I mean, I think I think that you know Bardstown is the heart of bourbon country. And we found that I think we wanted to be around everybody else. I think it definitely helps us being here. Versus you know, being in St. Louis. We have our other our plant in St. Louis, where everything else is made. But you know, this is bourbon country and we wanted to be by by the other distilleries, and we wanted to be right in the heart of it. Like I said earlier, you know, the, the Napa Valley of the, you know, of the Midwest is that bourbon trail right now, and yes, people are going through St. Louis to you, but they're gonna go there and see beer when they're coming through Kentucky. They're coming for bourbon and we needed somewhere that could be you know, 100% about our Bourbons that we could, you know, really get behind and, and we

been, you know, we've been sourcing for 20 years so we've been driving our barrels from Kentucky back to St. Louis for 20 years and it's been working for us why change anything now? Why not you know break ground in the heart of bourbon country where we have that limestone filtered water. I mean, we just still we cook we ferment with Bardstown city water, this limestone filter we don't do anything with you know, with it when we're putting in the cooks or anything like that. Well, you know, we'll reverse osmosis, purify it when we're, you know, we're proofing down everything, but to be here in Bardstown in the heart of it is what it's all about, and that's where the most traffic is. That's where people want to want to come to see that bourbon, and also, in Kentucky in it's the same weather as Missouri. You just get it about a day later, but you get all four seasons. You get all four seasons, very hot summers, very cold winters. So that aging process is really unique here in Kentucky,

and is probably the best agent process for bourbon.

So I mean

We're right in the home in Lebanon, Kentucky is not far away so independence Dave it's easy to get barrels from them. Everything very centrally located here in Kentucky. selfishly I like being in Kentucky because it's close enough to St. Louis Right. You can drive back for a few hours and one hour drive. Yeah, it's not bad at all. But I think this is where the majority of people know what they're talking about here in Kentucky for bourbon. And you know, when I got started I in the industry I it was a little challenging for me because I was kind of just cold calling on different bars and restaurants and stuff like that and the saturation of bourbon in in Kentucky. Louisville is just insane. I mean, you go into any bar and there's more than 100 Bourbons on there. So

to be able to get our name behind something that can compete directly with those big brands. With Lux ro but also you know, Rebel Yell is growing as her Brooks is growing. David Nicholson is growing. David Nicholson reserved

The biggest you know our top skew coming out of the distillery here you know it's it definitely speaks to the location that we're in. I guess I forgot to question about this so what's there between this the regular David Nicholson and the reserve the 1843 is a four year old we did at 100 proof so for us we did bourbon in the reserves a seven year old ride burn out 100 proof There we go. Yeah, so once we add ones ride, Alright, so now our listeners know exactly what you're looking at when you're perusing your store shelves.

So I guess, you know, as we kind of keep talking about the the distillery here and everything like that, what's the I mean, it's a massive still so kind of talk about the relationship you have with Vendome and and the size of it and kind of like how much product you're pumping out to. Definitely so yeah, we got are still 43 feet tall. 36 inches in diameter handmade custom copper still from Vendome in Louisville. So family operated with the Sherman family.

They are the best when it comes to still making this obviously, other stills hillbillies.

Try it instills. I would think Vendome is up there with, you know, the best in the industry.

But yeah, so Ours is a 43 foot column still, which then feeds the low wine into our doubler, which is also made by Vendome. I'm not 100% sure the capacity of the doubler. But once it gets into that double, there's a slide on that one.

pure, pure alcohol in there, no more grains or anything. And we're going to pump out about a million million gallons a year, which is about 70 barrels a day with the capacity to do about what we do about 20,000 barrels a year and we have the capacity to do about 50,000 barrels a year. If we add a couple fermenters

down the road when when we need that to production to jump up. Is that based off like what you're kind of seeing sales in the marketplace, either current brands or more is that kind of like we see this is the growth of what this company is going to be. Yeah, a little four to five years. Obviously, there's projections and I don't see those projects.

firsthand, but I think you know, we deplete about 20,000 barrels a year. So maybe a little bit less. But as as those projections and stuff as we get rid of some other barrels that we have at other distilleries will, you know, by the time those are finished, we'll be ready to dump our first four year old barrel here and we can just kind of jump right into it same seamlessly and that's what was kind of unique about us building building here as well is that you know, we've been in the bourbon industry owning our own Bourbons for over 20 years and and we've been doing it you know, we've we've had it it working very well and very good relationships and to have those those products. We're doing the same thing that those other distilleries had been doing for us, except now everything's in house and we can just, we were able to have have barrels aging,

continue producing those products and having them in the market. Why

We're building our distillery. So whereas you know, a smaller craft distillery that's just popping up out of the ground, they're either going to source their product off the start, or they have to wait, you know, a year or two years for their first product to come off the still or to be dumped out of the barrel for us, we could just jump right into it.

And they're not too much of a leeway. And in you know, getting that still turned on pumping out juice and just jumping right back into that, that process of putting bourbon in, you know, on the shelf. Yeah, I guess that that also kind of leads into another question is when you start thinking about when the day does come when your barrels are ready, until you said like 20 2022 2022 is kind of like the date that you all are aiming at. Is there ever any any worry because, you know, if you're, if you're sourcing and you're buying and you've been buying at a consistent product, and you kind of know exactly like what it's going to be at that age, you have a little high confidence and then now you're kind of like Okay, now we're working with our equipment.

Is there any sort of thoughts or worries to say like, God, I really hope it's gonna be ready in four years. Personally, I don't have any worry. But people in the industry I'm sure will have worry.

For I don't have any worry for a couple reasons. One, I've tasted our year juice that came out of our first make barrels. And it's absolutely delicious at 125 proof very calmly, very dark for a year, which gave me a lot of confidence into what we're going to be taking out of those barrels, you know, three years down the road, but also when when we're doing the exact same thing that those other distilleries you know, had been doing for us for 20 years, our head distiller was, was you know, we were deciding what that Nashville was going to be stuff like that. But when we pull our barrels, you know, especially for our Rebel Yell, and our Ezra Brooks, as well as some for the David Nicholson, but mostly the rebel Jonas for Brooks, we're going to pull in a cross sectional method from the Rick house, so we're not going to rotate any of our barrels so when we pull those barrels, we're going to pulled 200 barrels, maybe 250 barrels at a time and blow

those all together to get to that consistent, you know, flavor or proof that we've had for the past 20 years that's been, you know, award winning or that we've been putting on the shelves year in and year out. So, and that's all tested by our head distiller and some people back in St. Louis to making sure those flavors are there. But me personally, I don't really have anywhere because we have the best in business, you know, doing what, what they do here, but I'm sure that's going to be a thought of some people once we get our first product, you know, that we actually distilled here, you know, into the market. Y'all trying to kind of replicate the existing profiles you have now with the existing brands is that kind of what your match bills are geared towards is kind of replicating the agenda now. It's gonna be the same Nashville, we're using the same corn we're using the same wheat or rye, we're using the same yeast, everything like that. We're just doing it in house now. So gotcha. You know, it's, it's hard to I would think that would be the smart way to do it.

Yeah, I mean, it's it's hard to it's hard to kind of replicated

offer, you know, a year and seven month old barrel shirt. As we get closer and closer, I'm sure that replication process will become more in depth and taking a couple different barrels and mixing them together and proofing them down to see if we can get to that exact proof

for that exact flavor profile, which I know we will.

But yeah, I mean, there's definitely, I'm sure there's definitely some worry or thought into if it's going to be exactly the same. Mm hmm. I mean, I think that's always a always a concern when you're doing this and figuring out Okay, do we do we keep the sourcing do we start blending a little bit, that sort of thing as you start going down that path? Even more?

And so we kind of went on the tour kind of so we have what 1212 fermenters here 12

I'm already testing my knowledge here. 12 fermenters a massive still doubler what else am I missing that we kind of solve on our little tour here?

We talk about think tanks. So you got some proofing tanks, we'll we'll put, we'll put juice in the proofing tank said 140. And we'll prove it down to 120 4.9. For it to be bourbon can't go in 125 or higher. And so we'll talk about the storage capacity we have here too, because we were able to go inside there you have this beautiful wall of barrels, anybody that missed you can always check out Instagram scroll way, way, way back and you can probably find it but there was a an idea that they had of being able to make an impact when you come into a particular warehouse

to kind of talk about what that is. Yeah, so my dad Don and David Brasher, the president of the company had a really good good really great idea honestly to take out first couple Rick's and and Rick house and just make a big wall of barrels that people could see and, and allow people to really, you know, see what a wreck house looks like see the magnitude of a wreck house.


See how many barrels are in a wreck house from floor to ceiling instead of just being in a confined claustrophobic area and and leave you know a lasting impression on on people that come to the distillery

I don't don't quote me on this but I believe it's probably the number one picture people take at our distillery once they get in there the wow factor is definitely ducks. Yeah number two speaker blend them together and make one

you know the wow factors you know definitely there we have we have in that Rick house will all of them were are built by bucyk construction here in Bardstown also family owned operated. But you know, they were kind of skeptical about it at first until they did some engineering on it and they found a way that it would work. And so we were the first ones to do it. We're one of you know that Rick house is one of a kind in the industry. So they've bucyk is brought other people you know, that are maybe interested in it to kind of look at that, but all of our rec houses aren't like that. So that one holds our first one Rick house, one holds

19,200 barrels, and then all of our other Rick houses hold about 20,000 barrels. So if my math is right, about an 800 barrel sacrifice about 800 barrel sacrifice and we definitely think that that sacrifice you know paid off an aesthetic purposes.

I'm hoping that those barrels stay on that wall for a very long time, at least like 10 years. Me personally, but I'm not the one calling the shots when it comes to what barrels are being pulled. But, you know, we've got some special barrels on that wall that people can see and hear the story about.

And you know, those brick houses, that's where the magic really happens. I mean, in my mind the barrels most influential aspect of the bourbon process, see 70% of the flavor or 70% of the flavor 100% of the color. So it'll be interesting to see how a little bit of that extra airflow kind of affects the barrels in a positive or negative way. We hope all positive Yeah.

Either absolutely, hundred percent. But, you know, it's it's just we tried to be differentiate ourselves from other distilleries in a few different ways through visuals, whether it be the video at the start of the tour, the artwork throughout the tour, or, you know, the Rick house, you know, very, very visually appealing that people you know, it sticks with them when they when they leave here. Yeah, it's one of the first warehouses we've been around to recently that doesn't have like the black fungus several or Yeah, so we don't have that yet. We'll get better. I think it's starting to grow on a couple of the small trees out there. Yeah.

It's like every tree bars on the black like, like you brazenly like what's wrong with your trees? It's like, I'm worried. It's just the

tree. It's just the bourbon. It's just the bourbon talking. Yeah. So you know, last thing I want to kind of talk about because I think the brands are a very sort of focus for what you do in all the ambassadors

centering. I think that's a word that you that you do around the globe, sort of what is what has been like the one thing that people latch on to when you talk to them about their brand or about your brands? Like is there one thing in particular each one of these that they're kind of like, oh, wow, like, I didn't know that, or that's a pretty cool little factoid. I think there's there's a couple things. I think the roots behind each one of our brands is very unique. And people don't realize the roots that you know, each brand has come from, I mean, you mentioned if you mentioned stitz, a Weller to anyone that you know, drinks bourbon, they know that it was a very prestigious distillery back in the day that you know, has amazing juice that we've continued that you know, that process or you mentioned, the Van Winkle family.

Everybody knows who you are, most people that drink bourbon, know who, you know, the van winkles are so I think that the, the, the roots of each one of our Bourbons is very unique. The flavor profile is very unique, but what I really enjoy about this job

is telling our family story and how we've grown throughout the past 60 years, starting as just a small you know, private label distribution company in modeler all the way up to one of the top suppliers and you know, in the country, if not the world of spirits and to be able to grow that family name into bourbon is very special for for not only myself but for our family as a whole. I mean, I've my mom, and it was absolutely a job to raise me over, you know, 25 years but she put her heart and soul into this distillery for two year process and, you know,

the tasting room the visitor experience that was all her so to see, to be able to tell our family's story and put it behind not only the brands but the whole distillery in general is very special and I think people will actually latch on to it.

at, you know, whiskey fests and stuff like that. Because

no, okay, like you're saying, some people do know the brands, some people don't know the brands and, and if you can give them something to latch on to that reminds them of that brand. I think it's it helps them, you know, one they'll drink it, they'll maybe ask for that over a different product and at the store after, you know, they go from San Francisco whiskey fest drinking all day and night and the next morning, they're like, oh, what was you know, what was that? What was that product from Lux, Rhoda. Still it was that thing I can't remember. And then maybe, maybe they remember it. Or maybe I was just in the liquor store that they go to. And they walk in there. And I was just, I personally had just been talking to the owner and talk to them and explained all of our brands. So they walk in there and they say, Oh, do you have any brands from Lexapro, distillers? Oh yeah, we have Rebel Yell we have as Rob Brooks. We have these great

Are any of those ringing a bell and they can kind of relate to, you know, not just those products whereas in you know, Maker's Mark is its Maker's Mark. Yeah, you know, that's why we didn't want to call this distillery rebel distillery or as your Brooks distillery. We didn't want it to be like a legacy distillery we wanted it to have. We wanted to be able to distill all those products under one roof have four or five, six brands underneath one big brand of locks row. So once once the Lux bourbon coming,

you could probably look forward around bourbon fest time. Yeah, there you go. It's gonna happen. So you guys are in like you said, Lux kosan part. got their hands and everything. Like is there any plans to use this facility to kind of support those brands as well or just not? Focus? Yeah, strictly with egos Not that I've heard of. I mean, definitely not for tequilas, obviously. Go but we've got a distillery out in Mexico.

We've worked with for over 40 years.

You know, people have actually asked me that are you going to use a silver vodka or gin, stuff like that? As of right now it's strictly bourbon focus and whiskey focused.

Not to say that there's not something down the road that need be, we might need to do some grand neutral spirits or something like that. But right now, it's strictly bourbon. Like if you got the equipment. Yeah, why not? Enough? We'll talk about some of the like the kinks or like, troubles with starting a distillery what's kind of been like, because it can't all just be like, easy peasy smooth. rainbows. That's something that's something you'd have to ask Tony or Aaron about, mostly, but I mean, I'm not I'm out here two or three times a week, when I can be when I'm not traveling.

You know, just getting getting everything dialed in. Seems like everything in the whiskey business takes three times as long. Yeah. And we were we were lucky enough that people from other distilleries applied for jobs here. So

There wasn't a huge training process other than just getting used to our facilities, which was awesome. And everybody that works here is is fantastic.

You know, obviously capital is probably one of the biggest, biggest things when coming, you know, coming to building building the property, or building a distillery, finding the land this was the last piece of property we looked at this is my dad, David Bratcher looked at about 10 to 12 different pieces of property. So this was the last one

which definitely worked out the best. I think

it's like distillery hunters. Yeah.

I know. This is

I need three bathrooms. Yeah. I mean, I really tell you the truth I really don't see see a lot of the stuff that's kind of the kinks in it. I will tell you that we are, you know, firsthand exactly what you're going to see going into the barrel is what you're going to get four years down the road. We're not trying to hide anything. We're not

You know, our tours literally you're walking through our facility. And you see the exact fermenters the exact cookers, the exact steel that we use, if a if a cooker is broken, for example, one of the first tours I ever gave, and when I was out here, there was one, one of the employees hanging off the cooker fixing it. I mean, if you're on a tour, you're gonna see that cooker being fixed, maybe we're down a cooker. So we have to, you know, double up on that one cooker now. So you're gonna see exactly what you know what goes into that process should be under warranty. It's only been there a couple years.

What do they call it? Sometimes in the industry or working showroom? Yeah, exactly.

So Philip, I want to say thank you so much for coming on the show today and and really kind of sharing that family connection. I think you really hit home for a lot of it of really understanding exactly what your family's been doing for all these years now and how they've built these products, how they built these brands and then the connection

But you also have with the other families around here and in Bardstown and other surrounding areas to help build the distillery in itself and really how the next iteration of this and next two years we'll see, you know, when the product start getting dumped in their bottle, then you start seeing that that realization of all the fruits of the labor finally coming together. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's kind of it's very cool because like when you say Lux co or electro, you're like, Alright, some big corporation owns some brands and you know, their money but, you know, meeting you and, and just seeing your pride I guess, in your, you know, in your family's, what they've done, you know, to get to this point, and like, see the family aspect behind it, like, all day long you kind of preach that, you know, this is really important as the family aspect with all the relationships we have with our vendors, with our suppliers, our employees, you know, it's really kind of cool to see that that's what's really behind these products. It's not just Rebel Yell and Ezra Nicholson and blood out, it's the lugs family, you know, it's not just

Some big corporation with bean counters.

There's probably a few bees.

But, uh, it's cool to see the, you know, the families involved, you know, so much so, yeah, I absolutely don't I mean, I really appreciate it and I appreciate you guys, you know, giving me an opportunity to come on the podcast. I love your guys's podcast, and, you know, we just while we show up for free, Barbara, any time right? Yeah, no, but I it's just been a it's been an awesome ride over the past, you know, two, three years for me personally really diving into it and seeing it grow. And my dad's always told me since from a young age, you know, in the in the industry, it's all about relationships. I mean, obviously, life's all about relationships as well, but in the bourbon industry, you know, it's all about relationships. I mean, he he known the Shapiro family for over 40 years, I mean, Max's Dad, you know, age wise and I'm gonna use my hands but, you know, it was Max's dad above my grandfather and then Max was right on

Under my grandfather, and then my dad was under Max and then Max's son Andy is now under him and then I'm under Andy. So, I'm extremely, you know, you know, pleased and honored to be fourth generation coming into the business, whether it be like you're saying with our suppliers, you know, like the young family out in Atlanta with you know, with their distribution company. His kids are now billion that the third billion Jr's kids are now working in the industry. So I get to work hand in hand with another fourth generation. And

you know, it's all about family and, and yeah, it's our products. I think speak to that. The drinkability was if you come to the distillery even our tour guides, we've got a Ballard, Towner Ballard, that actually works at the distillery so you know, his second uncle was was john Ballard, who lived on the property like Alright, we'll say exactly they got a Connor Yeah. someone's life.

I mean, we've got you know, we've got people that are born and raised in Bardstown. One of the excuse me one of the

people that work in the distillery or name is ginger her husband actually hauls our slop so it's like you know, in her mind intermingled family at aspect without even like thinking about it so

it's just it was an honor it's an honor just to be in it and just want to continue to grow our brands grow Rebel Yell, Azur Brooke split up David Nicholson

you know, keep striving the real roots real family real products because that truly is what we have here. If you come to the distillery and and get a tour You know, when you come when you come to the distillery exactly when you come to the distillery either get a tour from myself or one of our dark tour ambassadors, Connor, Kelsey, Annabel Landon there, Casey, they're all fantastic. You know, either born and raised in Louisville or in Bardstown and, you know, they're just here to help share our stories.

Share our Bourbons and, and enjoy some some damn fine bourbon.

Killer sign off.

bourbon. Yeah. So make sure you come you come visit Lux ro take a take a tour, I guarantee you'll be you'll be kind of bright eyed a little bit, you know, it's got a little bit of a newer kind of vibe and angle to it. Yeah. And beautiful piece of land. Absolutely. I mean, it's been like half the podcast talking about

shout out to the valley. So, so make sure you come visit them, but you can also make sure that you're following us bourbon pursuit on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And please support the show by writing us a review, or maybe even financially on Patreon we'd love to we always like to have that be our main support of how we keep this show going and shout out to all our Patreon supporters that do so rank ahead and close this out. Yeah, like any said we love hearing from you. Also, if you have feedback, guests, suggestions, comments, we'd love hearing from you because we this is what we do. It's for

You guys so keep them coming and we'll see you next time.

Transcribed by

Mar 26, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Angel's Envy Tawny

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Angel's Envy Tawny. This 10 year old bourbon is 111.6 proof and $250 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Mar 24, 2020
245 - COVID-19 Effect on Bourbon and Blanton’s Hysteria on Bourbon Community Roundtable #42

On this episode, we discuss two topics that are top of mind. First, is the Coronavirus and how it's impacting the bourbon industry. Then we take a look at the hype and hysteria that surrounds Blanton's. We dive into the recent news of Blanton's Gold making its way to the US and if we think $120 SRP is a deal you should jump on. You will hear a new voice for a few minutes and that is Aaron Goldfarb. You may have seen his work on various publications around the web. He wasn’t able to stay on due to some technical difficulties, but we hope to have him on again soon.

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • Barrell Craft Spirits has a national single barrel program. Ask your local retailer or bourbon club about selecting your own private barrel. Find out more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • Barrel Shortage:
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about taxes.
  • What are distilleries doing for coronavirus?
  • History of Blanton's.
  • How did Blanton's become so popular?
  • Will limiting the purchases of allocated items work?
  • Why don't distilleries use technology to manage this problem?
  • Blanton's Gold coming to the US. Is it because of tariffs?
  • Are they taking away from the European allocation?
  • How can you make more product with only one warehouse?
  • Will quality suffer with increased production?
  • What other companies have a similar strategy to Blanton's?
  • What do you think of the price point?
  • Will Straight from the Barrel ever come to the U.S.?
  • Thanks to Blake from, Jordan from , Brian from, and Aaron Goldfarb for joining.

Have you ever thought about a career in the whiskey industry? I'm not talking about being the next master distiller. But if you want a leg up on the competition, you need to take a look at the distilled spirits business certificate from the University of Louisville. This six course program will prepare you for the business side of the spirits industry like finance, marketing and operations. This is 100% online, meaning that you can access the classes at anytime, anywhere. So what are you waiting for? all that's required is a bachelor's degree, go to U of Slash bourbon pursuit.

So if you think back in the 1980s it was a bleak period for bourbon.

Thanks, thanks, Ryan.

Is poppin bottles they don't their shit what's going on around here? I'm listening really. I thought it was a good timing.

This is Episode 245 of bourbon pursuit. I'm one of your hosts Kenny. We've got a lot of news to cover. So let's hit it. Cova 19 are the corona virus is hitting everyone extremely hard. Now, I'm not sure why people are stocking up on toilet paper like they don't plan on leaving the bathroom anytime soon. But I'm sure most of us have enough bourbon to get us through this time. At this point, every major distillery has shut down tours. So if you had plans to visit the bourbon trail, please make sure you do your research before coming to see what is and what is not open. likely it's going to be nothing because even at this time, all bars and restaurants in the city of Louisville are admitted to shut down in person patrons. And in more coronavirus news. We've talked about this before about one of the benefits of having a state run liquor is that the product is always sold at SRP. Well, who could have predicted this but Pennsylvania one of those states where all spirits are government sanctioned and controlled have closed

All liquor stores in the state in definitely on Tuesday this past week. This also includes all online orders. So that means the entire state of Pennsylvania has literally zero access to bourbon. I guess after all this time we call them bourbon bunkers for a reason.

In a shocking vote, a bill is passed by the House licensing and occupations committee that allows Kentucky residents to get alcohol shipped to their door, but get this directly from the producer and wait for it without going through a distributor or retailer. This is a huge modernization and reform that could lead to a larger domino effect across the nation. Now this bill would require alcohol shipments meet very clearly labeled and an ID check and signature upon delivery. The producer would still have to pay the excise tax on all inbound shipments coming to Kentucky. However, retailers testified in front of the committee to express concerns about how the bill would negatively impact their businesses because people would be able to

for alcohol from their homes, and have it shipped to their door instead of going to the local retailer. In my head, I'm thinking, Well, yeah, that's kind of the whole point, right? However, that didn't matter. And now this amended House Bill 415 is going to the full house. We're going to keep you updated as this progresses. Is there a barrel shortage on the horizon? Well, Lou Bryson over the Daily Beast wrote an article where he interviews everyone from Cooper's to loggers and Miller's themselves. The loggers fear a shortage of white oak while the Cooper's really don't. Wood scientists see wetter conditions now than they have in previous years. And the increased deer populations actually eating acorns, which means less trees, and at this time, there's no plan to actually manage oak populations so it could lead to more maple and pure white oaks. However, independent Steve company says that they are coming off to rainy years where prices for logs were high, but now they see plenty of oak across 20 different states. Brown Forman cooperage says that they see more white oak now.

They have in the past 40 years, and the industry is doing better sustainability by harvesting oak at the right time to allow newer growth to form loosens up the pose talking about the coop urges only using about 2% of the hardwood industry. But he reflected upon his time spent with the logger. And he said that there is a lot of oak out there, but it's actually impossible to mill it because there's no Mills around and it's hard to get it out of the forest as well. So bourbon is gonna continue to be produced, but we'll have to see what the future entails. For the barrels themselves. You can read this story over the daily beast with the link in our show notes. Can bourbon be made in US territories like Puerto Rico and Guam? Well, Josh Peters over at the whiskey jug took this question to the TTB regulations division to see if it actually still would be legally called bourbon. Sure enough, they confirmed it that bourbon whiskey can be produced in Puerto Rico and Guam with reference to 27 CFR five dot 11 where the USA is defined

As the United States, the several states and territories and the District of Columbia, and the term state includes a territory and the District of Columbia, and the term territory means the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. So there you have it.

Booker's bourbon batch 2020 dash one also known as Granny's batch will be released at 63.2% ABV or 126.4 proof. It is named after the sixth generation master distiller Booker knows mom, Margaret beam note. Although she never worked in the bourbon business herself, she certainly played an important role in keeping the bourbon family tradition alive, carrying the legacy on from the fifth to the sixth generation. She was very close with her oldest son Booker, who was instrumental in getting him his first job at the distillery where he would eventually go to become the master distiller. This bourbon is be released at six years, four months and 21 days in age. It would be available sometime around this month for around $90 for real

is setting aside six barrels to be chosen for and exclusively sold to the four roses mellow moments members. mellow moments is a special club organized by four roses that allows members of the general public to be a part of special gatherings, tastings. And you can stay up to date on for roses news. Plus get some cool trinkets sent in the mail every once in a while. new members can apply at select times during the year when the window opens, and the window to join when that membership does open is only for a handful of minutes so you better at quick. You can see their website for more details at mellow moments Now some pursuit series news episodes 22 and 23 are now available on sale box comm so if you're looking to get some killer bourbon shipped to your door during this time, head on over there and get stocked up. Episode 23 I'm super excited about because it's our oldest release ever at 15 years old.

Now today's show, we talk about two things

Things that are top of mind. First, it's that Corona virus, we had to talk about it. But we decided to change topics up a little bit because you've been hearing all about it on the news. So we got to kind of break away from it. And what are the bourbon is out there that can be just as argumentative. It's got to be bland. So we take the whole entire episode and talk about it. We take a look at the hype and the hysteria that surrounds it. we dive into the recent news of Blanton's gold making its way to the US and it do we think of $120 SRP, there's a deal that you should be jumping on. You're also going to hear a new voice for a few minutes when we start this. And that's Aaron Goldfarb. Now, you may have seen his work on various publications around the web, but due to some technical difficulties, he wasn't able to stay on for the entire podcast, but we hope to have him on again once in the future. All right, it's show time. Here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich, with above the char, and remember, Go wash your hands.

Hey everyone, Joe here again.

I know I talk a lot about blending here. But we also have a national single barrel program, ask you a local retailer or bourbon club about selecting your own private barrel. Find out more at barrel bourbon calm.

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char, death and taxes. So those are the two things that we are guaranteed in life to have to do taxes. April 15 comes around and every year I'm like son of beep, beep beep, had a night not remember to put all this together. And every year from a business perspective, I tell myself, I'm going to do a better job of keeping my books. And I never do. I never do I just focus on what I do. And then toward the end of the year, I rush and do all my books and well, I'm a procrastinator, if you will when it comes to the accounting side of my world. I need to get better at it. I will. But you know what, at least I don't have to pay 60 to 80%

Have taxes on everything that I do. And that, my friends is what Kentucky distillers have to pay about 60% of every bottle of bourbon that you buy, if you tally up all of the 60% of that goes to taxes. What's interesting about this is that Kentucky bourbon gets taxed six to six different times off the still in the barrel in the case in the bottom, and then the consumers pay a sales tax and in Kentucky, they have to pay a wholesale tax as well. So you have all these different taxes that they have to pay, that leads to leads to basically more more and more money that has to go to the government just for them to produce whiskey. Now, here's what's messed really, really messed up is that the distillers don't mind paying the taxes necessarily. They actually look at it as like hey, you know what?

This is not necessarily a bad thing. All that money a lot of that money gets earmarked to go to roads and schools of Kentucky. So like in Anderson County, you drive through there, and you see the nice roads and schools. Those were basically built by wild turkey and for roses, which puts a lot of money into that government infrastructure. Also Kentucky bourbon, the taxes are specifically earmarked for education. I think a couple years ago, when when things started, you know riling up with the teachers here, it became public that bourbon pumped $30 million into the education system. So I've always said like, if you want to, if you want to improve the Kentucky education system, buy more Kentucky bourbon. In fact, when you buy Kentucky bourbon no matter where you are, you are actually helping the roads, the schools, the children, the teachers, you're helping our entire state. So thank you

Because we have pretty nice roads out in the rural areas because people buy a lot of bourbon. But here's another fun fact, it wasn't until 2011 that the distillers were even allowed to write off their, the fact that they were paying these taxes, they would have to wait too until they bottled it and put it in the market before they could write off the expense of the the out of alarm tax that they were facing. So American whiskey has all these weird, awkward tax laws, that every time I start complaining about having to do taxes or do my books, I kind of look at myself in the mirror and say, Well, at least I'm not a distiller. So remember that this year, as you're going to put your taxes together, however you do it. At least you're not having to do 60 to 80% on the taxes and you get to write everything off when it's time to write it off. And that's this week's above

The char Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, until next week, cheers

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon Kinney and Fred here tonight people's champ isn't able to make it because of Corona virus things that are happening. So we'll go ahead and, you know, we'll send our best wishes to Ryan, he doesn't have a Corona virus. I don't want to make that make that clear. The way I said that probably sounded like really dire. No, he's actually trying to do some things for his for his job and set up daycare because we've got a lot of things happening where schools can be shut down for the next few weeks here in Kentucky. So he's got to make sure that he's taking care of his employees tonight. So we're gonna miss Ryan tonight, but we will go on without him. So before we kind of introduce everybody here, I kind of want to talk to Fred Are you are you Doomsday prepared? You guys got enough bourbon and toilet paper to get you through for the next month? Well, you know,

Like today was you know, I wasn't supposed to be on today because I'm supposed to be in San Francisco for the competition but last minute

you know we had a scare ourselves and my wife she's the on the committee for like getting the Louisville VA hospital prepared for the coronavirus. So we've been getting prepared I think for the last three months in fact, we we thought there's a tornado coming. Yeah, there might be a tornado coming. So we had a little tornado drill with a family. We all went down to the basement and I was really proud. We brought chips and toilet paper and you know, the baby had something to play with. So we got this. You Baby could play with toilet paper too. Well, he went he went down there and he went straight for the bourbon. I'm like, this is my kid.

It's in the DNA. Yeah. Alright, so let's go ahead. Let's go around the horn real quick. And but first before we hit some of our regulars, I want to introduce somebody that's new to the podcast and we have a special

And tonight so Aaron Goldfarb, who you will have probably seen from a lot of articles out there online. So Aaron, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me even though I don't know how to use a computer apparently so

it's okay. Well let it slide this time. We'll we'll do some tech support next time when you do calling a pinch hitter here. Absolutely. So just kind of give everybody a quick recap or kind of summary of like, who you are, where you write and everything like that. Yeah, I'm a, you know, accidentally fell into becoming a blues writer. I write a lot of whiskey articles, but I write cocktail articles, beer articles and food articles for places like Esquire punch, fine pair whiskey advocate, bourbon, plus my favorite place to write.

I've written a few books to hacking whiskey, most notably for your audience. Gather around cocktails was my most recent book and

just learned that my kid has been

next two weeks off school. So I think this is the end of my writing career for a while, at least.

We're all trying to set up some sort of daycares at home or, I don't know, maybe we should just like go out and like, buy the like 5000 piece puzzles off of Amazon and be like, here you go. This is your next two weeks. Exactly.

Alright, so, Blake, how you doing tonight? Doing well? Yeah, always good to be back. Just straight into my intro. I feel like we're kind of changing things up. So, you know, do I give the regular Hey, I'm Blake from bourbon or do I just talk about coronavirus or, I mean, you can talk about what's happened in your area. I mean, it's ya know, our craziness happening. No, it's well, I had the flu last week. So I feel like I was out and wasn't the corona virus was just the flu. So we're not we're not born. Yeah, yeah, I got tested. I got tested. I tested positive for the flu. So I decided, I guess I didn't test negative for Corona. But there's been no cases in Florida that I'm aware of. But no, it's just it's crazy. I mean,

The TPC, that's a huge thing in this area. And so they actually announced today that they're suspending all all fans from the tournament. And you know, this golf tournament will bring in over 100,000 people to come and watch it. So it was pretty disappointing. You know, I was supposed to be

I was supposed to be going out to a tournament with my son tomorrow. So that's a little disappointing. And it's spring break for us. And as you can see, my daughter's like in the background. So they're talking about extending spring break here as well.

But yeah, yeah, this should be interesting. I don't know. I'm, I'm one who, I just think you've got like a 1% chance of actually hitting and being devastated. So I'm like, I'll just be unprepared and 99% of the time, I'd be correct. So it's just that 1% gets me But no, so

lost interest for the longest episode we're about to get into.

You're right on point there. So So Jordan, what's happening? You're part of the world. Well, the Quran hasn't been declared so Western Eastern pa right. There's a bunch of cases nothing in Pittsburgh. So Pittsburgh's I wouldn't say naive, but like right around today was the first time a little bit of unease and unsettledness kind of kicked in. Right? And now that the NHL canceled the penguins, right, people are super upset. But I'm sure we'll be seeing cases pop up super soon. I don't really even know if they're testing or if they have test kits here in Pittsburgh yet so I'm sure there's cases that we don't know about. So I don't know. Thankfully, it's a state run liquor system. So there's tons of tons of bottles still on the shelves. I think people want to buy that one. But it's there slowly. And Brian in our part of the world Yeah, you're part of the world. Thanks for having me again, Brian with sipping corn Find me a bourbon justice calm. And I my only effect so far is tonight. Instead of doing this, I was going to be

Drinking an Evan Williams 23 year old old fish Gen 15 in the in the 101 12 year Evan Williams with a client and client had travel restrictions and wasn't supposed to go anywhere and so got my thing cancelled so now it's personal because it kept me from ever. But other than that, it's it's hasn't really affected me. I've got my daughter home from Dayton. They kick them out early. They won't be going back

to just I've got my bourbon Splott I'll be alright. And at one point for Aaron Aaron, I have to tell you this before I forget I tried to do from hacking whiskey the the bacon infused bourbon. It was probably the biggest flop that I have ever created in my life. I will need to talk offline. I need to know the secret because theoretically, everything about that I should just love and I ruined both urban and bacon doing. That's funny. I always tell people it sounds harder to do.

Fat washing that it is and it's almost impossible to screw up. But I guess

I've actually had a very similar experience, Brian, so I have a few minutes. You don't you want to slowly render the bacon made the mistake of like, crispy and I think just the brightness came through so that's what I yeah, yeah. Can't get black. Yeah, absolutely no Okay, good bacon pursuit come and say,

Hey, I'd go for I'd listen to that it sounds delicious peppercorn all over. So Fred, you've been kind of close to this, because I know at least with the corona stuff, you've been actually reaching out for distilleries kind of give us the latest on what's been happening with what the Steelers are doing for preparing for this? Well, I mean, you ask them personally, a lot of them will say it's all bullshit. And then when it comes to like a corporate message, they'll come out and say,

well, we're closing visitations starting

Monday so beam has closed visitations for you know Maker's Mark and the other properties. Starting on Monday,

brown Forman announced the closures of their Kentucky facilities for visitations on Sunday. And jack daniels on Monday. New rep has made similar announcements I have not heard yet back from heaven Hill. I've reached out to them a couple times. I've not heard back from them yet. Interestingly, places like the smaller distillers seem to be the ones that are kind of like, you know what, we're still doing tours like NB Rolen

in Western Kentucky was very proud to say that, you know what, we're still doing this. And, you know, so a lot of them have these kinds of plans in place, or for the visitor side, and they're all continuing production. I think production is like I think that's one of the

The hardest questions answers like what if one of the workers gets test test positive? what's what's the protocol? They're like? I mean, I really don't know what the manufacturing protocol is for when you have a pandemic and someone tests positive for something that gets out into the market. You know, do you have a recall? I mean,

I mean, those are the kinds of questions that they have to be taking. But at the same time, the Kentucky distillers association is meeting with the governor's office who has been meeting with the vice president. So I mean, we're like three degrees away from, you know, the highest office in the land here, when it comes to what can affect the Kentucky distilleries. So I'm not a I'm not an expert. And I'm not going to claim to be but from what I understand is that this is all basically through respiratory and oral is kind of how it gets transferred really easily. So unless people were like spitting in the mash tubs, I'm not too sure exactly. Even that it's probably because he's in a hallway. Yeah, and so I'm not too sure. Honestly, if even if

worker does, you know, come in and it actually is affected. I think the only thing that it might actually affect is just the production. Probably just send everybody home do shut down production for X amount of days, come back, do a deep clean, you know, go back, go back to work. Yeah, but there is this whole thing where you have to

the government's issue, like, where people had it, what would what they touched where they went, you know, I was, you know, I was somewhere and got it in and someone was there the day after me and I got an email about it. And, you know, that was kind of one of the personal scare for me, but, you know, I don't know, like, if somebody works in a factory, you know, does the government then require the that factory to issue a statement to its consumers, and I just don't know it. There's not really a precedent for any of this.

It's very, very scary. And I think it's more so right as much as they might want to keep many

fracturing right there just one part of the manufacturing puzzle. So if a farmer who distills the grains and drops them off, right not to sales, I'm sorry for the farmer harvests the grains and drops them off for the trucking company, he drops them off, or they can't drop them off because they have the colonel virus. Got any random ash, you're not doing much, right? Same with barrel, stuff like that. So I think it goes the whole or friends point, maybe you don't have to notify consumers, but then you got to notify your whole manufacturing chain, right. And maybe folks then don't want to drop off supplies because they're afraid that they're going to catch it for their employees. So I think it's just not as simple as you know, the virus doesn't survive much longer. You know, once it's out of somebody's system in the air wasn't just something for more than a few hours. So consumers should be safe, but it's more How does it impact everyone they interact with up and down the whole supply chain? Yeah, I think probably the biggest issue that's really is facing right now is the tourism aspect, which has been really it's been what the industry has been hanging his hat on, you know, with the with the rise of these like, the trade wars, you know,

This was the one thing that everyone said, Well, we still got like, domestic growth and we got tourism. And so you know, this is you take out the more than 2 million people coming here to visit Kentucky distilleries. I mean, my god there, there are talks in town about impacting the derby. I mean, I can't even imagine not having the derby. Brian, can you? I mean, I just can't I can't, I can't envision it. Now. I heard that today, too. They're talking about maybe postponing and it's, you know, they're still looking at it. No decisions made yet but that's, it's just crazy talk. I mean, let's face it, Churchill. I mean, there'll be like, I just bet from home. Oh,

yeah. Where's that from all right, no, fancy sign up for twin spires club and they'll give you you know, $50 free or whatever, and they'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

The other the other component of this, that

should be getting Blake excited, actually because a sale box is that this is going to be one of the moments where we see an enormous increase of shipments and people don't want to get out of their house. So they're not going to go to a liquor store. What are they gonna do? They're gonna buy, like, going to visit seal box calm or wherever. And

go Fred. Yeah.

It's 40 like 40

but uh, you know, that's that's what's going to happen. Is there going to get deliveries? I mean, we're all right. We're getting deliveries from, from Whole Foods and Kroger right now. So it's crazy. Yeah, I think there was somebody had actually talked about on our discord chat a little bit earlier through Patreon. And they were saying, Well, what happens if Corona gets spread into Amazon into these delivery services? And it was like, yeah, it's

It's a true concern. The other part of this is thank god they're heavily automated, right? There's robots that basically pack those boxes for everybody. But when someone sneezes on a robot,


are they ended to? Whatever this was all just a way for the robots to take control, actually run a virus. I'm with you on that. Now. I mean, everyone's talking about walking dead. But what if this is really Terminator about to happen?

They planted the seed.

conspiracies, Fred. What?

Surprise now pushing back in conspiracies speaking of vodka conspiracy, Jordan was today's email like a backhanded compliment to

Tito's yesterday What are we taught Hey, hold on. Let's let's set the stage here because I have no idea what

newsletter right for whiskey Wednesday, I went out and it was a PSA on how to make your own hand sanitizer. So he did give Tito's the nod and the fact that they are

aggressively letting consumers know whenever they tweet or interact with them on social media that no you cannot use Tito's for hand sanitizer because it's not 60% alcohol right so we did harm we do give them credit on that one right but I mean, let's be real if you're going to use hand sanitizer and you must use bourbon we prefer you drink it, but at least use 120 proof bourbon to do something right. But there's a comment in there too. Tito's about like, well, at least they're clearing some of the facts up and

crafted you know, made in Texas kinda

just made sure wasn't reading into it. But once again vodka fails. I mean, you look at it it's like everyone's like starting to champion it for something that it can make me be valuable for and again even do handsome.

That's that's a perfect way to end this. I don't really talk about coronavirus anymore, do you? Oh, yeah. No, no, no, that was much hysteria. Yeah, that was a nine. All right, good. So let's move on to the kind of the meat of the show here. Let's Shall we

Wait for Blake to open his bottle here because we can all hear it all that loud.

He had the mute control to hear it immediately. It's like gay. There we go. I'll mute him. Alright, perfect.

before the show started, you know, Aaron, you would think 42 times into this he would have figured it out.

But this is this is just like it's everything about get sanctioned. Yeah, it's it's either that his Wi Fi dies. I mean, it's, it keeps going. So, Alright, so let's kind of get into the meat of the show. Because the one thing that we've all kind of seen is just the hysteria that is surrounded Blanton's. And to kind of just give a little bit of background and context there is a great article that was posted by Chuck Cowdery back in 2013. And he gave a history of bland so I'm just gonna go ahead and just take like a minute or two just to read this just so everybody kind of gets up to speed on it because I know we've had people requests

Like, Hey, why don't you do an episode on the history of blends? Come to find out. There's probably not a whole lot that we could do a whole episode about. So this is gonna be it right here. So if you think back in the 1980s it was a bleak period for bourbon. thankthank Ryan

is poppin bottles they don't. They're shit what's going on around here? I'm listening Really? I thought it was a good timing. See, Aaron? This is what I'm talking about. Nobody, nobody's learned the proper or how to pour their PR, or I've got my mute button. I'll use camera but I pre poured everything and sure your next go. I've already popped a bottle or two on the show. So I think we're good. All right. I think everybody's got their bottle pops out of the way. Alright, so in the 90 or sorry, in the 80s. sales were down. inventories were high profits were under intense pressure and whiskey assets were changing hands. Most large producers were no longer independent. Instead they were part of conglomerates and with a portfolio of a household names back then.

Back then F Ross Johnson was the powerful CEO of Nabisco. Nabisco had a subsidiary called standard brands that included fleshman distilling. 30 Falk was the CEO of Fleischmanns and Bob Brandt and this guest Moran discuss my I'm gonna screw that up was the president. In 1983, Johnson decided to sell standard brands to Grand Metropolitan. A few years later, green Metro Metropolitan merged with Guinness to form biagio. Green Metropolitan already had a thriving drinks business that included JMP scotch and Smirnoff vodka, assuming they would be replaced after the sale folk and burnt Miranda's kiss. I know that's bad, resigned and started to start their own company. fulke was previously an executive with schenley. So he approached Muslim reckless, whose conglomerate own schenley about selling some assets Falk and Baranski has originally tried to acquire old charter, but reckless always needed money, so he agreed to sell ancient age bourbon brand and the distillery that produced

It then it was called the Albert B Blanton distillery. Today's Buffalo Trace folk and Baranski is called the new company h International. As the name suggests, they believe Bourbons future was outside of the US. One of the first moves was to enlist the master distiller at the time Elmer T. Lee with the creation of Blanton's single barrel bourbon to appeal to the Japanese market, but with multiple extensions in Japan and the US in 1991, fulke and Burns has sold 22 and a half percent interest in Asia international to Japan's to current shoes a with the right of first refusal to purchase the remaining shares in 1992, Fulk and Burns has sold their shares to Tucker for $20 million to car immediately sold the distillery to Sazerac but retain the corporate entity and brand trademark. Today Sazerac still owns Buffalo Trace and Buffalo Trace still produces all the whiskey for agent age, Blanton's and other age international products and brands using Nashville number two, which is also being used for Bourbons like Rock Hill farms as well.

Well, Chris Phalke commented on the article, and he said that that was his father ferdie had passed away from cancer in 2000. But Blanton's was the original super premium brand. And he said he can remember watching him draw the packaging idea on a napkin back in 1983. So follow all of that. Very. So. Yeah, I'd like to add, I'd like to add to that, because this is something that gets really lost in the history of that brand. And I would argue we could have a whole show on the history of it.

But in the 90s, basically, when the Albert Blanton was was head of the distillery he used to,

he used to take people out, and he used to pick barrels for him. And then he would actually put that into the Kentucky retail market, effectively making it like a single barrel asset, but they weren't really calling him single barrels back then. And so people you know, Sazerac were always you to use

It in their marketing that it was the first commercially available single barrel that often got pushback by people. But indeed, it was, but that brand had a huge impact on the world. You know, in my book bourbon I wrote about like how important it was for Japan and how it kind of opened that market up. Another thing that Blanton's did that was really important is it pissed off Maker's Mark and it started making fun of Maker's Mark and advertisements for the saying like, Oh, you have to talk about your wax because your whiskey isn't any good. So they kind of like you know, played with Maker's Mark in their own game and they went back and fourth. And so they had like this state, but blends created this statewide tasting competition, in which they selected tasers and Lexington and Louisville to to have a taste up between makers and blends. Blanton's one Lexington and makers one Louisville so plans is a really really important brand.

The return of bourbon and this Return of the the introduction of the gold. Blanton's is like For God's sake, it's about time. You know, it's about I want to want to get to that, because that's a that's a big part of today's show. But what I want to do is I kind of want to just trace this back about two years. And I want anybody that has a theory on why the hell did Blanton's just skyrocket in popularity? I know that we've seen it on some TV shows and everything like that, but was there was there something that happened that I missed that all of a sudden this round bottle the horse on top just just went crazy? I have a theory. So I want to jump in, but I guess I will. So I think it's and I wish I had notes because I talked to Chris Comstock about this the other day about

There's supply the supplies, not

the supplies, basically, I think it's like five x of what it was a few years ago, is what they're producing now. So it's not nearly as bad as people think. But in my opinion, what started to happen was a lot of these distributors in the store started seeing what was happening with Pappy and you know, the antique collection. And so they started allocating on the distribution side. So then instead of stores just like yeah, or whenever you want, they'd say, Oh, we can only give you two bottles. Well, then the stores start telling the customers Hey, look, I'm only getting two bottles of this. It's at that price point that makes it you know, the high end the bottles cool, it's it's, it tastes good. And so then as you know, that started building, you go into a store and see two bottles, you grab them and then there's an empty shelf. So then the I think the hype just started building and scarcity sells. So now every time people see it on the

shelf, it's like, oh, I've got to grab as many bottles as I can find or as I can get, because who knows when I'll see it again.

And that all seems to be happening happening over the last two to three years. I tell the story of that blanes was actually the first barrel pick I ever did for bourbon er, and that was back in 2015. And I remember the the retailer marked it up to I think it was $64. And I lost, you know, so many people saying that they're not going to work with a retailer that was trying to gouge like, I bought five cases, I had a few friends buy a bunch of cases. And now if I got a Blaine's barrel, you know, it'll be gone in a day and you could probably sell for 100 bucks a bottle or something crazy like that. But I still think it's all kind of like a an artificial demand or artificial shortage created by that middle tier. But that's just my opinion. I think it also has to do with the fact that right, so around that time, and don't get me wrong. We've been fans of Blanton's I think back in 2014 we caught

Call it out on the site that we weren't sure why people were overlooking up. But then is Buffalo Trace in general, right? So all their Bourbons started becoming more known to folks people started realizing Oh, pet Van Winkle comes from Buffalo Trace. Oh BTC What's that? Okay. And then Elmer got really big, right? And then others started getting big. So especially if they wanted a single barrel, right, they go in Hey, can I get an armor? Oh, you can't get an armor. But look at this cool bottle. You get this little horse top or his little wax on little bags, and I'm just finding the box. Why don't you go for that instead? Right? And it was just one of the it's just one of those things where people just want the next thing right so all right, so I can't get any other Buffalo Trace product. What else you got? You got plans, you can get that pretty easy. I'll take one of those. Right and then people start doing a little research, especially if people are really into bourbon. They realize that there's Blanton's gold, there's plans straight from the barrel, which used to be again, easy to find. So two years ago, it was what around two years ago I think master mouth stop shipping right and a lot of store shop stopped shipping from over in Europe. And it was just that snowball effect, right? There's no rhyme or reason to a lot of stuff. It's just people like to hoard people like to know what's cool.

Blanton's cannon right? Everyone, I'm sure has friends who asks, What should I buy in the store used to be really simple to say, Oh, just pick up a bottle of blends. It's great bourbon, reasonably priced. Just go for it. Right. I still say that. And then I catch myself going, except you're not gonna be able to find anymore, which stinks. But I think a lot of it is just that snowball effect that took place with consumers, especially around Buffalo Trace products. You brought up something very important. Jordan, as you brought up, Elmer T. Lee, and I've been thinking about this a lot since Kenny posed the question to us before the show about why did planes take off and I remember specifically after Elmer died, you could not find a martini you could not find it. And the one bottle that everybody recommended after that, because it was accessible was Blanton's, you know, it was a Rock Hill farms. It was always Blanton's was the was the bourbon that people recommended after Elmer T. Lee passed away. There couldn't be a more fitting bourbon to recommend since that was the

One that he brought, you know, he brought to life. And, you know, Elmer kinda gets forgotten. You know, Elmer doesn't get talked about as much as you know, some of the other deceased distillers like Booker know and Parker beam. And it's a real shame because he was a Titan of a distiller and I think that he would be, you know, smiling quite happily to know that his stuff was being It was very difficult to get he wouldn't be very happy with the price gouging. But I do believe that that is when it all started was in the in the quest to find Elmer. They got Blanton's and liked it. Fred, I kind of remember a little there was a at least a couple year time period where to me it was the opposite of that. People wanted Blanton's and and Elmer was aged couple of years more than Blanton's and I couldn't figure out why people wanted Blanton's instead of Elmer. I mean they're

is a time period where it over took Elmer. And I don't know anything about the production. I don't know anything about what's being withheld. But it it to Blake's point, it sure looks that way. So there's another thing that's sort of happening right now. And that is Buffalo Trace and heaven Hill are implementing new systems where you can only purchase allocated items that haven't healed sometimes it's once a month. And in the case of Blanton's at Buffalo Trace, they're now doing this once every three months of actually scanning your driver's license and turning people away. And this is because if anybody is unaware, the line that has been growing for Blanton's at the distillery has just gotten chaotic. I'm talking like two to 300 people that are waiting at six o'clock in the morning to get a bottle of regular Blanton's at the distillery. And so, you know, Aaron, kinda want to pose this question to you and get you get you involved here. Do you think this new system has a chance to actually succeed and work

Well, I was gonna

Aaron, you're cutting out, buddy. I think we lost him. Yeah, he and Blake or Sharon schleifer.

Want to bring them on camera? Yeah.

Yeah. Try to try to drop and come back on and come back if you can like maybe plug in or something. I'm not too sure. We'll, we'll get you. We'll get you in here.

All right, so so we'll take that in a different direction. So, Blake, do you think that has an actual chance to succeed with this particular kind of system? So what's the actual system again, sorry, I was typing whatever you know.

Loud they're only allowed how many bottles like one a month or something? It's this is what happens when like the teacher calls in you and you weren't paying attention.

Helen has placed they've had an in place for like two years they haven't held where they scan your license when you buy. Like buffalo grease implemented the same

Yeah, I mean you know you think about will it did that for a while and then they had their their do not sell to lists and everything, it'll, it'll definitely slow things down but I don't know. I mean, I think that's good because

ultimately you want some bottles at the distillery whenever people come and visit you. I had this experience a few weeks ago and we're up there and a friend of mines like, man, none of these, you know, these distilleries have any bottles like I thought it'd be able to get something cool. You know, heaven Hill, at least had. I remember what we got. I think that William heaven hill there. So at least there was something but that's the hard part is you don't want just the locals to come grab everything that is available. Turn around and throw it up on Craigslist or wherever people are selling these days. We don't do that in Kentucky man. Yeah, it's never happened. Right? Yeah. But you know, so you kind of want to spread it out a little bit. So I think that'll help. Um, but you know, it's

Like anything else, people are going to do what they want to do, they're going to send their sister they're going to send their cousin they're going to send, if they really want it that bad, but overall, hopefully it kind of spreads the allocation a little bit further. And I'll say, since I'm not located in Kentucky, right, I, at least from heaven Hill standpoint, I actually appreciate that they do that now, because it seems more often than not, whenever I go down to Heaven, Hell, and I always stop by when I'm in town, these tend to have a few bottles, right? That's, I think, based on the fact that they're helping to limit people from buying them. So from that standpoint, I think it's fantastic, right, especially being somebody who's visiting Kentucky and wanting to go I make sure to stop by the distilleries and buy stuff, but now they have stuff to buy, which I'm super appreciative. Yeah, and that's actually part of the reason this was actually implemented was Freddy Johnson was on the stage with Fred at legend series recently, and he talked exactly about this that this is all because of just trying to counteract the flipping game. And if you can limit of what people can get, then you can do that. And plus, they want to

Word people that are traveling from all around the country to go and visit the distillery and they want to get something unique while they're there. And this is an opportunity to actually make that happen. It's you know, they could release a lot more bottles to

we'll get to that option. Yeah. It's a difficult it's difficult, you know, I look at it, I look at it from the perspective of like, every time, you know, they, they, the distillers, like, wish for something and then they get it. And then like, five years later, they're like, Oh, shit. Yeah, like net. Like, I remember when they were lobbying for this. They were like, begging to have special bottles. They were begging to have this attention and this FaceTime with the consumers. And now you hear them and they're like, crap, what are we going to do? You know, like now they're facing some of the same problems at their retailer partners have so a lot more headaches for them for sure.

him personally, you know, three months is, I think a little bit generous. I would have rather seen a year. Because if there's two to 300 people lining up to do this, and they're bringing their brothers, their sisters, their cousins or aunts and their uncles to get a bottle of Blanton's. Like, let's just nip this, like it's Blanton's after all right, like it is it's good whiskey. But let's let's try to let's try to curb this because I don't see a reason why people should be going this nuts over and if they have a bottle of bourbon. And I think I remember seeing a lot of comments when people announced that this system is getting put in place. They're like, Oh, like why are you gonna hurt your you know, your biggest consumers and your cheerleaders and I'm like, they make a lot of different whiskey. There's a lot of different bourbon out there on the market. Like don't pin yourself into just like that one bottle. You know like that Nashville makes a lot of different stuff, right? So like you don't you don't need to be pigeon holing yourself and it just one particular kind of whiskey for everything.

You drink? Yeah, I was at a store one time and a guy was asking the clerk for it he's like you guys got any Blanton's as a total wine and and so everyone having plantains and I was like hey man like actually they've got a Hancock single barrel pick that they've done and it was like I think seven years old or something

the exact same mash bill you know, maybe it wasn't in warehouse H or whatever it is, but pretty much the exact same thing is like I don't want that crap. I'm like, Okay, nevermind. No, I mean why bother? No, you bring up a really good point though Brian right? The whole point the whole reason they had the horse in the first place right and way back when wanted spelled lens which is cool, but to entice people to keep buying it. So then you do find people who actually you know, for multitude of reasons right and I'm not judging whatsoever who once they find something and they do want to collect it just for that purpose. I realized you can buy the stopper from Buffalo Trace itself right? But they actually didn't want to start collecting the bottles just to get the topper so not only do they like up and other like corn

I need to get all the rest of them. Right. So now their demand is well, I just don't need one or two. Now I got to find all I got to the letters, I got to fill it out. Exactly. Right. So it's it's, they've kind of created a little bit of a headache in that sense for themselves. If there was no letters on the bottle, that would definitely eliminate a little bit of that from some well, and a lot of people in the comments have said that the dump date being on every bottle, you know, how many posts have you seen, you know, oh, my kid was born or you know, oh, I'm looking for this dump date. Yeah, work on whatever they want. Yeah, whatever it is, they they want that data on there. I mean, it's it's marketing genius is what it is. It's a product of success. You know, I think Fred alluded to this a little bit of they worked really hard to make these things popular and, you know, get special releases out of the distillery. And then I don't want to say it backfire, but I think it caused them more headaches, and they probably they were thinking it would but it's a product of success. So at the end of the day, I don't think they mind it.

No no no one thing that none of these companies are doing is they're not utilizing technology you know and Kenny I'd like to get your your thoughts on this because you're the tech guy but How hard would it be for them to like create like an order and hold or some some kind of system for online to connect with a point of sale where someone could plan their trip and then come pick up a bottle I just I just feel like there's so many opportunities to alleviate these problems that they never seem to explore they they're stuck in these inundated antiquated stand in line look at an ID kind of crap. I think it's just simple ecommerce is that a lot of and I think we've touched on a lot of times, even just retailers and everybody else in general, like this type of market is is behind the curve of what we see in every other type of industry. And so if they don't take the initiative to try to figure out like, how do we get our hands in the how do we get our product into the hands of consumers faster, easier, and less friction and make them

A happy consumer. If you don't take that into account, then they're not gonna do anything about it. You know, the other thing is, is that if you look at what the SAS rack is building with blends and Buffalo Trace and everything, like, they don't really, I mean, they're gonna sell out no matter what. So do they need to go through all that extra effort to invest in an e commerce platform to invest in something where like, I don't know whether they have their own online, put your email in a database and come and pick your bottle up on this date kind of thing? I don't know if they really need to. So it kind of like I said, there's there's, it's a double edged sword from there. And you do actually so Fred, I mean, that's a great point that you make both Kenny and Fred but you do see some distilleries doing that, right. So look at new ref. Look at angels MD with their main club, right? They both do that when they have special releases come out, you can pre buy and they give you a 30 days to pick them up or X number of days to pick up. I think that's it's great. And it's also great for again, if somebody is out in town to be like, Alright, I got a month to go pick this up. I'll plant quickly.

trip around this or something like that, right? And it drives people there. And then I'm sure once they're there, they're like, Well, shit, I'm here by some other stuff, whether it's from that distillery or local store around there, whatever. But it's just great for the local economy in general. And I wish more distilleries did that. He was envies absolutely crushing their special bottles. People make events out of that. And I have never talked to one unhappy person out of there. I mean, I hear I hear so many unhappy people coming out of heaven Hill, there's so many people, unhappy people coming out of out of SAS, right. Really no one from being but I don't think anyone's necessarily going there for special releases. But the key distilleries that have special releases of all them angels envy is crushing it by far that program that they have people love it. Yep. And plus, it's an easy way for you to kind of like allocate these things online. And not only that is you basically sell it before anybody actually picks it up. So it's, it's, it's instead of like putting it out there and hoping people come like, it's all online if you make it easy and frictionless

Then you're gonna have a much better way to you don't have that kind of like cash flow in that pipeline coming into man. What if they did like bourbon futures where you could like, you know, buy like a case of Blanton's five years from now. So technically that's kind of what Bardstown bourbon company is doing. So they their barrel pick now is you pay $1,000 deposit to get it, and then which I guess not technically futures, but then you let it age as long as you want. And essentially you just pay the same price for whatever the standard bottling is whether you let it go to 10 years or you let it go six months.

Yeah, yeah, I'm familiar with that. It's just not it's not proven, but like Blanton not nearly as exciting to Yeah, I mean, that it is it is a concept for sure. But like, I mean, imagine like if you could, if you could buy a futures, Pappy 23 right now when your child is born,

or something like that. You do it in a heartbeat. Yeah. Now, right now I would nobody would want to track that accountant. Somebody put in the or Aaron put in the chats about basically that's how Bordeaux works and yeah, you know the it's not like a Pappy 23 where you're waiting 23 years but there is some time there and it is interesting to see how that whole market works and I mean, it's pretty crazy. We may get there one day, the ghosts Yes, that's the one thing that we don't that we don't have that the wine world has is like these really high level business people call negotiators who basically broker every single thing. And I think that's why angels envy so successful with that program as West Henderson is kind of like a hybrid, you know, in this world. He's such a business forward leaning mind and you know, it has his dad's DNA. Anyway. All right, I want to shift topic a little bit because this is still gonna be Blanton's, but the biggest news

That happened last week or was it two weeks ago whatever it was was the idea and the announcement of Blanton's gold coming to the US

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The biggest news that happened last week or was it two weeks ago, whatever it was, was the idea and the announcement of Blanton's gold coming to the US. And for anybody that has been a bottle chaser or you've been into bourbon for a little bit. We've all known that. Blanton's gold and Blanton straight from the barrel are something that we gravitate towards because you like oh, it's higher proof and, and now we're all like oh, and it's got a shiny gold horse. So of course I want all these. As Ryan said earlier, I want the I want the ski with all the gold letters on it now. So the there's a few questions that arise with this and the first one. I'm going to

Come to his tariffs, because one thing that we've seen is that tariffs are being it's being catastrophic to the whiskey industry in regards of just it's both sides of the coin here. Now, there is the idea that people are saying, Okay, well, if we are going to have to pay tariffs, then let's go ahead and hold more whiskey back that we know that we can sell to our existing consumer base here in the US. Do you all think that this is a reaction to that? Or do you think this was planned out a little bit further in advance? And they said, You know what, we're going to just do this because we're, let's go ahead and make some more headlines. I'll go first, right. I think 100% has to do with tariffs, right? I think they are looking in real time and how to react. I think they saw a business opportunity. And they're going for it right. They don't want to have products sitting there, or they don't want to overcharge consumers,

to needlessly sell to no one in Europe, if no one's gonna be paying that price.

They saw Hey, Blanton's is hot, let's make it happen. And 100% that played into it, whether there's a little pre work behind the scenes going into it potentially. But don't get me wrong, that current tariff situation 100% played into this. I also want to mention that in the press release, they also said that this is going to be an SRP of $120 for this particular bottle too. So don't forget that.

I like to say that at the top of Buffalo Trace is probably the single smartest person in the entire spirits industry, Mark Brown. That man had this plan probably five years ago and had a rollout leading up to it. And this year is probably going to be like, like some additional Weller products, maybe a single barrel or something like that. I mean, you're going to start seeing like Buffalo Trace, kind of like, take their super premiums and dice them up into more limited edition releases. And it's it's all about getting another skew getting another press release at another company.

They they own a lot of the conversation market, they own a lot of the store they own almost all the skews that all the retailers want. And if they every time they add one, they've got another one. So they have another reason to have a meeting with a retailer they have another meeting to have a meeting. Another reason to have a meeting with a an on premise person plans goal, in my opinion, is probably just one of the actually well they're foolproof last year was the beginning of the rollout of seeing the kind of evolution of what Buffalo Trace is planning to do with their premium product. They're dicing them up gradually raising those price raising the prices up a little bit more and making them even more valuable. Yeah, and I don't know that's a it's looking at it from a marketing standpoint. Genius. Yeah.

I don't know there's there's a lot better

Values out there in my book and I just I I try to resist so much of the hype and I I like the ancient age products probably better than than their other mash bill and and other than some Weller 12 or the the B tech, William LaRue Weller the ancient age math is my favorite Mossville.

But the marketing just it rubs me the wrong way. I get it. And I wish Aaron was able to stay on because he could speak very highly to this with his experience at Esquire and some of the other more industry facing publications. I'm just telling you, man, you could just throw you could you could dangle any Weller Blanton's, even Buffalo Trace, you know outside of a Manhattan window and you'll have like 50 bro dudes chasing it down. It's the stuff is crazy. And it's genius. And congratulations to them for doing it. It's absolute genius.

But there's so much for roses and wild turkey out there that that in other brands that are so much better and so much more of a value, I just don't get it personally. So so then that then that then that that's not really a knock on them. That's basically that's our job to say, hey guys can't get this, you know, try this and i and i think Jordan does a great job of that. I think Blake does a great job of that. Kenny, you really just drink it all. So

Equal Opportunity drinker. That's right.

And so Fred, I kind of want to like take a counter argument to kind of what you said a little bit, because there was something that came up in the chat by Dave Preston. And he had mentioned that, you know, he thinks that this has to do with like, increased stock that's resulting from ramped up production. However, I kind of look at it and think like, well, maybe they're just taking and to take Jordan's side of this. Maybe they're taking away from the European allocation now and just shifting to the United States, because we've all been

on tours here, right. And we all know we've been in the Blanton's bottling Hall, every day you're in there. They were bottling plants, and they're doing it around the clock every single day. And it doesn't seem that they can keep up with the demand. So where is all this extra inventory coming from? If you don't think it's just like taking away from European allocation and from tariffs, if, like how to keep pumping out more product. So again, this is my opinion, this is all been planned. These are not knee jerk business people. These are very smart strategic, especially when it comes to marketing, and they happen to have great whiskey. And I just think this was a part of it. Did they change their European allocation? Hey, maybe they did, but I think this product was always planned. Maybe Maybe it got bumped up a little bit for for anticipation of more terrorists or continued tariffs. But I think this has always been in, in creation. And I think we're going to see a lot more

from, from that distillery with new products coming out of their heavyweight prop brands like Weller and Blanton's, and, you know, I don't think we'll see anything added to the Buffalo Trace antique collection. But I think you'll start seeing more limited releases. I got to push back just a little bit on that too, though, Fred. So I think, don't get me wrong. I think it's super smart if they were planning this for a few years, right. But I think I would categorize them just as smart for being a very smart businessman. If they read the current situation. They read the current landscape, the current tariffs and said, Alright, how can we capitalize this? Right? How can we turn this around and make it so that it works in our favor? Right, I'd say that'd be a just a smart individual and just a smart move. So while it may be planned, right, I got to give them I hope I'd give them credit for reading the current landscape and saying, what can we do to make this work in our favor? And hey, maybe both are Right, exactly. You know, so like, what I know is I'm not running a billion dollars.

I'm sitting here. So I am, this isn't

Confirm, but it was basically like kind of backdoor confirmed of Buffalo Trace production. So they were producing about 12,000 barrels a year in 95 by 2010, that was around 100,000 barrels. And by 2018, it was 250,000 barrels.

So may not be exact, but gives you an idea of the ramp up. They've been doing over the last, you know, two decades. So when you talk about they may not have had to steal from the European allocation. That's where I think there is more barrels that are going around now whether or not it's just a you know if it's really because of tariffs or is just because, you know, take advantage of the US market a little more. I think it could be a little bit of both, maybe it turned out to be good timing. But at the end of the day, I think they love the new press releases, they love the new brand extensions. You know, what was it

is it benchmark that's getting the next redo You know, we've seen them do it with well are now the 17

to benchmark and I think well, you know, they've kind of evolved the H Taylor brand to have a new release every year. I think we'll just like Fred said, we'll just keep seeing new bit several new releases each year because they want to be able to go back to the retailer, the distributor, the customer and everybody likes something that shiny and new. I got they need to scrub that turd of benchmark that bottles.

They had some some hang up with that. I know they were

were going through with it. I forget what it was. But apparently that got delayed a little bit. But you know, I think we'll the each Taylor one's about to drop the marriage or whatever it is.

I'm sure we haven't seen the last new label for Weller and

yeah, I mean, ultimately, I don't think the Blanton's gold is going to be a big allocation. So it'll be gone or impossible to find but

Here we are talking about it. So it worked from their perspective, I'm sure because it'll be sold out before it even touches a retail shelf. Yeah, but let's make let's let's also like take a look at what everyone else is doing here. We're seeing brown Forman do something similar with old forester. We we've seen heaven Hill, do some things just like this with the Elijah Craig rye. So every company right now is coming out with these extensions that have a continued conversation. And really, we're, we're in that spot, because we're all out there looking for it. You know, as soon as something comes out, you know, how many people are wedded, you know, calling up the retailers to get the bottle. And that's where we're at right now. This is the, the distillers are gaming, the hunt, they're there, they're tracking the consumers, you know, they don't have to spend a lot of money on marketing, how they could be watching this podcast right now. And studying the chat just to know that you know, from

Every one of you that are on the chat, there's 100, and a market they want to target. So that's where we are right now. And I think the key point to that too, right? And I think underlying what you're saying, Fred, is people want new, right? So all these brand new extensions, everything else, right? People are on the quote unquote hunt for bourbon. But it's kind of turned to the, to the I'm gonna use the car model, right analogy. People just want what's the newest thing for 2019 I realized this was hot in 2018. But it also existed what's brand new this year? What's coming out? So it's like this weird game this weird game theory where distilleries now pigeonhole themselves to they need a new product, right? Either a new product or just a brand extension something every single year or multiple times a year to keep consumers interested in their in their brand, which you've never seen in years past before, right? So it's like whole new territory for everyone. And those that are doing that right are going to be left in the dust a little bit.

Yeah, so

So, there's one thing that I kind of want to circle back on that that Blake had mentioned earlier and it was talking about the ramping up production because we just got done picking two barrels of Buffalo Trace and Susanna has a fantastic tour guide there. And they just got they just got done doing their their shutdown for renovations and now they're doing 1200 barrels per day. Right. So lots of production However, when we think about Blanton's What does Blanton's do? It comes from one warehouse, right? warehouse, ah, as Chris and Matt kusik said on the chat earlier, did they get a renovation? like are they getting bigger? No, it's holding the same amount of barrels that it's always held. So like there's still this like this question that says Like, how are you able to keep pumping out more product to be able to do that? And I'll throw a question to you all as well as, as this becomes more popular. Will we see quality suffer because remember, this is a non h data product.

Right. So nothing saying that they have to put something that's a 468 year, whatever it is on it. Well, do you think quality could suffer in the long term? So just to point out the why it's not age data, we do get that dump date, right. So we will at least be able to see if it starts getting younger and younger. When you don't know. You know, you know,

I bet

I can put you down here, Jordan.

Let me know if you want to dump date. I'll put it up in a box and send it to you.

I don't want that. Hey, so I'm probably gonna be the outlier here. But I've never been one who's really been that frantic over Blanton's. It's never scored that highly for me. And it's always done poorly and blind tastings. I think one year at San Francisco, I didn't even metal it. I don't remember what year that was or I'd tell you but it's not been something that has always gravitated toward my palate. So I can't

I can't see the quality going down. I think if you like Blanton's that that that style is going to be there. I personally am buying Buffalo Trace, regular every day of the week over blends. Mexico said something kind of funny to say like, does it have to actually be at the warehouse? He should just be finished in warehouse age because maybe they just like roll it through the middle of it. And they're like, hey, it was a warehouse age for like 20 seconds. So what mean that you know, that warehouse,

it probably holds what it's probably not a 20,000 barrel warehouse, but it's probably,

you know, 10 or 15 minutes a big warehouse. So, I'm guessing you know, before a lot of those barrels, were going to Buffalo Trace or wherever it was. And now there may just say, all right, every barrel that's in here is gonna be a bland bottle now, but on the quality, you know, I don't see the quality really dropping.

I doubt it'll really mess

With the age, you know, it'll stick around that six year age range for a long time. And I don't I don't see them really changing that up. Because at the end of the day, I think it would hurt them more for people to have bad plans than it would for them to, you know, sell a little more.

That's not what's really pushing the business for them. I agree with you, but I bet you we could look at it even 2013 or 2014 Blanton's and taste it blind with a current Blanton's and you're going to have a better blends in 2013 or 2014.

I don't sound like a challenge. So is this in your head though? I mean, we've been told by my head Yeah, we can say it about this kind of stuff forever, right? We'd be like, Oh, well, the new stuff can't compete with the old stuff. But I'm not even saying old stuff. I'm saying you know, not not too terribly long ago. Yeah. Well, it's like seven years ago now I guess. Yeah, but Blake, you got some of those bourbon are 2015

There we go.

We can do a blind sample on that we don't the sample, you just send a bottle each of

you got it. No, it's bottle time. Yeah. Yeah. No, but I mean, I don't know, it's hard to say. Because I've heard from some of the, like, the older plans from the 90s. and stuff, were actually like, 1012 year old barrels that that were being bottled. But so that's a completely different bourbon than like, the six year but who knows it? It'd be a fun experiment. Yeah. So I that's that's a really good question to kind of, you know, go into the towards we get to the end of this because, you know, Jordan, I kind of lean on you here because it within a breaking bourbon article recently. You all talked about Blanton's gold and sort of like what it meant. And, you know, you kind of talked about, you know, the hype and hysteria of you know, basically like chasing after the shiny new red ball. And then ultimately just being disappointed the other day because you're not going to get your hands on it right. And so you put at the end of the

Article like people are curious about what's new. But that excitement can be quickly overtaken with resentment. It's unknown how sustainable this practice will be for the company. However, there's other plenty of non bourbon companies that find great success with this strategy. I was kind of curious, like, you know, what are the kind of companies like have a had a strategy like this? And, you know, in Do you think that this is always going to work with bourbon even in the future? Yes, I think right, two part question here. So I think it's true, right? We also that we often post these press releases or I'll post these articles will talk about and often it's from Buffalo Trace around a new product or a limited edition, just something that people know is gonna be really hard to get. We have so many readers reach out on a daily basis saying where can I just find a bottle of Buffalo Trace, let alone any of their other products right. So we put out the blends gold press release, and instantly we started being just inundated with people just reaching out saying great, another Buffalo Trace product I'm never going to see. Right and we're like

Let's interesting this season you haven't hit the shelves yet and people already pissed about that. First you look at other and I'm gonna put Blanton's gold now in a quote unquote premium product range, right? Maybe not the Pappy Van Winkle range, but premium product range, you look at other products, right? We'll say high end watches, high end cars, whatever, where there's a limited amount, right and people are still fascinated by them knowing that they're not gonna be able to get one right but they're still super fascinated they're not pissed at the car brand they're not pissed at four that they're not gonna be able to buy the new Ford GT because it's so the price range. You know why? Because they can still go out and buy another Ford product. A lot of people that Buffalo Trace using that analogy they see hey, I can't complain this gold But guess what? I can't get any other Buffalo Trace product either. So what does even matter? so terrible?

fireball fireball and after Archibald screwball, thanks. I'm not sure if they want it either.

But you know, it's one of those things where I think people are getting a little tip that Yeah, all these products keep coming out. Especially from Buffalo Trace, but you know what, we can't get anything they put out anyways. So what's the point? Right It's like them get

Salt rubbed into ones and I think consumers are getting really excited about this. So we'll we'll see if this keeps up but with more you know as Fred pointed out more and more Buffalo Trace products are gonna be hitting the market and years to come kind of back to that you got to release something new every year and people are just going to either keep getting really pissed me there starts shutting the brand or we'll see what happens but it's gonna be a really interesting experiment that's for sure. You know, Jordan he bring you brought up something like that those were the kinds of letters that we would get at whiskey advocate like nine and 10 years ago. And you know, it led to them changing a lot of things. You know, because people were so upset like you even go to straight bourbon comm 2006 to 2011 archives and you'll read a lot of people just being angry that they can't get stuff. You know, the one thing that is a constant and this and any kind of like any any anything that I could ever offer you as advice would be to not get from

Straight with that, don't stop doing what you're doing. You guys are doing a great job with that but with your with your reporting, but the anger people it just, it never ends. You start happy. You get pissed off when you become a bourbon fan and then eventually you you you accept it and you just find yourself sitting on the couch and drinking Maker's Mark again.

It's a cycle of being a bourbon fan. There's no way around it. I'm loving the comments that are that are finding the Ford brands and naming each Sazerac brand for what for branded is

stag juniors the F 150. Raptor.

Exactly. So I also kind of want to just kind of touch on the price point a little bit too because $120 it's steep. Right? That's, that's that's, that's even over a super premium of whatever that that threshold was a while ago, maybe that maybe that's just the new premium.

Remember, the Blanton's gold that I purchased overseas? Even after shipping, getting it back home, it equated about 70 to $80 per bottle. Right? So, I look at this and I'm thinking, Well, I think you can actually still get this cheaper in like St. Martine and some of the other islands and other areas that are around. So do you look at this as and I've always been a big fan of of Sazerac of what they do of not gouging or pricing out of the market, because Pappy 23, they could, they could sell $1,000 bottle to the distributor, they could do it and it will sell and it's not a problem, but they don't do it. Right. And I think they do it on principle and they do it because they look at the long game. However, this is like one of the first times that they've come out and they are pricing it essentially where secondary was when it was around.

So I'm gonna jump in and then allow others takeover but because I've been sitting on this comment for a while, so I reviewed Blanton's gold back in 2015

Right, I had bought in a bottle from overseas and I think MSRP was around 8085 and total right? Don't me wrong blends gold is actually my favorite Blanton's bottle out of the lineup, right green regular straight from the barrel actually preferred plantains, gold, but even back then at $5 per bottle, I said, I really would pause and think about spending the money on this for just getting you know, a bottle or two a regular blends, because I think you know, the price to value in terms of taste just isn't quite there. And now when you jack it up to over $100 I mean, folks, you know, blends if you can, if you have a choice between the two regular buttons all the way just because it's going to be cheaper and you're going to get close enough, right? If you can't, I still say there's a lot of really great Bourbons out there for under 50 bucks. That sure it's not going to be the Blanton's name not gonna be the bottle not gonna be the shiny gold stopper or you're gonna get something that tastes really fantastic. Amen. So I would I would have people pause and think about that before they drop the money. Anybody else? Have a comment?

Are you just, I don't know. I endorse Jordans comments fully. I think part of the problem is now these days, most people are probably paying close to that three figure mark for regular blends, which is, and that's just when they can find it. So it's kind of like, you know, you have to confront reality as reality and not how we want it to be. So, I don't know, would I pay $135? Well, maybe I would, but

we've all got problems. I grab it, but Yeah, I know. But I don't think that's a good deal. Like I'm with Jordan like $135 for that bourbon. You throw it in a blind tasting in your blind tasting of 10 Bourbons, and it's probably gonna come in probably that, you know, six, five to six range five, six. Yeah. So this is what this is what I want. So if someone is listening to this

Show and you're an economist, I want you to study the price points of new releases of the past five years from craft distilleries from blue blood distillers and compare the new pricing to their old pricing and their and their traditional items. It's all over the damn place. There's no rhyme or reason.

I mean, I could I could find a so called craft whiskey that was aged and Abraham Lincoln's favorite tree for 1500 dollars. Or I could get a bourbon that's actually you know, when it came out all right, that was actually really good when it came up. I got shit on heavily for its price point peerless a three year old rye, which was actually really good. was $99 and people lost their shit. And then, you know, and then Elijah Craig Wright comes out. It's 30 bucks, and an old forester right comes out and it's 23 and it's like, it's all over the place. I don't I don't know how they're pricing this stuff.

Are they just throwing darts? I mean, how are they figuring this shit out? I think it's all about what you know what categories they want to be, and they want to have certain ones for every occasion, you know, a lot of them are getting smart and they say, all right, we see some openings in the daily drinker categories. Let's put some more 20 you know, 20 $25 bottles out there and really take advantage of the people who are tired of seeing every bottle that's, you know, $100 or more in blank Is it the big guys being able to do that? You know? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's it's much harder for I'm not saying that the smaller guys can't because you look at somebody like a Chattanooga who's been able to you keep the price. pretty reasonable. You their two products are $35 and $45. Around that range. But overall, yeah, I mean, old forester and the big guys really have

a huge advantage here and kind of I think there's Jordan's point about

Buffalo Trace, I'm surprised they haven't come out with a new product line. And maybe that's what the benchmark, the idea of benchmark was, was to have that, that lower priced, hopefully readily available product that's out there. Whenever people say, Well, I can't get blends, but at least benchmark still here. So you know, they want to hit every mark in the market, if they can. It used to be that they would decide what their price point was by going into the liquor store, and seeing which bottle was selling, and what they wanted to be next to. And that's how they used to do it. And I don't feel like they do that anymore. I just, I just think they kind of they have I think they might have too many, like MBAs in a room crowding over a table. And they don't have really any. They're just looking at like, Oh, hey, who's gonna buy it? Oh, bro, dude, and Wall Street's gonna buy it. So 120 I mean, I don't know. I don't know how they're priced it. It's crazy. there's a there's a comma in a spreadsheet somewhere.

That's somebody just messed up. And it's just like, I will let it roll, which I guarantee you in blink or in the Blanton's gold meetings, there was somebody who was saying, nope, push the price to $200. And they then you had somebody else who was like, now let's let's be more reasonable and do 130 you know, it's, they know what they have. And so would it have sold out just as well at 200? I think there's, I think, yes, but I don't know. We're all crazy for buying all these Bourbons anyways.

Like, you know, they're hosting What do you think about this like 130 bucks you buy? Not what would you do? Would you recommend somebody buy it for that price? And not like, like show aside from everything, just as a consumer, would you buy $130 bottle of planes? I think it goes back into whatever people do you always you always try to get your first bottle, right, try it. That's great. And we talked about this all the time, when you're doing

tastings and everything like that. Get a few people together. If you find it, split it, whatever, try it, do it. However, I don't see this as something that actually, I take that back because people are going to go crazy and they're going to go buy it up anyway. For me personally, it's not going to be that, you know, I, I've been fortunate to be in bourbon long enough like you all to know that I was able to buy this overseas for a much cheaper price a long time ago. So I'm okay with it. Is it my favorite bourbon? No.

Do I like straight from the barrel? A lot more? I do. Sorry, Jordan. I do. Like I'm a huge big

preference. No, yeah. And so and so I'm, I would say like, I would lean towards that way and I'd say you know what, save your hundred 20 bucks. Go and try and figure out like if you've got a relative that's on a cruise ship after this whole Corona thing flies over and say, well in cruises, everybody don't go on cruises. No, not right now. You know whether it's there or whether you're going to Netherlands or whether you're going somewhere

And you say like, just wait out for that bottle straight from the barrel. That's personally what I would do. Because that's, that's where I think, if you're going to spend 120 bucks on a bottle, because retail even over there, that's about what you're gonna pay is 120 bucks a bottle and you're gonna get, you know, at the same exact price. Like I said, for me, I think the price point is high. It really is. And I think that, you know, a lot of people even said in the chat, it's like, you're paying 120 bucks for a six year product.

That's pretty expensive, right? I actually don't think it's high for the product. I mean, because, as pointed out in the chat, by numerous people supply and demand, the supply, the demand for this is off the charts. So my whole commentary about $120 I just kind of want rationale behind it. And you know, just that, I know the market will bear that. I'm just speaking in general from the bourbon industry. I just don't feel like anyone really hasn't has much of a blue book on how to price right now. But blends

is not going to have any problems selling. They mean it's agreed there's going to be lines you could charge what they want can be allocated. We're going to be miserable. Well, no world will buy for roses and wild turkey and other things. Hey, hey, I had a four roses the other day that just tasted flat out off to me. It was a song. Yeah, it was a single barrel. It's just off somebody's private selection. Yeah, store picker, just regular. Now was a regular It was a regular one. And I tasted it the next day to make sure wasn't my palette that day. And it just it was weird. Hey, Fred. I don't know if you've been around this long enough. But did you know that you could have two barrels side by side? And they?

Very rarely I have never had an off product from for roses. Never. That was the first time Yeah, except for a actually from the 90s add Smurf products. Who was it was Elmer T. Lee who had like the spoiled batch that uh, it was 2015 Yeah. 2015

The the wet cardboard batch 14 corporal Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And don't don't forget Jim Rutledge is mutated dispatch. That means remedy the white whale. Absolutely. So I'm going to finish this up with one last question about blends. And this is now that we have seen Blanton's gold Come on, it's it's making waves will we ever see? And we'd mentioned already straight from the barrel ever hit the US? Yes. It's gotta be it's gotta be a B tech. I mean, it will. I don't know, mess with that. I don't think they'll mess with the antique collection. But I would say yes, yes. So I'm going to say yes. And I'm going to go back to that comment, in theory we're talking about, they're going to need a new product, right? Not in 2020 but 2021 2022 23, whatever. They need a new product every year or two new products of the year and straight from the barrel is an easy one to slide in there. And based on the barrel that I have in my truck, yes.

We are all headed to Norton Commons. I get it.

Yeah, I mean, I would say, especially if these tariffs stick around to just kind of add on to what Jordan was saying. Yeah, I mean, if you want to be able to, and it hurts me to say this because I've heard people for so long say, Alright, I love tariffs, like more bourbon in the USA. And I'm like, No, like, no, that's that's not how like international trade works. Like, we need commerce. Like we need all this, like, we have to grow bourbon category as a whole. However, if this is what's gonna happen, and it's like, Okay, well, they could, they could basically sell it here in the USA for and they would get more money out of it for the same price that they're going to have to sell with tariffs and everything else overseas. Hell yeah, like might as well keep it here. Right. So I could definitely see the argument that we will see it here in a few years. I realize if we do have Gold's going for 130 you realize straight from the barrel is going to be a pricey product. That's a $200

Yeah it's 250 Yeah, yeah, agreed. Mm hmm yeah, I was just getting everybody get one last one there huh All right. fantastic way to close out the show everybody so I want to say thank you again for coming on. I think we we hit on a lot of stuff. So as usual we didn't do in the podcast at the very beginning. I want everybody to kind of give their outro So Brian, I'll let you go first. Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm again late addition to it because I am coronavirus virus didn't let me do my taste tonight was clients. Happy to be here. The only thing I want to add other than the normal find me at sipping corn calm bourbon justice calm is Obie topping would have been the number one player of the year. They wouldn't be Kansas in the Final Four if it had happened.

That's what I'm looking forward to I wish would have been there thanks guys. Absolutely Jordan

Jordan one of the three guys from breaking bourbon calm can find us on instagram twitter facebook at breaking bourbon and make sure to go to the website for daily basis as we do update the upcoming release calendar quite often well Blake economy yes kind of narrows down so i've you know, I'm taking double time for myself and for Aaron taking his outro as well so if you want to go for it I messaged him said Paul I was having computer issues I don't know if I said internet it gets us all it gets us all But no worries. Like I know that all Yeah, I've said I'm just glad I'm Can you know put the heat on somebody else for once on the air.

But no, so I'm Blake from bourbon er, calm. You know, always fun to be here and I thought this was a great show a lot of good information. So hopefully we all got to sit around and enjoy and some bourbon

And, you know, talk about the craziness and avoid hearing the corona virus for a little while some enjoyed it as always guys, thanks for having me. Absolutely. And that's kind of what I wanted to do tonight was to hopefully take everybody's mind a little bit off of it right and talking about Blanton's was something that I think was easy to do. There's been a lot of news about it recently and I think over the past year, and even two years we've seen this just go berserk in the market and we've just seen a lot of people really chase after and maybe this is also one of those brands that is also helping fuel the growth of bourbon overall because it is a pretty bottle and people look at it and they get behind it. It's it's in TV show so you know it's a it's something I think took long enough that we actually dedicated a show to actually talk about it because it is a it is a force to be reckoned with and it is a catalyst with inside of this industry that does move bourbon in in a forward direction.

So for you to give an outro because I think you've got a few different places that you you know, you podcasts you got a magazine or something to say. Yeah. And also in this episode of the podcast, in my above the char I said I was going to San Francisco. I am not.

I am not going to do to the coronavirus that said you can find me on the podcast world just I interview musicians and drink whiskey with them. I've got some fun names coming up. Got David Byrne from the talking heads and cloud from Slipknot coming up. So make sure you're tuning into that just just like you search for pursuit just search for Fred minich show and then got a magazine bourbon plus, man. next issue. We've got Jackie's icon on the cover and she she reveals a lot about her life and how she saved the old forest derive from being one of those highly prized

products. So if you want to learn a little bit about the pricing strategies at Brown Forman at least Jackie's icons a big part of that, so make sure you're subscribing that go to bourbon plus calm and, you know, just social media, everything else just my name, Fred. Alright, Fred, appreciate it, man. And thank you all for for joining in. Thank you everybody that was in the chat as well. A lot of great comments, a lot of great questions that that came in that really helped fuel this conversation. Make sure you follow bourbon pursuit on all the social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and tick tock, definitely. We're still there. Jordan, you you laugh people? The Tick Tock Hey, Jordan laughs Guess what? Breaking bourbon, sign up for Tick Tock.

Tick Tock for a long time. We just we just were in cognito until you know, Oh, see.

It's it's starting to happen. I still haven't signed up, but I'm gonna see. It's there. Don't Don't miss the train. All right. Thank you, everybody. We appreciate it. And we'll see you all next week. Cheers. Cheers.

Transcribed by

Mar 19, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Traverse City Whiskey Co. Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Traverse City Whiskey Co. Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey. This non-age stated rye is 115.8 proof and $90 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.
Mar 17, 2020
244 - The Original Pioneers of Distilling with Brian Prewitt, Master Distiller of A. Smith Bowman

Many of us have heard of A. Smith Bowman, which is owned by Sazerac, but we really don’t know much about them. We sit down with their Master Distiller, Brian Prewitt, to learn about the inner-workings of their operation and how the relationship with Sazerac works, as it pertains to the bourbon. With more than 20 years of brewing and distilling expertise, he tells us how he dialed in their stills to create a unique product and what the future entails for growth. We may or may not talk about gin for a few minutes as well. If you're a fan of A. Smith Bowman, let us know your favorite bottling in the comments.

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • At Barrell Craft Spirits, they explore whiskey in an entirely new way. The team selects and blends barrels of whiskey into something greater than the sum of its parts. Find out more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Texas.
  • How did you get into bourbon?
  • What has been your favorite spirit to work with?
  • Did your parents influence you to get into the alcohol industry?
  • Tell us the history of A. Smith Bowman.
  • Does it ever make you mad that Kentucky gets all the glory for bourbon?
  • What year did the operation start?
  • Tell us the history of Master Distillers there.
  • Is it hard to dial in flavor profiles?
  • Are you able to make your own imprint on the product?
  • What did you tweak during the process?
  • When did it become part of the Sazerac portfolio?
  • What resources did you gain from Sazerac?
  • Do you distill or does Buffalo Trace contract distill?
  • Is it aged in VA?
  • Are higher age releases sourced or made in house?
  • What is your capacity?
  • How many states are you available in?
  • Is there a flavor profile difference from Kentucky bourbon?
  • Tell us about your products.
  • What makes your gin unique?
  • Tell us about your single barrel program.
  • Where do you see the market in the future?
  • How has Virginia embraced you?
  • Do you have a lot of competition visit?
  • Has bourbon tourism grown in VA?
  • What are your plans for growth?

I love bourbon. But I'm not ready to restart my career and be distiller. I have a bachelor's degree, and I want to continue to use those skills in the whiskey industry. So check this out. The University of Louisville has an online distilled spirits business certificate. And this focuses on the business side of the spirits industry like finance, marketing and operations. This is perfect for anyone looking for a more professional development. And if you ever want to get your MBA, there certificate credits transfer into u of s online MBA program as elective hours. Learn more about this online six course certificate at U of Slash bourbon pursuit.

You know you have a whole line of beers and a whole line of wines and then of course I'll bring a lot of different whiskies and we have a good time on on the on the holidays. Yeah, those families have like a chili cook off, you'll have like a days off, like it's mine's way better than what you're making.

Hey everyone, it is Episode 244 of bourbon pursuit. I'm getting one of the hosts. And last week somebody asked me, Why didn't I talk about the announcement of Blanton's gold coming to the US on the podcast opening there, right? I totally Shut up. It was a huge missed because it was massive news. So yes, that is happening. And this will also be one of the major talking points for next week's bourbon Community Roundtable. So make sure you tune in for that, because it's likely going to be 100%. All About blends. All right onto the news. The audio is raising a glass to the women behind some of the most famous labels with the introduction of their crafts women project. The two new whiskies are going to be one as bullet Blender select crafted by bullet Blender Ebony major and Jane Walker created by johnnie Walker's master blender, Emma Walker. Both will be hitting the shelves this spring bullet blenders select number 001 will be a blend of

Three of the distilleries 10 high rye bourbon recipes bottled at 100 proof. Dr. Joe also announced a release of Jane Walker scotch, a 10 year blend featuring whiskey from Speyside. Jane Walker is crafted by Emma Walker who has the lion's share in most run of inventory. With over 10 million casks of aging and maturing whiskey and distilleries across Scotland. Bullet Blender select and Jane Walker will be hitting shelves in the coming months for a suggested retail price around $50 and $38 respectively. Pin hook bourbon has announced the arrival of their 2020 bohemian bourbon, the first bourbon release in almost 40 years. That was the stilt at historic castle and key pin contract is still the new bourbon at Castle and key, which is also what's known as old Taylor to craft their own custom mash bill of 75% corn, 10% rye and 15% malted barley, they blended just 100 barrels of this 34 month bourbon to create their high proof release, which clocks in at 114.5. It will share some of the

Same magenta wax color as last year's cash drink bourbon expression. The high proof bohemian bourbon will be arriving on shelves at April of 2020 per suggested retail price of around $50. In bourbon pursuit news since the beginning of 2020. We have already selected seven barrels from places like Buffalo Trace 79, and four roses. While they have eight more barrel selections to go in just the first half of this calendar year alone. We've got places like New riff, jack daniels bullet heaven Hill, and more. So if you want to be a part of this, head on over to slash bourbon pursuit, and not only can you help support the show, but you get some damn good bourbon in the process. And in more bourbon pursuit news, you know that you can find us on every podcast platform out there such as Apple podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Google, and even places like YouTube, but now we're hitting the airwaves. Yes, airing on Wednesdays from nine to 10am. We will be in Bardstown, Kentucky, his radio station w

Artie with frequencies of 1320 am 97.1 Fm 94.9 fm and online at wb rt The first show is set to launch next week on March 18, of 2020. Now today on the podcast, we dig into a brand that we know about but don't really know about, and that's a Smith Bowman, which is owned by SAS rock and based out of Fredericksburg, Virginia, we sit down with their master distiller Brian Pruitt to learn more about the inner workings of their operations, and how the relationship with SAS rock and Buffalo Trace works as it pertains to the bourbon with more than 20 years of brewing and distilling expertise. He tells us how they dialed in their stills and is pushing out a unique product. We also talk about their capacity and what the future entails for growth as well. Plus, we may or may not talk about gin for a few minutes. All right. Also as a small apology, this podcast audio for this week was recorded over zoom and is the

Final podcasts at AIR using this platform all shows going forward or using new platforms that will enhance your listener experience. So thanks for sticking with us. It's time for the show. Here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich with above the char.

I'm Joe Beatrice, founder of barrel craft spirits, we explore whiskey in an entirely new way. My team at barrel craft spirits, selects and blends barrels of whiskey into something greater than the sum of their parts. Use the store locator a barrel bourbon calm.

I'm Fred MiniK, and this is above the char. As I put the whiskey to my lips, I felt a tingle just throughout my palate. It started on the front and moved its way toward the back just dripping down the jaw line tickling the top and it's gonna surprise you where this whiskey came from. It was not from Kentucky, Tennessee or Indiana. This barrel proof bourbon was distilled

aged and bottled in Texas. That's right, Texas. Texas is on the move and they have been for some time. And I do believe that Texas bourbon will soon begin to rival Kentucky and competitions and with consumers from California to New York and from Alaska to Hawaii. Now this bourbon that I tasted that kind of wowed me was t x, Texas straight bourbon whiskey. It was 127.4 proof four years old barrel proof is on the label, obviously. And it's from Firestone and Robertson. I tasted this on my YouTube channel if you haven't go check that out. It's for my what's in the box segment where I open a box and taste whatever is in the box. But this this bourbon really was one that kind of made me think rethink my position on where Texas is. Now I've always thought Texas is a growing state and very powerful.

When it comes to whiskey, and I think the rise of Texas has been has been happening for some time, but in the last couple of years we have seen Texas distillers like iron root win major awards, we've seen balconies kind of like, you know, get on shelves all over all over the country and when pallets, especially those in the American single malt category, while garrison brothers has kind of dominated like this, like this landscape and built a cult following for itself. I think right now, Texas is primed to do things in American whiskey that we've not seen any other state be able to do. And there's a good chance as I go off to San Francisco to judge the world spirits awards, that we could see a Texas whiskey win a lot of gold. I'll say this. Texas has the formula. They have the formula to be able to compete with all the great distillers around the world. They have a consumer base that really is passionate

about anything from Texas I mean how you could you could slap Made in Texas on anything and I would sell out in Texas those people love their state and they have a lot of talent and they have the education there like people from that state who are in the distilling business have taken the time to go get the education that it requires to be good distillers they're also humble you don't see them slapping master distiller on there, or for the most part, you don't see them calling themselves master distillers without in their opinion earning it and I also don't think that you see a lot of like terribly bad products coming out of Texas. The one thing that's going to hold Texas back is its water, water. It has a it's it's it's not a resource in abundance in Texas. And this is something that I think that every whiskey state needs to be able to rely on. You need to rely on a lot of water, obviously, but keep your eye on Texas. Something's going on there. And if you if you haven't tasted this

yet make sure you go pick up a bottle that TX barrel proof bourbon. And if you followed me for a while you know how hard it is for me to give a compliment from Tech to Texas. After all, I was born and raised in Oklahoma, where we kind of rival Texas and a lot of ways. And that's this week's above the char Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, just search for a name Fred medic. Again, that's Fred MiniK Am I in an IC k? We're going to my website Fred medic calm until next week. Cheers

Welcome back to a another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon Kinney and Ryan here today talking to one another master distiller we have never had on the show today but it is coming from a distillery. I've got one or two bottles downstairs. Love what they're doing really good things over there. But it is it's not Kentucky's backyard which is a little bit different for us from time to time.

Yeah typically well I'm surprised this is like one of the master stories we haven't had one so I'm excited like we haven't had him on yet I don't know what's taking so long it's probably my fault we just got it but you have to knock on the right door sometime but they do have a great product I don't know a ton about it so I'm really excited to kind of get their story and info by had some great single barrel picks from them from liquor barn around here so I know they're doing some good stuff and excited to see what the future and past present all the above for this distiller Yeah, absolutely, it's kind of gonna be a culmination of all those things because what we've seen at least around here in Kentucky is being able to finally get your hands on some of these bottles and now that it's got a unique bottle shape to it's kind of like this, this oval looking heart shaped kind of thing and it's it's really cool. It really stands out on the shelf and I think it's going to be good for our listeners to kind of learn more about the brand more about the people that are behind the brand as well because I think that's a good

What our audience really cares about, they want to know more about the stories of the people behind it. So yep, so let's stop talking and let's start asking.

So today on the show, we have Brian Pruitt. Brian is the master distiller at a Smith Bowman out of Virginia. So Brian, welcome to the show. Kenny Ryan, thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it. Guys, so before we kind of dive into the history of Bowman and more about you know, you we always like to kick off the show and kind of think of like, what is it that got you into bourbon whiskey was there? Was there an early like, I mean, it's okay, because we talked to a lot of people and they're like, well, it started back when I was 12. And Grandpa said, you know, taking it but this so kind of talk about your first run and experience. Absolutely. So for me, it was a little bit different. I I started actually in school, I had no intentions of going into the alcohol beverage industry. I was in actually pre pre med and I had no

You know, I was in a class, literally looking for nerves or whatever it was on a cadaver. And I thought, this sucks. I hate this. I don't want to do this anymore. On a cadaver. Yeah, it was not fun. And I decided, Hey, you know what I really liked. I really like beer. Why don't I try and make beer. So I actually called up the local brewery which happened to be a large Anheuser Busch. And I was able to talk to the the master Brewer. You know, here I am this college kid. And he said, Yeah, come on down. I'll talk to you. I'll tell you how I got to where I was. And I went in and talked to him and, and he said, yeah, this is what I did. And this is the path I took. And so I next day went in and changed my major to food science, and did the whole food science thing Colorado State and then eventually went on to do the master brewers at UC Davis.

Started in the brewing industry. So I was working a lot of small craft breweries.

across Colorado and California. And you know after several years in the brewing industry, I decided I wanted to learn what beer became when it grew up. Now when it comes to see that's that's the fun part though you always get to start with beer before you make to the get to the spirits anyway Absolutely. A lot of people don't realize you know, basically what we do here is you know, for whiskies as you as you as you make a beer and then you're going to distill it after ferment, so I kind of really wanted to learn about that. So I I found that at the time I found a weaseled my way into the the wine industry, which had a very large distillery with it and was able to learn about, you know, under a master distiller and a master blender. They had probably a combined about 80 years worth of knowledge and I worked for them for well over a decade. And, you know, got to make all sorts of things got to make brandies and vodkas and gins and spend time in Mexico making tequila and Caribbean rooms.

And then of course whiskies and, but eventually I really wanted to get back to kind of my roots, which was small craft, you know, high quality spirits and that's what brought me to a Smith bone. So it's kind of a maybe a different route than some have taken versus, you know, just like am I, my father worked in the industry and I got in the industry and, you know, it's, I will say that all of my family is involved with the alcoholic beverage industry. I brother worked for breweries, my dad owns a winery, and I'm in booze. My sister is the only one that hasn't made it. She's a doctor. So you got it. She liked the nerves on the cadaver. It's a trail. Yeah, exactly. So it sounds like you've worked with a lot of spirits.

I know you're gonna say you want to work or whiskey is your favorite thing to work with the what's been one of your favorite spirits to work with. I absolutely love whiskey and I mean it came from, you know, the the brewing side and just seeing what you can do with

The grain the grain bill different yeasts and then taking that on and the maturation side

I think that's I think that's great now I don't discriminate against the spirits though I love them all. I love all sorts of spirits you know in the summer, sometimes it's nice to have a nice gin and tonic. Sometimes, you know, you need a nice brandy or rum drink when you know you're out. You have to have a boat drink, you know, out on the boat. You gotta have that rum drink. But of course, you know, nothing, nothing beats a nice nice single barrel bourbon. So absolutely see when I go in the boat, it's like it's the only time I let it slide is like you get the Bud Light limes. Or you have one of those kind of like the very fruity kind of forward kind of beers it's the only time it works is when you're on a boat. Well, it takes plenty of beer to make to make good bourbon so

absolutely well let slot

well cool. So that's good to see like it was there it kinda want to talk about your family life here a little bit. So you talked about your family all kind of being in the Alcohol Beverage

industry. Was there a,

you know, at least from your your parents side of it? Was there an influence that said like, hey, like this is this is a good route for you to go was that a an opportunity that you said you already kind of have experience in this? Yeah. Because my family was a part of it. Like was that an influential factor into it? No, I think it was more, you know, actually my father he kind of started the winery that he runs. He started in that in retirement. So that's kind of like he was retirement type thing. So it was all of us were kind of getting into the industry at all at the same time and we all just kind of I think we love the science aspect of it. We love the art aspect of it. You know, we just kind of all went different ways. And it was just one of those things that Yeah, we get we get together and we have some pretty crazy Christmases and things like that where you can, you know, you really get to bring out the full spread different I'll call it Tipples, you know you have a whole line of beers and a whole line of wines and then of course I'll bring a lot of different whiskeys in

We have a good time on on the on holidays. Yeah, those families have like a chili cook off, you'll have like a days off. Like, it's man's way there and what you're making.

So, it was kind of interesting. But yeah, we I mean, we definitely help each other out. And, you know, I'll get calls from guys all the time they'll say, Hey, I talked to your brother the other day and don't don't believe a word he said. Or hey, I was at your dad's place. I don't believe a word. He said. He doesn't know what he's talking about. So you give each other a hard time. And that's okay. I mean, it's family you have to give each other a hard time. Especially in the holidays. It's kind of kinda like the booze off we should probably we should make a bourbon pursuit booze off for our Christmas holiday party. It wouldn't last long my family that like every time I bring straight bourbon or Nate they're like, I can't believe you drink this. This is awful.

So let's you know before we start talking more about your job and everything like that, that you've gone with let's let's give a our listeners kind of a an understanding and background of really

What's the history at a Smith Bowman? Because I just realized before we were coming on here that is it is not Abraham It is actually a from Smith.

Yep, we're the experts.

School is so so a Smith Bowman is actually one of the oldest distilleries on the east coast. It was the oldest distiller in Virginia, started by Abraham Smith Bowman, and a lot of his family actually kind of has roots to the, you know, the pioneers of basically, during the Revolutionary War, discovering what is now current day Kentucky. So if you're in Louisville, and you go out to Bowman field,

that is actually part of the bone was discovered and named after one of the Bowman family, really, tours of Cedar Creek is as they were known and all of our current day products are all named after the bone like historical Bowman figures. But kind of getting to modern history of how Abraham started it. He was actually the great grandson.


Abraham Bowman or sorry, George Bowman. And he was actually in the distilling industry prior to prohibition. He ran a distillery in in New Orleans prior to prohibition and one of the largest ramen bourbon distilleries, Algiers point. And and then after, you know, prohibition, he happened to buy about 7400 acres. And he opened up a granary and, and, and cattle. And then he no of course, prohibition ends and 3334 is when an ended here in Virginia, and he decided, hey, you know, I already know this business quite well. I have all my own corn. I have all my own rye. Let's start making bourbon. And, you know, that's what he started doing. So, right in 3435, he started making bourbon. And His goal was basically straight, you know, granted glass we did everything from, like I said, growing the grain. we harvested our own trees and made our own barrels.

I mean, we did it all. And the whole point was to make, you know, high quality spirits. And, you know, we kind of continue on with that. That kind of mantra today. We're known for making Bourbons, of course, but we do other spirits as well. So that's this kind of a little bit of the history of it. We give it we give the complete history. If you ever make it down to Virginia, we'll give you the complete history. There we go. We'll do the 30 minute tutorial one of these days. That sounds good. Does it ever make you all mad that like Kentucky gets all the glory for bourbon when Virginia was like, the state before Kentucky? You're like, yeah, we have a lot. There's I will say a lot of people come in and they're very proud of their their Kentucky bourbon heritage and and, and we're proud of it as well, but we always like to remind them that Kentucky used to be part of Virginia, we say Well, we've been making bourbon here for a long time too. So it's kind of just curious about like the current operation like kind of like the year that really it started or is it still like been all running since 18, whatever. Well, so we started

Like I said, and 33 in Fairfax County, which is about just outside of Washington, DC area, and we moved it to their current location here in 1988. So we've been running here in this location since 88. And the reason we moved is because basically we sold off the family sold off the farm. And the the city of Reston, or that Fairfax County, which is well over a million people now just kind of grew around the distillery and they're, you know, having this distillery where literally, they were walking the cows in from the farm to feed off the slop down the middle of the road. They just didn't, they kind of didn't like that so much. So move to the distillery where we're at now, which is about 45 miles south of Washington DC. We're in this small town in Fredericksburg.

And it's you know, it's been it's been a great location for us. So we're right along the Rappahannock river and, and, you know, it's a great area for aging Bourbons, and when

Enjoy it here so far. Talk a little bit about like the the history of the master distiller title there as well. Are you the fourth the first of the new one? And do they don't have master distillers back now and to talk about that? Yeah, actually so there's been six master distillers here in the history of the company since the 30s. The first one was for about five years and then we had kind of one or two that only lasted about, you know, five to 10 years. And the previous master distiller was actually earth to master distillers ago was actually here for about 30 years he kind of took it from basically took over as master distiller in the 80s until almost 2011. And then the previous master distiller to me was Truman Cox, who came from Buffalo Trace actually, and he was here. I think he worked here for probably about three years, but he's only master distiller for a little over a year and a half. He sat down

Passed away very you know, very unexpectedly and I took over from him he had been hidden and gone for probably about six months when I took over so I came into you know into a building with you know, there hadn't been a master distiller for six months. So it was one of those things where you you hope that the previous master distillers and taking notes and you go in and you learn the skill and you find out what's going on and taste through the stock I know that's that's rough to do. Got a taste you're all the stock to find everything out somebody in Thank you for taking that sacrifice for us. We proud. I'll stop. That's okay. I'll do it again. I get it. I have to so but it was you know, it was just trying to come in and find out what the house flavors were, how the stills ran and and just taking it from there. So I've been in this role for six years now. So how long do how long do you think it takes to become comfortable with the existing setup and accounting?

Get those, you know, like basic flavor profiles you're looking for dialed in, it takes a little while it takes a you know, I think you have a good couple of months that you know, just tasting through all the stock, you know, just going through and seeing where everything is. So, you know, you're literally going out into the warehouse and you're saying, okay, you know, what's this one? We're okay, this is a year old, what's it tastes like? Okay, this is two years old, what's it tastes like? And then all the way up, you know, 1516 years, and you're trying to find out, hey, what are the flavor profiles that are out there in the different parts of the warehouse because you know, you, you don't have anybody to tell you that, you know, that historic. This is where I did this. And this is where I did this. And if I want this flavor I pulled out of this area of the warehouse, you just don't have that. So you know that that took a little while but you know, once once you get there, I think then it's tweaking it to make a little little changes right off the bat just to just to kind of make it your own style and and then kind of improve the product and

That's one of the things that we always want to do is, you know, that's, that's our logo or our motto here is pioneering spirit. So we're embracing our history, and just pushing the future. We're just wanting to improve our products every day. So we don't want to just sit back and go, yeah, that's okay. It could be better.

So, that's amazing, free rein to make your own imprint on it. So it's not just like, plug and play, like, this is the way we do it. Don't screw it up. No, absolutely. I mean, there there is, obviously you have an established brand and you don't want to if you have historic, you know, customers of that brand, you don't want to just change it willy nilly. You know, yeah, if you're gonna make changes, you want to make sure that for the better and, you know, you want to keep improving them, but, you know, if it's a change that does make it better, makes it taste better. You know, improves its, its overall appeal, then yeah, absolutely free rein. No one's good because, you know, one thing that we always talk about is how the

Entry just loves to hear about change, right? Yeah. Not really like it's always like, you know, let's, let's keep Let's stay the course Let's not really not shake things up too much or anything like that. So I guess the question that I kind of want to pose about, you know, when you started coming in, you're figuring out like, how do we dial or how do we tweak things? Can you recall like one of those things that you kind of had to tweak to kind of figure out what it is to kind of make Pruitt's own signature bourbon? Right. Well, I mean, one of the things that I, you know, I'm looking for, as the heads were coming off the still and I walked in, and I'm like, Alright, well, wait, what are you doing? Oh, we're making the cut. Like, not yet. Not yet. You got it. Wait, wait, wait, wait just a minute. And then you know, we do our heads cuts a little bit different and then eventually, you know, we're saying, okay, where's our ideal proof? Because, you know, we had some periods of time that I will say that, you know, the proof really kind of varied

quite a bit off the still and we tried to dial that in

And tried to really get consistency off the off the distillation process versus, you know, you know, just, hey, this is the way that we run it every single time.

We wanted to go in and say, Hey, each, each tank each fermenter each batch is different. So we're going to adjust our still to make sure that our flavor profile is consistent from distillation to distillation, so that you don't have this huge variation from batch to batch. You know, we wanted it, you know, there was there was just processes that you have to go in and say, Okay, this is how we want to run it. And just a little tweak here, a little tweak there. And, you know, a lot of these guys have been working in the industry for 30 years. And they kind of go Oh, yeah, okay, that makes sense. You know, these are these are good things to do. So

I think we've been successful in that. So absolutely. And so I guess one of the things that maybe most people will know about is that it is all part of the the SAS rack portfolio. So, Buffalo Trace, all that sort

stuff as part you know, Smith Bowman as part of that kind of when did when that started happening when it became part of that portfolio. So it actually it's kind of interesting story because in the move for a Smith Bowman from Fairfax to the current location,

they had to take down all of the basically the entire distilleries shut it down for it, it took about two years to move the entire distillery. So they started partnering with what was at that time before it was called Buffalo Trace was ancient age. So they started partnering with them and doing the initial mash, even the the yeast and the mash bill and things like that, so that we can continue on producing and, and then basically, when you know, we kind of kept going in that direction, and in 2003 was actually one of the first distilleries that Sam's rack purchased from the Bowman family they purchased the distillery

2003 and it's now it's even, it's an even better situation. Because Yeah, we're able to, you know, we're all part of one, one company, and we can do all sorts of things work together. It's a great network. And we're all about, you know, making the absolute best products that we can, which is wonderful. What are some of the resources that I guess he gained from being with SAS direct versus just trying to do stuff on your own? Or is it like a big collaboration? I guess he's got Harland cellphone on the dial. He's got that. Well, yeah, we do have that, obviously. But, you know, things. Some of the benefits are, as you know, for example, barrels were really hard to come by a couple years ago, right? Well, luckily, we buy enough barrels, that we're able to say, Hey, you know, we're part of this bigger network, you know, can we can we get barrels whereas if you're a small guy, and you're only buying, you know, a couple thousand barrels a year, you may not necessarily make the list for some of the biggest

barrel producers, they say, Well, you know, our big barrel producer or big customers already have it, we don't have barrels for you. So Tough luck, which has been a benefit, you know, getting getting the distribution and sales and marketing side of a larger company. I mean, those just really work well. And it's a benefit, or for us, obviously, you know, because we, we do run ourselves as a kind of a separate entity, a small a small distillery. But we do have that, that lifeline. So to say, you know, that to help us out, we have a problem. You know, hey, we don't have analysis for this kind of stuff. And can we send it to your lab? And can you run it for us and, and they'll say, Yeah, absolutely, we can do that. You know, or, hey, I have trouble getting this kind of grain or this kind of wood. You know, Can Can somebody find it or and, you know, and the good the guys will help you out. So which is which is a great, great thing to have. It so I think you

You kind of sparked an idea in my head too, because one thing that I think the bourbon community really thought of for the longest time is like, Oh, well, Smith home and like all it is is just sourcing from Buffalo Trace. And it's not that at all. You just said like, Oh, we gave them the mash bill so they can start contract basically contract distilling for us at the time. So kind of talk about really is, is that still part of the current operation? Are they still distilling for you? Or is everything shifted back over to your place? We do, we do a combination of a couple of things. So we do use a

Nashville that is made for us. And actually, it's not it's not one two or a week, right.

Come on, you guys. You guys know that. We were a little bit we wouldn't be prodding for information. We're a little tight lipped about some of our recipes sometimes. No, it's all good. So it is a what we do is we actually have them

Do the fermentation for us do a primary distillation for us and we'll get the high wines here. And then we'll finish up the distillation on a lot of our bourbon products. So distillation, aging processing bottling but we also I mean we have full mash and cook capabilities here. So we'll do you know, just yesterday we were using a local bloody butcher corn,

you know, local rye and doing stuff on our our pilot still or our 500 gallon experimental still. So we have full capabilities here. We do a combination of both

is everything Ah, they're in Virginia or some aged in Frankfort. Okay, we have all this stuff that we're putting out has been aged in our facilities.

And so I mean, it's a I think there was it had to been a few years ago now there had been there have been some pretty high h2 releases that had come there limited edition sort of stuff that came

From the distillery I think like, in the rounds like 14 or 17 years old and stuff like that, was that still your all's product as well or kind of kind of get a little bit? Well, sometimes sometimes we'll go out there and depends on the product. Most of the really old stuff has been aging in our, in our, our sellers for quite some time or our warehouses for quite some time. Sometimes we'll find, I'll call them unique barrels that we use for certain products, and we'll bring them in an agent and blend them we're big on on blending a lot of product here. So we like a little small batch. And sometimes when we do Abraham's, we'll do some, we'll find some very neat stuff that doesn't work. But the majority of them have been almost primarily 100%. aged and produced here. Great. I mean, I'm already learning something right? Because like I said, from from a real whiskey geek background, most people kind of assume that oh, you know, part of the

Right portfolio, it's some of the stuff that's just could be the Buffalo Trace, basically mash bill coming in. But no, it's good to understand that there is there is this unique factor that is driving into it. And we had kind of touched about, you know, talked a little about the operation kind of talk about more along the lines of the size of what you're all able to do there on your own. And maybe even with combination of what's happening inside of Frankfort with in regards of how many barrels you filling per day, and so on and so forth.

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how many barrels you filling per day and so on and so forth? Well, and that's, that's unfortunately one of the few things that the they they asked me not to speak about too much. Okay. Production or production size, but I will say what we do in a day is or even a year is what some of our sister distilleries can do in a day. Right? You know, we, we were find ourselves very, very efficient, you know, are still able to distill it almost 10 barrels an hour on our 2000 gallon pot still. So we're moving pretty quick on that. But

We can we can barrel really quickly, you know, we can we can empty a cistern tank in a matter of you know, two to three hours. So we feel we're up there and in terms of all of our infrastructure is made for a large large distillery. But in terms of our production, we're what we would consider a micro distillery were very small. No promise no more, no more poking and prodding.

You talked about sastra helping you all get distribution in the States. How many states are you currently available in? Well, currently, we're I think we're around 40 states.

And we have distributed in the past to the UK, we do send some products to Japan as well. So it's I mean, we're out and about most of what we concentrate on though is of course, Virginia, the East Coast. Kentucky is a big market for us. Indiana is also a good market for us. So I mean, it's kind of if you think if you look at the map and you look at the you know, kind of the south or southeast states and

Mid Central States, it's really where we focus. But we do. I mean, of course, we have distribution in California, and we have some in Oregon and things like that. But for the most part, it's, it's mostly in the east. So I kind of want to like shift a little bit and kind of talk about back to kind of like the distillation really like the flavor profile that you all are really trying to dial in on, you know, most people. I think Ryan brought it up at the very beginning. You know, Kentucky's very proud, very, very proud of their bourbon. Absolutely. And they should. And so kind of talk about really, what is is I mean, is there a an overall flavor profile difference that is, you know, coming from you all because, you know, there's, there's, we always try to talk about limestone, filtered water. It's so great here in Kentucky, but most people if you listen to the show enough, we're like, okay, it's reverse osmosis everywhere. We can kind of sit there and like put a checkbox like that's really nothing important nowadays. So kind of talk about a different kind of flavor aspect that really, you're trying to get

With inside of your your bourbon versus what you can get off the shelf of any other Joe Schmo Kentucky bourbon out there. Well what we look for is we look for a lot of like baked apple and cherry notes in the distillate are easterly kind of produces that that kind of note. So we and we want that to be emphasized in the raw spirit. The white dog coming off is still

and we want it really clean. We want that nice corn, you know, we want that sweet corn a little bit of a hint of that rye coming through. But we don't want it to be spicy, we want it to be really super smooth. And then when we aged out, of course for the Bowman brothers, I want a little more of the spirits come through a little less of the barrel. So a little bit of the vanilla, a little bit of the kind of the, the oak tannins to come through with the emphasis on on the fruitiness and then we would go the like, say the john J. Because it's the single barrel we wanted to we want the barrel to stand out a little bit more. So we want a little more of that coconut and

Heavy Carnival notes we want you know that really toasty Oh, and then in the background, we want that nice smooth, you know, kind of baked Apple note.

I think I sound like a john j person because you said you said coconut he said like oh, like that's oh man you just pulled on my heartstrings right there whereas I like the fruity and softer notes though and you know people ask me which one is the best and I say well I you know I don't decide between the two and then we kind of do one in the middle which is you know, our our port finish so if you like a little bit sweeter notes we got a little bit more open to that one in terms of it gets kind of a

basically we're doing a finish on on port barrels, Ruby port barrels that we import from Portugal and we also use Virginia port barrels. And then we agent we finish it in a solera process. So we always blend all the barrels together at the end. French oak American oak

And it's all in one big huge oak tank at the end that we bought a lot of to get that kind of extra character. It gets some really nice fruit notes and some really nice oak notes. So kind of a combination of the two. So if I'm taking my notes correctly, we got we got a Smith Bowman we got john J. Bowman, we've got the port finish. Is there any other products that that I'm not that we haven't talked about yet? Yeah. So so we have we have as far as our Bourbons. We have our Bowman brothers bourbon, which is a small batch bourbon, we have the Isaac Bowman, which is a port finish. We have our john j, which is a single barrel. And then we have our Abraham, which is our experiments. So those can vary in Nashville or finish or anything like that. Then we of course do rum, gin, and vodka, and you have to do a cream record, of course a bourbon bourbon caramel Perea Hmm. Now, do those have the Bowman named to him as well with the gin and the vodkas? Yeah, the gin is actually called sunset Hey,

So it's named after our original farm. And the vodka is called Deep run, which is the name of the lake, which is right in front of the distillery. And George Bowman is our rum. And it's a Caribbean rum. And then Mary Hite who is the matriarch of the Bowman family. That's our that's our bourbon caramel cream. You didn't pull Harlan Wheatley and name it. Brian Pruitt. We I don't have that kind of pull, I guess. You know, I don't think they would look at it and they'd probably pronounce it wrong or they go I don't I don't want that stuff.

You're just humble.

I try to be that we have we have a you know, we really appreciate that people enjoy our brands and and we hope that they enjoy what we're putting out that's I mean, that's the whole goal is that I go in day in and day out and but you know, I I put my passion into what I'm doing and and i hope they enjoy it. So I want to talk about Kenny omega man. I want to talk about Jim

For a second just cuz a budget gym gym pursuit just because we've been going to a couple distilleries and they happen to be producing gin that day and so kind of you know putting in their different blends and their own botanical botanicals in it and stuff so talk about your gin and what kind of makes it unique and what do you like about it? Well we in and I kind of I didn't even mention the fact that we actually have five gyms out there right now so we do a lot of gyms Yeah, we didn't curious now. Yeah, we have our Sunset Hills which is kind of a call it a straight London dry style fairly, fairly simple in flavor profile, only about four different botanicals. But then we we actually do a line called the Tinker men's line

on the Tinker band, I guess. And we're tinkering with different styles, different display methods. We have a citrus Supreme, we have a spice which we're doing more of the brown spice characters and we have a balanced was called brighten

And then we actually made with local rye.

You know, we just not more than a half an hour from the distillery we did 100% rye base, rye gin. We called it rye expectations, we used rise of botanical too. So, you know, we we like to use that and you know, that's one of the ways when, when we we don't have we have some extra time on the still, it's really fun to get in there and you know, you can unlike bourbon where it takes you 710 1215 years to really see your product, turn around and and come up with a recipe and the next day and taste it you're like oh, yeah, okay, that was fun. So how do you incorporate these botanicals? Do you like throw them in like a tea bag and throw them in there? Or like how to how to or do you just throw them straight in there? How do you extract these different flavors? It kind of depends on the recipe, but we'll do a lot of times we'll do kind of the maturation in the pot. So we'll throw all the botanicals in the pot, but certain botanicals like for example if we're putting elderflower in there or you know

You know, some of the more floral aspects that we put into, into some of our gins, we'll actually put it in a gin basket, which is actually in the scheme, the vapor line of our still, and so it's vapor extracted. So we'll put certain things in like vanilla bean, or elderflower, or things like that, you know that we don't want to just sit there and boil and cook them. We want just the really nice top notes to come out. And so, and depending on the on the method we'll use, we'll use you know, sometimes a combination of the two. And we can even sometimes do extractions and then distill it. So it's just kind of depends on the gin. Could you do that with bourbon or whiskey and any type like, I guess not well 51% corn and then say you want to get certain fruity flavors or certain vanilla mandolins could you technically extract them from?

Well, technically, yes. Whether or not it could be legally called whiskey is a different different

story but

yeah, you could probably do that. I wouldn't put it past that. Maybe something like that has happened. So there's the prett

that's the Brit product. Then he's then he's fighting a battle with the TTB of like, what do we even classify this thing? Yes, everything gets killed then now becomes a DSS. Mm hmm. All right off the Jin tan. Let's say you got any more Jin Jin things going on? I just find it interesting because like you said, you can just go there and get the flavors right then and there versus having to wait. So I was always curious about it. Got it. You gotta have your vitamin D and vitamin t in the summer. So that's

exactly. So, uh, you know, one thing that we kind of talked about at the very top of the show, you know, Ryan said that, you know, the products that he tried were all single barrels. So kind of talk a little bit about the single barrel program that you do have there. You know, I've, I've made been made aware of it. At some point. We probably need to do our own single barrel there, too. And we'll get invited. Yeah, well, if we get invited, let's come out there. We'll we'll choose. Well, and we have we we

We kind of for a while because the john j is really what we do is single barrels and it's and it's a it's a well aged product.

It's anywhere from nine to 14 years typically is what will age that product in a single barrel. What we like to do there is you know, I've anything that really kind of goes out in our normal production runs, I want a specific flavor profile, I want that like I mentioned earlier, you know, that vanilla coconut and, and the high toasty notes. But sometimes you get some barrels that are really, really good. But don't meet the flavor profile of what you would expect on the shelf. So if you were to buy a j&j today, and then a couple weeks later go out and buy another one, and they didn't taste the same or similar. You might be a little bit upset and you may have loved it before and you didn't love the next one. So what we do is, you know, barrels that are slightly different barrels that maybe have a little more spice or maybe a little more fruit

Or maybe a little more vanilla. They're wonderful in their own right. We put those into, into a lot of our private URL selections is when we do those. So that's why, you know, some people have specific tastes that they're looking for, they're looking for more of an earthy, spicy, some have more of a, you know, like I said, a sweeter profile. And those are the ones that we we've done in the past and we've we've been pretty, pretty tight on barrels just because of the mean, just purely on the amount of we I don't think any of us expected the growth of single barrel Bourbons to take off like it has. And so we've been playing catch up, but hopefully we'll we'll have more and more of those barrels available in the future but there's there has been some absolutely spectacular ones that have come out recently. You know, some ones that you know, I put in my I call my spice rack, you know, if I if I have something that is really amazing doesn't fit the profile, john Jay, but maybe potentially, you know,

If I can use it for blending, like I mentioned blending into a neighbor Abraham down the road, you know, hey, I need a little more spice or I need a little more fruit and then I'll take these out of the spice rack. And occasionally they just sit up in the spice rack and I can't find a home for them. I'll let people taste them and if they like them they can take them home. See there's the sticker idea for the Bowman take despise Dr. Spice, right. So are you familiar with single barrel stickers out people are putting these gaudy you know, stickers on the back? Oh, yeah, absolutely. We do those for people. Absolutely. Well, what would you do for single barrel pick it up your choice? Oh, well, I have a couple of barrels up there that are really amazing. been sitting for a while. And

yeah, they're getting up there and proof I should probably pull them pretty soon. But you know, that kind of depends on the day, some days I like a little more, a little more spice in my my bourbon and other times. I like a really soft, open

Almost a weeded profile, so it just kind of depends on the day. Yeah. Well, I'm gonna go ahead and put in a request now. Because if you go through and you find one that is like super coconut, it tastes like an Almond Joy. Just go ahead and earmark that one and be like, hold on, let me mark this down right now. Yes. As you're going through your sampling, yeah, sampling, put it on a post it note and be like, Alright, this is for the bourbon pursuit, guys. We'll send you some stickers you can throw on there. Absolutely.

Sure, they're really big and round and cover the whole back. What jerk edge cover we have. We'll do it. That sounds great. Well, we'll even we'll send you our handwriting too. So you can just like trace it on the on the barrelhead. So we just claim it. So the, you know, one of the things that we always like to kind of talk about is you know, you kind of talked about extra still time and kind of like what can we do create some experimentations do some crazy gins and stuff like that but we look at really what's happening into the the bourbon market and the bourbon world and one thing that you as a master distiller have to do get to

kind of look at the spreadsheet and start calculating like, what is what is this bourbon market? What is this boom going to look like in the next few years? What's is there going to be a bust? What's it going to look like? Where do you kind of see the market trending here? In the next three years, five years, decade, decade, two years, five years, I think it's gonna start slowing down a little bit. You know, it's just been growing. It's such fast pace. I think it will slow down just a little bit. But by that, I mean, instead of double digit growth, we're gonna have high single digit growth and type things and, and I don't see it stopping. You know, I don't I don't see a fall of whiskey and bourbon in particular, in the near future. I think it'll just kind of flatten out for a while, you know, it's we've had this huge spike. I think you're going to see you know, people, you know, ride for a long time. No one wanted to drink a rye and now all of a sudden rise popular again. So I think I'll see we'll see a little bit of that come up. I think

Gonna be healthy for the next few years? And probably the next 510 years, I think it'll be pretty healthy. At least we're counting on it. We're putting down the stock for that. So I hope I hope it continues that way. And I hope I'm right. So otherwise, you got a lot of stock. I'm gonna have to figure out what?

Well, we're in the market. Yeah. Well, as we'd like to drink whiskey, too, we'll be more than happy to help you just, you know, go through and sample every barrel that's out there. Yeah, talk about a Virginia and how they've kind of embraced you guys, you know, and hung their hat on you as like this is our distillery to kind of have that with the state or? Well, we do there's, you know, it's interesting in the last, you know, up until the 50s, were they really the only distillery in Virginia. And now, you know, over the past five years, just the distilling industry in Virginia has really taken off. We've gone from, you know, being 20 small distilleries in the state. Now, I think there's 70 in the state

But I think a lot of people still embrace the fact that you know, bourbon is one of the products and whiskey is one of the products that is made and has been made in Virginia for a long time. And there's a lot of people that really, really are putting out some great products and you know, and I think it's it's great that a lot of people look to a Smith Bowman and they go oh, yeah, okay, that's, you know, that's that's the model that we should follow for making a great bourbon or great whiskey in the state of Virginia. And I think a lot of people you know, a lot of people who have lived in this area for a long time they know us, and they know our products and you know of course they go to their football games and they they have their bottle a Smith Bowman and and you know that's that's our tradition. You know, we have guys a little semi, you know, I am 80 something years old and I've been drinking a Smith Bowman bourbon since you know, I was 20. So which is great to hear, you know, that

It's one of those legacy products that,

you know, you just don't find the history and a lot of the smaller distilleries, and I think that's a wonderful thing to be a part of that history. Absolutely. And I think, you know, you kind of you kind of struck something in my head when you started talking about olders. It went from, you know, 20 now to 70. Do you see a lot of like competition coming through your doors and saying, oh, let's go see what let's go see what Brian's up to over here. Let's see if we can take down a few few notes in our, in our Yeah, absolutely. I we had a lot of people that do that will have, you know, the local distiller will say, Hey, can I come up and walk through the distillery and spend some time with you? And I say, absolutely. Come walk through the distillery. We do tours every hour on the hour.

And we don't hide anything. And you can you can see exactly what we're doing. Now. We may not tell you exactly what we're doing. We may not tell you, you know, hey, this is the mash bill. This is that we're doing this. You can see what we're doing. And, you know, we're we're very

You know, we're supportive, we want to we really think that the industry has room to grow, and we want to support them. But we also, you know, I don't want the industry to go in such a way that people look out and they see the smaller distillers and go, Oh, they don't make anything good. You know, so that's why we really want to support and say, yeah, you know, you got to put out a good product. And if you can see, you want to come in and see how we're doing things. That's fine. I may not tell you a whole lot, but you're welcome to come in and walk around. So how's a bourbon tourism been in Virginia? Because like here, it's exploded. Have you guys seen that as well in Virginia? Well, for us, tourism is a little bit harder than it is, you know, a lot of people go to Kentucky and they go to Kentucky to go visit distilleries. For us. It's a little bit different. And we have you know, we're right in the middle of I'll call it historic, you know, where people are coming to see you know, civil war you know, we're the distillery site is actually is a site of a civil war about

battle. You know, there's a lot of historic sites as far as the Civil War love Revolutionary War. You know, George Washington was actually lived, you know, his boyhood home is literally across the river from the distillery. So a lot of people come for the history. And it's our our challenge is to get them to come in and visit the distillery. Now, I think the Virginia wine industry has done a great job of getting people to realize that there's wine in the state. And then of course, breweries have been doing pretty well as well.

So it's been a struggle for us as far as getting the visitors here. But we still you know, this last year was almost 30,000 people come through the distillery you know, obviously not hundreds of thousands of people that people will go to larger distilleries, but we're hoping that we can grow that and let people know that Yeah, we're a distillery that's been here for a long time. And we plan to be here for another 8590 years at least. So you got to figure out a way to get yourself on the hip.

trail over there. Yeah. Taking a break from the capitals and all the Yeah, Norton come down and yeah you go to the Capitol you go across the river you go see George Washington's house he grew up in then oh, there's this old distiller over here. Oh, and we get to drink. Absolutely and count me. Absolutely, absolutely that's that's our whole goal is how to get them getting you know, you're like, hey, yeah, that's that's a really nice monument there but come see a distillery Have a drink. Yeah, it's, I mean, that's an easy sell point for me to come in. Just say yeah, let's let's go, let's go do that. You can you can go see a mime and every single day if you wanted to, but so I guess, you know, we're coming to come down here to the end of this and I kind of want to get a little bit more information about really, where do you kind of see is is there expansion? is there is there ideas of like how, how much more bigger can is going to get in regards of like what you all are trying to do in regards to growth or anything like that? Yeah, well, right now we're actually in the in the midst of an expansion. You know, we're

We're adding tanks. We've added just in the past probably going to say about a month, we've added about 11 tanks to our production. We're hoping to add to our bottling line here pretty soon to be able to pick up production. Because we really want to you know, we're we're coming up some of the moves that we made a couple of years ago when I came in five, six years ago was to increase some of our small batch production and increase some of our j&j and things like that. And those those are kind of coming into fruition now and we're hoping to expand and make more that bourbon available. And but I don't think we ever really have any ideas. We don't want to become this huge, multi million case distillery. We want to be focused on making the absolute best products that we can you know, the best bourbon that we can find our best bourbon that we can produce. And, you know, the best, the best Jan's best vodkas, best rums, we want to absolutely make great products. And if we grow to be, you know, a large

Larger regional size. Great. But that's not really our focus. Our focus is to make a great product. And Sazerac supports that vision. They're not like, they're not like, yeah, that sounds great. We want to crank out as much juice as possible, I'm sure. Yeah, no, absolutely. They absolutely under present sport, making the best product that we can make. Very cool. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, and shout out to Matthew, who is here on the chat. He just said thanks for joining in Brian. It was so so great to actually learn about a brand that's flying under the radar for a lot of the bourbon geeks out there because like I said, For myself, you know, learning more about the mash bill and really how the operation kind of functions and you know, knowing that you're single girls are nine to 14 years old, like that's, that's got some age on it for evil. I mean, for even most of the NASDAQ portfolio when you're looking at the the Weller antiques, you're looking at six years old, maybe seven, something like that. So seeing of of what's coming out.

Virginia I can't wait to get my hands on some more of those bottles that's for sure. Yeah, yeah we'll be sending them your way

you got it you're marking those barrels yeah go your mouth go your mark that barrel I got my credit card we're ready to start swiping. Okay. But Brian thank you again for coming on the show today you know giving us some more information about a Smith Bowman the history sort of your history and how you kind of cut your teeth in the industry and kind of your family life to think it'd be fun to get your get your whole family on here one day and kind of see you all kind of like go back and forth if there's any of that

would definitely be interesting.

So, last way to kind of give a shout out so if people want to know more about you or they want to visit the distillery, where do they go and do that

know more about us or visit the distillery go ahead and go to a Smith Bowman calm that's the best way to find us and any information about us. We're on Twitter and Instagram as well but you can get all that from the

From the website there you go and ride the coattails on their Virginia history trail and stop over there and yeah and then go and get yourself a nice bottle of basement Bowman to take over john j Bowman i think i think the john Jay Lee's fit my flavor profile Absolutely. You never know you can come in and try them all next time you're in the area. Okay, so so yeah

so make sure everybody that you are you know you check out their website make sure you go to bourbon pursuit calm. We've got links on there for all the episodes that we've had. If you want to know more about any of the the the sass rack portfolio, you can kind of check out some of our past episodes we've done there too. If you want to follow us, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, we're all over the place there.

Yeah, and then also thank you to everybody that is a Patreon supporter that was joining us watching this show live as it happened on YouTube. Just again, one of those Perks of Being able to watch this live before it actually goes out on air. So frankly, close it out. Yep.

Sure, Brian, thanks, man, that was a very interesting, great, you know, like you said the bourbon has been crazy growth. And we're kind of have blinders on, you know, we have these Kentucky brands, you know, things that we're used to and like, we focus on those, but then you forget that there's these guys like you all doing such great things. And like it's flying under the radar and

with the flavors you were talking about, like, I think, Kenny and I might run out and go get some bottles after this. I just want to find some more coconut. Yeah, the coconut and oak and all that. Yeah, but uh, no. Appreciate your time, man is a cool story. And I want to come to your holiday party.

booze wars. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I'll put the invitation out next time. Cool. Cool. Cool. Cool. So yeah, if anyone has any show suggestions, comments, feedback, let us know. We're always here to serve you guys. You know, bring the audio to you. So we'll see y'all next time. Cheers.

Transcribed by

Mar 12, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Elijah Craig Rye

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Elijah Craig Rye. This non-age stated rye is 94 proof and $29.99 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Mar 10, 2020
243 - Finding Your Bourbon People with Jeremy Mandel

Do you find yourself talking to the same people about bourbon every day and realize you talk to them more than your best friends? In fact, maybe they are your new best friends. We're all in that situation now and that's what today's episode is all about. Bourbon has a magical element that seems to bring people together across every demographic to share a common bond. Perhaps you're getting started and want to figure out, how do you find your bourbon people? We sit down with Jeremy Mandel, he's an admin and founder of a few online communities and one of our Patreon supporters. We go through what it takes to find connections with other like minded individuals that can be done online with people around the world or perhaps in your own backyard with meet-up groups, bourbon societies, and much more. You'll come away at the end of this realizing you probably followed some of these same steps without realizing it.

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • At Barrell Craft Spirits, they spend weeks choosing barrels to create a new batch. Joe and Tripp meticulously sample every barrel to make sure the blend is absolutely perfect. Find out more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about money.
  • How did you get into bourbon?
  • What was your introduction to the online bourbon communities?
  • Do you ever have events with your bourbon friends?
  • Do certain groups create more bonds than others?
  • What about your local society?
  • Do you think raffle groups encourage camaraderie?
  • What did you think of the Bob Dylan whiskey?
  • Would you rather go to someone's house to drink bourbon or a bar?
  • Can these bourbon networks get bigger?
  • How can people find a bourbon community?
  • What relationships have gotten you a really good bottle of bourbon?


Are you interested in pairing your expertise on the distilling process with key business knowledge such as finance, marketing and operations, then you need to check out the distilled spirits business certificate from the University of Louisville. It's an online program that can be completed in as little as six courses. The program is taught by both UVL business faculty and corporate fellows. So you are getting real experience from experts at the most renowned distilleries, companies and startups in the distilling industry. We're talking leaders from Brown Forman beam Suntory, jack daniels and more. get enrolled to this online program at U of Slash bourbon pursuit.

My dad's famous line is nothing I said is on Episode One is if you're if you're drinking beer, you're watching the party. If you're drinking bourbon, you are the party

This is Episode 243 of bourbon pursuit. I'm Kenny, one of your hosts. And how about some pursuit series news. Now, we don't want to use this as a self serving platform. But lots of people want updates on what's happening. So here's the latest. Last week, Ryan and I visit our barrel broker where we get to do what's sort of unusual in the bulk source market, where we get to actually hand select every barrel. Now, we've talked about this before, and you're going to hear about it more, but this time we tasted through 22 barrels and wound up choosing three barrels of 10 year Tennessee bourbon, and then we also selected two barrels of a special ride. We've got a few months until the Ryobi bottled, but this stuff blew our minds at only four years old, because it had such fruity and bubblegum flavors that I think it's gonna take everybody by surprise. We've also purchased four more barrels from Finger Lakes distilling, and we'll be releasing more of those relatively soon. We've got other things in the works as well. And you can get all those updates for upcoming barrels in our Patreon community.

Lastly, we have finally touched down in Georgia and more specifically in Atlanta, where there are select retailers with limited amounts of Episode 21 and it tastes just like candied pecans. Next week we have two more barrels going up for sale to our Patreon community first before they are released to the general public. And one of these barrels is our first ever 15 year old bourbon release. It might just be one of my favorites because you know, I love that oak. Alright, let's get on with the industry news. Right now Corona virus is on everyone's radar and we all know the travel industry is hurting because events held worldwide are being canceled. But what does that mean for the spirits industry? Chinese consumers are really tailored more to scotch and cognac and buys you where it's going to be hit hardest. biagio has already cut its full year 2020 profit forecast by up to 260 million as bars and restaurants and Greater China remain empty. beams and Tory said that the coronavirus situation is

Creating challenges in key Asian markets and its 2019 full year results. For no record anticipates the outbreak will have a severe impact on its China and travel retail business and cut its guidance for organic growth in profit from reoccurring operations for fiscal 2022, two to 4% from its previous expectations of five to 7%. In response to the industry demand for greater clarity during global threats, I Ws our drinks market analysis, which is the leading authority on data and intelligence on the global beverage alcohol market has revealed plans to launch the AWS our Corona virus risk assessment model, also known as cram. The tool will quantify and forecast the impact of key global events, giving industry leaders data driven insights and situational forecasts to navigate the situation and manage risks. To commemorate the celebration of its hundred and 50th anniversary pulled forcers opening the first ever whiskey row retreat. It's going to be a huge

immersive bourbon apartment experience. one lucky winner and a guests will be invited to stay at whiskey row retreat during National bourbon day on June 14, and the entire guest experience at the whiskey row retreat will center around unprecedented access to the production of the bourbon, the brand and the people behind old forester. The contest winner and a guest will be invited to partake in special activities at the old forcer distilling company, including experiencing the process of creating a barrel. Joining Jackie's I can in a single barrel selection and custom cocktail classes, such as learning how to make the brain signature perfect old fashioned to enter the whiskey row retreat contest fans 21 and older can enter by sharing an essay on why they think they should be chosen to win and stay at the whiskey row retreat. And you can do this by visiting old slash whiskey row retreat. The entry for deadline is April 20 of 2024 roses small batch select is expanding beyond

2019 initial launch of only being in five states. new markets were small batch select will be available in the coming months include Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

independent state company and the Boswell family who you might remember Brad Boswell the CEO back on episode 185 are giving $1 million to the university Kentucky to further spirits research at the James been Institute for Kentucky spirits. The gift will fund a new maturation facility that will allow the dean Institute to experiment with barrel aging spirits produced in its research distillery, the only one of its kind in the United States. This new warehouse will have a 600 barrel capacity and become an interactive classroom and laboratory where students and scientists can tackle real life industry issues. Do you find yourself talking to the same people every day about bourbon and real life?

You talked to them more than maybe some of your best friends from school. think we're all in that same situation now. And that's what today's episode is all about. bourbon has a magical element to it that seems to bring people together across every demographic and share a common bond. But perhaps you're getting started and you want to figure out how do you find your bourbon people. We sit down with Jeremy Mendell, he's an admin and founder of a few Facebook communities. And he's also one of our Patreon supporters. We go through what it takes to find connections with other like minded individuals that can be done either online with people around the world, or perhaps it's in your own backyard with meetup groups, urban societies, and much more. You'll come away at the end of this realizing you've probably followed some of these same steps already without even realizing it. And hey, if you want to be a part of another community, join us on Patreon where you're 700 plus members strong and growing every single week. As a final reminder, we are doing our 2020 bourbon pursuit audience survey and we want to know more

More about you, our listeners. So if you've got 30 seconds to spare and I promise it's only 30 seconds, please visit bourbon pursuit calm slash 2020 survey. Alright, it's time for the show. Here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich with above the char.

It's Joe from barrel bourbon, myself and our master distiller a triple stimpson spend weeks choosing barrels to create a new batch. We meticulously sample every barrel and make sure the blend is absolutely perfect. Next time ask your bartender for barrel bourbon.

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char money. Oh, we talked about it. It's the root of all evil. And we wish we had more of it and people tell themselves that money can't buy you happiness. Well, you know, money is very, very, very important. And right now you have distillers from Washington to Florida and from Texas to South Dakota.

All scrambling going to banks, venture capitalists, private investors, Angel share people, friends, family. Hell, you might even just randomly run into someone on the airport, you're hitting them up for money. There are so many people looking for money in this space. And people just don't understand whiskey. I sometimes wonder what the world would look like in the distilling business. If mainstream businesses understood what this world encompassed, that in fact that bourbon is its own audience. bourbon is as big as a sports team or NFL franchise or even a sports league. It's bigger than a lot of TV shows. And if people would actually just kind of wake up and look past the alcohol aspect. We may be hearing about brands that you never even knew about, but because somebody can't get the money

That they need to start the distillery of their dreams. We're not going to hear about them.

And there are people like Cedar Ridge and Iowa where the farmer, the winemaker, he leverages his house, everything that he owns his land. I mean, I think he might even leveraged a kid near to just to start the brand Cedar Ridge. He kept believing in it, he kept believing in it, and he kept believing it and then finally he got a big big break. And that is just it. Everybody needs a break in this business. But it all starts with the money. And I'll be damned if there's just not enough of it to go around.

And that's this week's above the char. Hey, did you know that I have got a new podcast. It's in the music interview section. So help me become the number one music interview podcast on Apple. Go over there and search for my name the Fred MiniK show.

Then we'll have the number one bourbon podcast and the number one music interview podcast. Go check it out. Until next week, cheers.

Welcome back to the episode of bourbon pursuit, the official podcast of bourbon. Kinney, Ryan and Fred here talking about a fun cultural topic. You know, this is, this is something that even this podcast wouldn't have started if it wasn't for the type of pot or the topic that we are actually talking about tonight. And it's kind of really, I guess, you could say it's a way that you you branch out a little bit you end up growing, we've all had friends that we get through school and college or work or anything like that, and then you end up finding Oh, I can find brend friends and other things such as hobbies, and, and really, bourbon is one of those things that we talked about all the time. It's what brings people together. And that's kind of what brought this podcast together. I mean, Ryan was

Really on the idea of Hey, let's start a bourbon podcasts. And I think I know this guy named Kenny. Yeah, we weren't really friends. And so we were we were we were acquaintances at that point Really? Well, we, ironically enough, we both liked etn. Before, before bourbon, so that was the introduction. And then the bourbon kind of brought us together. But yes, bourbon has definitely like, I'm amazed at how many people and how vast my network has become just because of bourbon. And like, it's crazy. Like, it's just nuts. It's it's a cool, very cool thing, and very humbling thing. So yeah, I'm excited to talk about it. Because it's, I've been so blessed to meet so many fortunate people, Fred included.

Not just doing your yard. We're now friends.

I feel we were actually friends before that, too. Yep, exactly. So yeah. I feel good because we're rep Fred and I were you know, we're Facebook official friends. So I feel like I made it. Yeah. Good. Good to see everything that's happened in our person.

So wives and kind of grown since they're now and now we're going to the point where I think is there a day that goes by we all don't text each other.

I don't think there is actually. Yeah, so it's like it's like texts like part of our dinner as long frightened as text chain started like 6am Kenny challenges in about 10am

Yeah, you already get started way too early. I don't know how you do it. It's not my choice. Yeah, I got a five year old elbowing me in the back. Daddy Get up, gotta get out.

So our guests just chimed in there. So let's go ahead and introduce them and kind of really start talking about the meat of this subject. So tonight we're joined by Jeremy Mendell, Jeremy is a member of our Patreon community and came to us with this topic. So Jeremy, welcome to the show. Thank you guys. been listening to you forever. Really happy to be here. Hopefully we're making a dream come true. Tonight. We're on bourbon pursuit. Thanks for putting up with us all these years. For I can't even tell you how long


dum dum meet your idols

Yeah, it's terrible and you were laying

So Jeremy let's hear your kind of coming to age tale of bourbon. How did how did you really get into it was their first sipar some sort of introduction rolling up

I had a you know like I would imagine a lot of people do just in high school. I guess I shouldn't say that but I'm pretty sure it's common we've amassed even master distillers say they started yet but we had a little poker room with some friends and there was we would always try and get a bottle of something for our games and

we found because then it truly was finding we were fine. We found a bottle with a nice little horse on the top and it was around little ball and

my goodness it was delicious.

So that was back when you let go into a store and buy some blends.

But that kind of kicked it off went through college.


probably two, three years after graduating college and went to the University of Arizona

was talking to a buddy of mine, Tori Levy, who was in my fantasy football league. He beat beat all of us. And when I sent him the money, he sent me a picture of him cracking a Pappy 15 and I had read about that, but I'd never had it or even knew anyone that could get it. So I said, How the heck did you get that thing?

And then he showed me oh my goodness, there is bourbon on the internet.

So it was just kind of a spiral from there.

But you know, from there, you meet a whole bunch of people, which I'm sure we're going to talk about, kind of create a little bourbon community and that's kind of how this whole series of cardboard boxes behind me came to be. Yeah, we're about to say that that kind of justifies your your level of music

But to this I think I think all of us have a room in the house or a closet of something that just has boxes of herbaceous ages cardboard boxes stacked with inside each other commitment so much as it's a level of cheapness.

I certainly don't want to pay $4 for a box. So my goodness. Yeah, yeah. Every time I get an Amazon package, I'm like, is this gonna be good for future use to ship something? Well, it gets it gets the point now where you can train your significant other when they understand what the right size boxes and they'll be like, honey, I save this for you. Yeah, my wife said, you know, this is the perfect box to get some of those little stupid bottles that you do with the stupid bottles. The two ounce the two ounce stamp. Gotcha. Yeah, little bit. It's perfect for your little stupid bottles.

She's supportive of the hobby. That's great. I'm supportive in that this is existing, but she

Certainly gives me crap all the time. Oh, yeah. Well, is it isn't that her job though? To give you a little shit? I think so. Yeah. Just join the club at that point. So you're fine.

So I guess let's go ahead and kind of talk about, you know, we can each share some of these stories of how we got introduced to it. And Fred, I don't know if we've ever heard your story, like kind of how were, you know, did did somebody introduce you to bourbon and sort of how did that that process? Yeah, I've man I was drinking bourbon. And

you know, I didn't actually drink in high school like that. So I was not, you know, the only times that I had drank in high school definitely was wasn't bourbon. He was smoking when I

was doing hard drugs. He's doing those Double Dragon drinks.

So when I went to college, I became a big, you know, beam drinker. And you

My first legal drink was you know, Jim being white and I remember going into the liquor store at that time and there there was like old Fitzgerald and well I mean think I've all I've thought about this a lot I wish I could travel back in time to Stillwater Oklahoma when I was you know just turning 21 which would have been 2000 and and just like clean those shelves out because they were loaded loaded with stuff that now I would you know, have spent four or 500 to 1200 dollars on so it's

I definitely was not drinking well, but when I when I was drinking

bourbon it was always Jim Beam white label if I was like, you know, wanting to you know, live high on the hog and getting Maker's Mark, but, but who's who's the person introduced you like you did? Did you actually just go into the store and say like, I think I feel like drinking or you ever been to a fraternity party? I have. Yeah. So who gave me the bottle

I don't know.

You know, I will say probably the moment that I fell in love with it, it was it was probably on a fraternity bus on our way to New Orleans from Baton Rouge. We were there for like some kind of convention. Man, it just it just felt it was very tasty. I love the taste of it. And then I found myself like ordering jack or Jim

instead of beer, or sometimes both. And you know at that at that young age, and then when I was when I was in Iraq, I you know, we couldn't

you know, was against the our general orders to, to have,

you know, to have liquor or have anything, so I would have friends, you know, pour out Listerine bottles and fill it with Jim Beam or jack daniels at the time and

Those are your stupid bottles. Yeah.

If you were if you were, if you compare like a traditional bottle of Listerine next to like beam or jack, they had the same color. So the MPs couldn't, couldn't crack it open, you know, because they couldn't, you know, they wouldn't necessarily, you know, think to look at that but so that's how I used to do it. And I actually did have there was a unit

that would go into like northern Iraq in our bill and they would buy cases of liquor and occasionally like the South African contingent that was there, they would break it out. So like bourbon is, in my adult life. bourbon has always played a role in terms of like, where I really fell in love with it. Be honest with you is with my wife, you know, because she's, she's a big bourbon drinker, like you know, and I started, you know, I was just drinking it was I appreciating it prior to her

Probably not. But I don't think I appreciated many things until my wife. No. I want to make sure she gets that sound bite. What about you, Ryan? We're I think we talked I think this is actually episode one right episode. One of verbiage suit is where we talked about ours, but let's go ahead and rehash yours. Yeah, so thinking back down memory lane. It was in Bardstown As you may or may not know where I'm from, but no. Yeah, definitely for that, man. That's all I know. You get like bourbon. royalty DNA in your blood. Yes, analog connections. Yes. Throughout. But now the first time it was like at a field party and my buddy, his name's Pikey. I know weird name. But uh, he had Evan Williams and coke.

And I was like, let me try that it was first time I kind of return I was like, all this tastes like sweet nectar. Like this is this is amazing. And then from there, yeah, just

drank so much Jim Beam white label in college. Oh my god, I can't even drink it now. Like, I can't even look at it, because it brings back so many bad memories, but good memories, but uh, I didn't really like start getting serious till I don't know, after college. I mean, my dad does a lot of work for the bourbon industry. He's a machinist. So he does tool and our pair and I would deliver parts to him or for him to the different distilleries. And I remember you know, just seeing the bottles they would always give them stuff and then I would take it to

and so I vividly remember taking like some alijah correct 20 ones and Noah Mills 15th and taking them to college parties and like, totally mixing them with coke or ginger ale and like, just had no clue what you know what I had, and so, yeah, just kind of progressed from there and then like, really start appreciating when I went I went to school at Rutgers and New Jersey. Kind of

Nobody there really knew it. So I kind of preached the gospel of there and kind of started really diving into it.

And then I met Kenny and then found out there's this whole world of collecting and trading and flipping and collecting, you know, all this stuff and then so you go down that rabbit hole and then I'm like, why don't we? I can't just like have the hobby I gotta start a business about it. You

can't just leisurely enjoy bourbon with friends. So like, let's start a podcast but yeah, it's, it's and now you know, I I'm no one's a stranger to me. And so like, I've just reached out to anybody that has the same interested in me. I'm not afraid to talk to them and reach out to them. So

I've met so many people that enjoy bourbon and it's been like, crazy and it's cool because I'm from there. And when I grew up, no one gave a shit about it. And now everybody gives a shit about it. And you know, just seeing the towel.

flourish and stuff it's pretty cool. Yeah, absolutely we'll touch more on like meeting new people and stuff with instead of bourbon all kind of recap mine I know I've probably said it before. I have the same sort of coming of age tale is Fred over there. So I joined a fraternity and university Kentucky's campus. And I mean, I remember back it was $10 for a 24 pack of Natty light and being an undergrad. Yeah, you always just get you have 10 bucks you give it to one of the juniors or seniors within the fraternity they'd run out you come back and like that's your that's your that's your drinking for the evening. However, I remember hanging out with some of the older upperclassmen in there, they were all sitting around drinking bourbon and coke and back then, our drink of choice was Kentucky tavern. That was that was our go to. And that was kind of like my first introduction that they were actually known as an attorney was actually known as one of the biggest bourbon drinking fraternities on campus. I don't know if that was a good thing or bad thing at the time.

Time, but because everybody knows what happens if you get a little too bourbon drunk when you're a little young and stupid, but back then it was, it was a it was a way to kind of get an introduction to it. So of course mixing the bourbon and coke. However, at the time, you know, this was also a time when you're drinking, not to sit there and enjoy your drinking to consume and have a good time. And, you know, all that aside, you don't feel as bloated when you have a few bourbon and cokes after you do try to have like eight to 10 eight to 1012 beers so it actually made you feel a little bit better going throughout the night. And now you're interrupting my dad's famous line is and I think I said this on Episode One is if you're if you're drinking beer, you're watching the party. If you're drinking bourbon You are the party.

So I've always loved that line. But anyways, so let's go on to the next t shirt. Yeah.

But yeah, I mean that's that's sort of how it started for me And ever since I did that.

Like I was always one person that was kind of like preaching like always do bourbon and cokes. During college, it just seemed like the easiest way to do it. And not only that is me and my roommate at the time we became social chairs. Social chair is a nice word to say party planner for back in college in the fraternity days. And so our biggest Actually, this is what I truly miss about college is that your biggest worry is where we're going to party on Thursday and Friday night. And that's that's what you had to set up. And so back then UK was a very dry campus and you couldn't have any alcohol with inside the fraternity houses at all. So our goal was to say how do we have house parties and still serve liquor? And so what we did is we get we got those massive Gatorade jugs that you see on the sidelines of football stadiums, and we filled those and it was one handle a Kentucky Tavern two to two liters of diet coke and so

Everybody drink bourbon and coke at the parties. And that's how we we continued that to flourish for a while, but after after college then is kind of when the appreciation started. I didn't stop drinking bourbon, it was still bourbon and cokes and that's where the progression starts where you start getting rid of the coke, you start getting rid of the ice and you start learning to drink it neat. Old forester became a staple for me. Every once in a while splurging on small batch. You know, Fred, you talked about going back to the store and, and thinking of all those bottles that you could have had my God even I went to the liquor store and when I was there buying for parties, I would buy, probably, gosh 10 cases of six or 1.75 liters of Kentucky Tavern every single week. I don't think I even looked at any other bottles on the shelves. I always looked at figure out where could I get the cheapest premiere like it's overpriced.

I mean, that was didn't really know any better at the time.

And be honest even when I even after college, I didn't really know any better either. I was drinking for as a small batch I didn't know limited limited editions even existed until I was working at a company and I there's a guy that worked there and we talked about bourbon all the time. You know, we we'd sit there and talk about bottles we come together and and he's the one introduced me to limited editions. And this was 2012, late, early 2013 timeframe, something like that. And he's like, Hey, I got a few extra things. I'll just sell them to you at cost because I'm just overflowing and and so he sold me a four roses hundred and 25th anniversary, an old rip squat bottle.

Jefferson's I think it was 21 maybe it was and they were all at retail at the time. I was just like, Oh gosh, like

80 bucks a bottle like you sure about this. And, and so that's that's kind of what got me on to that.

Train. And then of course, as as Jeremy said, you find out about online forums and then the whole world of different things start opening up to you if things that you never even knew existed. Yeah, and that's, I think that's really where the rabbit hole starts for most of us. And I think that's kind of where the conversation keeps going for a lot of us here because the online community is really where a lot of the relationships are built. It's also where a lot of relationships go to die and

let's be honest, there's a lot of butthurt that happens out there.

So feelings journals for the bourbon world, what are you talking about? Yeah, right. You mentioned one thing and then all of a sudden you get people either hating on your loving Yes. So Jeremy kind of talk about your introduction into like the the bourbon online communities. So my buddy Tory said, hey, yeah, I got this happy 15 years I finally found a good use for Facebook. So I

got invited to one of those deals. saw that, you know, my first love bourbon was was Blanton's. And I got on there and within five minutes

I saw somebody was selling a blends. It was dated in like 1988. And I didn't realize that whiskey existed before I drank it.

So bought that 1988 Blanton's and still have about a quarter of it.

And really from there, it's sort of just went into a networking you can almost fall into this accidentally and I'm sure that you all his experiences are very similar.

But you know, you find some people that you've got good relationships with. And now I'm a part of a few groups that I really proud to be a part of, and it's been really cool. And you know, I've got a network, really across the country coast to coast and actually even out of the country, just from those stupid Facebook groups. Can you enlighten me

Major towns if you needed to sleep on someone's couch, he would do bourbon. I'm going to Florida for business on Friday and I am crashing in the spare bedroom of a bourbon friend that night. No way. It's awesome. We're going to be drinking. Well, have you met him before in person? Yes, a couple times. Actually, he and I have not picked a barrel together. But we got to take part and what to me is my favorite part about a lot of this stuff is the charity component.

And there was a guy in Florida who

had a really terrible cancer diagnosis and young guy about 21 years old 22 maybe. And without getting super deep in the details of it. I went down there last year because we raised him about 17 18,000 bucks. And I went down there to

to go with him to present the money to him and his family. And that was the first time that I cracked

His little No I didn't crash his place but we met that time.

Like here's a here's a check by the way Can I stay in your spare bedroom

This is actually the first time crashing his house but we have met before but that's that's always a lot of fun and of course you know my wife thinks it's ridiculous but you know we're in this city I gotta go see this guy.

So, but yeah, you get you get this network and I'm sure you guys are all the same in that regard you got kind of people all over the country that you know from random, you know, this guy helped me find this thing I was looking for. And of course, my my wife would say well, why are you looking for that in the first place? You have 200 something 300

but this sounds all too familiar.

Never heard that before, right? Yeah, but But yeah, it's you know, you form these communities. We've we've been able to do a lot of good.

We've been

able to do a lot of bad too but but it's a lot of fun and it's this whole kind of separate world that you get to be a part of all around this brown water stuff that we all like to bring

up good. I was gonna ask you know like you talked about like meeting up like with it with individuals but do you ever like, like throw get togethers where your your buddies that you've met online or whatever you guys go to a house or you go to a bar Do you all have like special events or anything like that? So nothing that's terribly scheduled but

one of the bourbon groups I'm in is called karma. And we did the first one was, it's kind of always centered around barrel pics. So about a summer of 2017 we all got together did a four roses pick and not Creek pick a couple other things that I'm not remembering right now. But you know, there was a good 3035 of us they got together. Remember, we all

Went to Haymarket one night and that was a blast. And it's all these people who I recognize from one single picture.

But it was really cool. So we we've done that a couple of buddies. We Ribeiro, the whole bunch of Nashville number one, I think it was from Buffalo Trace and we threw it up in a barrel at a buddy's farm in Tennessee. And we all got together about two months ago, to see if it sucked.

And fortunately, it didn't suck.

So we had a weekend at an Airbnb on a on a river or lake or somebody of water. And it's a it's a great time and so and those people end up becoming some of your best friends. It was really, really bizarre but actually ends up happening that way. Every time I go meet my bourbon or internet friends, my wife's like, what are you doing going to meet your internet friends, you're going to be on dateline one of these times.

The barrel pick that I went to my wife was convinced I was going to be raped and murdered. She was.


Oh, gosh, I think we all get that, that every once in a while I think my wife is getting a little bit more tuned to it. Because of course, you know, through our community through Patreon, we get emails all the time, and we try to make it when we can have people saying, you know, we'd love to just come and meet up for a drink and, and sometimes we can make it happen and, and, and she's always kind of like, Alright, well just make sure you text me at the table in case you need.

Yeah, I remember one time I was going to meet with Kenny and doubled Patreon guys and I got the Uber and to me, it's like, text me as soon as you get there and like make sure as soon as you leave text me and I'm like, Okay, I'm promise I'm gonna make it home. They're not going to kill me. Or a tag team. We can we can take anybody. Yeah. But back to cut it. Go. Go ahead, Jeremy. I'll see you say you guys looked up so you could take them now. Yeah, Kenny's not.


I haven't worked out in a while you gotta he doesn't wire your wire sorry. Yeah, I am. So let's kind of back to the you know the community aspect of this. You know, you had mentioned karma. I mean, are you are you in in with other groups and stuff like that where you kind of find those ends? And I guess are there are there certain types of groups that create more bonds than others?

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What's up everyone? i'm john Henderson, your admin over at the bourbon pursuit Discord server. As a coordinator for the Christmas fundraisers held by the bourbon pursuit. I'd like to thank everyone who contributed. I couldn't be more proud of this community. One perk of joining the bourbon pursuit on Patreon is that you get access to real time chat with other members along with Kenny Ryan and Fred through discord from photo sharing and sample swaps to

events where ultra limited releases like willet bottles are exchange. There's always something going on. Right now over 300 members of the Patreon community have joined and are connecting over our passion for bourbon. If you're not on Patreon, now's a great time to join us and get involved with the community in a whole new way. Come check it out for yourself and be part of the behind the scenes chat photos and video calls. We'd like to have you join us on a live virtual board where we all discuss a pursuit series release just

are there certain types of groups that create more bonds than others? So community wise, I'm a part of two groups that really are my bourbon community, I would say. One is karma. That was a cost plus shit group which I'm sure we'll talk about what that is.

But essentially, it's, you know, I because of that I feel comfortable that if there's ever anything I want to try from some what's a good example? I'm up

Four roses, that four roses my top of the line, particularly the Oh, so recipe, and liquor barn had a Oh yeah, so barrel a month ago or so

I got two bottles over there. But I'm down in Texas and that's because of the connections I've made my cost call ship group karma.

That's been a great deal you meet all kinds of great people.

Then I'm also a part of a barrel picking group called 21 kings. And I've made a bunch of great connections there. I'm going actually I'm going to be up in Kentucky a couple weeks to pick a four roses barrel and willet ride barrel. And that's really it started more as a we want to be able to pick barrels and not share it among 200 people kind of thing. But you know, you make these connections with you. There's, it's really interesting. There's not a lot that I've experienced in the world that Bond's people together like picking a barrel of bourbon. Just

I don't know what the secret sauce in there I know what the sauces but

the common denominator. Yeah.

You pick a barrel of somebody, your pals,

you know, talk talk the whole thing through it's a painstakingly excellent process if you do it right. And I've been really lucky to get to do it a few times and I'm really excited to get to do it again here in a couple weeks. But it's been a really cool experience, you know, you get to get really, really good bourbon or rye or whatever it is you're picking, and you get to, you know, make connections with people that you wouldn't do, at least for me, certainly I never would have made those connections otherwise. Now I'm totally with you. And I guess that that also kind of thinks about you know, really where does the relationship start and how does it build and it I have the same things with with two other buddies that really

We we knew each or we didn't really know each other and then we've kind of found each other through bourbon and then their their personal lives. You start knowing about their children you know about their vacations, you know about you know, where they're buying a how their IRAs. Yeah, everything getting

better. I mean that's that's kind of like how it kind of blips like that where you it's just a really kind of snowballs where you kind of have this common foundation. And then from there, you start talking to them more than you did. The people that you went to school with years ago. And and they become something because it seems like bourbon is like an everyday thing. It's constantly changing and the people that care about it are always in tune with it. Yeah, absolutely. The you know,

it's really nice. You know, aside from just the personal connections, it's just great to have a network of fellow dorks that we can talk about that stuff with.

You know, there's I live in San Antonio, which is

You know, it's got a good bourbon community here, but it's sort of

from a maturity level. It really only became a big thing down here in the past three to six months.

So, you know, I always thought the Esquire bar had a really nice bourbon. So I guess choir is fantastic. And you know, they do the San Antonio cocktail conference down here. Yeah, I come every year was in the back of the room last time you did one. You can stay on this couch next time. Yeah, that's right. Do you mind? I mean, St. Anthony's expensive. Yeah, if you don't mind golden retriever sniffing around Yeah, you can always got a couch here.


there there's a few people here in there but like as compared to say like Houston with Houston's I mean, you guys know you guys had

the Houston bourbon society on a while back. That's been a big deal for a few years now.

So like, just as a

An example and I mean, no disrespect in saying this, but in the San Antonio group, the old Ezra seven year is a big damn deal right now.

And it's a good, it's an excellent drink. I really like it for what it is. But if you've been into the hobby really deeply for five plus years, then you know, you're you're drinking other stuff too.

So it's locally it's not as far down the line as say like a Houston or obviously anywhere in Kentucky,

which made the online community is a really great thing for us. And I guess another question with that is, are you seeing a lot of I mean, so you have your local society, and that's another place where a lot of people can go in and find some of those those bourbon connection those bourbon friends that live they live in your local area. Most of the time, you might find it on, you know, the the local page or the San Antonio page and then you see each other and me

And then all of a sudden things can happen through there. Yeah, the it's funny I'm hosting. And you know, Ryan, you joked about IRAs but that's

that's what I do for a living and I can't tell you how many times one of my bourbon friends would send me a text message or an emails like hey, do you mind if I ask you about this thing? So actually do know about a lot about the IRAs of some of my bourbon friends

have ESP gift but yeah, you end up I just right before we got on here, my buddy Josh Hayes gave me a call I talked to him for about a half hour and bourbon didn't come up.

So yeah, it's it's really cool to have connections like that.

You know, another thing that we kind of talked about earlier, too is and we'll kind of keep this train going with the kind of online community theme is we talked about raffles and and how these these kind of groups that are based off raffles, it also kind of creates a little bit of camaraderie.

Because you've got people that either they all try to play the same number and they fight each other for they get to know each other through there, or there's somebody that consistently win somebody else's raffle all the time. And so you have you have this also built into even though it's an expensive hobby, but it's something Yeah, we like in, in karma, my cost ship group the stupidest thing in the world, but when when mega ball went from 15 numbers to 17 or 19, or whatever the number is not 15 anymore. We were all very upset because that diluted our chances of winning stuff.

So we had to create our own weekly drawing, which is I got a bingo machine back there some somewhere did our own damn drawing because we didn't want to split a bottle 17 ways I want to split it 15 ways.

But yeah, you end up particularly in some of those secondary raffle sites you can lose just

an absurd amount of money if you don't really check yourself. Yeah, hey, Kenny for introducing me to raffles and risky whiskey in particular. Yeah, well, after a while, you figure, you know, that's the reason I'm doing it. I had to delete social media during the week. Thanks a lot.

But after a while, you end up as we were talking earlier, you kind of put planned but, you know, back to the, the community aspect of this, you know, we look at it as as an opportunity as as well to branch out, you know, my myself gotten to know people through these communities. And, and, you know, Jeremy, as you mentioned, you'll travel you go somewhere, you know, I've got connections now and a lot of states and so you can you can travel somewhere and know that you can confide in somebody and you can hang out and have a good time. You don't have to go and meet up at a bar somewhere to go and, and hang out. And ultimately, I don't know about you all, I'd actually rather go to somebody's house and dig into their collection.

Try something unique and I would just rather meet up at a bar. Well, it's funny we, my buddy Craig Lyman was here probably six months ago and there's three guys here locally they're a part of the karma group that we're that we're all a part of. And

we went out to a bar at all meet up and about halfway through my trying that Bob Dylan whiskey.

We all that stuff. I hate to break off on that, but what did you think of the Bob Dylan whiskey? I wasn't a tremendous fan of Oh, it's gross in it.

Like it like it all. It was bros about it. So there is a Okay, so it's, it's it's decal, and they got like the bottom of the barrel of the decal barrels. Because it's just it's like metallic. You know, there's like there's like this crazy like weird metallic note in there. Yeah, there was something to it that I had not tasted in bourbon.

before and I don't mean that in a good way.

And it inspired us we were

you Fred, you mentioned the Esquire we were down the road from the Esquire so maybe that was our problem.

But we all

that that drink inspired me to tell her because the best bar in San Antonio for whiskey is at each of our individual houses. Can we please just go there?

So that's what we did a lot better than the Bob Dylan whiskey. Yeah, I'm sorry, I interrupted you, but I had to ask your opinion on it. No, I don't totally remember where I was going with that. But you're absolutely right. That's up stuck by you, Fred. I mean, Fred, if you if you had enough connections now when you go somewhere that you'd rather not go to a bar and you'd rather go to somebody's house and dive into a you know, well, or gold vein or William Lou Weller, some old dusty Kentucky Tavern or Evan Williams or something like that. I've had you know, I've had some weird expense.


please do share it out. Yeah, I've had some weird ones. But I'm you know it, I'll say that I still like to see what's going on in the town five years ago, I was like, I don't want to go to a whiskey bar because I have everything and I don't want to spend that kind of money. And I'd rather just kind of go hang out and see something else.

Now, I'm kind of going back to the, I feel like these, these bars are working hard to, you know, promote my culture, what I love, and you know, I gotta throw them a bone, I gotta, I gotta go in there and pay my respect to what they're doing. So that's kind of how I think of it now is like, I don't think of it as like, you know, look at them and their prices is just what they are if they're price gouging, you know, be very vocal about that, but

Often to like I end up correcting spelling errors and menus. I mean, for God's sake, why can't people spell will it correctly? It's true.

But I feel like I have, I have a purpose. And I'm supposed I need to be visiting these great temples that are bastions to whiskey. And you know, if they invite me and I'm going to go on a show, you know, check it out, but indeed do I like going to someone's house and going down in the basement and seeing seeing the collection? I mean, that's like to me that just doesn't get better than that. Now, what's weird is when like, you know, I come in the house.

And then the guys wife's down there, and I'm like, oh, oh.

And did you like she's like, who's this guy in the ass guy?

Oh, man, just ignore

Weird. So I didn't sleep on their couch.

Like I'm gonna go till now.

Yeah, well, I mean, it's, it's, it's fun to look at this and look at the relationships that you do build over time. Because it does seem like a lot of these hopefully will stand the test of time you never really know. Because it I don't know, maybe this is another kind of question is,

you know, as bourbon becomes more prolific and becomes more scarce and it's even harder to find these things and, and really, I don't know how much bigger these networks that people are creating right now can actually get,

you know, can they get bigger or you feel like, you know what, I don't have any more room in my life for new friends. We're just going to kind of keep it where it's at. For me and we I don't know if we actually call the episode this but you said the term finding your bourbon people

For me, selfishly, I found my bourbon people.

My biggest group of people that I care about is about 150 people and that's about as big as it needs to be and we're all having


I don't know when this is going to air but right now there's this whole bsm bourbon secondary market thing going on Facebook, we couldn't care less. And it's been incredibly entertaining for us because I know because I've established my community. There's not really anything that's going to come out that if I really want to try it, I can't try it. from a store pick that comes out to got a buddy with a bottle of Red Hook ride that I'm going to see if I can't finagle announce it Oh yeah, battle. If you can find your your community then these groups of 50 some thousand people really don't matter all that much. So I guess another question is is so you found your people we've already decided three's enough. We're not bringing on a fourth co host

So we've got our people but how do you what would you say is is a good way for people to start getting introduced and sort of like find their you know, find their because you say they're missing connections they're getting to the gangs of the bourbon community. To me every every good bourbon connection I've come into is because somebody was doing something nice for somebody else.

You know, whether it's you know, there's last year almost city liquor here had a fantastic Elijah Craig pick, bought a bunch of it and help some friends that otherwise wouldn't have been able to get it.

Get it and they became good friends and that favor is I've been on the receiving end of that favor, you know, from different places all over the country.

And great bourbon connections for me rarely come from trying to price gouge somebody on a whatever store pic of

The month it is.

But if you, you know, just be cool with people and treat everyone this is you know, I guess cliche but

treat people the way you'd want to be treated.

You'll end up knowing some really cool folks and that's what's in that's what's happened to me. And that's the advice that I typically give people on between karma and 21 Kings I really don't need to know anybody else. Be able to know you guys

can be your friend.

Give me your card. Jeremy. One of my favorite things is like I get you know, when when I travel I do often like just kind of connect with someone who's a listener or reader just like or, you know, follows me on Instagram. I really do try to make an effort when I'm out to like, go hang out with people. And my favorite thing to do is like learn about their jobs. You know, because I find that we have

in people's pleat people's beliefs, because what I have found is is that bourbon is not. It doesn't attract as one race or one occupation or one political or religious belief. I mean, it attracts everybody. And to me that is what's so beautiful about this category is that I could be in a room with a staunch democrat and a staunch republican and they absolutely hate each other politically. But they'll just sit there and talk about how beautiful a new riff barrel pick is. And I'll talk about that now. They have three they might get into some, some fighting but once they cross the threshold, but it's kind of like, you know, Henry Clay, you know, the great Kentucky statesman, he said he wants said that bourbon was used to lubricate the wheels of justice.

It's like this

Great like, door opener for conversation? Well, I think even if you have the three drinks if you have committed commit each other from a place of respect, I mean, one of my, one of my good friends that I've met Andrew Goodman is a very far left person I am not.

And he lives in New York City. I was there for a business meeting. We went to one of the bars there. He bought me some vintage 17 rye, or no finish 21 rye.

And we talked politics for a good hour. And we walked out of there not hating each other and it's magic how that happens nowadays, you practically can't do it. Yeah. What problems you solve? I want to know down can

we solve the problem of how to get more Oh, yeah, so four roses, but we really solve any, any national issues, although that's become a national issue.

For sure. But you know, it's it's a conduit for

A really good conversation to like that, that I never would have had otherwise. And we continue to have it frequently. And then when it gets to be too,

too much we both saying I, you know, we don't want to fight with each other. Let's agree.

So I had kind of talked about it earlier, you know, with with my connection, pretty much my my mentor taught me that these are what limited edition releases are and he was able to, like I said, he gave me it at cost. So just to make sure that I'm not dealing with a story like this. I want you all to kind of talk about what are what are those relationships that you formed, that you've gotten, like a really, really good bottle of bourbon out of it just because of fostering relationship like that. I've had a lot. I've had a lot of guests.


the gentleman, you know, the gentleman passed away unfortunately he was his name is Dale Hamilton. And he

He was like the last. He was the guy who like got cola approvals for states of Weller. And he was like the last, you know, last guy from United Stiller's, the you know, for, you know, before they close, that's a Weller. And so he has this, you know, he had an incredible collection. And I helped him figure out what some things were, what some bottles meant. And, you know, we just and he came to my legend series at the Kentucky Derby Museum and we just we just became friends. I would visit him at Christmas. You know, he would come and we'd have lunch, he'd play with my kid. And he gave me a 1935 bottle of Weller.

And that was like a green Green Label blend. And it was fantastic. And the first time I opened it, I cracked it open with Tom Colicchio. From

Top Chef has just that right after my Top Chef appearance. And I wanted to celebrate with them and so I cracked it open with them. So I had like two, two really cool friends. You know that that that bottle kind of connected me to, you know, coming out of the gate strong here. Yes. Right Ryan, I think you should follow that. Well, I've had some great connections and relationships with people like Bill Thomas was kind enough to invite me to his house and stayed the night crashes. We didn't crash his couch. We had a room but but just his collection like we were at his bar and he's like, Guys, let's just go to my house. It's so much better here. And he had a green, you know, Green Label or not green or green bottle Van Winkle raw one early ditions it's one of the best bottles I've ever had. Drew Cole's been grew up with him from Willits. I mean, he's, he's one of the kindest, generous people he shares a ton of stuff for me, but the one the person I remember the most is probably my

Brother in law

I won't name any names but he works at heaven Hill and

he likes bourbon but he knows how like obsessed I am with him and he always goes out of his way to give me like a Parkers or an old fits release that just came out like he always is just finding ways to give me something and I'll always cherish that so it's all it means a lot to me. That's that's a relationship by blood that's hardly fostered over birth.

But we grew up friends before you know, brother in law's we were friends before so but yeah, those those are the bottles that are that need the most to me. Absolutely. In my case, it was really about people knowing what my tastes are. And as I kind of grew up in the hobby and grew up in the community, I would have people that would know the things that I enjoy and would suggest that I try something and oftentimes the suggestion would come with a

two ounce bottle of it showing up at my doorstep. And that's how I figured out that I love national distillers products.

Some I was telling somebody kind of the things that I liked about certain things that were my favorites and then before I knew it, there was a bottle of 1960s old granddad bonded

that showed up at my doorstep and

I guess I should be upset with them because it's caused me to lose a whole lot of money after that.

It sounds like that sounds like Ryan Ryan went on a huge old granddad kick for a while. Oh, gosh, you know it for me any of that old nationalist killer stuff is really just killer. It kind of hits me right in whatever my sweet spot is, for whatever reason, I'm telling we're Barban friends now. Hey,

I got some stuff to send you.


that, for me is the big is one of the cooler parts of the community is, you know, people who know you and I know other people's tastes and if I see something for

example I got a buddy who was a big q lover at four roses, and I'm not. And anytime I see a really good q i know exactly who it's going to a CPA office in Indiana.

Because I just, I know that somebody that will appreciate it for more than I. That's where we go. Yeah, it really is. I mean, and I think that's a good way to kind of start wrapping this up because we, you know, we really hit on a lot of things of, really, how do we how do we find your bourbon people? Right? I mean, it all starts by a friend or somebody introduces you to bourbon. It's very rare that any of us just stumble it on our own or, or maybe maybe you do get turned on to it by social media or for the general Media TV or purposes and stuff like that. But for the majority of us, there's somebody that gives us that introduction, and I think that we have all been in

situation to, and I know anybody that's probably listening to this podcast, you know, you're, you're one of the you're one of the geeks out there, you're one of the people that truly hone in on this craft, and you really appreciate it. So odds are is that you're sharing the love of bourbon with somebody else. And so that's just how everything continues to flourish and grow. And then from there yet, then it becomes like, oh, add me on Facebook, we add you to a few groups. And then at that point, you you've just you're all in and as, as Jeremy had mentioned earlier, the boxes just start showing up on your front door and, and your PayPal account gets a little lower, but that's just how it works.

That's just how it works. So, gentlemen, and Jeremy, thank you so much for joining tonight. This is again, a fun topic. And you know, I'll go ahead and kind of let you kind of say what you're gonna say there. I don't think I was gonna say anything.

To Are you

looking at me


know, it's it's the rule of thumb is just, I mean, I guess it's the rule of thumb for more than just the bourbon community, but don't be an asshole.

Yep. So you know, if you if you just be a nice guy, it's amazing what kind of connections you're come up with. And 21 Kings is picking up a barrel of will it right here in a couple weeks, and I'm fortunate enough to be one of the people doing it. And I never would have gotten the chance to do anything like that. Had I not been able to be a part of these communities. And it's really cool. It's some of the coolest experiences I've gotten to have and really thankful for that. You know, I guess the other bad thing about being in these communities too, is I didn't realize for years, I could just drive down to willet and just go pick up bottles in the gift shop and

I could have been doing it. I could have been doing it all along. And I just I just didn't know. So

that's the that's the bad part of it. But it's, it's also a good thing because you add a lot more appreciation for what you do have so

Again, everybody, thank you so much for joining tonight. Jeremy, do you have any kind of social handles or anything like that where people can find out more about you? Anybody who wants to I guess I'm around on Facebook Jeremy Mendell Twitter at Jeremy Mendell, Instagram at Jeremy Mendell, if you want to talk to me for some strange reason I'm available. Never know, I know where to send. If I see I know he so I know who to call and all of your VSOs to me, and I'll figure out some way to repay you that you'll be happy about. Very interesting. Very interesting. I know you kind of want to just go pick a whole barrel of Oh, yes. Oh, now just get out of them. I actually did I like I'd have one. It was from my pics from the icons of whiskey when I picked those fucking which was at the 17 or 18.

Yeah, we had all the recipes. It was I think that was a

I think it was like a

11 year old Yeah, that was I think the 2017 one that was really good and it's incredibly dorky that I can just pull out of my head

so that was when I was with whisky magazine and yeah that we did that. And that was like the one of the only times you saw all the all the recipes and that was back when four roses. I think they brought out 40 barrels from for us to taste and guide you lucky forget for now. So it's the way the world now. Alright, let's go. Let's go ahead and we'll sign off. So again, Jeremy, thank you so much for coming on tonight. It was a pleasure talking to you. And seriously, thank you so much for bringing this topic up. Because it's it's fun to kind of, you know, really take a retrospective look into really kind of how we all got here and why many people are still actually listening to this podcast because they all have some sort of coming of age tale that's probably very very similar. So

Make sure you check out Jeremy and all those social handles, make sure you check out bourbon pursuit as well as spread MiniK on the Twitter, the Facebook and the Instagrams. And if you're like Jeremy, and you want to help support the show, he's part of our community, you can be part of our community as well. slash bourbon pursuit. So thank you, everybody. That is a part of it. And thank you, everybody that joined into the chat and watch us live. Another perk of just being a part of the community is you can be a part of these things as they're happening and be able to just chat along with us. So with that, thank you, everybody, and talk to you all next week.

Transcribed by

Mar 05, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Kentucky Owl Rye Batch 3

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Kentucky Owl Rye Batch 3. This 10 year old rye is 114 proof and $200 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of the spirit producer. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Mar 03, 2020
242 - Building a Colorado Whiskey with Michael Myers of Distillery 291

Michael Myers sits down to tell us his story of starting Distillery 291. He had a booming photography career, but while living in NY during the events of 9/11, it made him want something else. He found out early on that he liked whiskey, so like most of us who start off with something new, he researched and used his skills from a past farm life to make it a reality. Michael actually built his very first still on a tight budget and ended up using some of his photography equipment to create the still. From these humble beginnings, his whiskey has gone off to win many different awards and they are now expanding even further, creating a whiskey that is Aspen stave finished and authentic to Colorado.

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • In 2013, Joe Beatrice launched Barrell Craft Spirits without a distillery or defied conventional wisdom. To this day, his team sources and blends exceptional barrels from established producers and bottles at cask strength. Learn more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit
  • Distillery 291 is an award winning, small batch whiskey distillery located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Learn more at

Show Notes:

To be the best you have to learn from the best local in the surrounding regions are home to many of the most storied companies and innovative startups in the distilled spirits industry. And there's no better place to learn the business of the distilled spirits industry. Then from a university located in its Epicenter, the University of Louisville has partnered with industry experts to offer the distilled spirits business certificate, a six course program designed to accelerate your success in this booming industry. Oh, it's all online. get signed up to make your next career move at U of slash bourbon pursuit.

Michael Myers Michael Michael Myers got it.

We didn't want to say anything but I'm sure you get all the time people like Michael Myers especially down like Halloween coming up and studly yo Yeah, never


damn life.

And my first name is Jason. Believe it or not, he shouldn't be though. Oh my gosh.

This is Episode 242 of bourbon pursuit. I'm Kenny. And if you're ready for your bourbon whiskey and overall spirits news, it's about time we get to it. According to the US securities regulation charges in its 2014 and 2015 fiscal years biagio North America pressure distributors to buy excess inventory in order to meet internal sales targets in the face of declining markets, and now is hit with a $5 million dollar fine from the SEC, johnnie Walker's owner Diaz you failed to disclose the excess stocks to investors creating a misleading impression that the audio and the audio North America were able to achieve their sales targets through normal customer man according to the SEC. Now without admitting or denying the SEC findings, Dr. Gao has agreed to pay a $5 million penalty and agreed to cease and desist from any further

violations. The SEC has accepted the offer. Lexapro distillers is paying homage to the past by relaunching an old bourbon. The Davis county Kentucky straight bourbon is being released in three varieties. The Nashville is a mix of weeded bourbon and rye mash Bill said it liver a sweet and spicy taste. There will be the original a Cabernet Sauvignon finish in a French oak finish. Davis county distilling company was the first to release the bourbon, and the brand dates back to 1874 and was one of the few distilleries to survive prohibition.

Maker's Mark has added more than 500 solar panels to its facility. In Loretto to power its Rick houses, and it's done through a partnership with the Kentucky utilities company. The 560 panels will provide energy for security, lighting, barrel elevators and office spaces in the brick houses. However, I'm curious if there's actually office space at a brick house. If it's true, I don't know if it's a good or bad thing because

You've been sequestered to sitting in a wreck house every day might get a little bit lonely, almost like Milton then as red stapler in the basement from the office space. But I guess it smells like bourbon, which is better than a basement so you got that going for you. All right, well back to the topic. The new solar array first began producing power for Maker's Mark in early February, and is expected to produce about 268,000 kilowatt hours per year. e commerce analytics company profit, tiro said that online alcohol sales could explode from anywhere to seven to $15 billion in the next few years, noting that e commerce is making an impact on just about every industry imaginable. And alcohol looks to be the next sector to be disrupted by the continued shift to digital. However, as we've been saying on this podcast time and time again, the three tier system is slowing this down and is dating the industry and an article by beverage daily calm. It looks at platforms such as drizzly go, puff and thirsty

brands can catch on and partner. It also goes into detail on how these brands can differentiate themselves and not be paired next to other brands that could be either cheaper or delivered in a shorter time period. You can read more with the link to beverage daily calm in our show notes. Last week at the inaugural us distilled spirits conference, Mitch McConnell offered no relief with the ongoing tariff dispute for American and foreign whiskey. The European Union is a key market export for Kentucky bourbon, and it imposed 25% tariffs on us whiskey in 2018. In response to us tariffs that Trump enacted on imported steel and aluminum. Now, late last year, the US left a 25% tariff on imports of single malt Irish and Scotch whisky liquors, and that also affected global companies like brown Forman and biagio that import these products to the US. Now I common excuses that the US whiskey industry has just been collateral damage in Trump's trade disputes.

And Chris Walker, President and CEO of the spirits council said that the industry hasn't lost hope and that the levees will be removed. And now there's even more coverage that the chief executives of the Scotch whisky Association and the distilled spirits Council of the United States are calling on the UK and US governments to urgently find a negotiated solution to unrelated trade disputes and remove all terrorists on distilled spirits. Have you ever wondered, why does whiskey taste like whiskey? Well, when we nose and taste bourbon, we get leather, caramel dried fruits, but it was never made with any of that. And a new article by Lou Bryson at The Daily Beast, he explores every step of the process and how flavors are derived with grains like rye and their spice in his character. Why using the same Nashville at two different distilleries will result in two different very whiskies. And then there's

an organic compound formed by bacteria that's found in Water Agency

And is responsible for that musty or earthy smell like some lake water, but can also be found in whiskey too. There's more talk about stills barrels, proofing and more and you can read all this with a link to the Daily Beast in our show notes. For today's podcast, Michael Myers tells a story of the starting distillery to 91 he had a career in photography in the events of 911 made him want to do something else. So like anything most of us want to venture into you research and research and research. Michael actually built his very first still on a tight budget ended up even using some his photography equipment in the still itself. The distillery has grown but that original still is used as as doubler today, from these humble beginnings, his whiskey has gone off to win many different awards, and now they're expanding into more and more states. The distillery is expanding itself and he's creating a whiskey that is asked when the state finished that he feels his

authentic to Colorado. We're currently doing our 2020 bourbon pursuit audience survey. So we want to know more about you, our listeners. So if you've got 30 seconds to spare, please visit bourbon slash 2020 survey. It really it only takes 30 seconds. We appreciate the time. Are it Showtime, here's Joe from barrel bourbon. And then you've got Fred minich with above the char

it's Joe from barrel bourbon. In 2013. I launched barrel craft spirits without a distillery and defied conventional wisdom. To this day My team and I sourcing blend exceptional barrels from established producers and bottle a cast strength. Find out more at barrel bourbon calm.

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char. As I put the bullseye upon my lips for the first time, I could feel it tingling upon the bottom of my lip and the top. Once it hit my tongue it just overwhelm my palate with flavor

drenching down the bottom of my jaw line, tingling the sides of my tongue tingling the top of my palate. Just feel warming me all the way down. And you know what? It's not a bourbon. And it's not a rye. It's a blend of straights. It's a blend of straight rye whiskey and straight bourbon and it is motherfucking delicious. Right now I'm putting it as one of my contenders for whiskies of the year. You can see my full review on it on my YouTube page. But this, this whiskey and all the barrel releases and all these other blends that we have seen come out in recent years from from high West and barrel and numerous other you know, blending houses that are really doing a great job right now. They really are shaking up our traditions in American whiskey. You see the term blend used to be a really dirty word and American whiskey

ski and it all goes back to the 1800s when Canadian blenders were infiltrating the straight whiskey scene and undercutting the Kentucky bourbon distillers and putting their Canadian blends on the market and you know what consumers really, really liked them. And so it begins there and the Canadian whiskey distillers were trying to block the bottle and Bond Act of 1897. Of course, they were unsuccessful. The Canadian whiskey distillers also rise up again after prohibition, and they actually ironically tried to put bottled and bond on their label. Now, what's interesting is that the US government ended up terrifying their their whiskey to block them from using bottled and bond so that basically stopped them from using bottled and bond. But at that same time, American distillers did not have a lot of stocks from their left over from prohibition. So they actually had to use blends and

cells to get their brands out onto the market. And so you would see neutral grain spirit being added to, say, a four year old bourbon that had just been distilled a couple of few years ago. And that really kind of like people were like, ah, I really like blends, but this is all I got. And the straight bourbon distillers were just kind of reluctantly doing it, but they had to and so you couple that what they would later call rocket whiskey with the the the blended whiskey from from Canada, and you had distillers in the 1950s not even allowing the the word blend being used in their distilling house, and that's where the words mingle and marrying or born. And for every decade after that the Kentucky distillers especially, would call out blend as a dirty word and would not let people say putting two barrels to

Together was blending that was mingling. And so that's where those words come from is because people were never wanted to use the word blend in Kentucky distilleries. Now fast forward to 2020. You have a lot of new blood in the industry, a lot of new blood that does not care about old terms or old ways. They just want to put out great whiskey. And I got to tell you some of the more exciting whiskies that I have tasted in the past five years, our blends of straight whiskies. They are absolutely fantastic. But you will never, ever hear me say those words around the great Jimmy Russell. If you ask him, blend is still a dirty word. And that's this week's above the char. Hey, make sure you're checking out my new podcast the Fred Minix show where I interview musicians

And I pair whiskeys to their palate. I'm having a blast and coming up I've got an American Idol winner on the show. Until next week cheers

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit the official podcast of bourbon. Kinney and Ryan here in our official recording studio, which is deemed Kenny's basement. Yes, yeah. Where we shoot everything. Whiskey quickies the podcast unit Hey but you know we started get everything together we got lights we got cameras we got everything happened in here so it's fun for especially people that are either watching on YouTube or on Facebook or something like that and you want to get something different than just something audio only at least get a fancy background. Yeah, unfortunately for our guests, when they show up, they're like, damn it what you're in a house, like a recording studio. are gonna be we'll get another one of these days. One of these days. One of these days we'll get there you know, as much cooler sailors whiskey, I'm sure But well, we'll get the studio there one of these days. We'll get some sound panels and everything like that. That makes us feel a little bit more legit

But you know, today I'm really excited about our guests because this is a distillery that, you know, we've heard about, you know, we've read about it before and bourbon and banter and everything like that. He's even been a guest with Fred MiniK on his show on Youtube before and so now something in common. You know, Fred's the mutual connection here right here we go and then and so being able to have him on the show kind of talk about their stories stuff like that is you know, pretty exciting because anybody that isn't watching on TV he brought to find whiskeys for us to sit on here. So we got their their bourbon and their rye, which you might be hearing us sipping up throughout the show. Yes, and it's very highly decorated bottle. So tons of awards. And I just had it for the first time and I can see why. For a distiller this young, it seems like some pretty good, juicy got here. So I'm excited to hear the story and dive into how it got to this ball.

See, they put stickers on Oh, yeah, absolutely. So let's go ahead and introduce our guest. So today we have Michael Myers.

Michael is the founding distiller and CEO of distillery to 91 out of Colorado Springs. So Michael, welcome to the show. Thank you very much. Glad to be here. Well, good. So you know, before we, you know, talk about the whiskey and the distillery let's kind of let's rewind the hands of time here kind of talk about your first introduction to bourbon or spirits or anything like that. Yeah, so the it's funny. The first time I drank whiskey that I remember was, we always have those stories, too. Yeah, I

was I was 18 and turn just turned 18 that day and went to a local bar with friend He must have been in Canada or something.

Now in Georgia,

close 18 That all changed but I went to bar and wanted to drink a whiskey and ordered Yukon jack, which was sort of the whiskey at the time. Sweet and now it's really not I mean, I think it's GNS what's

Some natural flavorings and stuff, but you would know better now I know konjac is a new one on me. It's from Canada.

That you said Yeah. And it's Yeah, it's a liquid. Gotcha now and so yeah with my friend Todd Hawkins and we had a lot of fun and drank you know, a shot of it and

and then probably the next time I mean, I was drinking jack jack daniels, as well later and then college. One of my worst experiences was super bowl and I had bought some really nice Crown Royal, moving up in the world and

and drank not a fifth but maybe 375 of that throughout the Super Bowl and just got so sick and actually woke up the next morning was like, I love whiskey. I am going to the bar and forcing myself to drink more whiskey so that I don't have that issue.

Where I can't smell that ever again. And so I did that day I got up that afternoon went to the bar and that first shot of whiskey was rough. can imagine you can even like try to like get a bloody or bloody married Atlanta your way in here though. No hair, the dog, and it was great. And now I make it. Yeah, that's one hell of a story. I know. That's like the most badass story I've ever heard. There's no way that I mean, I remember back in college and stuff like that. There was no way I get up after feeling hungover after a bad night and be like, I'm going for a gator, right? Like coconut water. I'm like, What can I do to feel better? I mean, back then everybody was drinking like Pedialyte, they would actually go and buy like, I'm guilty of that. There you go. It doesn't work. I think my times way before video.

Were salty. I was in Savannah, Georgia. They just kept drinking.

I was like, yeah, definitely different time we're searching for pedia lightnings like it just bring it up for us.

right now.

So let's kind of talk about more of like your history and stuff like that. So you were in Savannah, how long were you in Savannah? So I was in Savannah for school. I'm born and raised Georgia. With my summers spent in California. My mom lived out there since I was six. And so I went to about two different Yeah, ends of the spectrum, Georgia and California really different because we raised Tennessee walking horses, so and in middle school, we had 11 acres inside the perimeter and then moved out to Alpharetta with 70 acres and another 80 so we had horses and cows and all kinds of stuff. And I was given a camera when I was 15. My mom gave it to me and picked it up and never looked back. And so I went to Savannah College of Art and Design, believe it or not, that's where 291 comes from for me. So I my dorm room was 291 and after I moved in there I went school and learned in history.

class that the very first photo gallery ever was gallery 291 was in New York in 1907. And so I'm like, meant to be a photographer. And that's where 291 came from, which is my brand name. And that just those three numbers just have just stuck with you for forever. Yeah, as a I was a fashion beauty photographer for over 27 years and like for models are young ones. Yeah, very cool. Yeah. Mainly makeup beauty stuff, like Revlon. Clairol? Yeah, I still only know this because my wife's a cosmetology

Tiffany and company but I did shoot for this old house and Forbes FBI and what kind of cameras us Michael Jordan a Canon What do you know I shot with a Pentax six, seven, and it's a it's it's looks like a

35 millimeter that's on steroids. And so the negative is six millimeters by seven. So that's that's pretty big, almost playing card but a little smaller than that.

You guys are speaking a different language to me. I've tried, like, I've dabbled in a lot of things in photography. It was like one of them and it lasted for like two months. So I like it though. But it's collecting dust. Nice. Now just like iPhone, you know, I bought it right. That's everybody asked, Do you still do that? And I'm like, I have an iPhone. I mean, it's, it's in my pocket. It's all branded. I mean, it's, it looks like a phone. I'll show it to you afterwards. Yeah, that's what the sake is. Most people. You know, I remember when I had my first kid and, and they said, like, Oh, you've got to go out. You've got to buy an awesome camera. And, you know, here's your here's your cannons, your DSLRs. And I'm like,

I don't know if I'm going to be lugging this thing around with me everywhere we go. I just don't know if I'm gonna do it. But I remember I did look into it. I just never pulled the trigger on it. Yeah, yeah. good reason. Yeah.

I mean, if you're going to shoot, you might need it a better one. But family stuff. It's always been best. The camera in your hand or the camera in your pocket, because you'll get the image. It doesn't matter if it's hype.

quality or not putting you at least have the moment. Yeah. And that's what matters. I'm probably not gonna make it poster size when I was shooting. I'd be so focused on like getting a shot that I would forget the moment, you know, not being in the moment. That's why I was like, just doing my iPhone, but right. We're not here talking about cameras. No, no, but I want to hear a little bit more about the photography and like, because that seems like it was a pretty mean 20 years as you said that you were doing that right. 27 Yeah, yeah, I mean, so, so kind of talk about you've got to have some, at least some pretty funny stories or something good from those days, too. So I shot Angelina Jolie when she was 15. I have that picture on my 14 year old was.

And when she was 16. I shot her a couple of times. Some of my last clients were the Olsen twins. shot down.


Like geeking out right now. She's like an Olsen twins. Yeah, so I had a really great career. It was still a struggle. It was you know, a lot of work and living in New York.

Not easy raising a family there and you know being a freelancer so as about to say so like the the dynamic of photography and freelancing versus making whiskey, like what Be honest what's more enjoyable now

making whiskey and how do you merge the tape?

I built my still out of photograph your plates. Okay. So a photograph of your plate is a flat copper plate you chemically edge an image in, you put ink on the plate, you put a piece of paper with it, run it through a press and you get an ink photograph. So I took those seven copper plates of different images from my life and water jet cut them took them and rolled them through a roller so that curve and then had a guy TIG weld it together. And that was that was my original still 45 gallon still. I had a

cask for the thump kegger doubler and I built a stripping still out of a

55 gallon gallon stainless drum. So you built this all yourself? I did. How do you do that? Like YouTube or something? Yes. I grew up on a farm I can build. Okay. I'm a redneck. Yeah.

And yeah, I mean, my story's intertwined with New York and 911 and then building this still. And the process of distillation reminds me the dark room. So that's where 291 came from, for the brand name for me, but I built that still and that still is the thump keg to my 300 gallons still that I built had built in Colorado Springs. So these these guys department of defense contractors, and they built things like titanium ball valve that's like 10 inches across four new killer sub, you know, valves and and nickel plate press not plate but nickel press rings for proposal.

tubes. And they're like, we like whiskey. Do you need a bigger still? And I'm like, Yeah, great. Sharon so gave them my plans and they built 300 gallons still that looks identical to mine. And the funny thing was, there's a little bit of pressure in a still like five pounds, but not much, but they were engineers. I went to art school. And they didn't believe me that it didn't need to be that thick. So they built it out of plate copper. So it is thick and heavy, but it's beautiful. It works really well too. So kind of talk about that, because you kind of intrigued me right there because I remember reading a little bit something about 911 and that happening and you couldn't get back to your apartment or something like that. And you kind of just had to move the family for a little bit kind of talk about that time. Yeah, so 911 we live three blocks from the World Trade Center. We lived on the corner of Warren and West Side Highway. And I was on granted and Dwayne with my son on my shoulders when the first plane flew over my older son

So they were four and five, my oldest son was in, in our building in ps 89, which is on the second floor, we lived on the 25th floor, and we had just dropped him off. My wife and I and my son walk into his class or his school, and that's when the first plane flew over. And so yeah, so everything that day was a crazy day, needless to say, spent the night on North more.

And then with seven families and then couldn't get back in our apartment, went to Long Island. Long story short, moved to Colorado for about nine months. I commuted move back to New York, was there a couple of years and it wasn't good for my family. So I said we'd move back you're still doing photography at this time? Yeah, I got to do in photography. And so we moved back and I commuted another four years full time, and then was just trying to figure out something else to do and still, like wrote some TV, worked on some movie stuff.

And just nothing really panning out. And I shot a vanity fair job in New York in August 2010 and on the way home read an article about the guy that created Sailor Jerry and Hendrix shin and he, you know, created an idea and branded it and all that somebody else made the juice form and I came back thinking wow, I could brand a whiskey you know, and and talk to a friend of mine, Mike Bristol, Bristol brewing. And he said, get your license and I'll try and help and so and then somebody else said why don't you try and make it because you can always hire somebody if you can't. And I'm like, they make it in the woods of Georgia. It can't be that hard.

And so I decided to build my still moved into 300 square feet. Got my DSP distilled spirit plant permit in April with I got it in four weeks from when I applied, which is amazing time. That's right takes us for

TTP doesn't move that fast anymore. And so I was in 300 square feet. I could make 60 gallons a month of Finnish whiskey that was working my butt off that was you know, 17 hour days seven days a week. Wow for talking about those like first attempts at making whiskey what's it like what do you do going into like are you reading a manual? Or how like are you just like going off like I'll travel knowledge and what will you do that? Yeah, he's got a he's got a landline to somebody with some some overalls on be like, No, you gotta tweak. You gotta move this. Yeah, so I'd never brewed beer. And I'd never distilled until I started this in my first distillation true. Finished distillation was September 11 2011.

My still the guy, TIG welding it together finished it after it took him all summer to get started on it. finished it September 9, and so I waited for that to remake that anniversary. And yeah, during that time, I read YouTube blogged everything. I

Heard about how you make whiskey. And and it is funny. The one thing that I do say is I watched popcorn Sutton's documentary, the original one. And in there, there's a point where he talks about taking, he takes a stick and the worms there. And he puts the stick in the end of it and lets it balance. And he says, if the whiskey is thicker than the stick coming off, it's fighting whiskey. So from that I learned you need to run it really slow to make really good whiskey. And there's other things that I learned books, I read things, and I love to cook and I love the dark room. And so I really feel that was like my home brewing experience. Putting those two things together to get to make whiskey. So are there any other like outsiders or consultants that you leaned on to kind of pick their brains or kind of guide you along? Or is it totally just you? Totally me? That's cool. How did you know you weren't gonna like blow up the place? Like, you know, just, I don't know, you know, there's a lot of pressure on

Nice other like five pounds pressure but yeah run high. That seems like a lot of back and happen. I knew that it was an open system so as long as you don't plug the system you're good and and as long as you keep cooling the steam coming off the still, you're okay but if that water stops

that can be a problem. Yeah, there was one point where that happened for me and it was a mess and

I think there was a room full of 160 proof steam all wrapped around me and I was just like, okay, let's calm down. slow this down. Yeah, and I just I read a lot I paid attention to what how it was supposed to work and and did it that way. The funny thing is, is I steam heated everything. So I put a steam coil in my mash tun that also was my stripping still with a different top on it and a column and then my finish still had a steam code.

illinit and I bought a home steam unit for steam shower. And I first time I hit the button that came on, it was all hooked up. I'd like to say we're like close from

anywhere. Close. That's funny.

And so I hit the button, went to take notes for a little bit about an hour later the day turned off. And I'm like, What? walked over there looked at everything. It was heat hot and push the button and came back on. I'm like, great, literally an hour later cut off again. And I was like, Damn, it's a home steam unit. It's got an automatic off on it. So literally for the next two and a half years.

Every run from

finish run stripping to mashing then I had to reset that button every 45 minutes. Gosh, that's awesome. It sounds terrible.

So I'd run home cooked dinner. That's like the great bootstrapping story.

Like somebody just like going in and just giving it their all and like figuring it out. I don't know. It's pretty cool. That's right. And I'd go home cooked dinner, come back, push the button, go home eat dinner, go to the liquor store and make a sale come back push the button go back to another store to settle alarm on your phone.

Reset, Steve, I know 45 minutes pretty good now.

Somebody goes up how the wind take their 45 minutes. Don't worry, I got that. I got

I mean, that's that's it isn't it is impressive story of being able to go and learn and actually build it yourself. You know, it's like, it's like most of the people that you know, you say like, Oh, you wanna write a book on something? Or if you're if you want to learn something, right, write the book on it or do whatever it is to actually learn how to do it from the inside out. And, you know, you could go to moonshine you and you can learn and look and be able to like look at it but mean you you really like dope the pieces that actually made this all together. I did and moonshine you wasn't around at that time.

And there wasn't a lot It was mainly have gone if it was already just done it yourself.

That's an interesting question. I probably wouldn't have. So when I went to buy a still, that's why I built my own Vendome had a 55 gallon or 50 gallons still, that was like $50,000 I'm like, I don't have that money. I've never made this stuff. How What? So I,

I decided to build my own. So that probably the same with

moonshine, you probably would have been expensive. I wasn't sure. You know. Yeah. So just, you know, just wing it. Looking at your best, right, I guess then talk a little bit more about because I think one thing that's interesting here was you're talking about your copper plates that you use that you you took and then if I understood correctly, you said you rolled it out thin enough that you could then kind of form it and build your still so didn't roll it out. It was fairly thin copper. It is then copper. I mean, it's it's rigid.

But you roll it just to curve it to put the curve in it. So

that's why you roll it not not squeezing the copper out. But the etchings are still on the still you can see them when you go and take a tour. It's pretty amazing. But yeah, I just

researched it. Not everybody can take weld copper, and I found a man that was an amazing welder. Another God guy that could could take weld copper and did really nice job with it. So and talk about the design a little because I know we've had we've had Vendome on the show before. And you know, they they talk about all the crazy designs and you go You mean you go to anywhere like you see the different steel boxes, you see the different ways that people are putting it I mean, it could be a spatial issue could be a bunch of different ways. But you know, unless you're doing a copper pot still everybody more it's a column still but everybody's is a little bit different, a little bit unique. So kind of talk about how you came to the design of what yours was.

Going to be so mine's a copper pot still, there's no plates in it at all. The only sort of plate is the thumb keg. So that kind of works as a what plates do and still. And that design I found on the web. Somebody had built one and I was like, that's really cool. And I designed it more how I needed it. But the the design of the still, there's a secret behind that. I figured it out.

I'm a visual person and I just I found a few stills that I liked and came up with a concept and idea and how, what the sizes should be and drew it out. So I had in high school I had 11 quarters of mechanical drafting. So I'm not great at it now because it's that's a long time ago, but I can draw that like AutoCAD or before was AutoCAD. Like pencil and paper.

T square Yeah.

Exactly with a maybe a compass compass. Exactly. tractor. Exactly. And that's what I did. I drew it out, I bought a drawing board, which is a piece of soft wood, thick, you know board and I bought paper and drew it out. I still have those drawings of it. I actually drew a limbic still first. And it's a really beautiful drawing, but I never went that direction. I went with the pot still. So how about you said vinden was 50,000 How much was your homemade $500? Wow. The cost savings? Yeah. All the parts I you know, I sourced all of it. That's not with my time in it or anything like that. But sure, yeah. Where'd you get all the parts like Craigslist or? Pretty much? No. Granger, actually. Okay.

A lot of parts on there. They have more stuff than you'll ever know. Yeah. You're like, do you have this and like, yeah, and I'm like, What? You'll have that too. So yeah. Craigslist would be a better story though. I know.

In search of

Such of a doubler misconnection where's my doubler? Yeah, so I guess um, you know so we're talking right now about making your still and making white dog and and kind of talk about what was that next progression of it so he's shown us the the picture of it right now so yeah, that's it is it's an exact replica of your of your original. It's really cool. Oh, that's awesome. That's really cool. So making white dog here at the very beginning so were you were you thinking like okay like I'm gonna make whiskey I'm gonna make bourbon or was it just like, what was the kind of like your end goal that you had in mind. So I set out to 91 Colorado whiskey, I set out to make a Western whiskey whiskey that you would walk into a bar and a Western asked for, you know, whiskey, walk up, the bartender finds a Western whiskey for you. So mine is a Colorado whiskey and it's big, bold and beautiful, like the state of Colorado. Okay, so

and they slam the bottle down. It'd be too

91 and you know, get to drink it and you have a deal afterwards. Yeah, exactly. And so I love rye whiskey before I made my own Thomas handy was my favorite. So both these my rye and my bourbon are my original recipes. The bourbon is changed slightly. It's 80% corn 19% modify 1% malt barley. It started out at 20 mile rye, and that's because Mike Bristol had a bag of corn 50 pound bag of corn, and it was over a weekend I wanted mashin. So I went to the homebrew shop and bought I was looking for a ride. They only had Ryan mall. I'm like great, I need them all to convert. So I did that mashed in and ran that. I ran that on a very small I stripped it and then ran it on a very small Olympic still. And that was truly my first distillation ever. And then the next distillation and I have all these notes written down with the dates on it and everything.

The next Captain's log. Yeah. Yeah, the ttv you have to a lot, you know, and I didn't I didn't have any money. I wasn't doing any, you know, computer stuff. So I was handwriting notes in the notebook. And they're funny to go through because I talked about, you know what I'm doing distillation, but I also talked about my son's running cross country that day, or an event I was going to or what was going on in my life throughout these days. So it's kind of cool to look back. It's all chicken scratch scribbled scratched out spellings wrong, you know, all that good stuff we need to do today. Like why the fuck is this?

What the hell is wrong with this mash? Yeah. Or, Oh, that smells like throw up. That is not good. Yeah. But that is gold because you can always look back on that and be like, this is where I started and always kind of bring you back to that. That is awesome. Yeah. And we go back to it actually. There's another mash in there. That is a

Special release comes out, usually in October. It's called bad guy. And that was my third recipe. And we we went back a couple of years ago because the newer bad guy wasn't tasting the same as the old bad guy and so we went back and read the recipe in the directions and

bad guy came from so I did as a single barrel for restaurant and I had done this mash to try I hadn't experimented so I was going to experiment and bad guys a four grain we did bourbon and when it came up still I was like, that is really good white dog. I mean, was sweet, amazing. And I put it in a in a tank and was waiting and was supposed to have already mashed in for this other one for the restaurant. And I got behind and I needed the cash and so I was like, you know I got the that one in the in the tank over there. I'll just

Cell it so I called him to come hammer the bong it's done, put it in there hammered the button. He was talking to his son on the phone who was like four. He's like, what should I call it? And his son goes bad guy.

And I was like, Oh, damn, and

so he he year later, when the whiskey was coming out of the barrel, I'm like, what are we gonna name it? And he goes, I don't know. And I'm and I had written on the barrel bad guy, so I didn't forget. And I'm like, you gotta call it bad guy. We got to call it bad guy. And he's like, No, I don't know. And then I talked him into it finally. And so that's why it's bad guy bourbon to 91 bad guy bourbon, very cool store grand weeded bourbon, you have a lot of cool stories.

Just sit back and listen, not just keep talking. I'll shut up.

I mean, kind of talk about that a little bit as as you were, you know, how much do you producing and what kind of you know at that time like what kind of barrels you putting them in like a

Talk about that process to

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How much do you producing and what kind of you know at that time like what kind of barrels you putting them in like kind of talk about that process too. So the barrel mill, I found them online somehow and they were fairly new out of Avon, Minnesota. And so I called them they would FedEx me a barrel. So I'm like that works. You know, everybody else wants to sell you a palette


There's a funny story about palette too. And so I just bought a barrel and would fill it up and and I had a few barrels in that 300 square foot space. And I'd harvest it and hand bottle and label it and go out and sell it. So the very beginning here kind of talk about what's your because I remember you said you were doing would you say

50 6060 gallons in a week, right is my month, a month, a month. And that took that took, you know, six. So my fermentation tanks were 55 gallon Pepsi, you know, plastic drums with the top cut off. And so it would take, I'd mashin six. So I could do two matches in a day. So that's three days, I could strip two in a day. So that's three days of stripping, and it would yield about 3540 gallons of low wines and at 35% or so and then I'd finish on it and it would I end up with like 15 gallons. And so in a you know, in a month period, I had 60 gallons to put in barrels. So I mean talk about it, like as we talked to, we talked a big boys right and they're pumping out that in 20 minutes, right? I mean,

yeah. So kind of talk about you know, like, you know, where where did you kind of see yourself

Like, were you like, this is awesome. Like, this is fun. I'm having fun with this, or you like I'm in, I'm in over my head, like kind of talk about what was going through your mind at that time. It was amazing. So when it first came out still and I tasted it, and I had a friend that was a bartender, phenomenal bartender, Nate Windham, and he would taste it. And he's like, Damn, that's really good white dog. And so he had a couple of cocktails that he was using some white dog that was on the, on the shelf at the time. And he just started trading out with my white dog and my fresh. And I always say if, if it came off, and it had been a grind to figure out the recipe, and it wasn't that good coming off, it would have been, it would have been a lot harder. But when it was that good, and Nate was already making cocktails with it, it was like, all right, this is working, and I could taste it and tell. And so but I mean, the whole process, you know, you've got to make those tale cuts and that's, that's the art of distillation. And I didn't know anything and so

That was made me nervous, you know, what are you going to do how you're going to do this? And so

in my processes of photographers solving problems, you know, the, the head cut is easy, it's a percentage, or you can taste the difference really quickly. It also drops improved quite a bit at head cut, and then you got ethanol coming off and then tail it's like where do you stop as a distiller the art of distilling, where do you stop and so when it started dropping and proof, I decided to take you know, a quart mason jar and and collect it every 10 proof and then go back, you know, I had the main amount of ethanol but here I had tails coming off. And I just decided started tasting them and deciding where, how much I would put back into, you know, the ethanol that had already come off.

And so that's that's how I figured out my cut.

Yeah, and we got to make sure you pick up the cuts cuz well that should make you go blind if you get it wrong. That's the that's the head cut. There you go okay. acetone, methanol and all that that comes off first loser, high, high alcohols that have a low boiling point. So were you like cash flow in this with your photographer photography? What the photographer you're you've only had one port right now get it I'll spit it out. Get it out your photography, photography career was it paying for your gosh what can I say that photography career? I just did it

photogra man

was your photography career was this kind of fuel in this baby or were you just like out on your you know on your own trying to make this work. I know my photography was not. I did do a design job for for charity. They were trying to save

The hospital from being sold to large corporation. And so they had this whole campaign they wanted. And so I designed and did commercials and did all kinds of stuff for it. So it paid me really well. So I use that money to start to 91. Gotcha. And to go back to the original distillation and all that, you know, when I started making to 91 I wanted to be Colorado and kind of branded and so it we haven't talked about that, but it's 291 Colorado bourbon or 291, Colorado rye whiskey, and it's Aspen state finished. So I take toasted pieces Aspen, pop the bung on the barrel, put the Aspen in the oak barrel, and for the last few weeks, we finish it on Aspen. admins are the trees that guys may turn yellow, but they don't lose their leaves. Is that right? No, they they lose. Okay, they've turned yellow and red. They're really beautiful. Yeah.

Why we only Aspen reference I knows we the dumbing down. Oh, yeah, yeah. So talking about City College.

So the way I figured that out was I wanted to ask been on the label I, I took some aspirin, toasted it, put it in a mason jar with some Finnish whiskey and was riding to Boulder with a friend that was about a two hour drive. And I just shook the mason jar. And when I got up to Boulder I had, you know, some of the original and then what it tasted like on Aspen and I'm like, that's good. And so that's where that came from. That's awesome. Yeah. Very cool. What's what is it about Aspen that's different from Oak that kind of gives it some different. It's there. So for me it it pushes common notes to maple and it adds a little spice to it and a little smoke. This rye has a beautiful color on it by the way too. I need to try the wrap the porcelain arriving on the nose on the rise really good. I love it. So it's one on 1.7


The bourbon was 100 proof

and how long you, you agencies and what type and how big of the containers and everything like that. Let's get let's get into it for that was all there. It's all secret. Yep. Oh gosh, man. Guess we had to go on a tour to find out.

So it's American oak barrels deep charred. We age a year to two years. Right now, you know the ride that you're talking about in 2018 one world's best ride from whisky magazine. It also won America's best in 2016 from World whiskey magazine. And then that's an interesting thing that in that 300 square foot space, my barrel number two of this rye got 94 points from Jim Murray's whiskey Bible. Congratulation. Thank you and and we have seven liquid gold from Jim Murray.

six different recipes. So it's been so Jim Murray's a fan of you. Yeah, I'm a fan of his He's great. His tasting notes are amazing. I don't know if you've ever read any we haven't had him on the show yet. We'll get him on we'll get him there probably much more elaborate than ours. I'm like tastes like smores are

or always try relating to our breakfast cereal you know like cocoa Chris for Count chocula I don't notice that you do you do a lot of cereals Don't you know I get a lot of cereal like when you're a kid. You get a lot of those cereal notes with it with the milk one of our Bourbons has a it's a char high rye. It has a cherry fund up

to it. It says it says he's that one now. You know fun dips that powdery my kids so it's like dry. And so the high proof of it make its cherry but it dries out just like fund up it's really funny. So yeah, you can find my my distill.

Eric jet had one whiskey and he's like, you know, it's like that. That dusty old Poncho and team was like, What are you talking about? And what were you on at that time? It's not your grandma's attic you know there is a note sometimes that dryness Yeah, you know that musty old basement. musty old isn't good but yeah dusties not so bad. Because it's the dryness part have tasted like, like you talked about cherry funded like grape Kool aids like, you know, the manufacturer grape flavors, you know, like, I get, like, come out a lot. Yeah, a lot. Talk about today's operation. So, so you're you're you're the founding distiller sounds like you're not distilling anymore, but kind of talk a little bit more about, you know, what the size of the operation is the people if you're still doing you know, 60 gallons in a month or if you're if you're if you progress so kind of talk about that. Yeah, I wouldn't be here if I

guess I don't like only bottles.

Well, that was interesting.

Same thing was like 2016 when I sent whiskey magazine, they needed two bottles and I had to pay money and and I was like, I don't have that much whiskey. So that's why it took me a while to start putting in awards. But all my tanks, the 55 gallon drums, the fermentation tanks, my stripping still. I mean, yeah 55 gallon drums have all moved up to 1500 gallons, including the stripping still. I showed you that picture has the 300 gallon finished still in it. All the whiskey still goes across the original still as the thump keg. we distill twice a week, and we're producing about 240 finished gallons a week right now. We're working on some barrel financing to add the first of the year that will move up to producing five days a week. And we are right now. I've been in 7500 Square Feet for six years. Wow.

That's hard to believe.

And we are moving within a year we will be in a campus with 28,000 square feet, four different buildings. One will be a distillation building the other one will be fermentation, barrel storage and then tasting room. So you just you're looking at it like this. Let's keep investing into this growing and bigger and bigger and bigger. Yeah, I mean, we did 20 609 liter cases last year. Sold and and we've produced the year before 20 609 liter cases. And so we're selling everything we make. 95% of it is in Colorado. We just opened Kentucky this week. We're in 27 Kroger stores in Kentucky and it's going really well. But we could sell more if we had it and that's what we're working on. But we still the quality we are. It does not come out of the barrel until it's ready.

What's it like coming to Kentucky is it like coming to Kentucky to play basketball you know like we got faced the Wildcats when you're coming to Kentucky you don't face all the big boys environment is that daunting or you like Bring it on.

I don't know that it's daunting. The community's amazing. And that's the great thing. Everybody I meet is incredibly helpful. Even Fred MiniK he's he's the one that helped Kroger. So by introducing me to, to the buyer, and you know nothing about this rod tasted very familiar. Not had it at Fred's office. He goes, this is the next big distillery

because the smoking is that or reminds me of when I had it. So anyway, side note.

Yeah, so it's been amazing. I mean, at the one of the awards thing, Jeff Barnett, one master distiller jack daniels, Master distiller and I went up to talk

Cuz you want to say hello, you know, right oh my god, and he was the nicest man and we got talking, and he's from Jackson, Tennessee where my brother lives that's a surgeon. And we had a family farm in Shelbyville, which is which flat Creek, Tennessee, which was seven miles from jack daniels, seven miles to deckle. So I told him that and we really hit it off. And then my brother was doing a charity didn't know I had met Jeff, but knew he was from Jackson and reached out to him to do a tasting of the charity. And because he was from Jackson, he did it. And my brother called me and said, You know, that's who's coming. And I was like, Oh, I just met him. And he's like, wow. And so I went with my brother's friend, our partner that had a twin prop plane, and we flew from Jackson to tullahoma and picked up Jeff, and literally when I walked off the plane, he was walking up on the tarmac, and he's like, hey, Michael, how's it going? And I mean, I hadn't met him once in person, but he knew

who I was and was, it was amazing and we've become friends. I texted him all the time. I'm going to go see him tomorrow. The first time I went to jack, you know, shortly after that charity, he said, Come down, I'll show you around and and he put me in his personal truck. And he said, What do you want to see? He said, whatever you want to see, I'll show you anything. And that's amazing. And there's gonna be respect because Jeff's had everything he's awesome as to but you gotta check company like jack daniels get every resource imaginable to you whereas you kind of had no resources and made it work. So there's got to be something that you both can learn from each other. I yes. And he's alluded to that and is very respectful that I make a Colorado whiskey and and you know, that's the thing. I love Kentucky bourbon, I love Tennessee whiskey. I love all kinds of scotch Irish whiskey, but I'm not looking to make a Kentucky bourbon and Colorado. My bourbon my whiskey, my rye are to be done.

Different big bold, beautiful of my brand there's a few names but one's rugged refined rebellious, we also hard made the Colorado way. And then another tagline is

write it like you stole it, drink it like you own it. Nice like it. So, you know that's what I set out to do this and and it's been amazing

i mean i think it's it's had a pretty warm reception right and congratulations for coming to Kentucky you know this is it's a it's a big step this nationals feet. Definitely, definitely. And not only that is you know, talking to you about the progression of where it is or where it was to what it is today. It's everything comes with with growing pains too, right? Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So kind of talk about at least Did you have a specific time of growing here that you're like, Okay, like, I wish was just me and the 60 gallons.

So, the one thing about being a photographer

Consistently you have to build teams of people especially doing fashion. So hair makeup, you know stylist, model, all that kind of stuff location that was helpful for me in in growing this and finding people that could help me grow it. So I have a team of about 13 people right now. It's an amazing team they do phenomenal work. But yeah, there were there were times and there's still times you know, I'm bootstrapping it. So there's tight times with money there's tight times with barrels not being ordered. panic, you know, bottle panic, you know things like that when I first started that was something I wanted to mention earlier about a palette to get not this bottle but my original bottle which is similar this but this one came along when I could buy 30,000 or promise I'd buy 30 Yeah, promise but this one I could buy a pallet of and my mom had given me a cooler and at some point and enjoy

Grant is an ounce of gold. And thank you for explaining that because I was about to say I have no idea what you're talking Yeah, it's a South African coin. And so I was making whiskey in that 300 gallon I needed a bottle they were they give me a better price if I bought a pallet or or to buy the bottle I had to buy a pallet and gold was up expensive than and I literally took that Cougar and cashed it in and bought a pallet of bottles

and was able to put them in that 300 square foot space I built I built shelves and made it where you know they weren't really in the way and it was kind of crazy but so there are growing pains. I mean you know i the most nervous I've been that I can remember is working on this move for this. You know 20,000 square feet. It's It's big. We We won't renovate it and build it out beautiful with for production line facility.

We're going to move in with what we have now and grow it like I did from the 300 to the 7500 square foot that worked really well. But we have a our model is a ramp. I mean, it's a it's a steep curve. And so we have a lot to get done in the next four years with making whiskey and, you know, there there are growing pains. It is not easy. There hasn't been a day where I was like, Oh my god, I'm not going to the distillery I give up. I'm done from day one to now. There's never that's never crossed my mind. Yeah, that's awesome. At least that means you're loving it. Yeah, I guess it. You don't have to think of the Olsen twins and they still need me. Right?

Yeah, that's a funny thing. I broke out a box of Polaroids. So, back in the day before digital, you were doing light test and stuff you used a Polaroid back on the camera. So you would take the picture of strobes go off and you pull the Polaroid Wait a minute, and then

like pushing that button every 40 and you peel it and you'd look at light so I have I kept most of those Polaroids I've got boxes of them and I opened one up the other day and there's some just really beautiful pictures in it showed it to a friend and they were like oh my god you got to start shooting again I'm like I don't know that that's happening but I did reach out to a hairdresser friend and a couple of them at the time with the Polaroids and posted on Instagram with it and hadn't talked to them in years 10 years and they're like what's up and it was really great makes me want to maybe try one day and who knows but not union at the distillery was like oh here's a great you know all your photography client car I got a photography clients and you know, bring them to your distillery like wonder now party this party There we go. But these you can get bottle shots done on the cheap, right you can do those. That's the funny thing. I don't shoot my bottle. Really you don't don't okay jars while you're here.

I shoot on with the iPhone for like in situation but to set them up and shoot them. I mean I can do it no problem but I'm a little too close to the product and also it's a different frame of mind and to get in that frame of mind it would take me a few days or week I'm working with the bottles and stuff to get the light and and it's just easier to for me to pick somebody and go I like his pictures and I can direct what I want from there and so that Yeah, I you know you coming from a photography background and you know, we're all kind of like doing a lot of stuff with whiskey and and I remember I talked to somebody about doing bottle photography and I'm like you charge what like to take a picture of bottle i mean it's it's something that I had no idea that even existed before then so it's a it's it's a really cool that you kind of have you can blend a lot of these worlds together and you know how to direct and stuff like that because I'd be like, I don't know a river in the background like you tell me what looks cool.

Yeah, and I have a business partner in New York. Or we were in a retouching company, Russ gun lack. And he, he still retouches. He's an amazing retoucher. And so I sent him stuff all the time. I mean, funny things, but I send him bottle shots and, and I can direct him and I can I can take a bottle, you know, if it was shot in the same light and have him put it like five bottles in one picture very easily and stuff like that. So I understand how to do that. So that's where I, you know, I can direct it and get it done on the cheap. I mean, everybody else that would cost them a ton of money.

But But I did, we were at a tasting and there was an airplane behind me and had a callsign number on the side of it. It's old, you know, World War Two type plane with that block number. And I took a iPhone picture of it and send it to Russ text it to him and said can you change that to 291

Literally 30 minutes later it came back to me on my phone and it was perfect. I'm like Yep, there you go awesome and posted it and people like out to 91 and I also did it this summer on a bowl. The brand on a bull somebody It was like 301 and I asked him to do 299 on it and they're like, I didn't see that bowl with that brand.

It's really funny. That's good to know people I guess. So I guess kind of last question before we start wrapping this up is you know, you've you said 95% in Colorado, you're growing to Kentucky I'm sure that you've got plans to even go beyond their kind of talk about you know, one last thing that you want to kind of leave listeners with as they are looking at another or walk in the store. They see your bottle and then maybe they hear this like what's one thing you want to leave them with? I want them to enjoy my whiskey. There's the funny thing I I drink my whiskey neat. It's rare. I drink it on the rocks, but I I also in the summer, or when I feel like it I drink my bourbon with

Mountain Dew. I drink my ride with lemonade and my only person I know it does as my dad. It makes it it's amazing drink and it's a nice drink summer drink. Yeah, and I want to drink bourbon. I also drink. I don't drink vodka Bloody Marys. I drink rye Bloody Marys. And those are phenomenal. But I want somebody to try my whiskey. I wanted to take them back to Western days and enjoy it and it it's an unapologetic whiskey. It's it's a big bold whiskey, and

I'm really proud of it. The other thing that we didn't talk about is the cage that's on there. So when I was young, there was a the cork and cage cage holds the cork and when I was young, I'd watch TBS in the morning and saturday morning cartoons and then if it rained, the later it got old movies Come on. And there was an old movie where they were transporting nitroglycerin in a wagon, and they had wired all the bottles in

So it wouldn't bounce. And when I started making high proof whiskey, I'm like, we got to wire the cork on. And so that's where that cage comes from. Gotcha. Gotcha. Now we know there's a story to everything. Really. There is my watch. Yeah. My watch is my dad's watch. And every time I shake it down, it reminds me of home. Yeah, go. Cool. Very cool. Well, Michael, thank you again for coming over here coming on the show. And of course, sharing your whiskey with us. I think it's an incredible story of what you've built and the team that's building this and you know, the direction it's going as well. I think everybody's pretty excited for really the future of what this is going to entail for you. Thank you. Same here, Kenny and Ryan. very appreciated to be on the show. And yeah, that's, you know, we have experimental batch called the E. We love to experiment. I love making my whiskey. I love selling it. I love giving it away to people to try it. tastings and even people I meet give them a bottle.

Cuz they'll share it. And I love that. So I really appreciate today. Thank you guys. Absolutely Yeah, no, thank you for coming. It was a true inspiration. I mean, most companies we have on air even if they're new they go out and get big time investments or you know, get a lot of cash flow to back them up and like to hear somebody just go source parts from Craigslist, not kidding. But, uh, just, you know, just wanting to do something and find a way to like, make it happen is like, It's so inspiring to me. I think it's a very cool story and I'm excited for the brand. It's, gosh, the rise awesome. I love the really good things like thanks so much. But uh, yeah, it's, um, it was a pleasure talking to you and hearing all your stories, for sure. I'd be a part of it. Absolutely. And so make sure you follow distiller to 91 on all the social medias. give a shout out as well as your address where people can go and visit 1647 South 200 Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado. And our website is 291 Colorado whiskey calm or distillery to 91 dot com.

calm. There we go. So she follow them. Follow us, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. If you like the show, want to support the show, help us on patreon. com if you like it and you don't want to help support on Patreon, write a review. We love reviews. We like hearing from everybody else as well. So Ryan, go and close it out for us. Yeah, thanks, everyone for listening. Thanks, Mike for coming. appreciate all the whiskey and all the fun stories. But yeah, if you have any show suggestions, feedback, we love hearing from our listeners, because this is who we do it for. And we want to bring you content that you actually want to hear. And so yeah, hit us up and let us know what you want here and we'll see you next time. Cheers.

Transcribed by

Feb 27, 2020
Whiskey Quickie: Yellowstone Select Bourbon

[youtube]On this Whiskey Quickie by Bourbon Pursuit, we review Yellowstone Select. This non-age stated bourbon is 93 proof and $40 MSRP. Let us know what you think. Cheers!

Whiskey Quickie is brought to you by Barrell Bourbon. Learn more at

DISCLAIMER: The whiskey in this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy of Cask Cartel. We were not compensated by the spirit producer for this review. This is our honest opinion based on what we tasted. Please drink responsibly.

Feb 25, 2020
241 - Celebrities in Bourbon and the Current State of the Secondary on Bourbon Community Roundtable #41

On this episode, we touch on three topics. First, we look at how bourbon producers can reach new consumers. Then we take on the new celebrity craze. Over the past year, there have been about half a dozen music artists and TV personalities that have come out with bourbons. While we don’t see this trend stopping, we ask ourselves if this is good for bourbon as a whole. Lastly, we examine the current state of the secondary market. It’s a group consensus that we all miss it, but how has it affected value, store pricing, and distributor allocation?

Show Partners:

  • The University of Louisville has an online Distilled Spirits Business Certificate that focuses on the business side of the spirits industry. Learn more at
  • Barrell Craft Spirits enjoys finding and identifying barrels that contain distinctive traits and characteristics. They then bottle them at cask strength to retain their authentic qualities for the whiskey enthusiast. Learn more at
  • Receive $25 off your first order at RackHouse Whiskey Club with code "Pursuit". Visit

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about celebrity whiskey.
  • How do bourbon producers reach new customers?
  • What about new label designs?
  • What do you think about celebrities getting into bourbon?
  • Are celebrities helping or hurting bourbon?
  • Let's discuss the current state of the secondary market.

Have you held a bottle of bourbon in your hand and wondered how was this made? sure there's the grains in the barrels and all that science that goes into it. But what about the package design, class manufacturing, shipping logistics, or purchase orders for thousands of cork stoppers. These are only a handful of things that you need to know. But what the University of levels online distilled spirits business certificate, you're only a few clicks away from learning from industry experts from renowned spirits businesses like brown Forman, jack daniels and more. Learn more about this online six course certificate at U of Slash

bourbon pursuit.

Carey is fashionably late for his returns.

I said he's making a big entrance right

see, I like this new platform because I hold the power like I actually don't have to put them on the screen.

Perfect. really sing as actually it's kind of cool how this works. Yeah,

it is cool. Yeah. Alright, he's here now should Adam

Can you can you like put his head face like behind a curtain kind of thing or voice? I can I can kick him

from the studio. He will do that.

I'll put him in. And then I'll take him out.

Everyone, it's Episode 241 of bourbon pursuit. And if it's your morning drive, good morning, if it's your daily run, break that record. And if you're sitting at work, let's make this day go by one hour faster. Last week, whiskey magazine presented their 2020 icons of American whiskey awards in New York City, and I'll be damned if we weren't even considered in the running. Who knows maybe next year, but here's some of the names that you might recognize. Brent Elliott from four roses was named master distiller the year Buffalo Trace as the best distiller and visitor attraction. peerless distilling companies small batch Kentucky straight bourbon was named the best Kentucky bourbon While Rebel Yell took home the best Kentucky single barrel bourbon and iron Republic out of Texas as the best non Kentucky and eh Taylor ride took home the best rye while to 91 Colorado whiskey took home the best new make award. And lastly Peggy no Stevens accepted and induction into the Hall of Fame as well. winners from the icons of American whiskey and world whisky awards. 2021 now go head to head and their competition across the globe to figure out who will be the best whiskey in the world. Now we presented in London in March of 2020. The Kentucky distillers Association announced that the famed Kentucky bourbon trail and Kentucky bourbon trail craft tour destinations Welcome to 1.7 million visitors in 2019. And now is celebrating its anniversary with its 21st birthday. Now, let's get into some bourbon economics beam centuri self solid sales growth in 2019. posting a revenue increase of six and a half percent for the Year and beam centaurs flagship brand, Jim Beam had a strong year in the US, where depletions increased eight and a half percent to 5.7 million cases. That also includes flavors variants of Jim Beam, according to impact databanks estimates. Now basil Hayden was another dynamic performer estimated up 37% to 345,000. cases in the US last year in Japan became the largest export market for Jim Beam last year, driven by the high vol craze, Kentucky Governor Andy Bashir announced that Kentucky is leading the nation in whiskey exports, which shouldn't be much of a surprise. The governor made the announcement while filling the 16th million barrel of Jim Beam at Jim beam's American steel house in Claremont, Kentucky, and Kentucky led all states in whiskey exports in 2019 at 480 $5 million. That total marks a 326% increase since 2004. While Canada united Kingdom, France, Brazil in Mexico make up the Commonwealth top five export destinations. Alright, today we've got the roundtable, a show where internet friends gather and discuss a bunch of bourbon popery. And On this episode, we touch on three topics, we look at how brands and distilleries can start reaching new consumers, and what are the best ways of getting your product in the eyes of them today? Then we take on the celebrity craze. Over the past year, they've been on a half a dozen music artists and TV personalities that have come out with Bourbons on the market. While we don't see this trend, stopping anytime soon, we ask ourselves, is this good for bourbon as a whole. And lastly, we examine the current state of the secondary market. It's a group consensus that we all miss it. But what has been the effect for pricing store pricing in distributed application, since this is all happened over six months ago. And if you're a Patreon supporter, you got the email yesterday that we're going to be doing a new pilot episode called Extra pursuit. This is a new kahlan radio show format that we're going to test out that is exclusively available to our Patreon community. We hope to see you all mine soon and make it successful to see how this thing's going to turn out. And speaking of things that are happening in the Patreon world, we have two barrel pics that are happening a Buffalo Trace this week. So if you want the opportunity to get your hands on one of these bottles of these private selections, as well as even possibly join us on the pic, go to slash bourbon pursuit. It's this community that funds a lot of the things that happened with this podcast, and we're happy that we can bring these experiences like this to so many of our listeners. It's showtime. So here's Joe from barrel bourbon, and then you've got Fred minich,

with above the char.

Hey everyone, Joe here again, we enjoy finding and identifying barrels that contain distinctive traits and characteristics. We then bottle them a cast rank to retain their authentic qualities for the whiskey enthusiast. Next time Ask you bartender for barrel bourbon.

I'm Fred MiniK. And this is above the char. Right now we're seeing a plethora of celebrity whiskies come out. Most recently Jason Aldean, and Terry Bradshaw have announced their whiskies Of course, last year we had slipknot and Metallica, Bob Dylan, and I got to tell you, there's going to be a whole lot more coming. I'm even familiar with a few of them, that some of which I cannot disclose at this time. But let me just tell you, we should not think of celebrity whiskey as something that is the end of times or a sign that the bubble is about to bust. Rather, celebrity whiskeys just mean that we have right now the attention of all those who are interested in making money. And basically celebrities are like any other business. They're all about trying to make money. And whiskey is one of the hottest games in town right now. course it doesn't help that George Clooney actually made a couple billion dollars off of a tequila a few years ago. And so with the rise of spirits come more celebrities, I believe we should actually reward those who make good whiskey or at least put their name on good whiskey. Here's the thing, this is what we don't want. We don't want whiskey to become the next vodka, where celebrities galore just kind of sign up and they just put their name on it. We want the celebrities to actually be involved. We want them to be involved with good whiskey. And you know, the Matthew McConaughey project with wild turkey is a good example of how a celebrity can be used to improve a brand. Now, we'll see if that ends up working in the long haul, but I kind of liked the idea of more celebrities coming in to the game of whiskey. And that's this week's above the char Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, just search my name Fred MiniK Pape Until next week, cheers

Welcome back to another episode of bourbon pursuit, the official podcast of bourbon. This is bourbon Community Roundtable number 41. So we've been doing this quite a while and we've got a whole lot of good topics lined up tonight. And it's usually the Wrecking Crew that we have here. We talk about some, some culture things that are happening inside of Bourbons, and that, you know, latest news and we kind of give our, our best informed opinions and I guess that's maybe what you call it.

You know, maybe sometimes it's maybe simpler. Sometimes they're right, sometimes they're wrong, but that's just part of the process. But yeah, most of the time I get my comments, you know, decided right before the show, just research the topics and I'm like, okay, that's how I feel. I don't even know.


yeah, off the cuff.

That's part of the fun, you know, we've done this enough by now. And I think that's also funny for Ryan and I when we go and we're we're interviewing a lot of people nowadays. They're all like, hey, um, can you all send me like a list of questions that you want to answer ahead of time?

We're like, No,

we don't have any questions.

Like we're just gonna show up and ask questions. This is how we do it now.

I don't think we had an agenda the first time did we

forget roundtable? I don't remember. It was very first one that was so long ago.

That's too long ago.

I know. I know. But you know, let's go ahead and I think we can we can kick it off. So you heard some voices already. We'll save the our new special guest tonight for last you've heard his name on there before but I'll start with the guy who's always on here, Blake. You can't

get rid of me of the bourbon Roundtable. I'm Blake from bourbon er. Yeah, always fun to be on. You know. Still, this is one of the one of the highlights of the month to jump on here and talk with you guys. So thanks for having me. As always, you can find me on all the social medias, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Bo you are Bo nr as well as my, I would say newer, or new site that's kind of just newish at this point. That's seal box calm, so es el ba ch s. So thanks me guys.

Absolutely make sure you go check it out for all your craft whiskey needs as well as pursuit series needs. You can go and get everything ordered right to your doorstep. We always need it. So Jordan, you're up next, buddy?

Sure. This is Jordan from breaking bourbon, one of the three guys from breaking bourbon calm. You can find us on all the socials at breaking bourbon and make sure to sign up for our newsletter. We're always sending out our latest calendar calendar releases. Is that starting already? Oh, it's it's been going already for for a few weeks now.

Oh, gosh. You feel

like it feels like it's it's a good time right now because you're like, oh, like we don't have to worry about anything crazy coming out like stag Junior bash 13. Like that came in when already now we can just relax for a minute but like seems like you guys just want to keep the energy going.

It'd be nice if we got a break, that's for sure. But the bourbon Gods demand it.

Yeah. Hey, we got Brian. How you doing, buddy?

Hey guys doing great thanks for having against Brian with sip and corn on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is sip and corn. You can find me online at either sipping corn or bourbon justice calm looking forward to it.

Absolutely. And we have a familiar face of the Round Table making his return.


How are you buddy? Hey guys, thanks for having me back on here if if Blake is Cal Ripken of baseball, I'm Fernando Rodney. I'm the reliever that you call in once in a while and you're really nervous because you don't know what's gonna happen.

Yeah, I could either be strong or not, but at least I'll look good with my hat turned a little bit to the side.

It's all a matter it's come sprinting out. Yeah, sprinting out of right field. That's right, people. Yeah.

This is awesome.

Well, Ryan as two people still watching Baseball I I certainly have paid zero attention to it but I don't know about you all. Then again, Louisville is not much of the amazing that we get the Louisville Slugger museum. We got the basically the biggest names with baseball here with the equipment yet. Like the city just really doesn't care that much about baseball because we don't have a protein just got to go an hour and a half north to be able to do that.

Yeah, they stink. Yeah, there's no point.

baseball's hot right now just because of the controversy. like everybody's talking about it now.

It was just the astralis conference.

Yeah, for sure. Which is crazy. If you look in depth at all of the stuff that's come out and then consider like the latest evidence where the guy was holding his jersey when he was crossing, homeboy. I know things like definitely a made for TV movie coming out ridiculous. Lifetime movie come

Yeah. But it keeps it fun. keeps it interesting. I think maybe like every once in a while, like sports have to do these things like they gotta create something to hype it back up again. Because as soon as it starts hitting this little plummet, you're like, Oh, am we're back up again.

Yeah, they said this is actually good for baseball bat for the Astros?

Well, that's true, as somebody's got to be a pawn in the game at the end of this right. So, all right,

so let's go ahead and start hitting some topics tonight. So the first one we want to do is we're gonna start looking at marketing and trying to figure out really how our bourbon distilleries and producers, how do they reach new bourbon drinkers? And I know that we've we've thrown a few different ideas around here. And I know Jordan, you had had some thoughts coming into this. So how do you kind of feel that distillers or bourbon, distilleries and marketing like how should they be reaching new consumers nowaday?

Yeah, so I think there's two parts, right? I'll make this short, but two parts. One is through people of the industry and making sure their products get out in their hands and making sure that we're highlighting them right. So for example, heaven Hill just sent out the whole latest batch of Elijah Craig. Right, which was great and everyone's posting bottles up and doing reviews and honestly, that's okay because usually it's a slam dunk bourbon, right for Most part, but other distilleries don't do that right Buffalo Trace released that press release for stag bash 13 they didn't send out any bottles, they just sent a press release. So, you know, I think the distilleries that are getting smart are making sure that bottle is getting hands of different review sites or different people on social media and making sure it gets out there. And then from just a standard consumer standpoint, right i think it's the people that are doing a lot of just non distiller producers right it's who is a fun label, who has a backstory good, right wrong and different, whatever your opinion may be on it. That's the people who walk in I have so many friends who go into liquor store they'll text me Hey, this looks really cool the labels cool fun backstory, you know anything about it? Like yet it's difficult. So is every other thing in your hand on the shelf, right? And they don't know what that means, though. They're just looking for a fun bottle to give us a present or Don't be. But there's nothing there's nothing wrong with decal, either. It's just you have to know kind of who's picking and who's selecting Right. I mean, we all know we've had some fantastic decal barrels coming out of there, but it's just, you know, that was just an example. So it's It's the people are doing it right or making sure they're getting out to the influential folks and talking about it. And then the rest are trying to just whatever the consumer with fun packaging. And that's kind of been tried and true throughout the years.

So you think they're doing a better job now then? I mean, Fred's not here. We can poke a jab at him then, like buying another Magazine Ad or something like that. But

I think they got smarter with the dollars and how they do stuff right. And I'll go back to heaven Hill, for example, right? They could just as well put up a billboard and global or anywhere else or they could have put out a huge news spread and bourbon plus or another magazine right whiskey advocate, announcing Elijah Craig barrel proof. Instead what they do, they got smart. Instead of sending a sample that people are viewing, they sent a bottle and you know what it's popping up all over social media, all of our websites and that cost them a fraction of what it would cost to a major advertising campaign. They smartened up the truly half

I didn't get a bottle

After bourbon and beyond and like a nice couple week run of, you know, really being on and things like

that, even years back, right? I mean,

bourbon blogging is two hobbies. It's the love of bourbon as a hobby, and the love of writing as a hobby. And I've come to realize that only like one of those two hobbies a lot. I like talking bourbon and I liked hanging out with people, but bourbon, but it's just the writing thing. It just inspires me for a while and then it it goes away. But if I finished the unfinished stuff that I have in my blog, I mean, I'd have like, I have like two and a half posts, it'd be amazing. So someday, we'll get back to it. But my question about the marketing stuff, are you referencing celebrities? marketing that or just how they're trying to reach consumers?

Yeah, I mean, we'll get to that in a little bit. I, you know, I'm kind of looking at, you know, how do we reach new bourbon drinkers? Right. And I think we'll get into the celebrity thing in a little bit because that's kind of like the second segment of the show. But you know, there's another thing that that I think brought up in our kind of private chat and that was, you know, I kind of want to stay on this topic a little bit before I start switching gears a little bit, you know, as we start looking into the clinical influencer realm, right, it's kind of a it's kind of like, I don't know if you guys like the word I feel like I'm like, nasty when I call myself an influencer like,

yeah, hundred percent.

Yeah, not good.

Yeah. Well, but that part is it's true. Right guys

are influencers though. I mean, you are like, when? Yes, the

batch 12

that you can't find anymore and the price went up. Do you know why that one went up? It's because of that guy right there. Jordan? Yes. Why? Yeah, that was definitely a breaking.

Breaking, but we'll certainly take credit for that. But you know, in our book, and I agree with what Kenny just said and you know, I we don't like the word influencer, I think to us, right? We put a ton of work into breaking bourbon. It's more than just a hobby, right? It's it's almost a full time job at this point is the job of planning job and we work our butts off for that. I think of influencer I think it's somebody out in a beach with a bottle and they're taking a picture. And that's, that's all they're going to put into it right? They're looking at their latest filter on Instagram. And that's how they're influencing folks. For us. It's truly a love and a passion of making sure we get out our thoughts to consumers that when they're new consumers are old consumers going to liquor store, we're able to help them pick out the right bourbon that's right for them. Right. And that's more than lensing. That's that's going out and doing a job to show in your love for the hobby.


I think it you know, kind of what Jordan said with how far is the influencer taking it, like, all right, you know, are they writing posts and had this conversation with, with with Josh from whiskey jug about, you know, you can have an influencer who do an Instagram story that's there for 24 hours, what does that really get you you know, is there really an ROI on that, but if they put an Instagram story, if they do a post, if they do a blog post, then you have SEO, SEO, you have backlinks, you have all this other stuff that's kind of building around it and So, you know, I think you almost have to be hitting all those areas to have some kind of influence.

But as far as which brands

are doing the best, I mean, you think about I know somebody mentioned this in the chat I think beam does a really good job of this barrel always does a good job about getting beer bottles up to people who are gonna, you know, have an audience and can post them. Heaven hills, come on strong. I mean, I don't Did anybody receive anything from heaven Hill until about two years ago? I know I didn't. So those are a few that I think definitely pop up. And Buffalo Trace seems to be taking the opposite approach of you know, we don't need as as much of this so, you know, used to if there was something you could get a sample it'd be two ounces or something like that. Now, even that seems pretty limited.

What they're doing, they get so many pictures

of just normal people.


Well wait one day. Yeah. Why would they send to really anyone when just some Joe Biden it has to take a crop shot crop shot just because he found Eagle rare or something like that? Yeah.

It was revolution that sample bottles too. So there's that.

I don't know that that sample size really makes a difference in terms of marketing. Because the people that are using you guys, your opinions probably are already into the hobby, right? So you've got the, the new people that they're trying to market to. And then you've got the people who are in the bourbon world who might not look at their brands, who they're trying to get them to switch. So I don't know. I feel like some of it too, is the marketing by us. And I guess we're getting into that part. But the marketing kind of gets into trying to influence young people, right, because you have people who in my mind people in college, first try bourbon if they haven't already, you know, but when you're 21 and you're in college, and you try it and then you know you're having Evan Williams had a full ball game or something and then you graduate and you wanted a nicer bourbon to move to I feel like that's kind of, I really don't know if that's where they're targeting, but it would seem like that would be your market.

Maybe I'm gonna disagree just a little bit and at least I'll speak for us and not a humble brag, but you know, we have millions of unique people come to breaking bourbon every year. And I guarantee you that the indepth crowd that we get caught up in on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, nowhere near is that high, right? So that means to us, there's a lot of folks who are invested in the bourbon world who go to breaking bourbon. And I guarantee you it's probably the same thing for bourbon pursuit. They're probably picking up a ton of new people who aren't deep in the bourbon sphere. Right? And same with Brian and his book. I bet you have a lot of people are just really into largest into Kentucky history picking it up that part that have no relation whatsoever and who don't know what bourbon pursuit is we're breaking bourbon as. So the audience we reach is actually much greater than than we actually realize. And it's not everyone who's viewing this, you know, round table right now. It's much greater than that. So

they have discovered that because they realized they love bourbon. Or they're just trying bourbon and saying oh you know I like bourbon I'm gonna find bourbon and people on the internet

I don't know we ask we ask a lot of folks who write into us for the first time for the emails we say hey how'd you hear breaking bourbon said honestly I was in a liquor store trying to find more information before I dropped 40 bucks on bottle never heard of you guys before but you know it's good so they probably search the brand he searched the brand or the bottle totally don't know about breaking bourbon they're just searching for bourbon they're trying to get into it they're trying to make sure that their dollars right to us. We get so caught up just $200 bottles are in our bottle. Right The average consumer we you know, you need to remember 3040 bucks a lot of money drop on a bottle of bourbon. Right? So that's what they're looking for. Make sure they're spending their dollars wisely.

Your joke your points really good. Jordan, the people that I talked to in a lot of the presentations that I've been doing now, I don't know they're they're not the bourbon enthusiasts. They don't really don't know anything and I'm having to explain to them when we're doing a bottled and bond tasting what in the world bottled and bond is and they've never had the three that we've got on the tasting. So I think you're right there, there's a lot of new people coming into it. And that's, that's really what the brands are after I think.

I compare it to, like, you know, picking up other hobby. So if, if I'm looking at wine accounts, I may be falling for a complete marketing gimmick, but because I saw something on Instagram, so I want to try a bottle of wine or like, you know, some golf tool that is not going to help my game at all. But that's I don't know the difference. So I try to find the accounts that I think I can trust and that are giving good feedback. And, you know, just going from there and, like, kind of both y'all alluded to I think we really just, you know, don't give enough attention to the fact that the majority of the bourbon market is not guys like us. It's it's not guys that know what what mash bills are made aware or even care about it. You know, it's like, Hey, I got $40 to spend. I don't want to feel dumb. Because I get this bottle home and it tastes terrible. Where do I go? in you know, I think that's that's probably 80% of the market at this point.

Yeah, for so another big thing that makes me happy that this is all happening as well as that, you know, shout out to heaven Hill and a few other ones that that sends you full bottles, right? I mean, that gets you a much better Instagram shot than like a little two ounce sample a little cup that you know, kind of comes in and stuff like that. So I'm always happy to get the full bottles. I think that's fantastic.

I remember loving all bottles because they know I'm just going to like, review it, take a few pictures and then they get the bottle so they think it's the greatest thing ever.

I remember when Kenny used to get shafted, and now he's, he's on he's he's all the way to Mini.

I'm saying that.

Nothing wrong with that.

Absolutely not. Yes, yeah. So

go ahead right.

Do I get to get a point or not? We've had some

remember, I can put you on mute now?

Go ahead. No, my first right. No, I totally agree with what Blake says. And I've talked to you about this Kenny before, like we to get bourbon and expanded, we got to go to fringe audiences, like people that are interested in food, or cigars or wine, or like even cooking with green eggs or, you know, smoking food, you know, as there's just, that's where they got to start allocating their money to because people that are nerdy about something, they're going to be nerdy about bourbon, they're going to dive in to whatever they're interested in. And that's who you want are those people that are passionate about their hobbies. And so if you can get to those fringe audiences that kind of tie into what you got going on.

So the other part of this about looking at, you know, how are they reaching new customers, is we look at label designs and sort of what's happened in the market and on the most recent things that we can think of, of course, is like the new Baker's redesign, right? taking something that was a flagship product, redesigning it, giving it a Basically a face facelift of a label some new bottle new tops and everything like that. Do you all anticipate seeing this as a another trend forward where we can expect more brands to start saying like okay let's let's keep the brand but let's give it a whole new facelift let's break it so you look more younger more energetic anything like that.

Is that kind of part of marketing one on one anyway is is rebranding your image if if sales are hurting a little bit I feel like that's kind of kind of a standard especially in the bourbon world where it's just a label it just changed the label up in it you know people it sells out and fever like I got pre label stuff for sale and people go crazy and you know the fear FOMO sets in

or change the you change the proof or double the price to you know that

I think that's a lot of it too, right? I think it's a good excuse and I'm not justifying this at all, but I think brands are looking for a way to increase price right? One easy thing to do let's relay let's not really what but let's rebrand it right new bottle, different labels. Get a little more upscale 510 15 $20 mortars cost to the price. Right and I think you've been seeing that a lot of brands doing it. Or let's switch from screw top to cork. Let's do little things that make it feel more high end, same bourbon, right but now they're gonna start charging more and somehow people feel it's okay because now seeing the same model with a new increase price they're seeing a new bottle with an increased price.

Yeah, and there's some people in chat that are talking about how wild turkey is going through a yet another one. I think we've we've touched on this before, like, haven't they done like two or three of them in the past like five or six years of like, just suddenly changing things on the wild turkey one to one label?

Well, now it looks like they may switch the bottle up completely based on the last one I saw is that

I mean, I don't know if that's confirmed yet. But they they change everything. They're probably too much. I mean, look at what Rare Breed has six years. And I mean, they, it's it seems pointless. A lot of them are small changes. And then you've got the ones that do the big changes. I think that's where people notice A lot of people aren't going to notice that rare breed has changed four times in the last six years.

Yeah, I think there's a lot of thoughts on this one, but you've seen a lot over the last few years. You know, Weller had a overhaul, 17 9200 overhaul. lizer crack had an overhaul. And now you know, Baker's been the most recent and I would say probably Baker's was the most successful with it, because I can't like I've loved Baker's for a long time. And I don't know why more people didn't drink it. And all of a sudden, like it comes out in the cool bottle and people are like, Oh, man, have you tried Baker's like, this is not a new product was it

was it was not

a single barrel. So that did change. But,


but it's, I mean, go back and taste it against some older bakers. And you'll be like, wow, this is really good. I love the new stuff. But I mean, that's a huge win, I think for being because people now love it. It looks so much better on the show. There's more people buying it people realize how good it is. And all they did was change the label, you know, call it single barrel.

Marketing one on one, right? The wine world taught me how to do labels and we got new bottles and they sell.

Yeah. You know how many? How many screw caps do we have on the market today? As opposed to just you know, five years ago? No, no, not a whole lot. You know it. There's something about that, that value of pulling off a cork instead of unscrew it. You know, even Weller antique, even after the redesign went to a cork instead of the screw cap. So

very old Barton. That's all I can think of. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

And now What's the next one? benchmark benchmarks about to get a

overall that's doing a whole new line

of benchmark bourbon, too. Yeah. There's a whole new line extension.

I mean, Buffalo Trace just moves down the line. Right. Let me

let me assure you we've talked about done in a roundtable been over a year ago, I think that we talked about how they kind of go in the cycle of like finding something and re reinvigorating or reinventing it. You know, like 1792 was a very good example of that in the past a year and a half of maybe even two and a half years now, of what they've done to actually bring out new line extensions, repackaging everything like that, to really uplift the brand from what it had actually been before. So as we kind of continue down this path to and trying to figure out well, what how people are they going to be reaching new consumers and we look at something that we've talked about before and that's celebrities, celebrities getting into whiskey, notably bourbon, you know, there's there's a lot of things in whiskey but you know, this is bourbon pursuit. I think we'll focus on bourbon. And so in the past year, you know, we've had Bob Dylan, there's been Slipknot, Metallica, Matthew McConaughey, and now, Florida, Georgia line and Jason Aldean are now teaming up to create their own. And then also in the past two weeks, I think one that maybe took us all by shock was Terry Bradshaw.

Like Yeah,

I was I was I saw that too. And I was like, wow, I mean, Captain Kirk like I understood that one like, but like Terry Bradshaw like really? That's a new one. Did you watch

the Super Bowl? Pretty sure he was drinking it live during that. During that

broadcast. We'll talk about best advertisement you could. There's freakin terrible tiles everywhere you look at like watch every Steelers game no matter where they are. It's like there's just everywhere. It's the Anima when you buy McDonald's here run.

Yep, exactly. I think you know, a lot of its going to be back to right George Clooney is tres amigos. Right? So if you're another celebrity, you have any influence whatsoever and you have a name recognition. If you realize three guys can pull off a billion dollar brand you're gonna try and get in. Right? I think what people fail to realize or maybe not people, right? I think people realize what celebrities fail to realize is that isn't always the case like lightning. That was a lightning in a bottle type situation like Dan ackwards had Crystal Skull Baka since 2007, right and like people know what that is, but by no means is that a billion dollar brand? Right? So I think everyone's trying to cash in on their fame and do it think they're probably not going to see a huge payout, right, they may get a kick out of seeing their name on a bottle of whiskey on a bottle of alcohol. But if they're looking for a payout like the other folks had good luck. I think Ryan Reynolds is the next track to really take a very Jen super far right. I think he's Yeah,

I think that's a smart move to with the gin route instead of, you know, sure you're targeting a cool market, which I don't know, maybe we're just all wrong. And we're still like, over or under estimating the amount that people care about, like what's actually in the bottle.


now, I mean, I was texting with Oj leamas about this. And he said, Nobody wants to buy my shoes from a guy or basketball shoes from a guy who can't dunk. But it's kind of different in the bourbon world. You know, it's like you know, what is actually dunking in the bourbon world. So if Slipknot comes out with a bourbon or whiskey, whatever they came out with, like, people buy it, I guess I don't know.

I don't they buy it though. I mean, yeah. It's growing

like crazy. There's more

for me of what I want if they're gonna leave my four roses single barrel alone and I can actually find it on the shelf again great, you know sell it out

they'll come back and buy more.

I think I'm a little more indifferent on this one because it's like if that's what what people want to do and that brings more people into the industry and to buy you know hopefully they come in because they want to buy whoever Terry broad shall bourbon and then they're like, Oh, hold on. There's actually people who make this who make a lot of other good products. That's just one more consumer in the door. So

you're speaking as the guy you know, was sealed box here as the guy who already walks into total line and there's people around the corner and you know, you just want to check out and they all want Blanton's and you're like, sorry, you know, just you guys are driving me crazy here. And they they you know everything is impossible to get nowadays from that standpoint. You know, you don't want more people hobby. But I get where you're coming from too because it's from our standpoint of people who love hobby and love to talk about, you know, love bourbon and talk about bourbon. It's good for us, for them to bring more people in.

Yeah, I think there's one thing that I really wish that we were able to see in this world is like, if these celebrities really love whiskey and love bourbon as much as they do, like, I wish there was, like, if they were promoting it themselves, like if they were if they were drinking a bottle of Buffalo Trace or wild turkey or whatever it is, and we got, you know, we saw that more often then we're like, oh, my, like, these guys are really into bourbon. Right? Yeah. And making it versus somebody that like, you know, I don't know, maybe a picture service to like somebody drinking a four roses, and they're like, Hey, now I'm gonna start a brand, right? Like, I just, I just wish there was just something more like that was deep into it. They're like it was able to tell a story that would get people like us excited. Right? And I don't I don't think it really gets people like us excited because it feels it feels bad. Like I feel like we're just so naanum a little bit, but the thing is, is like they're not really trying to reach us per se. Right? And and I wish that there was a little bit more something that appeals to the whiskey geek in this category that says like, oh, like, this is why we want to do it because we had so much enjoyment of doing this and this and this, which, you know, you take this and you look at what Fred has done by interviewing the guys at Slipknot, same thing with Metallica. And actually like getting the story of you know, they're like, basically them and why they started the brand and really like what whiskey means to them. Like, I just don't want this to snowball to the point where every celebrity starting to come out with some type of liquor. I mean, everybody's talking here in the chat. Like I know the rock is getting ready to come out with a type of tequila. And it's it's going to continually growing, you know, it's going to grow more and more. However, I just want to make sure that you know, I it sounds bad. I feel like I'm on a bachelor Bachelorette like hope they're in it for the right reasons.

battlers, which I did have to sacrifice and DVR The Bachelor tonight so y'all are

well, man. No,

but I mean like overall like in, you know, Brian, I'll kind of go to you first like, do you see this is like good or bad for the whiskey world.

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Do you see this as like good or bad for the whiskey world?

I think it's indifferent. I mean, the the people who know what they're doing and the people who who look at look at you guys for reviews there, they're going to be picking the ones that are worth buying. And I can't imagine that a lot of these are worth buying. So I don't see it as affecting me too terribly much.

Anybody else? You guys are awful quiet on this

I feel like I don't know, I gave my opinion of I don't think it's bad to bring more people into the whiskey world. Like, are we pushing it to jump the shark even further? I don't think so, because there's going to be so much whiskey. And, you know, Drake released his own whiskey a few years ago and you know, it's just something that constantly happens if there's money to be made, you're going to have these people who say hey, let's let's throw a big name on a brand you'll be the face of it and we'll handle the back end so I don't think of it as a bad thing you know, if that means that there's more bottles on the shelf when people walk into a total line and maybe they see a name they recognize it they buy it, good for them, but i don't know i don't i don't think see it as something that like kind of interferes with our lane of the bourbon nerd world.

I know any of it is gonna be good. Is what I'm more.

How many how many bottles of actually Bad bourbon Have you had four major distilleries? And I'm talking about like,

stuff you can't drink. Our major dealer is doing rock and roll band releases, though.

I mean, I think they're sourcing through somewhere. I don't think definitely.

Do we ever sure any?

Well, I mean, I mean,

no, I don't think it's any race. But I can tell you right maybe it will maybe some MGP maybe you know, Barton's and

usual suspects. Yeah, for sure. I mean, I mean, and you know, the Terry Bradshaw bourbon, it's all from Ozi Tyler right. And I believe it's gosh, it might be a three or just a four year old or something like that. So that might be one of the first brands that are gonna be coming out of OC Tyler and Brian and AC or they're making some faces but you know gotta gotta get understand about like Ozi Tyler like sometimes it gets a bad rap because the only like people pin Ozi Tyler repair tear up here like that's what that's what people my head one yeah.

Exactly I was a big mistake on their part because they there that Jacob McCall is actually a really good master distiller there and he makes an outstanding product, but they have that black eye on them because of this like Tara peer thing, because it's like, I mean, it's a, everybody thinks it's a gimmick, and nobody's gonna get a fair fair shot. So they're just I think they're actually trying to rebrand and come out with new brands that you know, aren't Ozi Tyler so they can get away from that. But back to the celebrity thing, I think it's good. The more you get it to the, if you will, it's good. If you want bourbon to grow, if you don't want it to grow, then it's bad. The more you can get into common people, it's just the natural progression of any product, the more appealing it is to the mass audience celebrities do that, whether you like it or not. Yeah, that's just that's,

it's I'm interested in a little bit of bourbon history and bourbon law. And so I've got a

great book that they can check out

and really get into it. I'm right there with you guys. I think the more people drinking bourbon, right, whether that's good or bad for people Trying to find bottles it is what it is. But the more people are drinking up, the more money that producers are willing to invest in it right? Big or small, and more. So the more legs and bourbon has to go a long time before there is a, you know, it's a boom and bust cycle. So before there's a bust, and honestly, if they can keep this up, then it's just ingrained in the American culture, right? And then you'll see bourbon out there. Let's be real. You don't want to see a bus like flavored vodka, what, 15 years ago and everyone's drinking flavored vodka 20 years ago. Let me tell you how many of you are walking through the store. Like I think I'll pick up some bubblegum vodka to drink tonight. just doesn't happen, right? If you drink bourbon now and other people see you drinking it for 1015 years have a hold on long enough. That's cultural that's generational. Right? And then we actually have bourbon taking off and just becoming more mainstream, which is fantastic. I mean, I mean, this

is this is a good discussion, because I think you know, as we it, there's a lot of things that are happening in the comments as well. People were saying, you know, like, basically there's Who was it? That was Hank Williams Jr. Our Booker was in a hurry. Williams jr music video with Dreamhouse say that there's I forget I saw something else but basically saying whoever was was was pushing dickhole a lot back in the day as well. And so I think celebrities do have a role in this right as as an advertising mechanism and stuff like that getting into it be I mean, in Mila Kunis has been doing it for a while. And that's but that's just the advertising side of it. I mean, we're talking about actually like having a hand at creating something that is a product, which is completely different, in my opinion, right? Where I think they probably have a lot more skin in the game, they've got their dollars invested into it. And so it becomes something that is a cornerstone for them that they've got to make. They've got to make successful and so if they don't, then it could end up being like Trump aka right who knows right? Where it just is no longer on the shelves or something like that.

But latronnik baka

you're sitting on it. I think it's worth something nowadays. And speaking of worth something now, I guess that kind of leads into a it's, it's always a topic we love and we hate it the second at this at the time, but that is the secondary market.

Nice transition. I know.

I try to find ways to make it fun and interesting without like Ben and myself is like, oh, they'll go people that always talk about the secondary market. But it truly is like one of those things that we're now Gosh, five months, almost six months since the since the kind of smack down if you will, yeah, really had this still exist?

No, I'm kidding.

Well, that's kind of what we're going to go into.

July. July was when the group I was running went down. So it's been over six months.


So there we go. I was

I was thinking it was like sometime like September timeframe or something like that, but it was before then then then we're definitely over six months. So I guess we're going to kind of talk about the current state of the secondary. Me personally, I made I made a prediction on our last of 2019 episodes saying that 2020 was going to be the kind of rebirth of it where a new Facebook groups going to come up this whole thing was just going to fly over like blah blah blah blah, who cares? And so far I've been completely wrong that has not come to fruition it is continuing to groups either be shut down, or there's just new rules and saying like no posting of dollar signs or anything like that, but there has not been a group that has started to break you know, really come up and make a name for itself. at the same exact time bottle spot has suffered a casualty, which was something that I did not see coming which I don't know I kind of took me by surprise. I don't know about you all but right now, I would say I would, I would say the current state of the market is if we're going to go like red yellow green like it's gonna be in the pink area. right it's it's an innocent a no bueno. State still,

you know, it's certainly maybe not life support but close to life support, right? It's nothing's really popped up. I think two things. One, Facebook got really good about shutting down groups where you saw a bunch pop up right after the secondary, the bugs shut down and they just kept smacking down other ones. I think a little bit of Facebook doing better about patrolling things. I think it was a little bit more of people out there saying, well, Now's my chance to report everything right. Little bit, a little bit Facebook heroes going on, we'll call it. But I think it's a loss. I think it's lost the community whether or not I mean, I never bought or sold on the secondary. But what I love doing was just seeing the latest trends, what people were really after, right? I love seeing new consumer to consumer supported caeser to a different bourbon. They just decided to get into the week before, but it really showed what people were after and what brands were becoming hot, what brands were pulling down what was coming and what people were really looking forward to. And that's just gone from just a pure, you know, gamesmanship just a fly on the sidelines watching that's gone and that's a shame. You know, and I think it's also a shame to for everyone who now Bye cases and cases of bourbon they just started get into thinking they flip it easy. Sure. Hope they like drinking it for sure. A lot of parties torn up you

still got all those diamonds? Yeah,

I'm good. I do diamonds.

I don't think the markets really that much. It's still there. It's just more spread out. There's more places there's more rules. Let me win one market goes down another one comes back up. It

it still exists. And you can't stop it. I mean, it's not going to exist is the thing and and it'll, whether it's Facebook or someone finds another platform or whatever it it'll exist. I mean, I wish it to Jordan's point. I wish you could kind of see it from the sidelines, but it's still going to exist in so

I think

it actually has been affected way more. You know, I'm kind of with Kenny where it stopped and slow down way more than I thought it would you know, I thought it would always exist. Didn't it does to an extent, but it definitely took a big hit. You know, I think just the fact that all these massive groups were shut down. I don't know if there's a group that is in the, you know, is their group in the six? Well, not in the six figures in the five figures or, or even 10,000 plus members that hasn't been shut down? Probably not. So, you know, it definitely takes a big hit. Now, it's like, you have all these, you know, people just selling well or 12 or bottles that really shouldn't be sold. nobody's doing that as much anymore because it's not open. It's not as big of market so all in all, I think it was a pretty surprising change and how it all went down. So I still think it's a detriment to the bourbon world because whether you love it or hate it, that was a big part of just watching, you know, what was getting sold, what were the trends, you know, older bottles, and Yeah, it was just kind of fun to see that stuff be sold. You know, I'm kind of with Jordan like I didn't participate, but I liked seeing that what was going on so a little disappointing.

I guess. I'll go ahead Carrie. Sorry.

No, no, no, go ahead and do that.

Okay, okay.

We need our Ryan Come on.

I know we didn't need more Ryan.

I'm talking about the secondary market I'm kind of relieved about it because like, I'm not doing like mega balls and all this crazy like, gambling and stuff like in trying to like, but it's also because it is a bummer like you used to you know, that was my night like scrolling through seeing what people are buying what they're selling what they're going for. I do love the yard sale stuff. Oh my god, it cracks me up like that keeps me entertained. But uh, yeah, I think it's, you know, I'm indifferent about if it's detrimental to bourbon. I mean, it's detrimental to us. But as a I think bourbon is just like we were talking about earlier we forget about the common consumer and they have no idea that's exist. Still. It doesn't affect them. It's still growing. Besides that, but I do think some brands like really valued from the secondary market Buffalo Trace being one of them, I'm not really sure that they would be what they were without it, and I don't and there's brands like old Scout, there's no way they would be anything without the secondary market Vlogbrothers all these MGP brands, nobody would have gave us, you know, two flips about them if there wasn't a secondary market out there. And so, I think it it does hurt us but I think people got in it early enough to where they got educated about brands that they didn't know existed and now it does suck for the people that bought bottles, but I don't know do you think like so? I'm gonna give a shout out to my boy Guthrie at toddies. I know he's listening in but do you think like liquor stores that can sell that stuff now? Does that help them? You know, with pricing or does it hurt pricing?

Well, I think in my opinion, this is this has become a basically a guessing game right? Somebody says, Oh, I got this bottle what's it worth? I mean Blake we had this conversation the other day he came across some some pre pros and he was like, Hey, what is this worth? I were like shit I don't know we don't have a database there's no there's no information and so it's like there's no way that we can really like pin a price down any of this stuff anymore. You know, and thankfully the is the even though I mean I think the bottle blue books still there because it's ran by some of our really really good friends of the show as well. But that might be the only indication of the value of the anything that's even out there in the market anymore. And even at that is still like it's a varied range, right? Like a each Taylor tornadoes anywhere from like 1300 or 2000. Like that's that's an all over the place, in my opinion.

Yeah, but if you look at it's still what's what blows my mind is that if you look at Pappy 15 despite everything that has happened to all the markets, it's established value is still the exact same as it was before all of the markets crashed. hasn't changed. It's still the exact same.

Again, I think that'll be

better too though. That's the one you can talk to anyone who knows nothing about bourbon but they might know they might not even know a bourbon is but they know that Pappy is a whiskey and that they want it. Right. It's just something that people want that they can't have bottom line.

Well, I think that's where I think you have like your your solid, you know, cornerstones of the bourbon bourbon secondary that won't change, you know, antique collections never going to change. mixers are going to change.

You know, where 17 changed a lot.

Well, yeah, no, no, I'm saying that they're, they're always going to have that secondary market. But I think it's the lower ones. You know, it's the Weller, twelves it's the victors 10 years, it's, it's those that will just kind of say, Go away, and maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that just means that more available. Market is more available, so

means you can go to the store and actually find it.

Not unlovable. I

think I still can't find it here.

Well, I think we still have a lot time until that goes into, you know, into Karis point as well, there are still smaller sex where this is happening, right, like just smaller groups and just spread around a little bit more. And you can't be in a mall. And if there's only 500 people in it and you get a good deal on something, then that's what it is. And maybe you drink it, and you hold on to it and you find somebody else you try to sell for the same exact price. I don't know, whatever it is, this is just it's been basically a collapse of the Empire, if you will. And so now you've got all these, these little armies that are trying to I wouldn't say try to take anything over, but they're definitely trying to keep something alive.

And the one point I would agree with Ryan about the part that I think hurts the average everyday person is if you wanted to trade a bottle, you know, used to be easy to kind of figure out values of what you had, and what you wanted and make a very similar kind of trade. You know, you're staying in the hobby, you're not trying to make money from your stuff. You're just trying to trade to try different stuff. And I think from that aspect, the limited secondary market definitely makes it harder to do that to reinvest in your hobby?

So I think that is that is one drawback of it.

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, miss those trades.

Yeah. Well, that's, that's for sure. But so there is also another thing that I kinda want to bring up and this was a an article that Chuck Cowdery actually had written I think, Jordan or Blake, whatever kind of took me on to this as well, because I know I read it. However, you know, this was this was Chuck's sort of summary is that saying that really the the secondary market doesn't matter. There's no objection to it or anything like that. He's just saying that basically, all it's really doing is just helping out a small limited subset of brands. But if you want to just go find larceny or anything else, then it's really not a big deal. And so, really, if you wanted something that you want to find good to drink, there's plenty of stuff on the shelves. But if you want to go ahead and play that game of what it takes to get there, then you know To find these limited bottles, then you get to play that game.

So I I'll chime in cuz I think we might have thrown that out there. I appreciate. I appreciate Chuck having his own viewpoint, right. But what I found ironic about that article is Chuck said, that's a setup for like, you're a moron.

Don't say it, I will.

But here's, here's what I found super ironic about that article. You know, he says it doesn't impact but a small few brands and he lists out a bunch, right? And then he's like, but there's other good bourbon and drinks such as this that you know, they're good weed and Bourbons or stuff like this. And he lists larceny and other things. And you know what? I think that takes into account what Chuck may like, right? He might think is good, but there are truly people out there who've been drinking Blanton's for 20 years or Waller you know, well, there used to be my house bourbon, I would buy a case at a time, right? Just to make cocktails or throw parties and put it out just regular Weller and now I can't find it and that's a shame. Right? And you know what, I liked it that bourbon. I know other people out there like plans They weren't selling or flipping and they just like to drink right? So the people who truly like to drink the brands now the secondary market didn't make a big difference right? And I'm glad that Chuck things you know, there's other Bourbons that might replace it but for some folks they don't get replaced even drinking the same brand for 20 years and it did impact them in a big way. So again, I respect Chuck having that opinion Dr. Ruth unknown now one debt whatsoever, but you know, it's he threw it out there so I'm gonna throw back and say, you know, it's that's a false that's a fallacy.

Well and the other reason he's wrong as he points out Rittenhouse is you know, why would Rittenhouse be $11 a few years ago and why is that gone up? It's because with bourbon all all ships are rising when you when you increase the ceiling on what people will pay for a bourbon that is popular or the people want to get that gives you room to raise the price of the lower ones and that's why we don't have heaven Hill six year bottled and bond anymore. I mean, it just doesn't make sense to have that anymore. When a distillery can make so much money, so much more money on it or so much more money from Rittenhouse it's it all rises. And that's that is a direct relationship to the secondary market.

I was gonna say we do still have it, we just have it at 30 bucks more, right?

Well, that's right. It's there. But it's it's because it's it's you've got secondary market that has increased demand. And it has increased ceiling of what people are now willing to pay. I mean, 10 years ago, I could get seven different Bourbons for about $25 that were fantastic that are now all over $100 on the secondary market and you can't find at least in lieu of on the shelves.

Yeah, speaking of that marketing, heaven Hill, bottle and bond six here. Yeah, got a new label. And now you can't find it on shelves anywhere. That's right.

Man, that's because of the secondary markets a direct relationship. That's where I think it

I think, where we probably we undersell You know, the the vast majority of the market a little bit with with not bringing them into some of the decisions that we're talking about. But with this, I feel like there is a small percentage driving the market and prices and distilleries are looking like that. We have countless examples of them looking at the secondary, and bumping prices up to that. And you're, you're trying to tell me that that doesn't drive a lot of like these rebrand names we're talking about and all this other stuff, like there's no way like, that's exactly what's behind it. Because ultimately, for a lot of us, this is fun. We enjoy it's exciting. But these are businesses they're trying to make the most money they possibly can. So, you know, I, I would have to disagree with Chuck on this one to say, No, you're kind of missing the point that while the the rudder may be a small part of the ship, it's still what steer it.

Right that metaphor down, say that one over and write

it They're very true.

Yeah, so

I'm gonna leave it at that.

No, I think that's those are all really good opinions because I and I tend to agree with the group here that I really wish that it was still around only because of for that sake of either seeing trends and everything like that the other side of it actually going away is I feel like I have a lot more time on my hands I feel like I can scroll through Facebook I I find myself getting into like high end watch groups now instead of like that's on my feed, and then somehow also joined like a hype group. And so there's like all kinds of like shoes that are coming on. I'm not a sneaker I'm not a sneaker person at all, however,

and this is

all kind of I'll bring this up because I find this fascinating, right? Like, we talked about flippers and everything like that, and how they're the scum of the earth and Battleblock in in the shoe world. It's like hey, that's just par for the course man. Yep,

yeah. Ended amazing. A world where it's par for the course. I hate

to promote another podcast on this podcast but go listen to the it's a podcast called business of hype and it's the guy Jeff staples who's like, big into the streetwear world and in the it's produced by hypebeast. But then you start to realize like, oh, like we're not doing anything new. This is in so many other like industries and like small niche communities and like the bourbon secondary market isn't something new. But But yeah, it's, it's crazy. If you look at all that stuff, especially with sneakers, like there's a whole other world there's like stock x which tracks the price of them and all this other stuff and like we're actually a little bit behind in the perfect world. And when you look at some of these other industries, so

so Kenny you looking at like vintage 40s Chuck Taylors or something.

No, no, just these like crazy like I like Yeezys and Please, like, I don't know, like pale pink Jordans that came out I don't really know what they are but it blows my mind where everybody's just like I'll I'll pay 350 for any pair you want in any size. I'm like,

What are you gonna do with the size five and a half of

kale Jordans and

that was money I guess

I guess there's a market for everything but that's that's definitely a world that I don't know much about but hey, it's at least that's it's just it fascinates me that that is one world where you know flipping is just that's just par for the course like that's just the nature of the game. And people are okay with it. And there's there's two guys that are like these guys paid $1,000 for a bottle of bourbon.

Once they opened it, it was worthless.

masses. econ one on one it's supply and demand. You know it's

good. You can't rewear bourbon multiple play. You can resell

shoes. You wear them

well Uh, I think that hit on some good topics tonight. So with that, let's go ahead and we'll we'll wrap it up. So fellas, I want to say thank you again for coming on the show tonight because we had a we had three topics but we spent a good amount of time and kind of hitting a few different things here. So was fantastic to, to kind of kind of look about that and I see a lot of things coming in the chat here. They're talking about like, I came from the sneaker game, you know, like, I used to collect sneakers, so it's it's fun to see that these are these worlds are always kind of coinciding maybe when one thing's hot, you kind of go to gravitate to one thing but before we wrap it up real quick

cuz Yeah, cuz Carrie's not writing anymore. So Carrie, what's your what's your latest bourbon trend? Where are you into since no one's heard from you and forever.

I like drinking. I'm

a fitness guru. Some guy said it looked like a moose. So I'm just gonna go. You know. Life is a is a lot of family right now. It's kids. It's family. It's friends. It's Enjoying bourbon it's I've listened to you guys and your podcasts and check out your websites and all your stuff so honestly I'm just having fun with life right now and when I can I'll write something and I'm on Twitter and Instagram when I can but