153 – Risking It All on Barrel Finishes with Wes Henderson of Angel’s Envy

Wes Henderson ran with his father’s idea of doing port barrel finished bourbon. He weathered the storm of critics and let the product carve a new path where barrel finishes are now commonplace. It caught the eye of Bacardi and is continuing to grow with their own distillery that’s now up and running. We talk about brand loyalty, social media, acquisitions, and business models when it comes to bourbon and spirits.

Show Notes:

  • Wes, you were back on Episode 006 which was back in March of 2015. I mean that was a long time ago! But for all those who just recently joined, lets give a quick recap of who you are, you father, the origins of Angel’s Envy, etc.
  • Also, why the port finish?
  • Barrel finishes are taking off, do you think you’re delivering a better product than just standard bourbon?
  • You know last time we talked, you were talking about trying a sherry finished cask. How has that experiment progressed?
  • One of the great things I see consistently out of you is how you connect with the people who drink Angel’s Envy on social media. You respond back to almost every angels envy hashtag thanking the consumer. How does that effect brand loyalty?
  • How are you connecting to a wide demographic to bourbon drinkers?
  • The last time we saw each other was at Bourbon and Beyond and I thought this can’t be real. When did people in bourbon started getting treated like celebrities. I was there with you hanging out on stage with the bands as they were playing and it was a good time.
  • I know I’ve seen you rubbing shoulders with a lot of Hollywood elite now too. I think you’re becoming secret best friends with actress and country music singer Laura Bell Buddy.
  • So the last time we talked it was the same exact week Bacardi had announced the take over of Angel’s Envy. How has that been going?
  • Was the Bacardi acquisition a big jump in capital that was needed?
  • Then why a Distillery if no debt? What was wrong with the sourcing business model?
  • You talked about tremendous upside building in Louisville but where’s the risk?
  • As the innovation officer, how are you getting your brand into the eyes of more consumers every day?
  • Do you think the acquisition train will be coming full steam as bourbon begins to rise?

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