181 – Brand Management and Market Data with Larry Kass of Heaven Hill

Larry Kass has done it all at Heaven Hill. Public relations, brand management, legal, and even more behind the scenes rolls over his 20 year career. Larry first made an appearance on the podcast back on episode 167. You’re going to hear about growing some small family run operation managing a few brands turned into hundreds, how the infamous Rittenhouse Rye 21, 23, and 25 year bottling came into existence, the disappearance of Heaven Hill 6yr BIB, and the original partnership with the Kentucky Distillers Association before it was a real thing. This is a  real piece of history and we wish Larry years of relaxation in his retirement.
Show Notes:
  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Bourbon Geek Pricing
  • Fred, tell us a little about Larry
  • Let’s start at the beginning. Before coming into Heaven Hill did you have a fascination of spirits?
  • We’re you doing the job of 45 people back then?
  • Did you ever find a knack for brown and aged goods?
  • Who really stood out for you?
  • What was marketing like for whiskey back in 1998?
  • Talk about the Rittenhouse Rye 21, 23, and 25 years
  • What do you think of the secondary market?
  • Do you all use it as market data?
  • Is that why we saw the end to Heaven Hill 6yr Bottled In Bond?
  • Give us a story about a writer that pissed you off over the years
  • Do you think Heaven Hill has done a poor job at PR over the past few years to whiskey geeks?
  • Who are the leakers?
  • Fred has feelings of remorse about Elijah Craig 12
  • Take us through the days of high aged stuff like Martin Mills 24 year that were part of the export market.
  • As a brand manager, how much influence do you have into the final product?
  • You’re part of the original KDA partnership
  • Can you leave bourbon? What’s the retirement plan?
  • What’s the proudest thing you accomplished in your career?

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