191 – Blending Your Way to a Brand with Trey and Chet Zoeller of Jefferson’s Bourbon


Trey Zoeller makes his return and we are also joined by his father, Chet Zoeller. We go back in time, before Jefferson’s Bourbon was established, to see how the Co-Founders sourced whiskey. We look at the current landscape to see if they feel pressure as sourcing becomes much harder when distilleries want to hang on to current stocks and people with deeper pockets enter the industry. We delve into Chet’s past by talking about prohibition era whiskey and ask if he thinks Jefferson’s Ocean is a gimmick. Trey and Chet provide knowledge behind growing a business and making pivots to find new opportunities.

Show Notes:

  • Join Bourbon Pursuit on March 16th at The Louisville Bourbon Society meeting – http://www.thebourbonsociety.org/
  • The week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about getting caught up in the moment.
  • Talk about growing up around bourbon.
  • What made you think getting into bourbon was going to work?
  • Does 25 year old Irish Whiskey take on as much oak as bourbon in the US?
  • How did you go about sourcing barrels?
  • Chet, talk about your books and how you are a historian.
  • Did you think Jefferson’s would be as successful as it is today?
  • What roadblocks did you hit?
  • Did you feel like you were pricing it too high at first?
  • What’s the next big hurdle for bourbon to take over scotch?
  • Are many brands underselling themselves today?
  • What flavor profile were you aiming for when you started Jefferson’s?
  • Did you start off selling in Kentucky only?
  • Talk about the first blending experience.
  • How did you name Old Iron Skillet?
  • Do you have any tips on blending?
  • If you tap into a barrel that isn’t good, how can you know it will be better in a few years?
  • Tell us about all the moving parts of sourcing whiskey.
  • Do you have a turf war problem when sourcing?
  • What did you think of Trey’s Ocean experiment. Was it a gimmick?
  • Tell us about the double barrel and twin oak.
  • Do you think there is an opportunity for line extensions?
  • How did the New Orleans experiment turn out?
  • Talk about your pet sharks.

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