194 – Going Down the Rabbit Hole with Kaveh Zamanian, Founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery

Starting a new bourbon brand is tough, especially when you are in the backyard of the biggest dogs in the industry. However, Kaveh Zamanian saw a hole in the market where he could bring new mash bills and new experiences to bourbon drinkers. As the founder of Rabbit Hole Distillery, he has faced some criticism but is taking it head on in this episode. We talk about the startup hustle, contract distilling, pricing strategies, their 5 year roadmap and more.

Show Notes:

  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition – https://bourbonpursuit.com/2018/04/12/144-judging-san-francisco-world-spirits-competition-anthony-dias-blue/
  •  “Bourbon & Thoroughbred Infused” Lean Management Training Certification Course from April 22-23, 2019. http://solarity.com/lean
  • Pursuit Spirits on ModernThirst.com. https://modernthirst.com/2019/03/22/pursuit-spirits-video-tasting-with-kenny-of-bourbon-pursuit/
  • The week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Bourbon BBQ potato chips.
  • Let’s start from the beginning. Talk about your introduction to bourbon.
  • When you first met your wife, were you intimidated?
  • What made you want to go down the path of opening a distillery?
  • What did you want to change when you got in the bourbon industry?
  • How did you get the ball rolling?
  • Did everyone think you were crazy?
  • How do you outline expectations to investors?
  • Do you think it is challenging for someone from outside of Kentucky to build a distillery in Kentucky?
  • What was your motivation for building the distillery vs. sourcing?
  • Can you disclose who was contract distilling for you?
  • How did you come up with your recipe?
  • Can you explain the difference between malted grain and a regular grain source?
  • How do you know your mash bill will be good years down the road?
  • Talk about being added to the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
  • Do you think you are beyond being a craft distiller now?
  • Do you want to see TTB define the term small batch?
  • What are you all doing differently that would entice visitors to come check our Rabbit Hole?
  • When people see the name Kaveh Zamanian, do you think the general public has an unfair bias?
  • How hard is it to build a brand or story when you had no connection to the industry until recently?
  • Since you have a psychology background, can you give us a breakdown of the bourbon consumer?
  • Who are your early adopters?
  • How do you deal with negative feedback?
  • Talk about your pricing strategy?
  • How old is most of your whiskey?
  • What keeps you from putting the age statement on the bottle?
  • How do your products stand out in a crowded market?
  • Talk about your relationship with Death & Co.
  • Do you think there is any confusion among whiskey geeks about your product being for cocktails vs. sipping neat?
  • What story do you want consumer to know when they see your product?
  • What are your long term goals for the brand? Any intentions of selling it off?
  • Tell us about your roadmap. What is going to be happening with the brand in 5 years?
  • What can visitors expect when they visit Rabbit Hole?
  • What is your connection with cigars?
  • How did you come up with the name Rabbit Hole?

Transcription:

0:00
Just give me a mic check just so I kind of know what your level is. And sure like what you have for breakfast 123 I was at

0:07
eggs and bacon, nice eggs and bacon. What about you you? Are you fasting? Are you still still fasting when for 12

0:15
I go past it so I’ll get angry towards the end.

0:30
Welcome back. This is Episode 194 of bourbon pursuit. I’m one of your host Kenny Coleman and let’s go through just a little bit of news. Henry McKenna was the rising and shining star once again at the San Francisco world spirits competition that just wrapped up this past week. If you wanna know more about it, go ahead and check out Fred’s blog at Fred minute calm because Fred is a judge there. But if you want to know more about the competition, go check out our past podcast episode 144. It features the features

1:00
chairperson anthony dyess blue that really goes in and talks about what are these metals mean and what you can really expect from it you can get that in our show notes tim middle he was a guest back on episode 88 where he talked about bourbon one on one during our bourbon back to basic series he’s partnering up to bring the first ever bourbon and thoroughbred infused lean management training and certification course it’s kicking off april 22 and 23rd 2019

1:27
it will be hosted by the celebrity group the kicker is there’s only 15 seats available so if business management and lean certifications are sort of your thing go get information and your [email protected] slash lean now you may or may not have heard there’s a little rumor going around that there are no more knob creek private selections that are going to be happening until 2020 we need a little bit more confirmation of the story but so far from our sources is that if you’re on the calendar for a barrel selection and 2019 you’re going to

2:00
Okay, however no new reservations are being made. At this time. I’m going to give a shout out and say thank you to bill and Timothy over modern thirst.com for inviting me over to talk about our private label pursuit series. You can hear more about our vision and goals for this label as well as in depth reviews of episodes five through nine on the video over at modern thirst.com or you can find it linked within our show notes. Starting a new bourbon brand is tough, especially when you’re in the backyard with the biggest dogs in the industry. However, cabeza Manian saw hold the market, we can bring new mash bills and new experiences to bourbon drinkers as the founder of rabbit hole distilling. He’s facing tough criticism, but he’s taking it head on in this episode. We talked about the startup hustle contract distilling pricing strategies, their five year roadmap and a lot more. This podcast is also brought to you advertisement free from

3:00
Rabbit Hole distilling. Now we can’t forget Fred. So here is this week’s above the char.

3:08
I’m Fred Minnick in this is above the char.

3:13
That’s the sound of kettle brand potato chips, bourbon barbecue. I saw this on Instagram the other day, and I thought to myself, I have got to get this. Now, I’m not normally a sucker for all these fast food, barbecue sandwiches. And when you see barbecue bourbon on on some kind of random baloney or you’ve got, you know, whatever. There’s all kinds of stuff out there that’s putting bourbon on the label. I mean, for God’s sakes, there, there’s a gene company, aging denim and former bourbon barrels and they’re putting bourbon on the pants. So you’re seeing it everywhere. But I was really intrigued by these by these potato chips because I love cattle. I mean, this is like my favorite potato chip company. So I had to get a bag

4:00
And I’m going to taste it live here well I guess it’s not live but I want to taste it right here we’ll see what it tastes like

4:08
first of all this bag is not easy to open

4:11
up right here we got to go with those little tear things there you go

4:17
all right here goes

4:19
now they’re not the they’re not rich they’re like basic you know potato chips like a lays

4:26
smells. Smells like a like a barbecue Pringle.

4:31
I kind of had still really nice

4:37
oh man.

4:41
I could eat the entire bag of these.

4:44
You know, there’s just a hint of like the bourbon flavor in there but there’s enough that you can tell. That’s this is actually bourbon. Like you know they they did they tried very hard to have that flavor and there and what a time a lot of times what I find with these with these

5:00
Fast food companies and these snack companies that try to include bourbon in their product, they kind of get the sweet part but they don’t get that little hint of oak and there’s a little hint of open there maybe. Maybe the BBQ kind of helped round that out but I definitely recommend this for some tailgating. It’s quite fantastic and it’s kettle brand potato chips bourbon BBQ.

5:22
Yeah, and I hope all I hope all companies that are trying to include bourbon in their, in their products, they actually try to give some detail to it like in terms of the flavor that make sure that you know, hey, it actually does taste like bourbon. So that’s this week’s above the char. This is going to be a rare when I’m probably not going to do many more potato chip tastings. But hey, you never know if you see some bourbon potato chips out there. Hit me up on Twitter, Instagram, and I’ll be sure to taste them. Until next week. Cheers

5:57
Welcome back to episode of bourbon pursuit the official

6:00
podcast of bourbon Kenny and Ryan here at a downtown location that’s relatively new, it’s immaculate as well when you start walking through and you start seeing the still and you start walking around you see the all the liquid that flows into the pipes when you start walking when he’s touring the facility to so rabbit hole starting to really make a name for themselves here in mobile. Yeah, it’s been kind of cool seeing you know, we’re locals and we saw the the construction side from kind of beginning to now what it is and like you walk into this place and you take a look around I mean, it’s beautiful, like most distillery towards you know, it’s an old decrepit building kind of like with own you know, it’s got on camera Where is covered on a very timely and you’re like, I don’t want to walk through here.

6:45
Okay, but you come in here and it’s like bright, modern, fresh, like really cool. Place and excited, you know, to dive into rabbit hole because not a lot of people you know, know the story, kind of

7:00
Find out what Kaveh is all out. You know, we’re I’m really interested to get that side of it, because we’ve seen it from the outside. But we want to kind of get an inside look at what’s going on here. Because I think they’re doing some exciting things and stuff people will get excited that as well. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, as you said that there’s always this this uncanny bias that’s out there in the bourbon world too. And when people think of a new entrant in the market that everybody immediately as hesitation and I think that’s really what we want to try to do today is trying to dispel some of those myths that people might have about the brand about the whiskey about everything that’s sort of wrapped up into it. And we’re gonna we’re going to really dive in because we’ve we’ve had an opportunity to try some of these products before. And you know, I love the ride sharing finishes is really good as well. And we’re going to dive in not only to that, we’re going to dive into the business, we’re going to dive into, again, some of those biases. So we’re gonna, we’re going to touch on every angle here. There’s nobody more humble than whiskey fans, you know, they’re just really, you know, they’re really accepting and real.

8:00
You know, like, come on in. We’d love to have you tell everybody on Reddit and Facebook. Exactly. So, yeah, with that, you know, do your introduction. Yeah. So today we have copies of mania and he’s the founder and whiskey maker have a rabbit hole distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. So Kaveh, welcome to the show. Thank you guys. It’s a pleasure to be here. Comment. First of all, thank you for getting our memo about wearing gray.

8:23
We’re all we’re all. We all got that. So I mean, it was funny this morning. We showed up here, I look at Ryan, I’m like, God damn it. Like we’re in the same show. We’ve got we’ve got t shirts, multiple polos, and all different colors, and then we show up wearing the same thing. It’s like two concerts this weekend. And so I went through all my festival teasing.

8:43
But anyway, I appreciate that. That’s what happens when you guys do what however many podcasts you? Right, exactly. You’re going to have a match every time. It’s here we are. I mean, it was funny. You say that. It’s Ryan’s like my second wife because well, even my wife says, I think it’s news to

9:00
Now she’s like, I think you talk to him more than he talked to me and I’m like, that’s probably true. I go through the collagen. Yeah, that’s that’s true. It’s it’s a lot more. So you know, copy I kind of want to start at the beginning with you like kind of talk about your introduction of bourbon sort of, you know, really how you you got this bug and how it bit yeah, sure, sure. I think the the credit goes to my wife, my wife, Heather is from Louisville, Kentucky. We met about 16 years ago. And even though I, you know, I

9:31
was familiar somewhat with bourbon, I really didn’t have the depth of knowledge that I did until we started dating. Being a Kentucky girl. She, she really, you know, basically showed me everything there is in terms of her first passion, which was Kentucky and second passion bourbon, started coming down here in Louisville, and really,

9:51
kind of got the bug very early on. I think part of what was really fascinating for me was learning about the history and the tradition of bourbon and Kentucky and

10:00
Particular. I was also really surprised at the time living in Chicago, how few bourbon brands were on the market. Now this is looking back, you know, 1516 years ago, we didn’t have the level of excitement do we do now so that was really the early part of it. And you know,

10:15
being kind of academic and a practitioner my old

10:20
career, I started digging in learning anything I could learn about the history of urban and that was really there the early phase of it realizing what a what an exceptional spirit it is, what a beautiful kind of

10:35
part of Americana if you would, did not a whole lot of people know about and I was really struck by the fact that you know, you go to a bar at the time you have scotch center stage and you got American whiskey, if there is even any flying to the side and it was it was quite shocking, actually. What was that first bottle it was like, all right. This is like scotch midway bourbon. Here. I don’t know have you actually stopped like oh going because I think I read somewhere.

11:00
you are a scotch drinker so if you if you kind of like switch the flip the script i guess you could say on it you know i i don’t drink scotch not even close close to what i used to drink but but i’m experimenting with all kinds of stuff so i’m a big fan of you know all kinds of whiskey be an irish japanese scotch of course and even you get some interesting offerings now out of india as well so you know we got to stay on top of the game as far as palettes flavor profiles and things like that so we’re still drinking but by and large i’m a bourbon drinker now and american whiskey so talk to me about the first time you met your wife was was she sitting there drinking bourbon neat and you’re like oh this is pretty intimidating because i know like if i go back to my youth and i try to find a girl is drinking need i’m like i don’t know if i can handle this one jesus you might be a firecracker she was actually drinking old forester with couple ice cubes and i don’t think i’ve even had old forester back then i think i was i knew about beam makers and which first

12:00
was just kind of out and that was really about it and then old forester was a new kind of intro to me and that was really the beginning of it it was it was a little intimidating but it was also exciting because you know, finding girl that likes whiskey was was awesome it was a really nice kind of back and forth between scotch and bourbon and the end she went out Yeah, well that’s that’s usually how it works in every marriage.

12:26
So what kind of made you want to go down the path of starting a distillery? I mean, it’s it’s not an easy decision to say like oh, yeah, like it’s one thing to be like, Oh, this is cool bourbon, you know, this is fun. It’s one thing to be like I’m gonna take on

12:40
hundred year old plus industry and like think everything I can into it and like, watch out for me. Yeah, you know, it really was a was a consumer approach it first right so I got excited about to learn everything I could I as I said earlier, I was always surprised of how few people now few brands are out. There are few people especially outside of that kind of Kentucky, Tennessee.

13:00
Seat belt know about it. And growing up in California, it was a little bit of deja vu with what I experienced in the early days of Napa and Sonoma. Right. So, Napa Sonoma, you know, came on the scene with the wine industry. And now we know what they what it is. And in those days, that was basically the kind of the association that I had that I thought there’s an opportunity here. And then the other piece of it is that I realized there’s a lot of monotony in terms of the offerings, right. So at the time, you had four or five distilleries, essentially handful of distilleries making 95% of the products out there, if not more, and realize you got basically the same liquid in a different bottle different package. And that was really the the kind of aha moment that I can probably do something that’s unique and stands apart and it’s distinct and, and,

13:52
and it’s also contributing to what’s out there. So when you when you think about that, and you think Well, okay, there’s and it’s true. It’s not

14:00
like 90% maybe it’s founded like 90% of the market now is all the same big guys and they’ve got a lot of the same juice at different groups and different labels but what was it that you really said like okay this is what i want to change like what what was that first idea that you had that said i think this is how i’m going to make my my stake in the game because i’m going to change it doing x y or z what was what was that thought you know it was more of a process then then it kind of an event so it was a series of aha moments it started with with that recognition did you got a lot of monotony i think again having that reference to beer and wine i felt that here’s an opportunity where that i can do something different and digging into the history realized back in the day pre prohibition in particular you had well over 200 300

14:47
distilleries here in kentucky and then just as many different types of recipes of bourbon so that variety really kind of went away through consolidation post prohibition so that was the beginning of saying okay now let’s let’s go

15:00
start playing around with different stuff. And I took a page from the craft beer guys, honestly, I think the fact that they’re started experimenting with different malts and hops and grains and things of that nature was really the beginning of saying, you know, I can probably do something that’s, that’s a little different. Now, the beginning of it was pretty humble. We were just planning on doing a, you know, pot, still a small operation that grew into what it is now, but that’s generally the way it started. Here’s the first call you make when you’re like, All right, I’m gonna start a distillery. Who do you reach out to and you’re like, all right, helped me get down this path, like where did Where do you get that ball rolling? You know, that’s one of the advantages of being unlovable. So, the folks that are really, really friendly in the industry. So one of the first folks that I talked to is a gentleman named Larry ever saw. Larry was the master distiller Pernod Ricard for years he built the wild turkey distillery. He was an MVP and easy of the same vintage and same class with Jim Rutledge and Dave Sherrick. So after I met Larry got an intro

16:00
to Dave and Jim. And,

16:03
and there’s also another gentleman named Richard Wolffe, who was very early on a consultant. And these folks really embraced me took me under their wings. And, you know, we would just go around and talk about bourbon talk about whiskey. And their generosity really was the door that opened up taking me in the direction of Okay, now, not only just started reading some books, but maybe take some classes and go to different distilleries and, and learn what’s the kind of inner part of this operation basically. Wait, yeah. So, you know, talking is one thing, but I think the other thing is, you know, Ryan, you know, Ryan’s a big guy. Big Guy. big guy.

16:38
He’s a big business guy.

16:41
But he’s, you know, he loves business. You have to listen as I love business podcast. And so I guess the the other thing is like when you’re starting to go down this path, how do you get that ball rolling? I mean, is it was it was it finding investors was it sourcing liquid like for you like, what did that look like? Yeah, yeah. So the

17:00
For me, the the first step was to find a distillery that would make my recipes for me because after that initial period of experimentation with, you know, with with these guys learning about it and playing around with different recipes. The question was, which route do I want to go? Do I want to go with the traditional route where a lot of new brands do which is sourcing liquid? Or am I able to find a distillery, they would essentially make my recipes for me, which is the contract distillation route. And this is now you know, seven years ago, when I incorporated the company, it was really hard to find a distillery they would contract is still.

17:33
So I was pretty bullish and determined that I don’t want to source because it kind of went against what I just said earlier as far as having the same liquid. And after a few years of just scouring the state, I was fortunate enough to find it as somebody that would make those recipes for me. So that was really the first step. The initial seed money from a business standpoint was all personal. And once I got the contract in place, got a few family members involved in

18:00
Just very typical of most startups, you got family and friends that are stupid enough to put their money in front

18:06
of family, friends and fools. That’s right. That’s right. Ya know, and I mean, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those guys who believed with believed in me and, and then after that, then we started really kind of getting serious about the scope and the scale of it, and started to having to go out there and raise money for the larger project. One question I always have for founders and entrepreneurs, like, I’m sure it’s probably just like in any business, but talk about dealing with it where people discouraging you to do this or telling you like, this is crazy, like dealing with the nose like, because when you start a business, a lot of people tell you, you’re crazy. And there’s a lot of negativity and like, you can’t do that, you know, there’s a lot of small amount of thinking, how,

18:45
how was that? How did you approach that and how did you push past that to make this reality? Everybody starting with my wife, and everybody I talked to that I’m out of my mind, just candidly, i and i think you know, when you look at it from their vantage point

19:00
Makes a lot of sense, you know, I’m not from the industry side l am I going to go out there and make something work and on top of it, raise the money to do it. But I think the first person I had to really kind of gain her favor and approval was was my spouse without your family, you’re not able to get something like this off the ground. Once she was behind my, in support supporting me, the next step was to go out there and start talking about what the vision is, and what the plan is more and more importantly, I think, probably what helped me get over the hump was these gentlemen that I mentioned as part of my kind of consulting crew, if you would, and being able to get that initial contract distillation to the allowed us to basically go out and say, Look, guys, this is for real. We’re not just kind of dreaming here. And we got a recipe that’s unique and we want to build on that. How do you

19:50
outline expectations to investors because it seems like if you have investors and board they’re always going to put their nose in and be like, we need this x return. When you buy

20:00
This day, we need this. This is the way like how do you outline those expectations and then follow through with them? You know, you know, it’s a challenge, I think you can lay it out as beautifully as possible. But it just as you pointed out reality and what your investors want are two different things. And the landscape changes, especially, especially in the bourbon business. I think part of it is also for me, it was luck, right? The timing is right. I started in 2012. That’s when we incorporated rabbit hole. And it was a time when still there was a lot of ground to cover. And there’s a lot of folks excited about what we’re doing. And they felt that especially a lot of the Kentucky, folks that joined our group felt that they want to be a part of it. There’s something meaningful here and then we got the ball rolling. But even in the last 567 years, the landscapes changed dramatically, right. I mean, you guys know, we have over 3000 distilleries now in the US. So there’s a lot of new brands coming on to competitions, affecting everything.

21:00
As a result, that beautiful Performa that you put together seven years ago is not the same today, do you think it’s easier for someone to outside the state of Kentucky to kind of build a distillery and kind of like, they always talk about Own your yard, you know, Own your your bag turf. And so talk about, like, How difficult is coming into somewhere like global or Kentucky where this is the birthplace or you know, talk about that, for us as an advantage, right? I think I wouldn’t build a distillery anywhere else personally. And the reason being because

21:33
I want to be with the big, big guys. And I want to be essentially in the major league. So for us, Louisville, and Kentucky represents that. With that said, You know, I think there’s a lot of great craft distilleries that have popped up around the country. And they’re doing amazing things. I think for me, the distinction is are you able to make your own liquid and do it in the quality and consistency that you want? And really stand on your own as an authentic brand. The problem that I

22:00
And this is one of the issues that that I see is one of the, I guess, things that we got to watch out for is that a lot of these distilleries are relying on source products, usually from Kentucky, Indiana, or Tennessee. And once they go online with their own liquid, without that expertise that move on Kentucky has to offer as well as the seasonality and all the other things. It’s a question mark how good that liquid is going to be? I mean, was that one of the big reasons why you said I’m going to go and build a distillery because maybe if you knew that you’re going to go down a sourcing path like that was that’s going to run out at some point and the products and the change I mean, I’m not going to name any names but everybody out there that’s very affluent, the bourbon community they know who are you know, they had really good source MTP whiskey, they ran out and now they’re struggling. Yeah. So is that one of the motivating factor behind doing it or is it just because like, just wanted to I wanted to own my own product. It’s a combination of two I wanted to own my own product, but at the same time, I felt

23:00
that consumers are getting wise right we’re not we’re only a google away from the reality of who’s behind the brand and what’s in the bottle and i think if you are trying to build a sustainable brand you have to be true you have to be authentic because the iq level of consumers are a lot higher than it was 10 1520 years ago and it’s just the reality of it so for me the vision was make sure you’re authentic you’re not bullshitting and you really design and build a place that people can come in and see it soup to nuts without any smoke and mirrors and that is going to be the model for sustainable brand you know speaking of the the google away and i don’t know if there’s an nda in place or anything like that but can you disclose the source of where you work contract distilling you know personally i have no problems disclosing that the distillery that we partnered up with they have an issue with it okay i don’t think it takes a whole lot to figure out where we actually distribute our products

24:00
Industry though, like, Why are there only it seems like a distillery would want to know that, hey, my products in that bottle and I help them start just to bring more attention back to them. What Why do you think that is in this into? You know, it’s a good question. I think that’s because kind of the way it’s been historically from me and we’ve had this discussion with those guys before. I’m in that camp. I’m in the camp that you just mentioned, I would be super proud of making that liquid because it’s exceptional liquid. And I would want to shout it off top of the roof top, but for some reason, I think some folks are not it’s still thinking about it in the way the old guards did. And they want to be very protective of that information because back in the day, there was a lot of horse trading right yeah. And you know,

24:40
what we’re doing with rabbit hole is trying to in some ways pierce through that old way of approaching it. There’s anything about bourbon, you know, they really embrace change.

24:51
That’s right up their alley. First thing you think of, yeah, we’re not going to change anything. It’s been 100 years nothing’s gone wrong. Don’t broke

25:00
don’t fix it.

25:02
And so you know, I kind of want to talk about the the juice and liquid itself, right? Because I think there’s there’s some people that might not know it’s like kind of talk about first like how you came up with with your Nashville and your grain recipe and then you know what you’re doing today with either the sourcing of the grains and everything that goes into the product itself. Sure, sure. Being a scotch guy initially, I’ve always been fascinated by with multi grains. Like I said, a big fan of craft beer guys. So started looking at different types of grain bills and mash bills and different types of Malta grains determine that, you know, multi grains are a little bit more expensive, but at the end of the day, they’re really like a newbie new person. What’s the difference between a multi grain and like a regular green scores? Yeah, so basically, multi process is a process where you, essentially it’s depending on who’s doing them all things, slightly different variation, but essentially you trick the grain to start butting essentially, but then you stop that

26:00
growth process. And what it does, it allows a lot more of that enzymatic reaction to do you want in the cooking process and the fermentation process, but also brings out some really interesting flavors. That’s number one. The other thing is that and I’m not an expert in this by any means, but there’s at least a couple of groups here in the country that are doing some phenomenal, interesting experimentation with different types of marketing processes where what they do is they’re bringing forward different types of flavors with different types of Malta grains. So as an example with our for grain bourbon, which was the bourbon that we currently have on the market, it’s 70% corn 10% malted weed Sam percent malted barley, and 10% honey malted barley, now honey malted barley is essentially barley, but again through this proprietary process that these guys use brings out some little bit more sweeter honey like notes if you would, and they have a whole range of other type of Malta grains like chocolate malt and so on and so forth, that we started experimenting with and for me

27:00
that first bourbon we have for recipes of bourbon right now by the way but the one that’s currently on the market was really a nod to my affinity or lot for scotch because it’s 20% malted barley and thought that here’s a personal touch on it but also at the end i wanted to have a little bit more of an approachable bourbon softer that allows some new whiskey consumers to come to the full i’m glad you said the honey thing because i’m a fan of honey nut cheerios like regular cheers can just like get out when the burma goes through the cone kind of

27:34
gets a little drip off of it

27:36
one question i had so when you’re picking your magic pill on like like deciding these are the flavors i want how do you

27:44
i guess how do you determine like because you’re tasting at new make and like how do you know that those are going to translate years down the road do you have someone helping you to determine that are like are you just like this is honestly that’s the risk yeah that’s the risk you don’t know what the heck’s

28:00
going to happen three, four or five years from now. And with that recipe, I remember sitting in front of Larry, and we were just chatting about what I want to do. And he said, Well, you know, you’ve had a couple of weeks thinking about this, what kind of Nashville Do you want to, you know, run first, and I shared with him this idea, and he’s just pause, which was probably the most frightening 30 seconds of my life, because I thought that, you know, this guy’s gonna say this is this is crap. But he came back said, Look, this is this is interesting. Let’s give it a shot. And that was the first run. But honestly, the most scary thing about this proposition was that because we laid down a lot of barrels to three different recipes, we didn’t know how it’s going to come out. And that’s the risk and that’s the gamble. And that’s partly the stupidity because it’s easier to go out there and sorts what you know, rather than not knowing how it’s going to turn out a few years down the road. Sure. And the other thing is, you have also been recently added to the the official Kentucky bourbon trail so kind of talk about what that means to

29:00
To you into the rabbit hole family look it is a huge I go there I know

29:06
Katie a loves their money that’s very true we all know that it’s a huge feather in our cap first and foremost we got an app we got now a seat at the at the board, which means that we are able to contribute and have a conversation with the big players about what’s happening in our state what’s happening in our signature industry and more importantly have have a say in the matter right, which is fantastic for a newcomer to join his stellar team with the with the tradition and heritage is around the table is just surreal. And it has a huge impact for our team here at the distillery because now we’re planning I think we’re going to be hitting somewhere between 20,000 to 22,000 people coming through our distillery this year. That’s huge, not just on the revenue side of it, but more importantly, the opportunity to showcase what we’re doing and hopefully get some advocates in the process is really exciting. Yeah, I mean, you you are going to I mean it’s a chance

30:00
Right. I mean, I don’t know, do you? Do you like to be molded into a quote unquote craft distiller? Do you think that you’re, you’re beyond that now, you know, I love the word craft when it applies to attention to detail. I think whatever you’re building as long as you’re attending to those finer points, that to me is craft With that said, you know, we’re in a category now we’re producing basically 1.2 million proof gallons, that’s approximately 20,000 barrels, right. So, officially speaking, we’re not in that kind of a smaller distillery bucket anymore. But our every bottle is a small batch, right? So we basically harvest about 13 to 15 barrels at a time. And that’s, you know, truly is small batch release. Almost every bottling that we do is small batch. So I like to think that from that standpoint, our attention to detail is still part of that craft movement. But we have aspirations to be PVA. We

31:00
We want to be a national player. We want to be the next big spirit company out of Louisville, Kentucky. Do you want to see TTP actually define the word small batch because even today, uh, Jim Beam light labels can technically be as small as like, you know, what would you want to see that sort of change happen? You know, I think it’s an interesting point I would probably be for that would like to see TTP differentiate better bourbon versus finished bourbon or finished whiskies? I think that the camps out there are probably divided a little bit. I think that we can probably take a page from our colleagues across the pond, you know, the Europeans have been really dog it about provenance and making sure the integrity of whatever spirit it is intact. Now we are at a point where there’s a lot of finished whiskeys are finished Bourbons out there. And to me once you put something in a secondary barrel that’s not new American oak, it’s no longer bourbon. Now, there’s nothing wrong with it because we have a PEX finished bourbon did we’re very proud

32:00
I’m very excited about but I think in order for bourbon to remain bourbon TTP does have to get to a point where there’s a greater clarity between what is bourbon and what is finished. But otherwise, I think consumers will get confused because, you know, ultimately finished bourbon ends up being in this catch all category of distilled spirits specialty, where you can add flavoring you can do all kinds of stuff to it, that is not indicated on the label and the consumers don’t know about it. So you’re not adding any more honey to them. But after it’s done, okay, we don’t get anything, my friend, nothing, nothing’s added. That’s the whole point. Because, you know,

32:38
we take a lot of pride in what we’re doing and making sure everything is essentially as is just simply distilling the grains putting in the barrel and that’s it. No added flavoring, no added coloring, none of those gimmicky stuff. And so, you know, this is an awesome facility. I think I read somewhere like 15 million that was invested to build this is something like that correct? Yeah. Actually, if

33:00
you for the building 15 million if you had the equipment and everything soup to nuts $18 million keeps calling a good number

33:09
yeah there’s there’s a ceiling tile that has been replaced so you know it’s just maintenance but you know the other thing is is if you’re trying to make this you know full blown distillery and event destination what what are you trying to do different that would entice people to come and visit rabbit hole when they are coming to the kentucky bourbon trail yeah well aside from an attractive building from the outside what we’re trying to create as an immersive experience i want folks to come in here first and foremost to get excited about manufacturing and we talk a lot about american manufacturing but manufacturing is not made sexy and why i wanted to make manufacturing sexy so when you come in here the design elements are there to get people excited about what we’re doing here and what’s happening in kentucky as far as the process of making great whiskey and then second of all i want them to have a fully immersive experience so when you go

34:00
When you are literally raised off the manufacturing floor, you have a full sensory experience, smells, sights, sounds, everything. So at the end of it, once you’ve tasted the products, you’ve experienced it you walk away with your head up high. Proud of not just Louisville, not just Kentucky, but really bourbon and American whiskey. I want bourbon to be front and center in every bar in America. I do not want it to see flanked to the side of scotch ever anywhere. Sure. So there’s another maybe it’s a tough question that’s kind of really want to get with this. And this kind of goes you know about you and when people might see the name, you know, Cabazon mania, do you think people in the general public have an unfair bias? Because you’re not a you’re not john smith? You know, you’re i remember correctly Iranian descent. Yep. So kind of like to just kind of like touch on that for us a little bit. Sure. Sure. Yeah, I think personally, I’ve never experienced any bias or prejudice with you.

35:00
is really, you know, it’s a testament to again, the folks in Kentucky and in Louisville. Beyond that, honestly, if there’s any reactions again, I’m not familiar with it. With that said, I think that in some ways ironically, it’s actually in line with the history of bourbon and American whiskey.

35:19
The entire American whiskey is predicated on story of outsiders and the people that are essentially unsung heroes, right? So if you think about Mary Dowling, as an example, Mary Dowling was the first woman who owned a Kentucky bourbon distillery, nobody really talks about Mary nobody knows about or Bernie Brown who was an African American woman and the frontier in Missouri, not only making whiskey was selling whiskey, right? So we’re there is another gentleman, jokey, jokey, Tucker, meaning this is a Japanese American, who ended up in Chicago and was on the forefront of all the stuff that we’re doing in terms of science of distillation, with the impact of yeast on enzymes, and so on, and

36:00
so forth these are all people that you know have been part and parcel of the industry but nobody knows about so for me it’s actually an opportunity to come to the fold and say look you know i’m proud of my heritage i am proud of being an american and more importantly i want to be a part of this movement that just like johnny appleseed we’re going out there spreading the gospel and telling people about what an american spirit really is about yeah do you find it difficult because you don’t have that connection to whiskey except recently you know through your wife like most people starting up in the distiller they have like some family lineage or something where there’s there’s one beam and every way like there’s the beat the beat around here is he got it

36:43
yeah i mean you know look in kentucky you can’t you can’t be from kentucky and not have some kind of a connection to whiskey making right everybody traces their ancestry in one form or another two to whiskey and i think from that standpoint you know do i have a disadvantage

37:00
I don’t know if it’s a disadvantage because I think in a lot of ways, sometimes in any industry coming from an outside perspective, it is an advantage on its own right. So for me as an example, we decided to build it an urban distillery, we decided to build a distillery and design a package, it’s a little bit different, because we wanted to bring a different perspective to the fold With that said, you know, we are building on the shoulders of giants here, the tradition of Kentucky is bar none. And we’re really proud that we’ve been embraced to to be part of this, this group. So with that said, you know,

37:35
it’s it’s something that I think it’s part and parcel of who we are, and I hope people get to know us and, and judges for who we are rather than what their perception is. Sure. So go ahead, right. Well, I was gonna say so you have a psychological background, right? Yeah. So can you talk about our give us a breakdown of your study of the bourbon consumer and the outlaw like what is that

38:00
the mindset of a barber consumer to, you know, analysis of you hear about No, no, I’m not doing it selfish.

38:07
Just for our fans out there? Well, let’s see. I don’t know about the bourbon consumer so much, as much as I think it’s about what we’re doing and what we’re trying to create here. I think this goes back to maybe an earlier point you guys made, I think what is a differentiator for us is that I’ve been mindful of creating a space where we can create new things. But I think as a psychologist, I learned for years, most of the people again came to my office for one reason or another, we’re stuck. You know, as human beings we need to create, it’s all about loving work, loving your family, friends, or finding something you’re passionate about. And if you don’t have that, you fall ill I mean, it’s a real traditional classic psychology kind of theory where we don’t produce something do something you love. you’re prone to falling, falling sick. So my passion

39:00
has been to do something that’s new and original. And I’ve been fortunate enough to have the expertise to create a space where other young, vibrant excited people didn’t want to be part of this if join me so we got a really different approach even to to make an whiskey we do not have a master distiller as an example. We approach it as a collective effort. This is really a lesson I learned from people like Larry and Dave and Jim. Well for master distiller so Master, it will tell you that’s the cockamamie title, right. I mean, Jim would basically say, look, I never put a liquid in a bottle without my entire team having a consensus before it goes on. And I would never even consider not acknowledging the guy did make the grain selection to other folks have been part of the process to maturation. And that to me felt like it’s it’s something that I want to embrace because master distiller and a lot of ways is a is a term that designates an individual hero, and we want to highlight all the heroes in this process, obviously

40:00
It starts with my story. But what’s happened? We have over 200 years of industry experience on our distillation team. These are guys that are all contributing, right and they all deserve kudos. So you’re talking about disruption or people like in the new in any business you have the first it’s kind of like a line or like a they call it the long tail like you had the first people that I’d say the bell curve, you know, you have your early adopters, early.

40:27
Exactly. Any of the people that wait to see okay, what’s going on? So who are your first early adopters who they’ve been for rabbit hole, kind of the two people. My Chief Marketing Officer Michael immortality and Kaveh Talley or head of operations. There are a number one into hires for us. Michael was in Toronto he was at that time just finishing up

40:52
stinted Master Chef Canada, a couple of restaurants there and an entrepreneur and heart himself and

41:00
Call them up, came out here told me I’m bacha crazy for wanting to do this. And a week later he moved out.

41:08
Cameron tally Cameron was a master’s in chemical engineering from U of l was at wild turkey. He actually was on the same team with Larry, you built the turkey distillery and I went to brown Forman for a couple of years. He felt that he wanted to spread his wings and do something different. So when we started designing, developing the distillery joined us to those guys were number one and two, they didn’t really took a chance on me. And without them, we wouldn’t be here for sure. Lot. Yeah, that’s awesome. I was more wanting to know who had been those early adopters, Mars customers like know, is rabbit hole who’s been embraced by Who are you like going after as those early disruptors? You know? Yeah, as far as consumers are concerned, I think that it’s been a combination of, you know, like folks like, on the other side of the bar, right. Dave Kaplan and Alex de from death and co were folks that we talked two years ago.

42:00
Aside from the distillation guys, I wanted to make sure that folks that are on the front lines of essentially pouring and serving this product are behind us. So those guys came in and I wanted to make sure that that community is able to taste our products give us their not of approval, their feedback, whatever. That was really the beginning of it. And you know, there was people that liked it and there’s people that were not too crazy about it. I think we had the kind of the range if you would, our ultimate goal has been to kind of go after some folks that are new to the fold. I think the toughest consumers initially especially being unlovable where folks that you know, we’re kind of source if you would, the people that have identified their brand and they don’t want to, you know, they have a high standard if you would, and it’s really hard for them to embrace the name, a new name, especially a you know, an outsider coming in, do whiskey geeks annoy you or connoisseur

42:54
as somebody new imagine just like you know what, you have a product and you have a

43:00
focused, like you said, and I’m sure it’s a thick skin. Well, you can’t please everyone and you got up. At some point, I’d be like, well, this isn’t this isn’t the product for you. We’re not going after you. So like, I guess talk about dealing with the negative feedback from you know, those connoisseurs who like maybe haven’t given you a fair shot or whatever. Yeah, hundred percent. I think that the earlier when we released we had some kind of, you know, back and forth with some of those folks that were commenting on social media or other other platforms. You know, at the end of the day, just as you said, we knew that we’re in it for the long haul, and that we’re going to have critics. And there’s nothing wrong with that we’re not going to be everything for everybody. What we have to stay focused on is making sure we produce quality and distinct products. And and that’s it and be who we are, I’m not gonna be able to be somebody I’m not and they’re going to either like me or or they’re not. And Either way, it’s okay. For me. As long as you’re drinking bourbon. It’s okay. It’s all good.

44:00
So yeah, kind of dovetail on to that. Let’s talk a little bit about the pricing aspect. Because you know, you look at the economies of scale, that larger distilleries have had the luxury, they’ve got time. They’ve got stock. And you know, this is this is something that we see in a market where people are trying to whether they’re trying to recoup funds of putting up a product that’s either maybe not mass market ready or anything like that kind of talk about your strategy that went into pricing your product, because I think at the lower end, it’s around 45. And then sometimes depending on the country, it could be somewhere around 70. So kind of talk about that. Yeah, the range of the product prices is somewhere in the mid to late 40s. And then for the Sherry cask is in the 70s.

44:47
We did a competitive analysis essentially with other emerging brands and other brands that are kind of in that same vein as we are and that’s where the pricing really came to be. Now add to that the fact that we

45:00
The the grains, the barrels, the process in terms of even putting in the barrel and hundred and 10 proof rather than 125 put into that bottle at 95 proof rather than a lower proof barrels that are essentially not only charged but toasted and chard always would fire rather than gas fired. Those are all elements didn’t went into our overall thinking of where do we position this? Now I’m really proud of with the products that we have out there. And I think that the price point compared to what’s out there is fair and balanced. Now I know that not everybody is going to like that or agree with that. But I think once we tell the story of what goes in the bottle, what goes into liquid what goes into the products, then I think it’s a different proposition. And I think we’ve had more and more folks come and say okay, now it makes sense. Yeah. While you’re placing it over here. Let me show you my P amp L and you’ll you’ll figure it out.

45:54
Like this, like it’s not just some random number thrown out there. That’s right. That’s right. But at least from

46:00
I understand most of the whiskey is around two years old. No, now we are initial release was little bit about two to two and a half years old. And let me tell you a little bit about the thinking behind it because I would have never released it. If I didn’t have particularly Larry’s kind of Thumbs up if you would, because I really value his expertise and input.

46:21
Our liquid given the combination of being distinct, and also the way it tastes, the time we felt that it’s, it’s a good time to release it for a small local market. So initial release was essentially just in Kentucky and Illinois, Illinois, being my hometown of Chicago, and then Kentucky being our hometown here, and then slowly regroup. So now the liquid in the bottle is basically approaching four years old, so about three and a half to four years old on average. And that’s where it is, and we’re by end of these This year, we’re having basically four year old as an average moving forward. I think part of it was, you know, the reality that there’s a little bit of a pragmatism into it. That

47:00
After five six years it’s time to you know if the liquid is good go to market but go about it in a measured way. And part of it was the reality that we felt that as a team that it’s it’s distinct and can stand on its own. And so I guess one of the other things is Believe me, Ryan I we’ve gone down this path we know we know we know that new labels are expensive and you know, if we look at like what peerless has done so peerless started off with a two year right, and then now it’s a three year and a day, they age stated as they keep going, is there something that’s prohibiting you from putting the age statements on the bottle? Well, the age statement is on the back of the label, we don’t put in necessarily on the front, but in the back label, it indicates exactly what how, how old it is. And, you know,

47:41
it’s going to continue as long as you know, we have our products. I think age is something that’s relative. For me, it really depends on who’s making it what’s in the liquid. There’s a lot of variance between between products. And I think one of the things that for us is really significant and that is in the barrels. I did a lot of experiment.

48:00
mentation, looking at those that are gas fired not toasted and barrels that are toasted and chard and wood fire. I can’t tell you and I would love for you guys to experiment with that and see it if you haven’t already, it’s night and day, you know a two three year old toasted and chard barrel with wood fire, the color is an your your listeners are not going to be able to see it. But it’s closer to our gym, as opposed to what we have. So the flavor, the color, the their readiness, if you would as much closer to where we would like it to be. Then, if I was using a different type of barrel and maturation process, do you think that you’re finding some appeal to those whiskey geeks? Those whiskey enthusiasts or what do you think is something that’s an angle that people can really latch on to that they can say, you know what, let’s give this a try. Yeah, let’s go on the journey with you. You know,

48:52
I don’t know if there’s a particular angle other than being able to talk about our story and the story being is essentially

49:01
Trying to take a tougher path to create genuinely a unique product. Right? If you want a high right bourbon or a blend of high right bourbon from a GP all day you can go get it with a lot of different brands. If you want a product that’s truly unique with grains that you’ve never seen before with the combination you’ve never tasted with the type of barrels we’re talking about or type of Merrill Lynch me and so on and so forth. Then this is this is an interesting proposition give it a shot and see what you think. So I also kind of want to touch on your your relationship with with different company or Devin co What do they go? Is it definitely Oh, yeah, go Yeah, I was like, company might be a little too long. But kind of talk about your relationship with them and what they’re bringing to the table for you to you know, this is an overused term, but creative partners was really

49:55
it the risk of being corny. They’ve been solid creative partners for us.

50:00
First was getting in some ways, the approval of people that we really respect in terms of their palates and taste and aspirations within the industry. And then secondarily, the realization that we actually work really well together. Right. So they’ve they came here, and we have had a lot of interesting discussions in sessions about what do we want to do in terms of making sure that more people discover bourbon. So for most consumers cocktail is the first entry point, right, given their age and circumstances, not everybody goes to a sipping experience out of the gate. So we wanted to have the best one of the best cocktail makers out there to really partner up with us to showcase our product. And that was the thinking behind it. That was also the thinking behind making sure that the products go in the bottle at a higher proof in order to make sure that the flavor comes through even if you mix it with other ingredients. So I’m gonna take this on a different angle because it’s kind of funny that you know

51:00
We talked to a lot of master distillers, you talked a lot of brand ambassadors. And they all say you’ve got a tailor to those people that are behind the bar. Because they’re the ones that are pouring your product or the ones that are doing this. They’re selling it for you. Yeah, they are that they’re on the front lines doing this doing this the hard work for you. However, on like, the wiki geek side, they’re like, Okay, well, I’d rather have a product that I can sip neat. So do you think that maybe there was

51:25
there’s some, some confusion or some butting heads and these whiskey geeks and say, like, okay, like, Am I am I more tied to a product that’s really marketing themselves from more of a cocktail industry? Or am I getting a product that I can really like sip whiskey neat? You know,

51:41
for me, honestly, guys, if I think about consumers, be at the whiskey geeks or other folks. I’m on the wrong track. You know, seriously, because I’m going to be subject to the women women have, you know, people, people’s opinion and perceptions, and some of it could be just fad. You know, I think

52:00
in any industry, if you really want to make a mark, you got to be true to what you believe in. And, you know, sometimes it’s a gamble, it might not pay off. But I think that’s kind of the way we’re approaching it. At the end of the day, you know, we feel that the products have to stand on their own. And it’s about celebration for us, right? To me, making whiskey or making spirits really spirits is the best of humanity. So if you look at around the world, every culture, every nation has its own version of a spirit, right? That’s one of the things it’s kind of a binding experience for us. So, you know, you know,

52:34
as long as you’re sipping it as long as you’re enjoying it, as long as you’re consuming it in any shape or form. be adding cocktail or not, that’s to me what’s important. I don’t want to be a snob about saying this is the only way you can drink our bourbon or, or should because, you know, it’s all about bringing people together. And if you’re able to do that and enjoy it again on ice or without ice with whatever mix or no mix. That’s all

53:00
Hey by me sure so I mean you say you don’t care what people think which that you have to have that to be an entrepreneur but what what do you want or the story of the people should they tell themselves when they look at your product and I see it on the bar like what because when you see a brand or some there’s there’s something connected to what do you think that is for you guys? So don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t care about what they think I’m not going to allow

53:26
people’s comments on social media sure to change course Riley Yeah, exactly. But otherwise you’re going 50 different direct hundred percent one day somebody is that this and then 100% it six times a day. That’s right. With that said, I want them to see rabbit hole is synonymous with innovation, quality, and making distinct products that are genuine, that’s what I want. I want them to know us long term as a company and a brand that we’re here to make good good quality spirits, particularly quality whiskey. That’s the main objective.

54:00
So speaking of long term and objectives and business again, you know, when we when we talk when we think about the money that’s being put into distillery, your long term goals and aspirations. Is it is it you’re looking at this as an opportunity for generational sort of continuation? Or is it saying, I mean, don’t get us wrong, like, if if somebody wanted to buy out this podcast? We feel like we were like, all right, so like, right it’s the check. Because a lot of people seen you know, like how Western Kentucky out and they’re enthralled with and investors especially are like, let’s get into bourbon game, build a brand and then let’s exit so you know, cash and so what’s your be hag? What’s your big, hairy, audacious goal? Yeah, you know, if you’re asked me what I want, I’m looking for a multigenerational legacy Brown. That’s what I want. I want this brand to stand long after I’m gone. Now with that said, you know,

54:54
are we going to entertain or talk to strategic partners? I think it’s likely because

55:01
Be it

55:03
on your own or with partners. The reality of sales and distribution in today’s market is that the big guys have learned from the craft beer and the wine movement where they’re not complacent anymore, right? They’re putting a lot of dollars and a lot of support behind it. So it’s tougher for an emerging brand or small brand to get the share of mind of distributor and ultimately the consumers every position placement in that back bar in some ways, you gotta fight for it. It’s a battle, right? And that requires money. So we’ve decided to do something I think unique in this was the original idea when I was kind of in that entrepreneurial business side of it, where we designed a distillery where we have the capacity to be able to do what others did for me in terms of contract distillation, right? It does two things. One, it brings really genuinely people that want to do some interesting different things and I want to kind of give back just like they gave me the opportunity. The other

56:00
thing is that that revenue is going to be really essential for us is essential for us to be able to develop a robust plan so we can make sure rabbit hole can actually be out there and compete with the big brands so i can you know get to my vision of having a long term multi generational brand

56:18
so just those earlier about you know contracts selling the nda would do you make your deal people purchase you are they allowed to explain where the sources from we’re very proud of anybody who wants to talk about what we’re making for them and generally the variance is on what they want you know some folks talk about it some people are want us to talk about it some people don’t but the other way around absolutely i don’t have any problems in any of the folks that we’re making whiskey for to be able to go down a rabbit holes making our whiskey for us right now talk about roadmap a little bit let’s let’s talk about what’s what’s what’s the business going to look like here in five years what’s the what are the products going to look like in five

57:00
years, kind of kind of see, like, give us an idea of what what’s gonna be happening here in your home base as well as what consumers out there can expect to see on the retail shelves. Yeah, so

57:12
the different bourbon recipes that were talking about earlier, one of the things that we’re going to be doing in the coming years is beginning to release different types of bourbon out there. So we have the four grand right now. We have a high right that’s coming out sometime third quarter of this year. So that’s like the next line extension if you would, that we have we are also doing some finished products. But with that said, part of what we’re working on right now is a new packaging architecture because I really want to make sure that there is a distinct difference between our bourbon and rye whiskeys straight bourbon and rye whiskeys with our finished bourbon and finished whiskeys. I don’t want to confuse the consumer so we’re working on a different package. So we can clearly distinguish those types of products and begin to

58:00
Roll out some of these new bourbon recipes in the coming years. We’re also looking at a cask strength release in the fall of 2019 this year and those are kind of the immediate stuff but long term I’m hoping in the next five to 10 years we are helping consumers just as it happened with beer and wine are able to get more and more educated know the difference between let’s say we did bourbon versus high rye versus you know for grain and ask about well what’s in this for grain so on and so forth really elevate even more the level of IQ of whiskey consumers was it would all be under like the rabbit hole name or brand or will there be like different brand names for all the all the Bourbons are going to be unwise are going to be under the rabbit hole brand and and that’s really the premise now we are doing some other experimental stuff with different types of spirits you know that we have a gym did we are finishing in our rye whiskey cask and we are experimenting with some clear liquids as well.

59:00
I think that even though you know, rockers out, right, yeah, I was like fresh ears just perked. Yeah, we’re going the other direction. We didn’t start using vodka. But I think you know, vodka is is is a pretty versatile product. And I think if we can just like the gym, do something unique and put our own fingerprints on it, we’re open to doing that. So that’s kind of in the thinking phase right now as well. Yeah, I mean, I see that as a good connection with you have with with death and co you know, because you, you, you’re now you’re now covering a breadth of different products that can go into the cocktail experience, if you will. And I think in when you get to that point, you know, you’re going to have

59:39
even more age on your whiskey and, and, and people might be gravitating, it’s more, you know, people that are our types of followers that are, they’re used to age statements, they’re used to big bold flavors, that sort of thing. So it’s it’s going to be interesting to sort of see that sort of play out. I mean, absolutely. And is that is that depth and co sort of like you talked about a partnership. I mean, you can see can

1:00:00
You seeing that to not not leave here anytime soon? I don’t see that leaving anytime soon. I think you know, without getting into the details of it, let’s just say that we’re working some interesting projects together. And some exciting news to release hopefully in the in the coming months. And then so kind of like one of the last things I want to give you an opportunity to kind of talk about here is the experience. You know, when people come to the distiller and they see it for the first time.

1:00:26
What do they get expect when they when they walk through these doors? What are they? I know that you see the gift shop, but like beyond that, talk about the cocktail experience upstairs talk about all that different things? Well, the first thing that happens when our guests walk in, they’re greeted with a with a glass of bourbon. You know,

1:00:44
we you don’t wait till the end. You do not have to wait until the

1:00:49
tour and you’re like you’re smelling you’re saying I see and then you’re like, Well, can we try it at some point? No. Okay. Yeah, yeah, you don’t have to wait till the end. You know, the way we’re looking at this is you’re coming

1:01:00
into our home. And just as you greet the guests coming to your home, we’re going to greet you with a glass of bourbon, just a small shot to kind of get the taste buds going, you go through the tour experience, and hopefully kind of take everything and soak it in and see that full transparency and action. And then you land in the overlook. The overlook is essentially literally overlooking the distillation atrium, and it’s all immersed in one room. So you’re sitting there and you can have a very relaxed and kind of leisurely, if you would tasting experience. So we take you through all the products, you get a taste of all four products that we currently have. And then afterwards, we don’t rush you out the door to get you to the gift shop, you can hang out there. This is where the death and co kind of cocktail experience comes in. And we also have a stellar bar manager now who joined us from the aviary and these cocktails up the aviary oh my god right for us. We are so thrilled to have Jordan with us. Can they recreate that old fashioned ball there like if you had that Dave here I have I have and you know, look, we had a dinner

1:02:00
The other night afford course dinner and Jordan just it was a slam dunk. It was unbelievable that concoctions that he had made and this is the kind of stuff Did you expect to be able to experience it rabbit hole? And after the tour sit out there enjoy the view down great views in the river. Yeah, I mean do you look at it as more of like a higher end experience too because I mean it’s not like you’re going to the tasting room it at heaven bucket. Yeah, exactly. I mean, you picture that is more of like an elevated experience. When you come here, I think elevated as a good word. I would also add the consciously we didn’t want an academic experience, right? We didn’t want you to come in and feel like you’re sitting in the classroom and you’re going through these tastings and this is what we want. We wanted you to enjoy yourself and have fun basically, and and not be rushed out the door and you know by your bottle and get out of here. Sounds like your tours are a lot like your parties because rebels run down to throw some awesome parties and events. So wait wait till you see your Derby.

1:03:00
party this year. It’s going to be phenomenal. We are looking at every party don’t come compete with.

1:03:06
We do it on Saturday night. Oh, perfect. So we’re trying to be like the closing party for the derby. So after the race, we should have a spectacular event here. Very cool. And there’s other thing because Ryan’s a huge cigar guy and I know you all have a connection was Camacho who is what’s, what’s your cigar company that you so we are with the Scandinavian tobacco group. They have not canoed a Cohiba. They got a whole bunch of you know, amazing brands are actually the largest cigar company in the world. And they approached us about doing a kind of a barrel finish cigar they have a brand called whiskey row. I don’t even know how the heck they got that name but as part of their their diesel portfolio.

1:03:48
That’s what I was easy. So today’s all whiskey row. And, you know,

1:03:53
it was an amazing partnership. We basically send our barrels to Nicaragua and

1:04:00
The first version was in our bourbon barrels, it was such a huge success that they’ve come back. And now they’re going to wine extension with our PX Sherry finish. And it’s a partnership that we’re hoping to be able to continue. And it’s a way of actually going towards the direction of some of those consumers that like to do the cigar whiskey pairing typically some of the connoisseurs, if you would, that are in that kind of mode of a higher end experience of that sort. And it’s been pretty phenomenal. Yeah, it’s great. Because it’s, it’s good to hear that, that side of the story of the cigars because you can go other distilleries, and they’ve got their cigars that are in the glass tubes, but you there’s no story behind it, you know, and that’s and I think that’s what you really bring to that experience is that there is a story there. Yeah, yeah. No, I think you know that that’s the stuff and I’ll give you guys a teaser on something else that we’re we’re actually working on a project with a scotch distillery, which I’m really excited about. Again, it goes to this kind of long term partnership with other brands. So what we’re working on is it we are

1:05:00
Hands selecting a barrel here in Kentucky. And we’re going to age rabbit hole bourbon minimum of five years in it, then those barrels once their harvest that are sent to Scotland and they’re going to be aging their scotch in it for another five to six years. And you know, it’s all about our collaboration and most importantly, weaving a story together that has been going on for generations, right? The story of how barrels are made here, brand new American oak, we use them and they we ship them to Scotland or Ireland and they use it. So that connectivity is really part and parcel of our effort to elevate American whiskey and be able to get it on everybody’s radar and get them excited about the community. That’s part of the Spirit industry. Absolutely. And I think I mean, I think that’s going to wrap it up for this because this was this was an amazing opportunity to get more about you about the business about the products about cigars, like I mean, we kind of party, the parties. I mean, we hit on everything anyway. Yeah, I hope

1:05:58
what I came away with today is

1:06:00
Like, I have a huge amount of respect for entrepreneurs and people who take risk because it’s like, like you said, it’s insane. Like it doesn’t make sense to a rational person. And so like, as I sit here and talk with you, I can see like, the passion and like the wire and all this that I’ve been through myself with, like starting, and you’re on a much bigger scale. So I have like, with the utmost respect for what you’re doing, and I hope that this story and this interview will kind of help listeners be able to connect that to when they see a bottle of rabbit hole that they just don’t say, Oh, that’s the new player that’s trying to capitalize off the mark if they see that entrepreneur, the hustle, the grind, trying to get on that bar. And I hope that people because I can see it in you right now. And so it’s been a pleasure guys. I thoroughly appreciate I appreciate you guys coming in giving us a chance to talk about what’s really behind the bottle and

1:06:53
giving your audience a glimpse of what’s happening inside our distillery and I hope that it’s an opportunity for them to get to know us

1:07:00
A little bit better. You know,

1:07:02
there you go on the rabbit hole. That’s right jump on the train. No, actually we didn’t. That’s one thing we didn’t talk about the name rabbit hole, talk about working from real quick before we close it out goes back to my wife. She kept saying, I want to take the family down the rabbit hole with my cockamamie idea. It took a good year to, you know, persuader to do this. So, you know,

1:07:22
but the name goes to her and you know, at the end of it also is that I think about it like the spirit of Alice right Alice was sitting there, and how many of us would chase a crazy looking rabbit down the hole? You know, you gotta say a crazy woman. I was like, I don’t know I’ve chased million women.

1:07:39
But that’s an entrepreneurial spirit. You got to go after it you go after your dream and we hope that in some ways, rabbit hole is also source of inspiration for other people to get. Find out what they want to do and go after it. You know, just put their back behind it. Sure. Well, you know, speaking the name I’m going to look forward to maybe here in 10 years will share glass of old rabbit hole or something like that when it’s when

1:08:00
When it’s already very old are you very very old.

1:08:04
So Kaveh, I want to say thank you again for coming on the show today. I also want to give an opportunity for people to if you can find rabbit hole on pretty much all the social social media channels at rabbit hole but kind of give people an idea of where you are located in downtown Louisville when they want to come in, see the experience and visit the distillery as well. Yeah, 711 East Jefferson and Louisville, Kentucky we can also you can also walk market as well. We have an entrance both on the back through the back alley on the market side but our main entrance is 711 East Jefferson. Yeah. So make sure you’re visiting here when you go and visit everywhere else around mobile or touring around because it’s an it’s an oppressive facility and I think perfectly situated and you know, everything around downtown mobile. Yeah, it’s going to be a different experience. And you’re going to see going to any other places that are downtown too. So like I said, it’s you’ve got that modern kind of chic feel to it versus versus some of the things that are a little more industrial. Exactly. So

1:09:00
That’s really good. So Kaveh, I want to say thank you again for coming on the show today. And make sure you follow rabbit hole on all the social media channels. Make sure you follow us bourbon pursuit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And if you like what you hear, try to support us as well. But with that, I want to say Ryan, Kobe, thank you again for joining us today. And we’ll see everybody next week. Thank you guys.

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