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 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?


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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 forester.com 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?

What do you get if you mix Seattle craft, Texas heritage and Scottish know how that’s to bar spirits to our spirits traces its roots to a ranch in rural Texas run by the founder, Nathan Kaiser his family for six generations. Nathan grew up on the ranch was stories of relatives bootlegging moonshine, and after moving into Seattle, he wanted to keep the family tradition alive and he opened to bar spirits in 2012. They’re very traditional distillery making everything from scratch and each day starts by milling 1000 pounds of grain their entire plant

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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. patreon.com 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 https://otter.ai

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