What does it take to build a bourbon brand from the ground up? In this podcast, you get to hear our story of building Pursuit Spirits. We discuss how we source barrels, design packaging, and navigate the law. Fred interviews Ryan and Kenny on motivation, risks, and how to secure your future with contract distillation.
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about Rum.
- How did you all meet?
- How did you all decide to start the podcast?
- Talk about starting your own brand.
- How did you finance the project?
- Who came up with the idea to call the releases episodes?
- After creating this brand, do you have more appreciation for distillers being less transparent?
- What was the most annoying thing about starting the brand?
- Do you ever get nervous that your model might come crashing down?
- How have you been able to meet the demand of your audience?
- Has launching the brand helped you understand the distillers more?
- How much time went into the packaging?
- Talk about the cork.
- Why is there so much variance in TN barrels?
- How have you reacted to negative criticism?
- What distilleries have you partnered with?
- Do all of the episodes sell out?
- Any thoughts about doing a batching process?
- Would you consider outside investment?
- Any plans for contracting distilling?
- How do you not oversaturate the promotion of Pursuit Series?
- Favorite episode?
- What distillery would you want to partner with if you could?
- If you had to pick between Bourbon Pursuit and Pursuit Series, which would you pick?
- If you could buy all the bourbon you wanted from OZ Tyler, would you?
- Where would you want to spend marketing dollars?
Support this Podcast on Patreon
When we can put it into a single bear offering a cash ranked like, this is what we’ve tried. Like, I guarantee you, you’re gonna love this because we’re not going to put it sound like a men’s wearhouse commercial. But if it did I love the way you look.
This is Episode 255 of bourbon pursuit. I’m one of your host Kenny, and I hope you’ve had an enjoyable week in this podcast finds you well. So let’s get on to some bourbon news. We missed the deadline for putting this in the podcast last week. So unless you’ve been staying away from social media, then you probably already know about the new Weller single barrel orange label that will be coming to market soon. The new Weller will be bottled at 97 proof which is a middle point between the traditional Green Label special reserve at 90 and the Red Label antique at 107 will also have a suggested retail price of $50
You can also check out Fred Minix YouTube channel where he was the first person to review it. So make sure you go subscribe and check that out. There’s also a new whiskey coming to market. It’s a Tennessee whiskey, and it combines golf, Marion eaves and the Mannings. It’s sweetens Cove. The investors behind it have some major name power, including the likes, of course, Peyton Manning, tennis legend Andy Roddick, sports caster gymnasts, singer songwriter drew Holcomb, among others. The story behind sweetens Cove is that it started somewhat off with like an off the grid, nine hole golf course at the end of a gravel road in Tennessee. It was described by some because of its breathtaking views as doffs Field of Dreams. So a group of friends, including some of the previously ones mentioned, bought sweetens Cove back in 2019. With no clubhouse, no plumbing, or really anything else to offer. It has a tradition of a celebratory shot of whiskey for first timers on the first tee. This will be a 13 year old Tennessee bourbon with multiple batches that have been blended by Marion Eve’s will continue
Around 14,000 bottles and have an MSRP of around $200.
In distillery news, the governor of Kentucky has said that distilleries can reopen for visitors starting on June 8. But please make sure that you put in your phone calls to any distilleries that you plan on visiting because it’s up to their discretion on how they’re going to reopen. So please make sure that you do that before making any plans to go to visit any.
Now for today’s podcast, many folks have asked us before, what does it take to actually start a bourbon brand. And today, you get to hear our story. We switch things up a little bit. And Fred interviews us on the brand, how we got started our process for selecting barrels for pursuit series and what our future plans entail. We can’t say thank you enough to everyone out there who has purchased that bottle of pursuit series and been a steward of the brand because of you are able to help continue and grow this into something even more amazing down the line. We’ve even got more plans to release something awesome in the fourth quarter of this year. So
Tune for more details. We’ve got three barrels that are available today on seal box comm along with less than 65 bottles remaining across specs in the Dallas and Texas and Fort Worth and Austin area so make sure you can go and get all the details on pursuit spirits.com because we have one barrel that is in the Texas market. And if you got a friend or a relative that found bourbon is something that they enjoy while at guarantee, make sure you tell them about the podcast help spread the good word of bourbon and Joe from barrel bourbon wants you to know that it’s gotten a whole lot easier to get their unique cash drinks whiskies from around the world, including their rums, malt, and many others. Just visit barrel bourbon calm and click the Buy Now button today. You can get bourbon to your door. Alright, enjoy today’s episode. Here’s Fred minich with above the char
I’m Fred MiniK. And this is above the chart. Whoo. It’s becoming a little warmer. It’s coming soon.
summertime. I’m seeing the blooms the flowers. Oh, the sun’s out more and maybe you can get a little bit of tan I’m grilling every night. It’s just Oh, it’s so exciting. I can’t wait to hang out. Oh wait, yeah, there’s that whole damn pandemic thing, man, but you know what the other thing that summertime does for me, rum cocktails. Rum, cocktails rum punches. I’m constantly experimenting with different rums Listen, I know bourbon bourbon, bourbon bourbon. We talk about bourbon all the time is bourbon pursuit. But ROM is my you know it’s my it’s my second love all the spirits I love rum so much and I it is so much with fruits. So listen, everybody I’m just telling you right now, get on the rum kick this summer and let’s start making some rum punches together. Go get go get go to the liquor store or get online at drizzly or go wherever it is you shop right now in the middle of this pandemic, and look for the different rooms. Okay, here
a shopping list or these are the rums that I’m telling you right now will make you excited as a bourbon fan. Total wine has a brand that’s called a doorless. d’Orleans is made only for, for total wine in the United States. It’s made by Foursquare, which in my opinion is the best distillery in all of ROM it’s in Barbados. And that ROM d’Orleans whether it’s the 12 year old or it’s the basic one, it is beautiful. Start out making cocktails with that or drink it neat. Go over to Jamaica, get a little Appleton get a little bit that Jamaican funk on up in there and use that for punches. So get you some orange juice, get some limes and lemons and just squeeze them all in together and throw in some, some sugar and maybe like a look sardo stir that thing up and you got yourself punch, head on over to America and get a little bit of privateer out of Boston, the Boston area. That privateer is absolutely fantastic. Now the three thing that all three of these
rums have in common. They don’t add sugar. That’s right. A lot of rums actually add sugar after they have
dumped in so they’ll add up to like 50 milligrams per liter in sugar. Now a lot of people like that a lot of people like that, but hey, I’m a straight bourbon guy. I love my bourbon neat. I love it with just a piece of ice sometimes. And if you are like me, then you probably gonna want something that isn’t adulterated with a sweetness, and so privateer Appleton and Foursquare or door Lee’s made by Foursquare, take a look at those three things and get back to me at Fred MiniK on whichever social media platform you like. And for a moment, let’s talk some rum because it’s summertime. And that’s this week’s above the char. Hey, if you have an idea for above the char hit me up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook And oh, by the way, I got a YouTube channel. Go check it out. We have a membership area where there’s a lot of exclusive content
Until next week, cheers.
Welcome back to bourbon pursuit. This is going to be a fun episode in which we discuss the pursuit series something that I am not a part of. But Kenny and Ryan of bourbon pursuit are so I get to turn the tables on them a little bit and ask them some questions about how they got where they are. And I kind of want to start this off, gentlemen. Oh, no, I’m sweating.
Well, given given what you told us told me off air you should be. Okay. Yeah. Well, we’ll hit me up on on social media. I’ll tell you what, read what this is really about later, feed you all the dirty secrets and that’s
got another nod. So Alex at the party stories this this episode is about. This is about the pursuit series in the building of it. But of course, you cannot talk about the whiskey that you all own together without talking about this podcast. So I want to go over
From the very beginning, how did you to actually meet your need? Yeah, you know, it’s like we’re awkward school, Utah.
So, I had been listening to podcasts, with my current business, my real paying business. I’d listen to podcasts and in my truck a lot and at the time, I was going to start a lawn care business. Well, I’ve quickly learned that there’s not going to be many listeners or follow on your podcast. I don’t think we’d have a Patreon community. Yeah, donate. I’ll send you some fertilizer or something. I don’t know. But uh, anywho I was really into bourbon. And my brother in law kind of said, Why don’t you do a podcast about bourbon? And because you know, so many people you’re from Bardstown, as always say, and so
I was like, Yeah, that’d be cool. But I didn’t know how to execute it. Kenny and I had become friends. How did you guys become friends? What where was that moment of where you all became friends because we’re in target and we were walking
past the pop tart aisle we locked eyes and I don’t remember that now that now our y’s are mutual Kenny. Is that how you wanted the meeting to go? Or I mean, you know, you ever you ever look back and you think like, I wish I could do something over? You know, that might be one of those times but yeah, exactly. Yeah, so our wives were mutual friends and I had a derby party every year. And Kenny would come and bring his mid juillet mix and bring several different bottles. And so we kind of started and he actually liked electronic dance music, and I did too. And so we kind of had it similar, similar interest. And so I knew what he did it and his job was a lot of tech and presentations public speaking, which I had no experience in. Still, to this day, I kind of dread to getting in front of microphone people. But uh, so I needed somebody to call Kenny or I emailed him and said, Hey, what do you think about this? And he’s like, Yeah, let’s do it. But he was like, we gotta need to come come from this angle. And so we met in my basement for the first time.
One and we had a laptop and a USB microphone and we just kind of sat around and talked about bourbon and whatnot. And while we were doing this and then I think we recorded it and then we listened to her like we got delete that That’s terrible. This was bad. And then for really, and then I still have that recording. I don’t know. Gosh, I might actually on my old I would love to my old mic. Actually I put that out for like a bond like GarageBand I need to look that up. That’s a good that would be cool to me on fun episode to do. Yeah, it’s just one of those things where, you know, when you start anything, you fumble your way through it. Yeah. And, you know, we’ve we’ve both gotten much better at the podcast execution, interviewing style, everything throughout the years. It’s just been a repetition and you just, you know, you start working at something and you you get better at it as the years go along. Yeah, it’s it’s kind of a testament to like the theory that like, you know, the the
10,000 hour rule or something like that, if you want to do something like just because you suck at it first, like, you can become good, just got to do it. So don’t let like, perfection stop you from doing something because we’ve had a lot of imperfections along the way. And it’s taken us a long journey to get here, but it’s been a cool journey and how when, when did it start getting serious for you in the podcasting space? I would say it, I mean, I’ll kind of I’ll kind of take that one a little bit, you know, for us it was it was one of those things where, you know, Ryan had he’s a very good idea person, he’s very driven by it and he’s, he’s very creative when it comes to it. And then it comes to the execution stage and making sure that it stays consistent and it stays on schedule and it stays like that. And so there was there was kind of like a turning within the responsibilities where you know, he really wanted to run with this and go with it and I said, Sure, like all you know, I’ve got I’ve got my own work stuff going on like I’m okay like all kind of just be the the extra voice of reason if you need it and he was taking care of all the editing and stuff like that.
And then, you know, it got to the point where, you know, I kind of took over a little bit the editing, making sure that we had, you know, the right kind of sound quality and all this other kind of stuff over the years. And there was a point as well where, you know, during that process, you know, when I was picking up and doing a lot of this and putting in tons and tons of hours a week into it. I mean, most people don’t understand that, what goes into a one hour podcast, there’s at least 20 to 40, even sometimes 60 hours of work that just goes into that one hour. Correct. And so when you when you get to that point, you’re spending that much time plus you’ve got your other 40 hours a week day job, you get burnout pretty quickly. And so it got to the point where we I just said, you know, like we’re gonna let it lapse a little bit and we let it lapse, and then all of a sudden, you had people on Twitter saying like, Hey, guys, when’s the new episode gonna come out? Yeah, I’m like, oh, people listen, yeah, what year was that? I mean, this was probably 2016 timeframe, had been somewhere during that timeframe. And then there was a
So I think it was like December of like 2016 as well, actually, it’s probably 2015 timeframe when that tweets happened. And then it was 2016 when it was a lot of the work that was really going into it. And I was feeling the burnout. I mean, I was really feeling the burnout from it. And I just said, He’s like, I don’t really know if their ROI is here. Like, I’ll have to go ahead and reevaluate, like, what is this really gonna be worth the time? You know, and I put that tweet out there, there was a lot of good positive responses, Mark Gillespie from whiskey cast saying, like, hey, like, I know, a lot of stuff goes into it. Like he said, Keep at it and stuff like that, too. So even even like competitors in the space were like saying, you know, like, the water a lot of just good, you know, patting on the back and stuff like that. And then there was somebody else that said, Hey, like, why don’t you all start a Patreon I’d be happy to support you. And I was like, What the hell’s Patreon? And so you go in, you start reading about it, and you’re like, hell let’s, let’s run with it. And then from there, it’s just been that’s been kind of the the growth and medium that we’ve needed to help support and sustain this place.
podcast because it’s it’s one of those things that you know, this is this is a new medium, it’s hard to find advertisers in this new medium. Because there’s a lot of companies that I mean, mindset it before it’s like it’s whiskey, it’s distillation, you haven’t changed anything in 200 years, probably not gonna change a whole lot of things. And it comes to the marketing aspect of it as well. Right? So it’s one of those things that we’re waiting for them to kind of catch up with it. So it’s, you know, we go and we try to sell we try to talk these people but you know, a lot of times that they’d rather buy a billboard or a bus stop, right, whatever it for you magazine ads, yes. And they love magazine ads still, that’s just great. But I mean, like I said, this is just one of those things that we saw Patreon as really our catalyst to really support and grow the show. And that’s really what it’s been now for the past few years. And it’s awesome, too, because we, I mean, we have a great partner with barrel but they’ve been great and, you know, let us be us but we don’t have to like answer, you know, we can kind of be us. We’re not like on anyone’s agenda or anything. So we could just be true to ourselves and we do what the community wants. We really rely on them to kind of give us ideas and
What the what interests them and feedback from them. It’s been great having that support and you know, ideas bouncing off of them and stuff. So it’s, and I remember when you all reached out to me for an interview,
there were a couple different times you all reach out to me, I helped you get into the legend series. And then when it when you all reached out to me to be an interview about about bourbon. I remember, at the time, there were so many podcasts coming on and you know, there are people trying to do stuff. And you guys kind of had a different feel, you know, and it was just, it was like, he was like, I could be friends with these guys. You know, he, even though I think that was, that’s the one of the interviews was where the marzipan thing came from. It’s like, yeah, you were like what it was.
I’d never heard of that. I’m sorry. We never had marzipan and gardening. But it was it was very clear early on that there was some spark there and that you guys were
trying to do something in this space in a in a medium that I think was
you know, filled with people who really couldn’t, you know, contribute to to the community in some way and I you guys came out and you did it and and the one thing that you know obviously I came on last year I guess a year and a half ago now, you know I came on because I respected what you guys built in and then when you all came out with with your own bourbon that that threw me off so I was like I wasn’t expecting that as like that’s the kind of move that you don’t see media people make. Yeah, I remember off to the result too because I remember we were kind of in like negotiations of
our partnership or whatnot and the ironing out the details and we were at like an old forest or event I think it was like the President’s choice or whatever. But we had just kind of like confirmed that we were going to start this brand and I was like what is friggin and think of this because these are
reviewer you know, is this gonna throw the deal off? we you know, we set you aside and you’re like, we need to talk about this and you went about the bourbon but about our deal and then we told you we’re like we’re starting our own bourbon brand. You know, you don’t we don’t want to be involved. We know it will let you to be
out in the sense that we don’t want you involved but we don’t want to, you know, implicated Okay, anything for your reviews and whatnot. So, and you’re like, Yeah, I don’t care if it’s totally fine. I was like, Whoa, monkey off my back. Yeah, that was gonna be a total deal breaker. But anyways, well, it’s there have been some, some history there of like,
whiskey, whiskey media. You know, starting a brand there. Whiskey magazine actually had had its own label for a bit in Scotland. So it’s not unprecedented. It’s just not popular. You know, people tend to to frown upon it. Did you all have any concerns that you know, you would, you would piss off like, you know, the distiller.
That now you’re competing with them. Jimmy concerns like that when you guys were thinking about this? No, not really. I mean, when we, when we look at what we’re trying to build, and what we’re trying to do, it’s we’re boutique, I mean, we are not going to be kind of kind of person that we’re not going to have to to $20 million to dump into a distillery and build one. We’re not gonna be one of those people that are trying I mean, it’d be amazing to get bought out by somebody that’s not on the radar, it’s probably never gonna happen. Because we’re not at we’re not that kind of level, right? We’re not at a level where we’re sourcing hundreds and hundreds of barrels and then creating these crazy single barrel programs and then aging stuff and then trying to release to mass market. Like that’s really not what we’re trying to do. Yeah. And not only that is you know, we took this as an opportunity to kind of divert it in a in two different ways. So first and foremost, yes, we sourced like, that was the kind of the way that it was all built off of. But when we started this, even to how it all even began was the idea that, you know, we talked about a brand on the podcast, and then a few weeks later, I get this phone call from a guy
He’s like, Hey, I helped build that brand. Would you be interested in doing your own? Like, never, never even crossed our mind, right? The time we were doing, we just kind of start doing single barrels for the Patreon community. We’re done. And then they were selling out really fast. And so I was just thrilled doing like single barrels for from other distilleries. And I was totally content with that, you know, at the time. And so like, yeah, our broker called us and he got the idea. And Kenny called me and he was like, Are you interested? And I was like, not really.
You know, and then he’s like, Okay, and then like, two weeks later passed, and he’s like, well, I’m going to meet that guy that has let you know this. And I was like, Alright, I guess I’ll go you know, it’s like, Monday night, how we met it like hell or high water and I never been there like, Oh, go check it out. Go get a cocktail. Yeah. And so we we sat with them, and they were, to our surprise, they were like, I thought they were gonna be like two older guys, like, you know, just kind of real sharp, like, businessman like, you know, kind of like
Don’t know, there’s intimidating for some, but like we met them, they’re really cool. They like had really great ideas. And the whiskey they had was really good. And I was like, You know what, I think we can make this work. And at the time, I think Kenny just thought, you know, we were gonna do like, a barrel picker too with it. And I was like, No, no, no, Kenny, we need to start our own brand. And like, we could make something much more bigger than just one or two barrels from that. So I immediately left that meeting and I could not sleep for like two nights. I was so excited about the opportunity. Like I told my wife I came home and I’m like, this is this is something I’ve been dreaming of my whole life. This is opportunity. Like you always wanted to own Well, no, I never did but like that. You know, I’ve grown up around this my whole life. And I’ve always been enjoyed bourbon and I love being around the community and just even the opportunity to have my own brand like was like, just shocking to me and like I was so excited about it. I couldn’t even put into words. I just bet
All my attention went to for like, four months. And so Kenny and I gone, you know, got on. I was like, I know a designer, let’s get call him get a bottle design made up. Let’s go. And then the broker sent us some samples, you know, to kind of pick our first barrel to see if we’re still interested in tell him about, you know what we did up here? Yeah, I mean it was it was we had three barrel samples. And we all kind of know that it was coming from Tennessee. We knew that and that was one of the things that we thought ourselves. So we had we had we go into it with the same exact mindset that every other whiskey geek goes out there and they’re like, I don’t drink Tennessee whiskey. Yeah. And basically in like, no way. We’re like, we’re like we’re from Louisville Bardstown. Kentucky is in our blood. Like, why would we ever do this? And so I said, Alright, you know what, like, let’s give it a try. I said, Let’s take these three barrel samples. I’ll grab a bottle of Henry McKenna. And I said, if it’s better than hundred McKenna, this was right after you’d like named whiskey.
When I say better, like better did our palates, right?
That day at that time, whatever it is, yeah. And so we sat outside or barrel proof versions of it, you know, we’re just sitting there and we’re drinking of it, and we’re drinking it and home behold, like the first barrel that we lost that we liked. I was I, we loved it. We said, this is it. This is the winner. And that ended up being Episode 001 the first barrel release that we ever did. Yeah, so we went down there.
I think the first one we went on, they rolled out like 10 barrels that and our intentions were to just buy one barrel, and you know, and we get down there and we taste it. They’re like, I don’t know. 10 or 12 I can’t remember exactly. And we found three that were like really good. And I was like, man, we got about three of them and I’m freaking out. Like how much is this gonna cost? How do we ship them? How do we do all this like there’s like, you know, all this anxiety but I was excited because I knew the whiskey was good and I thought that people would enjoy it if they would just, you know, drop the stigma of Tennessee but if they open up the bottle and try it I was like I would because we taste
A lot of good stuff. I mean, not to say that we’re gifted or our palates are better, but we, I mean, we’re whiskey geeks like everyone else. And we’ve tasted pretty much anything and everything. And we thought that this was in that realm of really high quality product. And so I was like, Yes, I’m, I’ll put my name on it. And let’s get it to market. How did you all get the money to start this to just come from your own financing? Yeah, I mean, this is all completely bootstrapped by what we put into it and everything like that, we’ve got a pretty good deal that we cut out with our distributor, or our distributor, I’m sorry, our broker where our deal is basically says that we and this is this is also kind of the way that we built this as well. pursuit series is nothing like anything else that you can get in the bulk market because we’ve talked about the bullet market on the podcast before you want to start a brand. You need 50 barrels, here’s your check for whatever 80,000 $90,000 maybe even probably $250,000 whatever it is.
Few trucks show up, your barrels roll off, you get what you get, right? Where to be empty, some can be half full, some could be full and some good taste like hell, some good, you know, it’s just you don’t know, it’s a huge gamble. And so what we get the opportunity to do is actually go to the broker, and during the day two to 5000, barrels and inventory, he’ll roll out what he can for us, and we’ll sample through and we will select every single barrel we get to choose from, from the broker. So it’s unlike everything else where it’s actually a true single barrel that we are choosing out of amongst a lot of these. And when we’re looking at a lot of the Tennessee stock, we reject about 80% of the barrels that we go through, right, so we’re looking for really the best of the best when we go through this, that those guys that we work with, I won’t name names, because you don’t want to give them right. Well, no, I want to help them any way I can.
Because he’s been instrumental to our success, and we wouldn’t be here without him. But yeah, I mean, from the initial meeting, he was like, he’s like, I know, you know, we have you
are not like typical people we sell to, you know, you’re going to buy a barrel here, a barrel there. That’s not what we typically do typically, like Kenny said they move 500,000 barrels at a time. And so he was very creative and like, how we could finance it, how we could make this work, he was very interested in making us succeed. And so that was one thing that, you know, is really helped us, you know, be able to cash flow this and kind of get to where it is. Otherwise we, I mean, we put up a lot of money upfront initially, but we were able to kind of recoup that pretty fast with the the financing terms He’s given us. Yeah, and those financing terms may not last forever, because I know because like I said, we go and we select barrels now like now when we go when we select barrels, like I said, the first time we went we had 12 or 14 to select from. Now when we go it’s anywhere between 30 to 60 barrels, and we do it over the span of two days. And we’re slapping stickers left and right. And we’re taking like, you know, maybe 1010 to 12 barrels when we do this. And he does the bottling too. Yes. Yes. So that’s that’s the great thing.
That’s kind of like a one stop shop operation for us they’ll do bottling they do labeling so we’re able to source our glass source our tops, get our labels created, local design agency that we have and everything like that have them shipped down there. Yeah, you need if you’re a bourbon brand out there you want some repackaging, or when to start relay design. They’re incredible. Yep, here in local relay design as the one who actually helped build our, our label and everything like that. So um, so I was curious. The who came up with the idea of calling, you know, first of all the pursuit series, that makes sense, you know, but who came up with the idea to call each one of them in episode that was me. Really, just a brilliant idea I loved it was like each barrels, you know, a single barrel, so they’re all unique, and I was like, we’re really trying to
play off the podcast keys and that’s where we were successful. And so I was in, you know, most bourbon bottles when we were doing the packaging and design. Most of bourbon balls are really masculine and they’re very light
Serious, you know, they’re dark, they’re, you know really kind of like leather manly kind of and I wanted to brighten it up kind of make it fresh and fun and playful and our designer had the same kind of vision too. So he kind of, you know, if you’d look at a bottle, you know, it looks like you know, an iTunes
podcast player. So there’s a play button, you know, there’s the show notes and so I kind of came up with the episode and then I think you might have came up with the show notes I can’t remember but we just wanted to play off the podcast as much as possible because you can do that with single barrels because they’re all unique and they’re all individual and they have their own different things that we like about them so I thought it made sense. We also stand on the shoulders of giants at the end of the day, right? I mean, we look at we a lot of this inspiration came from the brands that we already like and we cherish I mean when we look at what you can do from will it family estate, which you get with old forester birthday bourbon, when you look at that we took a lot of those cues and put them into there. You know with Will it family stay
Having a single barrel offering and knowing that like when that bottle is gone that’s it when people are out there and they’re like I’ve got to have barrel c nine D like gotta have it and then you know if that translate to the same thing as somebody says like oh I need Episode Five from you know procedures whatever it is they kind of translate that and we we try to be as transparent as we can on the label like that’s one thing that we come from a whiskey background is like as much as we can put out there from you know, the proof the age everything like we want to make sure everything is ha did as much as possible. Not only that, as you know if we can
divulge the distillery we will we do that again with some of the craft offerings that will do yeah, and with the art labels are paying the s and are the most inefficient thing ever and it’s my fault because of the episode and also, I did steal from birthday bourbon when I was looking at bottles on the shelf. I thought I liked how birthday bourbon had a different color of each one. And so when you look at a shelf, and you look at the different colors, you can say oh I have that particular
year two particular so I wanted that each episode to have their own color. So you look when you have them lined up, you’re like you know which episode you have. Yeah, so both of you have been a part of the narrative of trying to get whiskey distillers to be more transparent. Now that you’re on the other side a little bit. Do you understand? Do you have a little bit more appreciation for those distillers who may not be as transparent as they should be? Well, I can see in some instances, yes, I can see it because they’ve worked hard to build that brand recognition build that they, you know, they spent a lot of money to trademark you know, and protect that name so I can understand that they don’t want some like piggybacking off that and kind of in particular, like we’re talking about someone who may, like source their whiskey out or sell it at like Barton wood or decal, or even in some circumstances at once upon a time brown Forman or for Rosa heaven hills sourced a lot. Yeah, yeah. So I can understand why they don’t end there. You know, at a time there were so many
People source and they still are, but there’s so many different brands sourcing so I could see it, you know, just being confusing and
but at the same time too, it’s like, it also helps them because it’s like, you know how many like Lux ro s or Brooks seven or you know that you know, it’s heaven Hill juice and you’re like, Damn, that’s good. It just elevates the heaven Hill brand even more in my opinion. But what I find fascinating is when one of them when a when one of them win an award, they’re like, Well, you know, whose whiskey that really is? I was like, Yeah, I know. It’s brown Forman. Why don’t you let the world know? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and that was one of the things that we try to do is we try to take a lot of the things that the whiskey geek would find appreciative, right, and we try to divulge as much information as we can. And at the same exact time, I think that we’ve had a lot of good success and a lot of good feedback on the show notes portion as well. Because if there’s somebody that says
I don’t feel like taking a risk and a gamble on an on a 75 or $115 bottle, like I don’t want to do that. Well.
What we do is we try to put our show notes like we try to find a prominent flavor or a little spin on it, that is a way that you can kind of get an indication of like, this is the flavor that we are getting inside this bottle, right? So you have a little bit of a better estimation of what you’re getting yourself into that you’re just not blindly throwing money at it as well. Let’s go on to take it back to like the starting of the brand. I want to ask both of you this question, what was the most annoying thing at the very beginning about starting a brand? The government like paperwork, the paperwork is so annoying and so slow and so cumbersome? It’s, I mean, they they really like they want you to quit, like they don’t want you because the amount of paperwork and the waiting and all the stuff you have to fill out the trademarks, all this stuff. It’s I mean, it’s a lot of legwork and upfront costs just to even like get a label approved. And that that was the most annoying for me. Oh no, I agree with you because
Even going in navigating the process of figuring out like, okay, like what kind of license can we get? Like, we can’t get a DSP because we don’t own a distillery. We don’t own a warehouse. We don’t own these things. What kind of license do you get? And you look around, you’re like, Well, I know this company x and this company, why like they don’t own a distillery, like, how are they doing this? So there’s this whole world of these even navigate to figure out like, Oh, that’s what it means. We had to get our wholesalers license, and then we got our wholesalers license, and then we’re like, Okay, well, let’s go ahead and we’ll start navigating this path. And then even trying to like we don’t we haven’t released anything from GP we have a bottom in GP, but we said, there’s some good stuff from a GP, like, let’s go ahead and get samples. And we talked to them and they’re like, hey, okay, we need your DSP. Like, we don’t have a DSP. Here’s a wholesale license. They’re like, What the hell’s a wholesalers list? So it’s like, you know, there’s this whole world that it’s just like, it’s It’s so confusing, that’s underneath the covers, and even the people and they’re like, we don’t even know what you need sometimes, like, like, you fall with the Kentucky ABC. And they’re like, we don’t even know what you need. Like, let me try to get my supervisor well.
call you back in like four months.
That’s a true story. Maybe not four months, but it was at least a few weeks. And yeah, there, we try to get registered with the state of Kentucky when we’re trying to trying to least open up distribution in the state. And it was kind of like, well, what papers do you need? Well, I don’t know. What do you have? Yeah. And then like you’re you’re buying and then you’re buying whiskey and trying to transfer pause, the government’s on shut down and you can’t, so then they they’re not doing anything. And then they have a backlog. So it takes even longer and you’re like, you know, I own several businesses. And it’s like, I like to move at a fast pace. I like to get things done. And Kenny’s the same way in tech. And it’s like when you try to do anything is you have to plan at least eight months in advance because it just takes that much in paperwork, shipping distribution and all this stuff. It’s so slow. Wow. Yeah. I mean, our first bottles we were supposed to release of november of 2018. Right now they’re supposed to be in September, and
they didn’t Yeah, they didn’t release till what December.
Yeah, late December. Yeah. All right. So you guys, it takes a little while to get some approvals. But you get it you get, you get your look of the bottle and everything ready to go and then you get your first release out. And it’s a pretty successful release. It’s sold out quickly. Within a within a day. Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s who I mean, what new brand can say they sold out their first release in a day. Well, to be fair, it’s only it’s a single barrel. So it’s only 100 fake. You know, that shit, guys, it is. It was surreal. I you know, I thought it I thought it’d be quick, but not that quick. And so it was very, it was very cool. But with that, you know, is new to us and new with our our distributors toolbox. They were just kind of up and running. And so there were a lot of just roadblocks from both ends, like we didn’t know how to do customer service or some shippings didn’t get, you know, correct, you know, not their fault. Just
Just things happen, you know, when you’re shipping things and you’re like, from now on, we got to hold back so many bottles so we can make sure we can cover you know, all the, you know, anything have any things happen because we, we literally need to sell out everything to like recoup our money like so we didn’t, you know, keep a bunch of bottles, you know, so we’re just like, we need to sell it. And so we definitely learned that aspect. We need to hold back some to
Yeah, fix any errors. Any you know, on that note, you know, you know, big shout out to Blake. Yeah. What didn’t mean what he wasn’t trying to talk? No, no, absolutely. But I’m just saying like this. This is only successful because of him so far, right? I mean, yeah, Blake has been a great part. It was it was one of those things when we were I remember being there at our broker. And you know, we had to take a break because there’s another person there doing a barrel pick. And we go we’re in the break room, and I’m on the phone with Blake because Blake was just like just getting steel blocks off the ground, just like kind of like an idea. And I said like, Alright, man, you got to tell me how this works.
Because we have a national audience, we’re not going to sit there and try to cover the entire US and try to get distribution in all these different states. Like, tell me how it works, right. And so that has been instrumental in being able to get this in the hands of our followers and listeners across the nation. And this is kind of why we are also a big supporter of breaking down the, you know, the Commerce Clause and the opening up shipping between states and everything like that. And, you know, we’ve we’ve seen the power of what, not having a distributor can actually give you Yeah, I mean, that’s that’s really what we’ve ultimately found at this at the end of the so one of the one of the things that
what how it’s being operated is a threat to the three tier system. And there’s so much money behind that and there’s so many people out there trying to defend it right now. Do you ever get nervous that this model might come crashing down at any time
Any minute when we we bring a day. Yeah. And we branched out because that there, there was a time last year.
In the summer I kind of was like, Alright, we need to kind of diversify how we’re going to get this into people’s hands. And so we’ve, we looked at our biggest states and where we have the most listeners or who who have
followers who’s purchased things from us. And so I was like, Alright, let’s look at those states. So it was Kentucky, Texas, Georgia. And so I was like, we need to get some distribution, traditional distribution set up in those states, because we want to be able to get just in case something we want to be able to get the product to where we have the most fans. Well, you have you have that’s twofold, right? I mean, you have one where you have stores that want their own exclusive single barrels, like they want to be able to have that for their customers. And then second, you can’t get away from the eyes that you get just eyeballs Right. I mean, when somebody just goes into a liquor store and they start looking and
What’s on the shelf? What’s behind the glass case? Blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s a lot easier to get eyeballs on your brand doing that than it is to say, hey, go visit this website. Yeah, right. I was amazed like, when we when our list our audiences found but when you tried it like we did a friends and family barrel where we were like selling just to our friends and family to say thank you for the support, you know, and you know, a lot of my family members are like, like, what do you mean I can’t go get on the shelf like I can’t go to liquor barn again. I was like, No, you gotta go this website and like ordering like, that sounds like too much work. I was like, really? You’d be on every day. Like while I was gonna say when Bart did they just get internet or
I’ve got dollop now, you know, thanks a bit, you got mail. But even just like everyday consumer, you know, people that are whiskey geeks like you tell them they’re like, Where can I go get on the shelves. There’s still this mindset of in which I like it to like go on the store, talking to people seeing it on the shelf and see what it looks like holding it and so there’s definitely that you
kinda have to like change people’s mindset that you can get online order and it’ll show up. Yeah. Because there is something about the experience of going to the store. And having that built in audience to it. You want to you want to be able to supply
you know, meet the demand of this audience, this podcast audience, and how have you all been able to do that aside from silver box? So I mean, that’s it’s see boxes, it’s the main driver, right? I mean, going online was the main driver. And that’s only because that is the best mechanism to get it in the most hands across the US. We can’t get into everybody’s hands because of certain states. But that’s why we said traditional distribution. Yeah, I mean, those states and that was one of the things I think I think Ryan had that that lightbulb moment when he had to actually go to Texas for for an event. And he realized Houston alone has more population, the entire state of Kentucky and what just I was in Dallas, but yeah, Dallas has like 7 million people. He says like 11 you’re like Kentucky has like
Three or 4 million people, you know, there’s a ton of people here. There’s more barrels of bourbon here, then then people as Yeah, like to say so Exactly. We’re a small state. But yeah, that’s one of the main drivers when we look at population that’s and that’s one of the things when now we start connecting those dots when we start talking. And you start hearing about other distilleries, and they’re like, Oh, I’m sorry, this brand is not going to launch in Kentucky. And people are like, oh, like, you’re not gonna launch in your own backyard. And it’s like, no,
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