329 – To Source or Not To Source with Scott Schiller, Executive Director of Thoroughbred Spirits Group

Starting a distillery is no easy task and figuring out how to bank roll it is even harder. Do you tie up all your money into equipment and wait a few years and hope the whiskey is good or is it smarter to supplement that with some sourced product? But beyond that, how do you scale, distribute, and sell? Scott Schiller from Thoroughbred Spirits Group has launched 30 distillers, designed over 50 brands, and facilitated 3 successful exits. He joins the show to talk about everything I just mentioned, but Scott also has a fascinating family history with spirits where he learned how to distill with his grandfather at an iconic Chicago tavern called Bucket O Suds.

Show Partners:

  • Catoctin Creek has been honoring that tradition of small craft rye whisky since 2009. Learn more at CatoctinCreekDistilling.com.
  • Smooth Ambler builds on the traditional roots of American whiskey in West Virginia. Visit SmoothAmbler.com to learn more.
  • Wilderness Trail is Sweet Mash Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Rye Whiskey distilled, aged, and bottled in Danville, Kentucky. Learn more at WildernessTrailDistillery.com.
  • You can now buy Barrell Craft Spirits products online and have them shipped right to your door. Visit BarrellBourbon.com and click Buy Now.
  • Spirits of French Lick is delivering the finest hand crafted Bottled in Bond bourbons. Check out SpiritsofFrenchLick.com.
  • Savor every drop of summer at Total Wine & More! You’re sure to find cool prices in-store or online at TotalWine.com.
  • Heaven Hill Distillery has been lifting America’s spirit since 1935. Check out educational resources and sign up for their newsletter at HeavenHillDistillery.com.

Show Notes:

  • This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about QR codes.
  • How did you get into this industry?
  • What company did your family start in Chicago?
  • What is Bucket O Suds?
  • Tell us about the distillery.
  • Talk about one of your early successes.
  • How do you approach the conversations with clients about scaling?
  • Do you see a lot of NDPs that previously bottled older whiskey and now can’t get it?
  • Are a lot of people starting to scramble because there isn’t as much access to aged whiskey?
  • How do you advise someone on distribution?
  • Do you ever have to tell clients sourcing might not work for them?
  • How do you start conversations with potential clients ?
  • Talk about bottle pricing.

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