Ecosystem Podcasts

394 – Bourbon Capital Academy with Sam Lacy



You listen to this show because you want to be a better educated bourbon consumer. Or maybe you just went off the deep-end and started buying too many bottles and now you’re on the hunt for the next great bottle. Either way, I’m glad you’re here. But there are all sorts of new opportunities that foster deeper knowledge with some of the premier distilleries in Kentucky, most notably, in Bardstown. Sam Lacy joins the show to talk about everything from the Bourbon Capital Community Alliance. It’s an initiative from the city of Bardstown to bring in-depth and tailored educational experiences to distilleries around Bardstown along with their brand new Brindiamo Penthouse that can provide a 101-level primer for people before they hit the distilleries.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks bottles as an investment
  • How did you get into bourbon?
  • Why was there an initiative to form an alliance?
  • How many partner distilleries are a part of the alliance?
  • Is the Bourbon Capital Guild a private bourbon society?
  • What are the distilleries asking of the city to help promote bourbon tourism?
  • Is the Bourbon Capital Academy a proprietary education course that anyone can take?
  • What is the Brindiamo Penthouse?
  • How often are the courses being offered at the partner distilleries?
  • How much does a custom distillery course cost?
  • @bourboncapitalguild @bourboncapitalacademy @brindiamogroup
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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392 – What Does Sazerac Leaving RNDC Mean For Everyone? and 2023 Predictions on Bourbon Community Roundtable #76



It’s Bourbon Community Roundtable #76 and this is one I’m excited to talk about because as you’re well aware, building a brand requires choosing the right distribution partners. The big shake up of the past few weeks is that Sazerac is pulling out of Republic National Distributing Company in favor of smaller, more mid-tier, and beer focused distributors in around 30 different states. So, we want to ask the roundtable a few questions. First, what would motivate Sazerac to break up this long-standing relationship? If you are a distributor that got selected, what problems are you going to experience. And lastly, as a consumer are we going to see any change like finding Pappy on the shelf at MSRP. Spoiler alert… the answer is no. Since it’s the first roundtable of 2023, we all put in our predictions and see what the future holds for bourbon this year.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about dry January.
  • Sazerac is leaving RNDC. What does this mean for Sazerac?
  • Sazerac goes with mid-tier distributors. How do distirbutors adapt and what happens to other brands?
  • Does Sazerac leaving RNDC mean anything for the end consumer?
  • What are your 2023 predictions?
  • @breakingbourbon @fredminnick @drinkseelbachs @bourbonr @sippncorn
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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391 – Tequila Pursuit with Alfonso Esquivias of Drinks with Fonz

If you listen to our Friday show called This Week in Bourbon, you would hear us talking about tequila being the next rising spirit. I mean, who doesn’t like a good margarita? Much like bourbon, there is a lot to know about what goes into making the spirit. To help explain all that, we’ve invited Alfonso Esquivias, the Founder and Owner of Drinks with Fonz. Alfonso sent Ryan and I 12 different tequilas to sample them as we go through to know more about them. It was a lot of tequila but I promise you that I have a much deeper appreciation for tequila after this. Alfonso talks about the laws to be called a tequila and we dive into the process of harvesting agave and distilling it. We then tackle the touchy subject of how many tequilas on the market are full of additives like sugar and how you shouldn’t trust many celebrity brands as well. Listen closely to the brands we talk about during the show so you know which ones are additive-free and legit.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the popularity of Buffalo Trace
  • How did you get into spirits in general?
  • What restrictions are in place to be called a tequila?
  • Can you describe an agave plant?
  • Can you explain the differences between blanco, reposado, and anejo?
  • In bourbon you will never see anyone claim they like un-aged bourbon but why is that with tequila?
  • How do you know which brands have additives?
  • What are all tequilas in the 80-90 proof range?
  • What is the typical proof off the still?
  • Who is the MGP of tequila?
  • So what makes something like Jose Cuervo mass-market or bottom shelf?
  • Is saying “using tequila as a mixer” considered blasphemy?
  • Does a particular agave field have different effect on the flavor like grapes with wine?
  • How do you know when an agave plant is ready for harvesting?
  • Does price point increase when proof increases?
  • Do all celebrity tequilas have additives or are considered crap?
  • @[email protected]@fonz
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

Get the list of Tequilas tasted on the show!

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390 – The Return of JW (Wally) Dant into Distilling with Wally Dant of Log Still Distillery

If you’ve been around bourbon long enough, then you know the name JW Dant. That’s because the Dant name is equivalent to bourbon royalty as it is steeped in history. But there is another Dant that is wanting to bring his family name back into the distilling business and that’s JW Dant, or better known as Wally Dant from Log Still Distillery. Wally joins the show to talk about his upbringing and how some early career choices he made early on put him in the fortunate position to revive life into Gesthamane Kentucky where he is building his own legacy in the bourbon business.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the American single malt category
  • Was there ever a moment where you realized bourbon was a part of your DNA?
  • What have you discovered about understanding about your heritage?
  • Who was the last person, in your family tree, to work at a distillery?
  • What was your focus of study at Purdue?
  • How did you progress in your career and businesses that you sold?
  • How do you transition from selling your business to figuring out what to do next?
  • When did you decide to make the investment from sourcing Tennessee whiskey to breaking ground on a distillery?
  • What was the inspiration for putting a focus on rebuilding the community in Gethsemane?
  • Did the lawsuit with Heaven Hill over your name come into play early on?
  • What does 5th district mean on your Monk’s Road label?
  • What’s your plan on having your whiskey be different than anyone else’s?
  • @logstilldistillery @jwwallydant
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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389 – Will Celebrities Help or Hurt Bourbon?



For the longest time, celebrities have been getting into the spirits industry. It first started off as being a spokesperson and putting a recognizable face to a brand. Now, many celebrities are coming out with their own bottles, and bourbon is no exception. In this episode, we look at many of the celebrity bourbon brands that have emerged over the past few years and analyze them. Does a celebrity care about the quality of the whiskey? Are they just in it for an added revenue stream? Are there any good ones? But we ultimately want to know if celebrities will help bourbon or hurt bourbon.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about his favorite 4th grain used in American Whiskey
  • Do distilleries need a celebrity spokesperson anymore?
  • Is a celebrity comes out with a young bourbon does that hurt the category?
  • Are celebrities just getting into it for another revenue stream?
  • Should be skeptical of having a celebrity attached to a bourbon distillery?
  • If a celebrity bourbon brand blows up, will unassuming people think that’s what bourbon is supposed to taste like?
  • Is there an example of any celebrity bourbon that is actually really good or high quality?
  • What are the good things that come from having a celebrity whiskey?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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388 – Is There A Small Brand Problem? and 2022 Prediction Results on Bourbon Community Roundtable #75



Its Bourbon Community Roundtable #75 and in this episode we focus on one major topic and then end the show looking back at this year in bourbon. Last week, the team at Breaking bourbon came out with an article called Does Bourbon Have A Small Brand Problem. It was a fascinating article because it talks about many of the interesting things we see about craft brands. Are people only interested interested in heritage brands? Is there a big knowledge gap? Is this a problem because of the unfair playing field with the three tier system? Are there too many choices or do brands just lack hype? In the last part of the show, I revisit all of our 2022 predictions to see who got it right and who got it wrong.

Show Notes:

  • Does bourbon have a small brand problem?
  • Are small brands at an inherit disadvantage?
  • Do brands need a level of hype to survive?
  • Is there a lack of trust or knowledge?
  • What was your 2022 prediction and did you get it right?
  • @breakingbourbon @fredminnick @drinkseelbachs @bourbonr @sippncorn
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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386 – From Restaurant to Brand Owner with Jason Brauner of Buzzard’s Roost



Our guest today carved a path that may seem unlikely, but in the end, seems almost fitting. Jason Brauner joined us back on Episode 057 where he talked about building the first bourbon focused restaurant in Louisville, which you all know as Bourbon’s Bistro. That concept has stood the test of time and now people from all over flock to his restaurant for dinner and drinks. One particular patron of his is Andrew Wiehebrink of Independant Stave Company, who was on episode 346 talking about stave science. They began talking and came up with some proprietary barrels that will enhance a whiskey based on its original profile whether it was nutty, sweet, or floral. And that’s how Buzzard’s Roost bourbon was born. You will get to hear more about this journey and their process and how Jason is also moving into a brick and mortar location on West Main Street in the heart of downtown Louisville.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about combining barrels together because of angel’s share
  • Give us a refresher about how you got into bourbon
  • When did you start collecting dusties?
  • Do you remember your biggest dusty score?
  • Were you one of the original restaurants that did barrel picks?
  • What was the motivation behind Buzzard’s Roost?
  • Do you remember the first phone call when you wanted to start the brand?
  • How did you decide what type of whiskey to use?
  • How many proprietary barrels do you have?
  • How do you categorize the whiskey to go into different finishing barrels?
  • How does your blending process change when you go from 3 to 40 barrels?
  • Are you continuing with MGP or going to work with other distilleries?
  • When is your location in downtown Louisville going to open?
  • Did moving from a restaurant to brand owner feel like a natural progression?
  • What was the origin of the name Buzzard’s Roost?
  • @buzzardsroostwhiskey @bourbonsbistro
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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385 – Wine’s Dirty Little Secret Meets Bourbon with Lee Tatum and Cody Ewers of Innerstave

Sherry, port, honey, sauternes, french, tokaji, toasted, and so much more. The world of cask finishing has exploded. It’s what many consider to be the current wave of innovation for today’s bourbon market. I mean, is there a bourbon brand that hasn’t done a secondary cask finishing yet? However, this world is still a bit like the wild west. Companies are dumping bourbon into casks, there’s stave additions, and there are other oak alternatives. So how do you know if your port finished bourbon is actually finished instead of blended? Unless there is a level of transparency, it’s really hard to know. That’s why Lee Tatum and Cody Ewers of Innerstave are joining the show. They give a history of how Innerstave had traditionally been used in wine for ages and now there is a desire for their products to be used with bourbon. We discuss what makes their oak finishing products different and how they can replicate a process time and time again versus pressing your luck on a barrel that came over from another country on a container ship.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about aging rye vs wheated bourbons
  • Lee, what did you invent as part of the innovation team at Brown Forman?
  • Cody did you see journalism on the decline?
  • What did you mean when you thought that the wine space needed to change?
  • Can you give a background of Innerstave?
  • Can you explain what these oak alternatives are?
  • How would someone go about using your product?
  • How have we not seen bourbon aged on a pirate ship yet?
  • Is this repeatable and consistent vs cask finishing?
  • What does the menu look like for types of oak alternatives?
  • @innerstave
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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383 – Penny & Sparrow Pick a Barrel



Our typical guests range from Master Distillers to other industry experts and pundits, but on the rare occasion I find a guest that breaks our norm and gives another view into the world of bourbon. Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke make up the folk music duo Penny & Sparrow. Their original appearance on the show was on Episode 228 where we got to know the guys and their love of bourbon. This time I caught them on their post-pandemic tour through Louisville and had them do their first ever Pursuit Series barrel selection. We talk about lyrical inspiration and video games and I lead them through five whiskey samples as they narrow down their choice. Without giving too much of it away, if you are interested in a bottle from this selection it’s available on Seelbachs.com for a limited time until it’s sold out. It is a single barrel after all!

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about why bourbon is called bourbon
  • How did your project go with Oak and Eden?
  • Do you get a good mix of bourbon and rye in the green room before a show?
  • Talk about Need You on your latest album
  • Do you record a riff or write down a lyric and then find a match between the two?
  • Why did you choose to use claymation for your Cheyenne music video?
  • Did you take the pandemic as a time to reconnect with music or decompress?
  • How does video game soundtracks inspire you?
  • What’s the best video game console ever created?
  • How do you narrow down a barrel selection?
  • @pennyandsparrow
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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382 – Building A Brand With No Distillery with Michael Paladini and Danny Polise of Penelope Bourbon



Starting a brand is no easy task. There will be a lot of fails before you ever see your first success and there’s a lot to the industry that have to be taken into account from a regulatory aspect, supply chain, sales, and distribution. Mike Paladini and Danny Polise from Penelope Bourbon join the show to talk about how a wild idea to start a whiskey company grew into one of the hottest new brands on the market. They traveled to MGP after reading an article about how that craft whiskey you like is actually from a factory in Indiana. From there it’s been a roller coaster of emotions and now they are working on new projects to reach more bourbon enthusiasts.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the aging climate of Texas
  • Can you talk about your wildest high school party that you threw?
  • What started you down the path of drinking bourbon?
  • Are more people in New Jersey finding bourbon and becoming drinkers?
  • What were you doing before Penelope?
  • What made you want to quit your day jobs and pursue a whiskey career?
  • What research did you do for starting a brand and sourcing?
  • Talk about that first day at MGP?
  • Did MGP help you with creating your proprietary blend?
  • Were you trying to maintain consistency or try different blends?
  • How are you figuring out how to scale the business with bottles in 29 states and 4 countries?
  • Are you finding it harder to buy directly from MGP with the explosion?
  • Why go into the light whiskey category?
  • Do you have any finished whiskey horror stories?
  • @penelopebourbon
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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