Ecosystem Podcasts

378 – Is Added Text On Labels Distracting? Do I Use Unconventional Grains? How To Plan Distribution? Free Consulting Advice from Pursuit



We’re not in the business of consulting to brands or distilleries, but a few months ago we asked you to submit your questions about brand building to give our honest feedback and advice. In this episode we take questions from entrepreneurs that are looking to start their own brand and what types of spirits to offer based on their location and our thoughts on unconventional grains like oats, buckwheat, and rice. We also analyze labels. How important is it see stuff like “rare”, “super premium”, “hand crafted”, or “non chill filtered” on the label? Lastly, as a brand begins to scale or potentially halts growth when is it the right time to add a new state for distribution? If you want to ask us a question about brand consultation, nothing related to the distillation process because we’re not chemical engineers, shoot us a message to [email protected] and we may read your question next time we record a show like this.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) asks about falisfying information about bourbon history
  • From Alen: As a craft distillery, would you recommend to start with a product that is popular on local level or to focus on already established type of spirit?
  • From Alen: I’m also very dedicated to the bottle and label design. I’m planning to have my custom bottle and label that I designed by myself. Is that right way?
  • What is your thought on additional text on a label such as “non-chill filtered”, “rare”, “hand crafted” and is it distracting?
  • From Nick: What’s your opinion on the potential of whiskies made from unconventional grains such as oat, sorghum, buckwheat, etc?
  • How does a new brand analyze when it’s time to add a new state in which to sell?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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377 – Architecting A Bourbon Distillery with Cash and Eric of Joseph & Joseph + Bravura



You may remember back on Episode 334 we talked about the engineering that goes into a distillery, but we forgot to start off with a key component, and that’s the architecture. A quick google search for distillery architects will lead you to one place, Joseph, & Joseph + Bravura. This architecture firm is synonymous with creating the most iconic distillery and visitor center experiences across Kentucky. They got their start by designing Four Roses back in 1909 and have since then been the lead architects on places like Old Forester in downtown Louisville, Bardstown Bourbon Co, Michter’s, LuxRow, Angel’s Envy and so many more. We’re joined by Cash Moter and Eric Huelsman who are both partners in the firm. We discuss the history of the firm and then we dive into what it takes to architect a distillery. Where to start and how do you design around constraints.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) ask what would happen if prohibition never happened
  • How did you all become the premier place to go for architecting distilleries?
  • How did the two firms come together?
  • What other focuses did Joseph and Joseph have when bourbon was slow?
  • Would you rather rehab something old or have a blank canvas?
  • How does a conversation start about where to begin the process of architecting a distillery?
  • How do you determine placement and arranging the tasting bar vs the still vs the bathrooms?
  • How much influence does the customer have vs creative ideas you all have?
  • What are some bad architectural ideas that haven’t seen the light of day?
  • Who’s idea was it to start building rickhouse walls out of glass?
  • What constraints do you typically have to work with?
  • What was your initial reaction to the bourbon pyramids?
  • How do you blend in old world and new world architecture?
  • Do you have all the blueprints from the early 1900s for some distilleries?
  • Do you envision being the one stop for having a distillery architect team?
  • Can you have an AirBNB inside of a distillery?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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375 – The Science of Whiskey Maturation with Ale Ochoa of TX Whiskey



Whiskey is an amazing product. It’s a testament of blending science and nature to create something that didn’t exist naturally. And during that process from grain to bottle, you can manipulate a multitude of variables to create a brand new type of whiskey or some flavor nuance that hasn’t been discovered. TX Whiskey is a growing brand and they have some strong pedigree of people working to shape their whiskey profile. We’re joined by Ale Ochoa who is their whiskey scientist. She analyzes, studies, and makes suggestions on what to do with finished whiskey at TX but also has an influence during every step of the process. We talk about how she landed her dream job after college at TX what how she is learning about particular barrel placements in the warehouses and finishes.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks cocktail culture of the spirits industry
  • Was there ever an influence of whiskey in your family?
  • What was it about whiskey that made you focus your college studies on it?
  • Did you choose the title of Whiskey Scientist?
  • Have you had any discoveries or big takeaways with aging in Texas?
  • Does the fermentation process have a different effect in Texas?
  • Can you talk about the wood and cooperage you’re using?
  • How are you determining when to pull sample lots?
  • Do you have a hypothesis of what will happen to barrels and oak aging in different locations?
  • Why did you decided to get into the finished barrel category?
  • So what barrel finishes did not work?
  • Are you blending both of your warehouse locations together or keeping them separate?
  • @txwhiskey
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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374 – Why Should Brands Pay Attention to TikTok? with Logan and Mac Hanes of Basement Rickhouse



Every few years there is a technology that will revolutionize society. I’ve personally grown up with the invention of social media when you had to have a university email address to sign up for facebook. Social media trends shift over time. Twitter came on strong by cramming as much information as possible into 140 characters, sharing images wasn’t new but filters is what took Instagram to new heights. But now short form video with TikTok is the new craze. I’ve been a fan of this platform but I wanted to invite Logan and Mac Hanes of Basement Rickhouse on the show because they are one of my favorite bourbon TikTok accounts. There’s no shortage of people doing whiskey reviews or top 10s on TikTok but Logan and Mac will speak to this audience because their key to success is story telling with bourbon history. We talk about their account and success but we also touch on why this is no longer a platform for dancing teenager, but it’s time that brands need to start paying attention to TikTok.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about gift ideas
  • What was your bourbon journey like that got you to this point?
  • As a Buffalo Trace tour guide, how do you keep learning new information?
  • How did you train yourself be on the tasting panel at Buffalo Trace?
  • Why did you make TikTok your platform of choice?
  • Why do we not see more brands try TikTok?
  • What have you found that helps videos go a bit viral?
  • Are you diving into more bourbon history to create your content?
  • How often do distilleries ask you to not share a TikTok?
  • @basementrickhouse
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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372 – Lines vs Lotteries, Bourbon Hall of Fame Criteria, and the Cheapest Bottle To Own on Bourbon Community Roundtable #71



It’s Bourbon Community Roundtable #71 where we are joined by the likes of all of our friends to talk about some hot topics in the recent bourbon news. Up first, we discuss lotteries vs lines. Now that Old Forester and Four Roses have announced they are no longer going to sell their limited birthday bourbon and small batch editions in the gift shop to local Kentuckians from people camping out, it has moved to a nationwide sweepstakes where anyone can enter. So, is this the beginning of the end for waiting in lines for bourbon? The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame is inducting six new people. There is criteria to make it, but what criteria would we consider to be in our hall of fame? Lastly, we look at an old topic which is what is the cheapest bottle you need to own?

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about whiskey for medicinal purposes
  • Is Waiting in Line Dead?
  • What’s the criteria for the Bourbon Hall of Fame?
  • What is the cheapest bottle worth having?
  • @oldforester @fourrosesbourbon @kentuckybourbontrail @breakingbourbon @fredminnick @drinkseelbachs @bourbonr @sippncorn
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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371 – Is Bourbon Overcrowded? with Chad and Sara of It’s Bourbon Night



Some people will say we are currently experiencing a bourbon shortage. However, if you go to your local store you will see it’s quite the opposite. There are walls of bourbon and with so many labels it’s hard to know where everything comes from. To help dig through this topic I’ve invited Chad & Sara from It’s Bourbon Night to join the show. We talk about how they met and how they’ve grown their YouTube channel into one of the premier places on the internet to get informative opinions on the latest whiskey releases as well as the favorite amongst many YouTubers, lists and top 10s.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about opening bottles prior to purchase for allocated bottles
  • When did you start your YouTube channel?
  • Do you remember your first video?
  • Are there some videos that never get published?
  • Have you figured out the formula to get the mosts views possible?
  • How have you been able to combat the negative comments that come on the internet?
  • Have you had to pivot on how you create content and find new audiences?
  • Have you started to see an overcrowding of brands on the market?
  • Is there such a thing as a “bad run” of MGP barrels?
  • Will MGP still be the go-to source in 5 or 10 years?
  • When production catches up, how do you determine who get space on the shelf?
  • What will hurt the bourbon market the most?
  • Are celebrity whiskey brands going to overcrowd the market?
  • Will we start seeing labels begin to fail?
  • @itsbourbonnight
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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370 – Evolving a Modern Bourbon Brand with Kaveh Zamanian of Rabbit Hole



Every brand finds their path. Some will talk about their grains sourced right on their farm. Some will rely on a historical figure from decades ago. But for Rabbit Hole, it’s been about being a modern brand. Kaveh Zamanian makes his return to the show to talk about how the brand has changed in the few years since we had him on last. We discuss how their brand and liquid has evolved, how they are reaching into new demographics, his take on their new series of high end innovations and collaborations and a past time favorite of all of ours, dusty hunting.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about being Fred Minnick
  • Why don’t you go by Doctor Z?
  • Did you originally intend the distillery to be built for Fred to have a 24-hour fermentation sleepover?
  • Is the location of the distillery challenged by location since it’s in a popular location?
  • What are you doing to keep up with demand?
  • Are you positioning yourself as a modern brand?
  • Has the consumer mindset changed over the past few years now that the brand has grown?
  • How do you collect your demographic data?
  • What approach are you taking that you have such a high female consumer-base?
  • How were you able to create no market confusion with your expressions?
  • Why do you have a fascination with malting?
  • Can you tell from the malting process that something will work or do you have to see it all the way through?
  • What makes your 10 year blend and the 16 year french oak release special?
  • What does the Founder’s Collection mean to you as this was introduced?
  • How did you get hooked up with Starlino?
  • Are there barriers to entry as you grow and expand into international markets?
  • Are bartenders or stores the best way to spend your resources for getting to market?
  • How has your dusty hunting collection going?
  • Are you trying to recreate some of your favorite dusties?
  • @rabbithole @kzrabbithole
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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368 – Does Heritage Matter and Why Are We Attracted to Finishes? on Bourbon Community Roundtable #70



The roundtable is our monthly show where we look at new and interesting angles for the bourbon ecosystem. Marketing plays a big role in whiskey. There always needs to be a story that sells the brand. Last week, an article in VinePair sparked the question as to whether or not you need heritage for American whiskey. How important is it to have a deep lineage to bourbon and is that necessary for customer appeal? In the second half of the show, we break down finished bourbons and why in the past few years have we seen a big surge and what makes that attractive to more consumers.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the history of barrel proof bourbon.
  • Does heritage matter in American whiskey?
  • Why are we attracted to finished bourbons?
  • @vinepair
    @bourbonr @breakingbourbon @sippn_corn
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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366 – From Archeologist to Bourbon and Dusty Expert with Caroline Paulus



We all come from different backgrounds, yet we all find a passion in bourbon. One of the most intriguing stories I have ever been introduced to is from our guest today, Caroline Paulus. Her first love and her area of study is archeology. She had no idea that coming to Kentucky from Wisconsin on a dig would lead her into a new career in bourbon. She is fascinated with the history of whiskey and that has made her become one of the leading authorities when it comes to analyzing dusties. As the whiskey historian at Justin’s House of Bourbon and senior editor for The Bourbon Review, she tells her story about falling into this line of work and some stories about running one of the best stores dedicated to bourbon in Kentucky.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about distilling presence during World War II
  • Was whiskey ever a thing in your household or did you discover it later in life?
  • Why do people from Wisconsin ruin an old fashioned?
  • What was your original archeology digs in Kentucky focused on?
  • How do you make the jump from being an archeologists to getting into bourbon?
  • How are you now after losing your senses to COVID?
  • Who taught you to get comfortable tasting whiskey?
  • At what point do you become a whiskey historian?
  • Have you been able to spot fake dusties?
  • What’s the most popular item sold at Justin’s House of Bourbon?
  • Can you try to hand sell me a dusty bourbon?
  • @houseofbourbonlex @houseofbourbonky @houseofbourbonlou @bourbonreview @misswhiskeyhistorian
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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364 – Is Jackie Zykan replaceable? King’s County vs Irish Whiskey, and Can Stickers Violate Copyright? on Bourbon Community Roundtable #69



I know you’ve missed it, but the roundtable is back for another big show talking about spicy topics. The big news of Jackie Zykan leaving Old Forester made waves in the bourbon world. Is she a replaceable asset to Brown-Forman and what happens with the 117 series? King’s County and the Irish Whiskey Association are in a battle over the use of “irish-style” whiskey on the label. Who should give an inch here? Would we be up in arms if someone outside the US used “bourbon-style” on their label? And there’s always more sticker talk but this time we go over the use of copyright and trademarks on different distilleries bottles.

Show Notes:

  • Jackie Zykan is leaving Old Forester. What do we think will happen to the brand? Is she replaceable?
  • King’s County and the Irish Whiskey Association are in a battle. King’s County created an “irish-style” whiskey and the IWA sent a cease and desist. What would we think if a distillery in Ireland created a “bourbon-style” whiskey and put that on the label?
  • Stickers are going less than subtle now. In the case of copyright issues, should distilleries start caring more?
  • @bourbonr @breakingbourbon @sippn_corn
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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