Ecosystem Podcasts

457 – The Epic Hunt for Dusty Booze with Aaron Goldfarb



You hear us talk about dusty bourbon on the show too often. We keep beating that dead horse because it’s a chance to drink history and have a completely different whiskey than what’s in the bottle today. Vintage spirits are on the rise and have gone from an underground enthusiast crowd into the mainstream. Aaron Goldfarb is a distinguished author and he joins the show to talk about his new book titled Dusty Booze. This books has a storyline with finding a dusty goldmine but goes into the story of decanters, minis, and the hunt for rare bottles. It’s now available on Amazon and lots of different outlets.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about bourbon with malted barely with the highest secondary grain.
  • What made you want to write a book on vintage whiskey?
  • What were some of those iconic decanters that were made?
  • What was the story you saw form out of the glut era?
  • Did you ever talk to store owners and ask why they would sit on inventory for this long?
  • Why did decanters become so popular or unpopular?
  • What makes a dusty spirit different from today’s current releases?
  • Did anyone come up with a better term other than dusty funk?
  • Why was there a bigger market for minis back in the day?
  • Talk about the storyline and how Kevin came across this goldmine and any legal implications.
  • How many bar owners did you talk to about running a business on vintage spirits?
  • What do you think has to be considered vintage?
  • Was there any information in the book that teaches you how to date code vintage whiskey?
  • Is there a chance that any store is left with any dusty bottles?
  • Do you need dusty cocktail ingredients?
  • @aarongoldfarb
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

455 – Digging Into The Psychology of a Bourbon Hunter with Jim White of Reality Check



Understanding how the bourbon geek thinks has been something that has dumbfounded us for years. We talk about it all the time on roundtables and other episodes where we try to guess why consumers purchase in certain ways. And for the longest time, you all have asked why don’t we get someone on the show that can talk about the psychology of a bourbon drinker. Well, ask and you shall receive. In this very special episode, Jim White, the Founder and President of Reality Check consulting who has a background in bourbon advertising and psychology joins the show to talk about how people think and how brands can develop a story. This episode will dive into the psychology of scarcity, pricing, limited editions, repeat purchases, and so much more. During different segments you’re going to come away realizing a reason why you chase and hunt bottles as well.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about enforcement of bottled in bond.
  • Can you give a background about Reality Check Consulting?
  • What research methods do you use to get consumer feedback?
  • What things in our psychology trigger us to look at certain brands?
  • How does a brand like Weller go from zero to hero in such a short time?
  • Why should brands create limited edition offerings from a psychology perspective?
  • Is there another type of consumer that just isn’t worried about status?
  • How does a brand focused on volume market differently?
  • Why would someone purchase the same bottle over and over again?
  • Do other categories have fans that want their own hobby to fail?
  • Is brand loyalty dead?
  • How do you attract a customer to look beyond what’s safe?
  • Does FOMO play a big role?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

454 – The Evolving Trends of Bourbon Journalism with Maggie Kimberl



Before there were Instagram and TikTok influencers, YouTubers, and even podcasters, there were writers. I’m not talking about bloggers. But esteemed authors and journalists who dug into a story and took it to magazines and other trade publications. The times have changed, our attention spans have gotten much shorter, and now running a story is much different. To help gives more insight into whiskey journalism we’ve invited Maggie Kimberl back on the show. She’s the Content Editor of American Whiskey Magazine and writes some of the most intriguing stories in bourbon today. We all evaluate how access to distilleries have gotten harder through PR firms and how there may be a dilution of valuable content and talent because the barrier to entry is much lower through social media. It’s not all doom and gloom though. We are now in a time when there is more to talk about than ever in bourbon. There is going to be no shortage of new stories with the boom of so many new distilleries and entrants into the market.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the lobbying groups for whiskey and bourbon.
  • How small was the community in whiskey journalism?
  • Has the access to the distillers and the people changed over the years?
  • How many more events are there now?
  • At what point in time did you start seeing a shift happen from deep articles vs click bait?
  • If writing isn’t a means to have a successful career did judging whiskey awards feel like a next step?
  • What are the types of stories in magazines that people really latch on to and engage?
  • Do stories on bourbon tourism do well?
  • Do you see a problem with short-form content and those content creators?
  • Do big brands even need bourbon media any longer?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

453 – Will Horses Help Sell a Bottle? with Sean Josephs of Pinhook



The platform of this podcast was to help connect listeners to the brands they see on the store shelves. As time has gone on, sometimes we discover there really isn’t much substance to a brand. But today’s guest is the very opposite. I found myself enthralled with our guests history in the culinary world and what he’s doing to make his whiskey be one that many can appreciate from the liquid to the blending. Sean Josephs is the Co-Founder & Master Blender behind Pinhook. You know all those bottles with race horses on the label and different colored wax. Sean talks about getting his start in restaurants, grinding it out, and eventually working at some of the world’s premier establishments and becoming such a decorated wine sommelier that he would be considered famous by those standards. Consider me a bit star struck by the time this episode is over. Then he finds a new passion in bourbon and opens up one of the first ever whiskey bars in Brooklyn and eventually left to start Pinkhook bourbon. Sean’s passion comes through and we learn the secret decoder ring to knowing more about all his Pinhook bottles and what’s in store for the future.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about adding water to high proof whiskey.
  • What’s your background and how did you get into bourbon?
  • As a somm, do you remember the most epic wine?
  • Was starting a whiskey bar in 2008 in Brooklyn a bold move?
  • Were barrel selections becoming popular for restaurants in 2016?
  • What made you want to stop doing bars and restaurants and start the whiskey brand?
  • Can you explain the packaging and colors and how they work?
  • What makes your whiskey special and what are you doing there?
  • How long do you think you’ll have enough whiskey to keep your projects going?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

452 – Is the Bourbon Boom Over? on Bourbon Community Roundtable #91



Is the bourbon boom really over? Some people think it may. Fred Minnick recently touched on this subject and people began talking about their ideas and buying habits. We wanted to tackle that by touching on publicly traded companies, heresay from our own experience, and if we truly think craft and NDPs are in trouble.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about international market not working.
  • Publicly traded companies like Diego and Brown Forman.
  • Consumers buying mainstays.
  • Retailers are cautious about new brands.
  • International markets.
  • Economic impacts
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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451 – Is There a Real White Oak Shortage? with Danna Baxley of The Nature Conservancy



The barrel is a magical component to the creation of bourbon and nearly 95% of all bourbon goes into white oak. But what’s the problem with this? Bourbon can only be used in a charred barrel once. After that, it needs to find a new home. Now that may sound wasteful but the bourbon market is only a very small contributor to the current white oak problem. To help us better understand about forestry and the white oak supply I’ve invited Daana Baxley from the Nature Conservancy in Kentucky to join the show. She gives some great insight into the current state of white oak trees and what is currently being done to protect our forests. I’ve never known what it takes to manage forests and this episode will give you an insight into grading and how invasive species of trees continue to decline the white oak population. But more so, Daana gives us some insight if we will ever experience a white oak shortage in the future and what we can do to help protect it.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about running out of old bourbon.
  • What took you on a path to nature preservation?
  • How are you able to achieve your mission without using scare tactics?
  • Why is Appalachia so important?
  • What does “protection” mean in the sense of a nature conservancy?
  • What is the current status of the white oak species?
  • What is the proper way to manage these forests?
  • What does high grading mean?
  • How has ash or maple impacted the population?
  • How many years into the future are we looking at when we will see a big white oak problem?
  • Is the bourbon industry a problem or is there another industry to blame?
  • Do bourbon drinkers even care if there is sustainability practices happening?
  • Do other industries join in conversation practices like the white oak initiative?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

450 – Is American Single Malt On The Rise? with Steve Hawley, President of American Single Malt Whiskey Commission



There’s a few things we talk about from time to time on the show. Sometimes it’s RTDs, sometimes it’s tequlia, and one spirit that seems to make it’s way into more conversations is American Single Malt whiskey. However, I told myself that if we’re going to talk about American Single Malt whiskey then we need a person that can really go indepth. What better person than Steve Hawley who is the President of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission. Steve joins the show to talk about his background starting Westland Distillery and then formed the commission. We talk about the growth of the category, production methods, exports, and it’s current journey to being recognized by the rest of the world.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the effect of climate change.
  • How did you get into the whiskey business?
  • If barley grows so well then why isn’t there a history of it?
  • What is the importance of trying to make American Single Malt an approved category?
  • How did you become the president of the commission?
  • How have case sales grown from 2010 till today?
  • Is the SMWC analogous to DISCUS or KDA?
  • What is the proposed definition of American Single Malt and what’s the current status of it?
  • What rules were valid versus ones that seemed really weird?
  • Why do people prefer pot still for single malt production?
  • When a heritage brand creates a single malt like Jim Beam and Heaven Hill, does this hurt or help?
  • Are American Single Malt producers starting to look at exports instead of domestic education?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

449 – Ed Bley is Back with Old Stubborn Whiskey



Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we finally see the re-emergence of Ed Bley. Ed has been a previous guest on the podcast that was from way back in 2018. So if you just started listening to Bourbon Pursuit, then you probably have no idea of the impact Ed had on the bourbon world during that time. Ed went into hiding and went on a mission to bring some new whiskey to the world and he’s now back presenting his new line called Old Stubborn. We talk about his background in blending and the journey he took from working at Cork N Bottle, picking barrels, and being a big influence in the larger bourbon community to losing hope on building a distillery and then quickly pivoting to find whiskey that wasn’t available on the open market. This is one of the most anticipated interviews for many of you long-time listeners so enjoy this episode with Ed Bley.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about sustainability and new oak barrels.
  • What is your background and what were you doing on the retail side?
  • How often do you reject barrels during a barrel selection?
  • Can you give some background on Old Baldy?
  • Why would you want to leave a comfortable position to do your own thing?
  • Why would you want to start a distillery versus sourcing barrels?
  • How did you search for whiskey to use?
  • Why did you call the whiskey Old Stubborn?
  • Is there a reason why you put the word “old” on your bottles?
  • Can you talk about how you ended up on the bottle?
  • What went into this first release?
  • How did the conversations start to acquire your whiskey stocks?
  • Is this high price a sustainable business model?
  • What does your product strategy look like?
  • What is your plan for distribution and expansion?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

448 – When Does An Age Statement Matter? on Bourbon Community Roundtable #90



Whether it’s 2 or 12 years old, the age statement on a bottle seems to be an attractor to many. But as we start diving more into our bourbon journey we start realizing that age is just a number. I’ve had some really great bourbons at 4 years old and some really great at 14. With all that being said, at what point should you proudly display that age statement on the bottle? In this roundtable, we dive into this topic and look at the history of age statements and when we started paying attention to them. There’s also brands that have a lot of success without an age statement like Maker’s Mark and most of the Buffalo Trace portfolio. And now that the modern bourbon consumer has been accustom to seeing age statements, would you pass on a bottle just because it said 4 years old on it?

Show Notes:

  • bove the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about people hating Buffalo Trace products.
  • When Does An Age Statement Matter?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

(more…)

447 – The Economics of the Used Barrel Market with Ben and Jess Loseke



We’re all too familiar with the barrel and it’s impact on whiskey but what about it’s life after whiskey? Actually, there’s quite a lot. These barrels can be used for aging other spirits, beer, furniture, bbq smoking chips, the list is endless. But did you ever stop to think how those used barrels go from one man’s trash to another man’s treasure? Well, there’s one company that has made a name for themselves and that’s Midwest Barrel Company. Ben and Jessica Loseke join the show to talk about how Ben got into the used barrel business and the economics behind it. If you ever find yourself glued to an episode of Storage Wars or Pawn Stars, you’ll love to hear how Ben stumbled into used barrels and everything else he tried to flip in the process. Today, Midwest Barrel Company is brokering tons of used bourbon barrels and talks about how he develops his sales pipeline and acquires new customers.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about price and quality opinions.
  • How did you discover a business in used barrels?
  • Do you remember for you first big score?
  • Did you ever get in legal trouble buying and flipping stuff?
  • What year did you buy your first barrels?
  • How many empty barrels can you fit on a full truck?
  • Who were your main customers?
  • How did you figure out how to scale this business?
  • How hard was it to let go of certain aspects of the business?
  • How do you find new suppliers and new customers?
  • Is this considered commodity trading?
  • Is this a cutthroat industry where you are overbidding others?
  • How fast can you turn around a barrel once you receive it?
  • What are you doing when you steam a barrel?
  • What other things are people making with barrels?
  • How do you know what your pipeline looks like for sales and purchasing?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon