Ecosystem Podcasts

416 – Who Needs $500 Bottles and Distillery Tasting Kits on Bourbon Community Roundtable #82

It’s another great episode of The Bourbon Community Roundtable and this is the 82nd edition. Over the past few weeks Jack Daniel’s has made its case against a dog toy manufacturer all the way to the Supreme Court. There’s no better time than the present to have Brian Harra of Sipp’n Corn break it down into what this means for parody law and for anyone else trying to infringe on a trademark. Then we dive in with our first topic with expensive bottles of bourbon. I’m not talking secondary, I’m talking like $500 bottles. The idea came to me when I saw lots of people dismissing the new Daniel Weller release because it’s 11 years old and only 4 proof points higher than Weller 12, but Buffalo Trace is putting a price tag that is 900% higher. Does bourbon need $500 bottles? In the second half we look at distillery tasting kits. Four Roses recently announced theirs and people are already getting amped up for it. However, many distilleries have done this in the past and failed. Has the time come when we could see this trend start to take off?

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about what distillery could overtake Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection.
  • Talk about the Jack Daniel’s case against the dog toy manufacturer.
  • Does bourbon need $500 bottles?
  • Do you think distillery tasting kits will take off?
  • Why have tasting kits failed in the past?
  • @breakingbourbon
  • Support this podcast on Patreon


415 – The Story Behind Wyoming Whiskey with David DeFazio

If you’re looking for a bourbon that has been crafted by arguably the best distiller of wheated bourbon and blended by the most respected nose in the industry, then you’re looking for Wyoming Whiskey. The story of how Wyoming Whiskey got started is fascinating and that’s why I invited David DeFazio, one of the original Co-Founders, to come on the show and share how an idea of starting a winery turned into a distillery that failed on their first release, crawled its way back to greatness. David shares the story of buying a Vendome still but not having a distiller and took Steve Nally, the man responsible for decades of wheated bourbon production at Maker’s Mark and now serving as the Master Distiller at Bardstown bourbon Company, out of retirement to be the person who would set them up for amazing whiskey for years to come. But, that’s not all, David and his team also got Nancy Fraley to come in and be the person who would take their releases to the next level. Plus, stick around to the end to hear about some rye distillation fun.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about stonefruit
  • What got you into whiskey and how did you carve your path in this industry?
  • What did you want to come away with when you visited the Kentucky Bourbon Festival trying to start this business?
  • What did you think Wyoming could offer to the whiskey landscape?
  • How did you get connected to Steve Nally?
  • When you started did you feel there was going to be a demand for bourbon?
  • Did you tell Steve Nally what kind of bourbon to create?
  • What’s the climate like for aging?
  • Where did the relationship with Nancy Fraley start?
  • What was your sales plan?
  • How did you win people back when you failed in your first release?
  • Did Edrington try to make things super luxury after the acquisition?
  • Was there a reason that the backstory and founders haven’t been on the forefront of the brand story?
  • @wyomingwhiskey
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

414 – The Problem with Bourbon Taxes and Law with Chad McCoy

What goes hand-in-hand with bourbon? That’s law and taxes. Over the past few years we have seen incredible changes to Kentucky’s bourbon laws when it comes to vintage spirits, the three-tier system, and the bourbon barrel tax being removed. All of these are done in an effort to make Kentucky’s signature industry thrive. There’s been one person behind the scenes with all of this, and that is Chad McCoy. Chad is a Former Kentucky State Representative that took care of Bardstown and wanted to see change happen. He dives into how he got into politics and he gives us an idea how many lobbyists there are vying for attention. It’s a fantastic episode that covers the political landscape and how it’s really hard to make everyone from producers, distributors, and consumers equally happy.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about bottled-in-bond rye.
  • Where did you grow up and how did you get into politics?
  • At what point did bourbon law become more of a focus?
  • How often would you be hit up by lobbyists?
  • How does a lobbyist influence your decisions?
  • Who presented the vintage spirits law bill and what was the motivation behind it?
  • Is a laser code from a prior year considered vintage?
  • Can you talk about the bill that bypassed distributors so distilleries to can sell bottles at a gift shop?
  • Why are trade bodies against NDPs?
  • Why did you want to get rid of the bourbon barrel tax?
  • How can consumers make a change?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

413 – How To Make a Whiskey RTD with Flavorman

You hear Ryan and I talk about RTDs or Ready To Drink canned cocktails on This Week in Bourbon all the time and here’s the reason why. Most of us got our start into bourbon by mixing it with coke or ginger ale. The modern day drinker is finding their path through cocktails. And now that the seltzer craze has hit, getting your first taste of bourbon through a RTD can be the new gateway. There is one company based in Louisville that has been the go-to company for every drinks company across the country for creating flavored whiskeys, energy drinks, and even RTDs, and that’s Flavorman. Brad Nichols and Jordan Plappert from Flavorman join the show as we get a deep-dive into how flavors are developed and how do we begin creating a bourbon-based RTD. It’s a fascinating show about conception of ideas, how we can keep sugar volume in check, and how big your pocket book needs to be to get started.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about growing older and your senses.
  • How did you progress into the drinks business?
  • What’s the general overview of Flavorman?
  • How do you create or discover new flavors?
  • Where do you start when creating a spirit-based RTD?
  • What does conception look like for a bourbon-based RTD?
  • What difference goes into creating a RTD vs a flavored whiskey?
  • Can explain the difference in the type of can used based on the metal or material?
  • Why are whiskey based RTDs higher in alcohol versus seltzer based?
  • Is malt based cheaper versus spirit based?
  • How do you reduce sugar volume for those that are health conscious?
  • How do you choose a product that is ready to pour in a bottle versus in a can?
  • How do you stabilize an ingredient so it doesn’t separate and the shelf life?
  • What can you offer to customers to get products on shelves sooner?
  • What’s the initial cost to just start the conversation?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

411 – The Most Traveled Man in Whiskey with Drew Hannush of Whiskey Lore

How many distillery tours have you been on? 2? 5? Maybe 20? Well, you can’t even touch our guest today. Drew Hannush is the author of multiple books including Experiencing Kentucky Bourbon, Experiencing Irish Whiskey, and new one coming soon on Tennessee. He has his own whiskey podcast called Whiskey Lore but, he has also visited over 250 distilleries across the world. That’s a ton of miles traveled. We dig into his passion and why he continues to visit distilleries and even re-visit some. Then we discuss how he doesn’t get fatigued because sometimes it’s a lot of the same process and story told over and over again. Then we dive into some hidden gems across Kentucky and even talk about the boom of craft distilleries and if he plans on hitting every single one.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about barrel shortage.
  • What got you into the deep-dive of whiskey?
  • How do you not get fatigued listening to a similar story every time?
  • Did you find out where the name bourbon came from?
  • What stands out when visiting Kentucky distilleries?
  • How are some distilleries rewarding drivers versus those who are traveling to try a bunch of whiskey?
  • How are you approaching all the different whiskeys with an open mind?
  • How many brands outside of American Whiskey are sourcing whiskey?
  • What keeps you interested to keep going back and revisiting distilleries?
  • What are the hidden gems that people don’t know about?
  • Now that all these craft distilleries are popping up across the US is the goal to hit them all?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

410 – Lessons Learned From Building The Biggest Bourbon Bar with Josh Howes and Tommy Craggs of Watch Hill Proper

The dream of owning a bourbon bar. That sounds pretty awesome doesn’t it? In this episode, we get to hear Watch Hill Proper’s journey. Joshua Howes and Tommy Craggs join the show to talk about the initial concept of the bar and the challenges they faced not coming from a restaurant background. We dive into the finer details of the business such as staff training, retainment, and revenue between food and beverage. But for us whiskey geeks, we talk about building a collection of unicorns that are proudly on display but also available by the pour.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about why Maker’s Mark doesn’t use age statements.
  • How did you get into bourbon and what’s your bourbon journey?
  • Did you know what the concept of the bar was going to be before you started?
  • What challenges did you face since you don’t come from a restaurant background?
  • How did you come to the design and the feel of the space?
  • What percentage of your revenue is food vs beverage?
  • How did you procure the unicorns in the collection?
  • How do you train the staff on how to be knowledgable on all the whiskeys?
  • What was your business plan and how many drinks you have to sell to keep the doors open?
  • Can you talk about how membership communication backfired?
  • How did the name Watch Hill Proper come to be?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

409 – Are Cask Finishes Going to Follow The Craft Beer Craze?

Where did it all go wrong? Or maybe it’s not even wrong, but secondary cask finished bourbons seems to all the rage. What used to be a means of innovation has turned into a chase to find the most exotic woods and multi-cask finishes to keep fans asking, what’s next? In this episode, Ryan, Fred, and myself dive into the history of cask finishes and question whether double oaked bourbons are still considered pure bourbon. We wonder why don’t consumers ask more questions to hold companies responsible about the finishing processes and potential quality drops. Lastly, I drop a bomb about SKU sprawl and what will happen when larger companies create more finishes that will squeeze out shelf space for smaller brands.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about buying dusty bourbon
  • What’s your fascination with Liquid Death?
  • Where did cask finishes really begin?
  • How can you trust what a brand does with their whiskey behind the scenes?
  • Why don’t consumers question the process?
  • Are double oaked bourbons still considered pure bourbon?
  • Is it the producer or the consumer problem because there is a chase for the next thing?
  • Is barrel finishing the only way to differentiate yourself from other brands?
  • Is the quality going to drop soon because of the distillate being used?
  • What happens when companies with large stocks create more SKUs and take over more shelf space?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

408 – Single Rickhouse Bottlings and Fixing Single Barrel Saturation on Bourbon Community Roundtable #80

We’ve got two juicy topics to tackle so here’s what we’ve got. Last year we saw the release of Russell’s Reserve Single Rickhouse limited edition offering. That sparked a Vine Pair article that asked if single rickhouse bottlings will be the next big thing? I wanted to challenge that a bit and figure out if we really think there are varied flavor profiles based on rickhouses or are they cherry-picking barrels to make another marketing angle. In the second half of the show we discuss the current state of single barrels. They are flooded on shelves across the nation and they aren’t selling like they used to. How will this get fixed or is this a side-effect of the COVID buying frenzy?

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about entry proof.
  • Are single rickhouse bottlings going to be the next big thing?
  • Do different rickhouses provide different flavor profiles or is this a marketing angle?
  • How will we fix the abundance of single barrel offerings on the shelves across the nation?
  • Is this a side effect of the covid buying frenzy?
  • @breakingbourbon @fredminnick @drinkseelbachs @bourbonr @sippncorn
  • Support this podcast on Patreon


407 – More Mind Blowing Stave Science on Bourbon Aging with Andrew Wiehebrink of ISC

How much influence does the barrel have on the whiskey you drink? If you talk to a lot of people in the industry you will get a rough estimate of 70% or more flavor gets extracted from the barrel. We’ve had a few coopers on the show to talk about process, and even today’s guest was back on Episode 346. We were so amazed at some of his research we wanted him to come back on the show to talk about more mind blowing stave science. Andrew Wiehebrink is the Director of Spirits Research and Innovation for Independent Stave Company. That means he leads up all the cool advancements on where barrel trends are heading. We talk about the current barrel shortage and if toasted products are the reason to blame, where the future of oak alternatives are heading, and why there is a trend of distilleries moving tog Char 1 vs Char 4.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about warming up your palate.
  • Can you give us a refreshed on how you got into whiskey?
  • How is ISC looking at the current barrel shortage crisis?
  • Is wood growth a problem in getting new barrels?
  • Is there a labor shortage in cooperages?
  • How much has toasted barrels lead to a barrel shortage?
  • Can you explain the seasoning process once again and how that effects the overall flavor?
  • Are you all experimenting with oak alternatives?
  • Why does French Oak have more peaks and valleys for the maturation process?
  • Maker’s really pioneered the custom staves but is anyone else doing anything to that level?
  • Why is there a trend of moving towards Char 1 vs Char 4?
  • Does your research show an optimal time of the year to pull barrels?
  • Is there a trend of using smoked barrels?
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

406 – Chasing A Passion of BBQ with Matt Pittman of Meat Church

If you google for anything BBQ related on YouTube, I can guarantee you will see a video pop-up of our guest. Matt Pittman is the founder of Meat Church, he’s one of the most well-known BBQ personalities in the industry. But Matt wasn’t always talking about brisket and ribs with his infamous Holy Cow rub, that was his passion project. In this episode we talk about his career and what it took to make a pivot from a comfy position in IT to going all-in with Meat Church. But this isn’t all about BBQ. Matt is turning his sights into another discovered passion, bourbon. He discusses how is eyes were opened during a bottle share and with the help of the Dallas Bourbon Club, he is starting to build out his very own collection.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about tasting mats.
  • Where did you grow up and how did you get into tech?
  • Did you have any pit master idols or people you looked up to?
  • Were you accepted by people in the industry or did they just look at you as a YouTuber?
  • Why did you choose to not open a restaurant?
  • Did the product or the media and education come first?
  • What was the tipping point when you could leave your career to chase after BBQ?
  • What tactics did you use to grow the business when you went full time?
  • How did the idea of cooking classes start?
  • Where did the name Meat Church come from?
  • At what point did bourbon start making an influence on you?
  • Bourbon producers have generations of distillers, does that exist in BBQ as well?
  • Who bestowed upon you the title of pit master?
  • @meatchurch
  • Support this podcast on Patreon