Smooth Ambler made a name for themselves with Old Scout. It was before the big craze of higher-aged sourced MGP when it was relatively easy to find. But, all good things come to an end and now they had to figure out how to keep that business sustainable. John Little, Founder of Smooth Ambler, joins the show once again to talk about why transparently sourcing whiskey was a critical component of the business. John feels they made plenty of mistakes early on and are trying to recapture the glory Old Scout once had. We dive into the economics of the sourced market of increased costs and what the future holds for their own distilled whiskey.
- Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the best introduction to bourbon flights
- How hard was it to take a step back from being involved with every facet of the business?
- Why did sourcing whiskey never leave your business?
- Did the market dictate Old Scout’s trajectory?
- Why not shut down the still and go all-in on sourced product?
- Did you ever think about putting Old Scout to the side once your distilled product was ready?
- What future modeling did you use to figure out when to put down new make or just purchase aged inventory?
- What was the reaction when Old Scout went off the market and back on?
- Why was transparency so important when it came to telling the Old Scout story?
- Besides capital, what initial challenges do you have sourcing whiskey?
- How much better have you gotten at projecting pipeline and future growth?
- Aged stock has increased significantly, so how are you handling this?
- As barrel prices increase are you absorbing costs or planning on passing on those costs?
- Support this podcast on Patreon
John Little and John Foster of Smooth Ambler are good friends of the show. We’ve had them on before and they’ve been doing a lot of stuff recently to keep their audiences engaged. They have a new video series, divulge their plans for future whiskey production, and talk about their latest launch of their MGP based Old Scout. Tune in to hear their take on what’s happened to American Whiskey in the past 2 years.
- KDA Press Release: https://kybourbon.com/2-barrels-for-every-kentuckian-distillers-top-9-million-barrels-for-first-time-in-modern-era/
- This week’s Above the Char with Fred Minnick talks about blind tastings.
- Tell us about your video series on YouTube.
- What’s been happening in the past two years?
- When are you going to use the new make?
- What is the game plan for Rye?
- What’s the plan for the American Whiskey?
- Let’s talk about sourced whiskey.
- Do you see Big Level as always evolving?
- Do you consider yourselves a craft distiller?
- What impact has Smooth Ambler made in West Virginia?
- What’s the Whiskey Wagon?
- What benefits have you experienced from the Pernod Ricard deal?
- Where does the name Smooth Ambler come from?
104 – Jim Beam, Barrell, Rabbit Hole, Smooth Ambler, 1792, Art Eatables, Balcones, Cooper’s Craft and Jack Rose in 10 Interviews from WhiskyLive Louisville 2017
A combination of 10 interviews all done at WhiskeyLive in Louisville. This podcast features Fred Noe and Beth Burrows of Jim Beam, Joe Beatrice of Barrell Bourbon, Brian Gelfo of Rabbit Hole, John Foster of Smooth Ambler, Josh Hollifield of Barton 1792, Kelly Ramsey of Art Eatables, Winston Edwards of Balcones, Greg Roshkowski of Cooper’s Craft, and we wrap it up with Bill Thomas of Jack Rose.
- Thanks to WhiskyLive during the Bourbon Affair for letting us come and record these interviews. Make sure you attend a future WhiskyLive event.
John Little, VP and Head Distiller at Smooth Ambler, talks about the how the whole operation started from a note his father-in-law gave him from Time magazine. John dives into the roots of his current distillation and the single barrels seen on the market.
- Talk a little about your past and how you got into Whiskey
- What made you want to start a bourbon company a long time ago outside of KY?
- Talk about Smooth Ambler for a bit and what you offer
- Talk about the name behind it as well. Smooth Ambler, Contradiction, Old Scout, etc;
- So how did you learn about the distilling process since you didn’t have a background in it?
- You all don’t hide the fact that a lot of what’s on the market today is sourced from MGP. But there was a question that was brought up by Ryan Lintz that asked “Why Does SA MGP sourced bourbon taste so much better than others? Is it because it’s bottled at Cask Strength? Or is it a mental hype train thing?”
- The Old Scout store picks have had wild success. It seems like people can’t get enough of them
- Are we ever going to see Very Old Old Scout again?
- The biggest news as of late was Pernod Ricard has taken a majority stake in your company. First off, congratulations. I hope we’re going to see a new ferrari in your driveway soon, but what does this mean for your business.