Last year I blogged about Allison Patel, founder and owner of Brenne Single Malt Whisky from France in a posting called, From Ballet to Booze.
I found Allison’s story and brand so amazing that it inspired a video series that we are calling Shakers and Stirrers. This first episode can be found on our YouTube channel. (The episode is below or you can access it here.)
The intent of the series is to take a close look at the new breed of innovators and entrepreneurs who are changing the booze business. It delves into understanding their motivations, their vision and the obstacles they encounter.
We hope you enjoy this inaugural episode and please let me know what suggestions you might have for other profile candidates. Leave a message in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(If you are receiving this by email and can’t access the video below, click here.)
Meet Allison Patel, a whisky-loving woman and former ballerina.
Allison is the owner/producer of her own whisky, Brenne, a French Single Malt made in Cognac, France. She reinvented herself into the booze business as a second career after hanging up her tutu and pointe shoes.
I am very glad she did – trust me when I tell you it’s a terrific world-class whisky. It’s very unique, smooth and approachable.
Here’s the product story:
Brenne is made from estate-grown barley and is harvested, distilled, matured and bottled in Cognac, France. The expertise in distilling comes from a 3rd generation craft distiller. As Allison describes it, “It’s crafted from seed to spirit.” The taste is extraordinary and is a result of the malted barley and the barreling. Brenne Whisky starts in new Limousin oak barrels and is finished in Cognac casks, giving it a slight hint of fruit that sets it apart from other whiskies. Each bottle comes from a single barrel selected at its peak. Brenne was officially launched in October 2012 but only after many years of developing and maturing her product. So, add patience to Allison’s skill set.
Allison’s story is no less interesting:
She and her husband have always shared a passion for food and drink from all over the world. Making an effort to visit local markets, wineries, and distilleries in their travels, they have developed an appreciation of great taste experiences, especially with their favorite category — whisky.
After failing to find many “non-traditional” whiskies in the US, Allison took it into own her hands and started setting up an import/export company for this sole purpose. Allison is a most interesting person with drive and tenacity, mixed with charm and humility. She launched a brand and still managed to maintain a balanced view of her efforts. One chat with Allison is all it takes to feel great about the future of the spirits industry. From Allison’s personal blog, The Whisky Woman, about being a booze business startup:
This is not an easy road at all. Naturally, I only share publicly the highlights of this journey, but I tell people who are thinking about starting their own brand in the spirits world to not be fooled by the happy-go-lucky social media sharing; everything looks easier then it seems, even the stuff that looks impossible. But… the moment when you start to realize your dream is becoming a reality is unlike anything else. Its deep, exciting and can rock you to the core.
I guess that dancing on your toes is good training for the booze business.
By the way,
She and another new and exciting booze business entrepreneur, Jack Summers (Sorel Liqueur), often team up for joint promotion opportunities. In fact, it was Jack who introduced us and recently introduced me to a Brenne and Sorel cocktail called The Last Call. We’re talking amazing here, folks. (Recipe: 2 oz Brenne, 1 oz Sorel, let it rest and breath for a minute.)