An intern weighs in…

August 31, 2012 § 9 Comments

As some of you may know, I’m gearing up to launch my own whisky, Brenne in the Fall.  This summer, I was lucky enough to have had Whitney Krueger interning while we worked through a variety of tasks to prepare as best as we can for Brenne’s release.  Constantly impressed by Whitney’s ability to quickly pick up the flow, goals, focus, ideas & concepts of what launching a new brand is, means and how that relates to Brenne, I thought it best to have her guest write a post this week to share her thoughts as her Summer internship came to an end.

The BRENNE Experience
by Whitney Krueger

As a twenty-something woman who has been out of college for a few years, I wasn’t sure I would ever contemplate the following question again: “What should I wear on my first day of school?” However, I just asked Allison Patel her opinion on the matter last week. In a few days, I am going back to school to get my MBA and am wrapping up my summer internship with Allison at Local Infusions. Hopefully, I’ll be back in fall, pending my class schedule.

In order to get a feel for the spirits industry and, specifically, the marketing side, I have been working on Allison’s single malt whisky launch of Brenne. I had previously worked in advertising and wanted to get an idea of what being in the spirit (and luxury) industry actually entails. I have long been fascinated with understanding why people order the drinks that they do: Can they actually tell the difference between a vodka soda with Ketel One or one with Gray Goose? If they can, WOW, I am impressed, but if they can’t, what made them choose one over the other? I would guess that it is about perception, which is probably at least partially shaped by marketing and that’s where I decided to begin.

Allison and I made the connection through a mutual friend and from the first time that I met Allison, I knew that I had a lot to learn from her. Not only did I fall in love with the quality & taste of Brenne, but I was ecstatic about working on a brand without preconceived ideas about what we could and could not do.

So, what have I been doing at Brenne? A little bit of everything. I helped to design the website and promotional materials, budgeted, brainstormed accounts, partnerships and events and wrote design blog posts amongst other things. The first part of this internship has been focused on the creative side, laying the groundwork and determining with few data points what may make Brenne succeed. What I hope to learn in school and the timing seems to be right for Brenne, is how to set up those events, postings and ideas in a way that lends to being measured. Being neither completely left brained nor completely right brained, I want be creative, execute and get quantifiable results.

So will people choose Brenne because of it’s flavor profile? Will the events that we are laying the groundwork for convert attendees into devoted Brenne loyalists? Will the target audience appreciate our fun and different approach and promotional items? We don’t know, but being able to measure those successes and potential missteps when the time comes, I believe is how a brand continually improves and eventually succeeds. It has been an honor to work at Brenne for the past few weeks and I am so excited to see our ideas materialize and, eventually, dig into the data behind that work.

Thanks everyone! ~Whitney

Here I am trying to figure out the best size for our awesome Brenne temporary tattoos

Meeting a Friend of Brenne in the pharmacy on the corner!

Me, Brenne friend Cindy, & Allison

We worked really hard and put in a lot of long days but Allison reminded me it was still summer with a surprise day trip to the beach on one of my final days.


How to Wear a Full Formal Kilt

August 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

As a woman, it is not entirely unusual for me to consult YouTube for various How-To’s that can impact my appearance (i.e. how to do that new hair style or make your own face scrub) but aside from the “How To Tie a ____ Tie” videos, I can’t say that I think there are a lot of “How To” videos that have you men rushing to preview, learn & possibly apply to your day.

Until I came across this one: How To Wear a Full Formal Kilt Outfit with All Accessories.

Very comprehensive … kinda made me want to run out and get a kilt so I could follow along.  Without further adieu, here is the video.  Feel free to bookmark this for your next formal event in Scotland :).


Have you worn a kilt? Or do you look to YouTube for specific How To videos?  Share below!

Camp Whiskey: Brooklyn, New York

August 7, 2012 § 7 Comments

If you live in the New York area, consider me your genie and the information in this post being your wish granted.  Dramatic you say?  No, just honest.  Camp Whiskey – in all it’s calm, cool, educational and surprisingly well sourced whiskies (aka, not available in this country – nor will most of them ever be) glory was the highlight of my summer thus far.

Every Wednesday evening this August on a rooftop in Brooklyn, Camp Whiskey assembles.  It’s a great crowd of novices & educated drinkers who are all easy going and excited to be a part of the group to learn, meet & taste great whiskies.

The first official event was last Wednesday, August 1st, titled “Irish Whiskeys That Aren’t Jameson.”  Starting with the most comprehensive history on Irish Whiskey I have ever heard, it wasn’t long before we were diving in to the liquid gold.  On the menu:

Locke’s 8yr, Single Malt, Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey (in the ceramic jug) was the new release this year from the Cooley Midleton Distillery.  Originally produced, however, by John Locke’s & Sons distillery near Kilbeggan, it’s bottled at 40% abv.  This single malt is a pure pot still, a procedure unique to Ireland whiskey.  Mistakenly, I erased my tasting notes on this one but I easily remember it as simply being wonderful. 😛

Bushmills 10yr, Single Malt this is the hearts-only of the distillates (meaning only the middle cuts) with a goal of creating an even smoother Irish whiskey.  From what I gathered, this one will NOT be making it to the US.  NOSE: More bland than the Locke, harder to analyze in that particular environment for me – even when I stepped inside. Seemed less interesting then the previous dram but would love to revisit in a quiet, neutral-air environment.  PALATE: Sweet first, cacao, a funky malt, salty, very short sherry finish.

Yellow Spot 12yr, Single Pot Still Whiskey aged in 3 different casks: American bourbon, Spanish Sherry Butts, & Spanish Malaga Casks.  This is a very limited release of only 500 cases, bottled at 46% abv.  NOSE: Sweet cinnamon, basil, sage & peppermint. PALATE: Bold, tingly, very long finish with an intense bite.  Awesome.

Kilbeggin 18yr – this is also extremely limited (4,000 bottles) – After being closed in 1957, the Old Kilbeggan distillery and its whiskey recipes were purchased by Cooley’s founder John Teeling in 1988 and finally reopened for production in 2007.  Whiskey using the Kilbeggan recipe (like this phenomenal 18 year old) was being produced at the Cooley distillery in County Louth, between Dublin and Belfast.  This is a beauty.  Unfortunately for me (& my empty wallet), it was my favorite of the lot!  Extremely interesting – I kept taking it inside to smell and analyze away from the fragrant rooftop plants.  NOSE: Caramel & cotton candy, sweet corn, salt water taffy.  PALATE: Mild and smooth beginning, wave up to tannins and spicy charred oak.  I love the influence of the corn in the mash bill.

Redbreast 12yr, Cask Strength Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey – “Irish Whiskey of the Year” I love a good cask strength whiskey.  (Explained how to enjoy cask strengths in an earlier post here).  It’s important to remember that not just any barrel is used for a cask strength bottling.  Typically, it’s the cask that is aging differently from it’s sisters.  As a fellow camper so eloquently put it; often it’ll be the barrel that, due to a crack in the ceiling boards was exposed to sun or the first few barrels by the door to the rick house that got the rush of outside air every time someone went inside.  These things over a collection of a few years to a decade can make a real impact on that single barrel.  It’s so unique that the distiller decides to bottle those barrels as they are.  This particular one is full of life.  NOSE: fermented fruit & soil/earth(?).  PALATE: tons of fruit, chocolate, pears.  A lovely dram for sure.

Wish you were there?! Don’t miss another week!  See below for details.

(or click HERE for more of the below flyer or click HERE for NYCwhisky listing)

…And here are some pictures from the event…

Yup … there was a gnome up there being carried away by angry monsters

Nothing like passing the great Whiskey Shop on my way to the subway!

Great job guys – can’t wait to attend the next Camp session!

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