Unexpected Emotions – Brenne Turns One

October 16, 2013 § 15 Comments

For those of you who follow this blog with any sort of regularity, you know by now that I have been sharing moments this past year of my experience bringing my own whisky to the market.

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Thanks to Johanne McInnis of THE WHISKY LASSIE blog for this awesome photo!!!!

It’s been exactly 12 months since Brenne first became available to anyone anywhere in the world, and I decided to launch it in my home city of New York.  3 weeks after our launch, Hurricane Sandy hit – but we persevered.  We had our lives, we had a roof over our heads (however dark and cold it was!) and we had drive.  That famous mach-5 New Yorker drive that inspires and challenges so many – it’s the collective heartbeat of the people of this fine city that, when tapped into, can compels you to greatness (or craziness … or both!).

I had a plan when I launched Brenne – a detailed one and a skeletal one.  The detailed one went out the window on day 1.  The skeletal one provided the framework & focus but allowed me to be flexible – learning the industry and market as I went along each day.  And I’m GLAD I threw out that detailed plan, for the end goal in my first year looked a lot different then the reality, and the reality is AMAZING.

When asked what has surprised me most about this year, I can honestly say EVERYTHING.

When asked how I feel, aside from the obvious (TIRED!) – I am grateful, humble, and much to my surprise – a bit emotionally overwhelmed … I think a good (happy) cry-fest may be in order. 🙂 (or a good long run!).

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I have lived, breathed, loved & birthed Brenne from nothing and it’s at times overwhelming when I’ve been greeted with honors, applause, hugs and congrats.  I know this is just whisky at the end of the day – but to me it’s a lot more.  It’s a dream, a goal, a passion … I feel blessed that I have been able to get this off the ground, to put my money where my mouth is (literally, I invested my entire life savings to do this), quiet all of the doubt and chatter in life to commit myself 100% to a dream.

People must think I’m nuts when I thank them 1000 times for telling me they enjoy my whisky but it’s genuine because without people liking it enough to buy it, well, then I’d have a lot of whisky to consume by myself and not much of a business!

Here’s where I started in October 2012:

NYC with roughly 40 individual accounts primarily in the West Village neighborhood, a small subset of Greenwich Village, in Manhattan to whom I often hand-delivered bottles & cases.   … and oh right, I also had a lot of bottles of Brenne to sell!

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That’s me making a Brenne delivery (a common sight in NYC this first year!) and are those Brenne bottles peaking out of my purse!? 🙂

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Here’s where I am as of October 2013:

6 States with plans to cover a majority of the US over the next 12 months, 5 (FIVE!) brand ambassadors across the US, an Icon of Whisky award, a feature in Food & Wine Magazine as their ONLY WHISKY for their Best New Spirits picks of ’13… and did I mention? We sold out. 🙂

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Me accepting our Icon’s of Whisky award

I started saying recently that my company is 2 people big: 1 is me, 1/2 is my incredible husband (the brains & support system behind this crazy lady) and the other 1/2 is the #WhiskyFabric family.  I owe a massive THANK YOU to so many of you in our blogger community for helping me in this first year.  THANK YOU for including Brenne in your whisky discussions, for sharing my posts on your own blogs and around social media, for doing what we do best; spreading the word.

I have only 12 months under my belt but think it’s off to a really strong start.  It hasn’t come without a daily dose of challenges, lots of headaches and hundreds of sleepless nights – making it to any degree in this industry is not a blissful adventure by any stretch (regardless of how many smiley faces I put everywhere) 😉  but I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.  And what’s even crazier is that I haven’t even scratched the surface of my goals.  There is so much more to come from me + Brenne that I hope you’ll continue to stay with me and be present in this wild journey.

Welcome to the beginning.  Again.

With that, I’m off for a vacation in Japan … where of course I’ll be gathering some great info & stories for this blog! See you when I’m back!

**All of my “Brenne Journey” posts are collected together on THIS PAGE (<click that link) should you wish to read through.**

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