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.


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!).


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!


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!? 🙂


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. 🙂


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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§ 15 Responses to Unexpected Emotions – Brenne Turns One

  • PK Read says:

    Congratulations on a year of achievement! Well done! Such a good blog, as well.

  • G-LO says:

    Bravo Whisky Woman! You’ve made us all very proud. Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

    Buon Viaggio e Cent’Anni!

    • G-LO,
      You didn’t have a choice to NOT be included in the journey! 😉 heehee, just kidding. I thank you – like Susannah – for being with me all the way & helping me spread the word. It’s been fun seeing you and the Booze Dancing crew in NYC for more and more events this past year! Hope that’s a trend that continues upwards!


      • G-LO says:

        You and me both! I have my fingers crossed for a second trip to WhiskyLive. Such a good time and always great to spend some time with you and the NYC Whisky crew. Such a wonderful group of people!

  • tntenniswhiz says:

    I came across your venture six months or so ago and while I haven’t had the opportunity to sample your whisky yet, I find your story truly inspiring. I am working to build a business as an independent tennis teaching professional, hoping to spread this great sport beyond the walls of country clubs. Hearing about the energy and tireless dedication you bring to your project pushes me to do the same. So, here’s a tip of my glass to ya!

    • Hi Tennis Whiz,
      It’s a pleasure to meet you! Thank you for sharing you story – I wish you the best of luck. It’s certainly not easy to do your own thing but the rewards of seeing your dream start to come true far outweigh the (really though) work it took to get there 🙂 At least they have for me!

      Thanks for following along – cheers,

  • Susannah SB says:

    Congratulations on your first Brenniversary! May there be a lifetime of further celebrations and joys on your journey.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but you are an inspiration—hardworking, smart, funny, beautiful, and tenacious, a woman with a big dream and even bigger guts. I admire how you put your whole self into your company and I think that is part of what has made Brenne so successful—not just the whisky itself, but the whole spirit of the venture, an ethos that starts with you and is cultivated by your devoted following.

    In short, I’m so happy that your first year on the market has been such a smashing success, and I hope you enjoy your well-earned vacation!

    • Susannah,
      Thank you so much for writing such touching sentiments. You in particular have helped me SO MUCH this past year – a true #whiskyfabric family member and friend – I can’t thank you enough for your support, cheer-leading & Brenne-preaching! 😀

      Looking forward to year 2!

  • Allison I am so inspired by you! And Congrats on such an awesome achievement!! Have a fabulous trip and I can’t wait to hear more. BTW- Where can I find your Whisky in Southern California??

    • Hi Karen!
      Thank you so much – Japan was amazing (I’m clearly WAY behind on my blog!) but have some great material from the trip to post soon. As to your question, Brenne JUST (as of early Dec) arrived in California and our distributor is working to get it processed and shipped out to stores. I do believe that K&L Wines will be one of the first to stock it (both in their northern & southern Cali locations).

      Thanks again!

  • The Casks says:

    Congratulations Allison! It’s been great fun, inspiring, and just damn satisfying to follow this dream of yours and see it become the success that it has. Looking forward to Brenne coming to Minnesota!

  • Aaron Krouse says:

    Bravisimo! or Brennevisimo! It’s been watching the journey unfold into such a wonderful success, and finally meeting you was icing on the barrel. #mixedmetaphors’r’us

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