Brenne Is Walking

April 25, 2014 § 15 Comments

My mother jokes that Brenne is her grandchild.  I appreciate the joke as Brenne Whisky certainly feels like my first born!  And this little baby of mine is gearing up to be a toddler at 18 months old!

Lately I’ve gone through a little internal adjusting and it’s been an interesting game of realization, reflection and a touch of soul searching.


Taken from the window of a moving train entering NYC last week. I’ve been highly aware of the sunsets and changing of season lately … perhaps it’s my way of having closure with one chapter of Brenne and seeing the vitality in the next!

Like in life, whisky also takes its time to come into maturity. I'm certainly growing with Brenne.

Like in life, whisky also takes its time to come into maturity. I’m certainly growing with Brenne.

Last Friday my good friend Jackie Summers (of the ridiculously delicious Sorel liquor and yes, he is the Jack From Brooklyn) stopped by to drop something off in advance of a photo shoot we’re doing together next week for an article (yay!). When he arrived, I was not in my usual 100mph, multi- stimuli and multi- everything pace.  Instead, I opened the door, hugged him and went back to my living room floor where I laid down, face first.

Kinda like this ... but sans beach (unfortunately!) :)

Kinda like this … but with no beach (unfortunately!) 🙂

This journey I’m on is truly incredible. I couldn’t be more blessed; we’re exceeding our goals, leaping over our sales projections, YOU all have continued to be here with me (thank you!), I love when I travel and have the opportunity to meet people in the flesh from all over who we’ve been in contact with on social media (hey #whiskyfabric!), the press & fellow bloggers continue to help me get the word out and I have the BEST team of Brand Ambassadors (via Classic Imports, yay!) out there every day sharing my vision and my little whisky.

Sometimes – the reality of which just smacks you upside the head.  Even with all of that support – I’ve still bitten off a LOT.  And in my own tiny, super small way, just that fact that I’m still here is a huge accomplishment for me. But WOW – there is still just so much work ahead and on that day, I felt like life had just rushed ahead and left me in the dust.  I kept asking myself how am I ever going to get to the tops of these mountains?  And man have I have chosen some massive mountains to tackle!!! I was lying on the floor covering my head because the view from my tiny peak was making me nauseous just as much as the realization of how much farther and higher I want to climb!  I see plenty of other people climbing these mountains too, but they all seem to have huge teams, fancy gear and a documentary entourage in tow! Yikes.  I’m still climbing solo.

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 _X_ 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 (there’s always a but!) – the moment when you start to realize your dream is becoming a reality is unlike anything else.  It’s deep, exciting and can rock you to the core. 🙂

Brenne has only been on the market for 18 months (which feels like 3yrs) and I realized on that Good Friday that I needed to cut myself some slack.  (For example, in that very moment I was getting mad at myself for lying on the floor missing out on valuable work time – I’m my best critic!) My goals and dreams are big – really big, as are any entrepreneurs. And despite the fact that the things I’ve put in motion are, for the most part, farther ahead of where I thought they’d be at this point, it’s still no where near good enough for me and I was in a bit of shock at just how much work I need to do before I get to my next mountain peak.

And here’s where life get’s funny.  There I was last Friday feeling like a baby ant in the world of the spirit giants and after spending some quality soul-revitalization time with Jack <@TheLiquortarian on twitter (which included grabbing a slice of pizza and visiting a few accounts together, naturally) this happened:

I decided to walk home after I departed ways with Jackie and popped into a great little store called The Wine Hut NYC along the way.  As soon as the store was empty, I pulled out my bottle of Brenne Whisky and introduced myself to the man behind the counter, hoping to get an appointment with the buyer. The store manager looked at me and pointed to a shelf directly above him where Brenne was already sitting!  Shocked I asked how he knew about it. He gave me a quizzical look and said matter of factly, “Well, it’s in all the magazines … how would someone not know about it?” (Ummm because I still don’t believe that my baby has sprouted wings!?!). Then 3 people approached the register with 2 bottles of wine and said, “we just need to add a bottle of whisky to our purchase.” Without missing a beat I said, “Oh! Get Brenne! Here!” and popped the cork from my bottle for them to smell & taste it. Without even asking the price – they grabbed a bottle and said, “yup, that’s our new favorite whisky!”  I walked out feeling a little better.

The next day, I went up to the country for some much-needed fresh air and some quality time with my oldest friend. 

Allison Patel Country Sunset Country

On the drive to catch the train back to NYC, she suggested we pop into her local liquor store, saying that there was something she thought I’d want to see. Walking in, right there on the counter was a display of craft whiskies with Brenne front and center. Best part is she had nothing to do with it (with the exception of apparently doing a dance in the store the first time she and her husband saw it on the shelf!)!

Depot_Wine_LiquorsI get tweets, texts and FB comments from people somewhat regularly letting me know where they’ve spotted Brenne.  It’s simply glorious. (Please keep them coming! I live for them!)

It’s such a weird mix of feelings.  I’m out there every day talking about Brenne and the people I meet rarely have heard of it prior to meeting me. But then, there are these incidents of learning about Brenne in places for which the sales had nothing to do with my direct facilitation.  On one level I’m well aware that people are learning about Brenne far beyond my direct reach (thank goodness!) – but it’s a fantastic shift to have to alter my thinking (and therefore selling approach) from “absolutely no one I meet has ever hear about Brenne” to “some people may have heard of it!”  

I felt like the arm floaties have been removed recently and I’m standing on the edge of the pool watching Brenne swim … not sink … and it feels incredible. Still so much work that needs to be done but at least it’s continuing to grow!


Thank you all for your amazing love & support as I keep trudging forward. Thank you, truly, for bearing with me!

The post I had been prepping for this week was a review of a particularly special night in LA where fellow blogger, Rob Gard of The Whisky Guy blog and author of the recently published “Distilling Rob” and I co-hosted a magical evening of story telling and whisky sipping.  Thankfully, Aaron (guest writer on the It’s Just The Booze Dancing blog) just published this magnificent article re-caping the night in far better and more entertaining detail then I ever could!  Click HERE to be taken to their awesome post!




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§ 15 Responses to Brenne Is Walking

  • Love your post, it was like reading my own thought and feelings. We open our small B&B 2 & half years ago and we keep working very, very hard to follow our dream and to make sure we shout loud enough so the world learns about us.
    I would love to have a bottle of your Brenne in our shelfs together with all our other whiskies, how can we get in Spain? And if you happen to come to Europe we can organize something in our place.

    Keep enjoying!!!

    • Hi!
      Thanks for the awesome share! Keep shouting – people will find out! What’s the link? I’m happy for you to share it in the comments here – love to see it myself!

      Re: Brenne in Europe, It’s only sold in the USA right now but I’m working on it (slowly but surely). In the mean time, I know that Binny’s ships to individuals internationally from the USA:

      Not sure if that’s helpful or not but at least you’ve got the info 🙂 Thank you so much for continuing to follow along and best of luck to you as well – would love to learn more about your B&B (I’m 1/4 Spanish and still have family living there!)

  • G-LO says:

    Your timing couldn’t be better! Aaron and I were talking about you last night and what an insane amount of work is involved in what you’re doing (and what an incredibly generous and genuine person you are too!). Navigating all the rules and regs to get that sexy bottle on the shelf is a nightmare in and of itself. Then there’s constant contact with the distiller, barrel management, bottling, shipping, receiving, distribution, and every other nightmare scenario that I can’t even imagine. We also talked about insomnia. There’s only 24 hours in a day afterall. Why let sleep get in the way? 😉

    Thanks for the shout to Aaron’s superb post! I’m sure he appreciates the mention.

    Full speed ahead Allison!

    • Oh man – thanks for the kind words G-Lo. It’s absolutely ridiculous the amount of work that it takes and the fact that I’m still a 1-person company just seems silly (believe me, it’s not b/c I have a “need” to do this all myself!) but at the end of the day, I’m so blessed to even just have this chance to be doing what I’m doing. The amount of work can be maddening at times -BUT- I chose to start this and I can’t help but think just how grateful I am to even be in the position that I’m in now. Life can change really quickly and this moment – however daunting it seems at times – is very special. I’m thrilled we’ve gotten to know each other, the #WhiskyFabric family is just that, a family.

      I couldn’t NOT do a shout out back to you all!
      Thanks for always being so supportive of me!

  • barbievh says:

    Stay balanced and keep going! I love hearing your stories!

  • Susannah SB says:

    It’s hard for me to imagine you feeling like a tiny ant—you loom so large in the sphere of awesomeness to me! But I know that feeling of self-defeat that can overcome even the most successful and hard-working people when they see the next challenge looming large and ominous (larger and scarier than any of the previous challenges, surely!) in front of them.

    When I feel overcome by those thoughts—that I don’t have it in me, that I’ll never be able to make it—I try to just push them out of my mind and concentrate on what I _can_ do right in that moment. And then go back to that big picture later on, when I’m in a better state of mind. Sounds like your date with Jackie and respite in the country were just what you needed—and the liquor store serendipity an added bonus!

    Someday, probably sooner than you think, Brenne will not only be flying entirely on its own, but you’ll be dashing to catch up! (And no doubt, that’ll be a whole new set of mountains to conquer—which you will undoubtedly do with grace, wit, and good cheer!)

    • Susannah,
      Your words just made me feel so good & they alone gave me strength! Thank you!!!! I can’t *wait* for that day in the future you described 🙂 At the end of the day, this is a true blessing that I’m able to do this on so many levels. I try my best to not get overwhelmed (not too often, at least! lol) and do exactly what you said; take it one task, one step at a time.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here AND THANK YOU for being such an amazing help at the Brenne table at this year’s WhiskyLive NYC and upcoming Whisky Jewbilee!!!!! You’re a life saver!

      Huge hugs,

  • martymankins says:

    Love reading these stories about people finding your whiskey. Can’t wait to visit a location that has it (not in Nevada or Utah yet)

  • aaron197172 says:

    Here’s the part no one tells you when you’re starting a business: you’re always starting a business. It’s a never-ending process. Every day is filled with broken staplers and wi-fi problems seemingly trying to put you into the highly rewarding food service industry and/or funny farm. But you keep dodging the bullets because the hard work pays off and even though you’re up until 3:00 am more often than Kim Kardashian, it’s worth it. It’s worth it because you believe in Brenne, as well you should.

    The pleasure was all mine to write about your successful West Coast tour with ample help from Editor Sarah. And as always, the real pleasure was spending time with you and Rob over a dram of Brenne.

    Keep Rockin’ the Brenne, Allison!

    • Aaron,
      No doubt you’re wonderful with words! Yes, you’re always starting a business when you’re “starting a business”!!! I just realized today how crazy it is that I’ve had to go back and re-sell accounts who’ve been on board with Brenne multiple times (at one particular restaurant, I’ve had to meet with 5 different buyers(!!!) since I launched just 18 months ago. That’s how much turn-around there is at some of these places. However, on the flip side, hopefully every buyer who I meet will remember Brenne whenever they move to their next places! Got to stay on the positive side of things or else you’ll drown in the realization of the work load (true for any entrepreneur in any industry, I imagine).

      I’ll sit down with you anytime, anywhere we happen to be in the same city at the same time! Thank you again – the article is very touching. Hope to see you again soon!!!!

  • […] about the whisky industry in general. It really gave me an appreciation of what people like Raj and Allison Patel have to go through to bring their product to market. And then there was “the inside […]

  • […] of The Coopered Tot blog, Susannah of the What Tastes Good blog, and Allison Patel of Brenne and The Whisky Woman blog. In addition to these wonderful people, we also had the pleasure of finally meeting Sarah of […]

  • […] particular summer was a bit of an interesting one for me. I’ve written before about how challenging this journey of launching my own whisky company is (and yes, I’m still a 1 person company! #drinkbrenne) and how strange, lonely, frightening […]

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