5 Years Ago Today I Launched Brenne
October 1, 2017 § 7 Comments
Yes. Half a decade ago I was jumping on a Citibike in NYC with a case of Brenne in the front and started peddling around Manhattan to see if my little-whisky-company-that-could, could. Could become something that would ignite conversations of the possibilities of terroir in Single Malt Whiskies. Could become something that would be enjoyed in the homes of people I have never met. Could become something that was bigger than me.
Half a decade later, I am jumping on and off planes and just this week alone will be in 5 cities in 5 days. And the answers to my questions above is a resounding YES.
While I started working on Brenne years before I launched, there’s a lot of me that feels that Brenne wasn’t really a reality until I launched it as a completed package. And in these 5 years, I feel as though a lot of my personal growth has been in parallel with Brenne’s.
So let me start with my thanks:
- THANK YOU for saying Yes to me when I was at times a little unsure of this dream myself.
- THANK YOU for staying with me all of these years later.
- THANK YOU for talking, sharing, buying, evangelizing Brenne in all of those moments that you do – especially when I am not personally present.
- THANK YOU for asking your bartenders and stores for Brenne — trust me, that made (and still makes!) a real impact.
- THANK YOU for supporting me personally as I have grown, as I have become more comfortable talking to you, to the press, to rooms full of hundreds of people … this Brenne thing really did become so much bigger than me!
1 former ballerina with her life-savings and a single (complex) dream later…
BRENNE in a dram:
- 35 states in the USA (moving into 50!)
- 2 countries: France & US (launching our 3rd TODAY! Hi UK!)
- 100,000s of pieces of cork, glass and labels purchased and used
- 1 billboard in Times Square (what!?!)
- 3 Icon’s of Whisky Awards
- 2 World Whiskies Awards
- 2 “93 points” by Wine Enthusiast
- 2 American Graphic Design Awards
- 1 Wizards of Whisky Award
- 1 Drammie Award
- 1 Sip Awards
- 1 magazine cover
- 1 TV sighting
- 1 radio spot
- Multiple blog mentions & interviews (THANK YOU!)
- Not-sure-I-want-to-go-back-through-and-count-them-all “number” of mentions and articles in nationals and international press
- COUNTLESS of incredible connections to You — the amazing souls who carry this dream forward.
ALLISON in a dram:
- 5 years older and about 50 years wiser
- I’ve traveled to 7 different countries and 33 states in the US with Brenne
- I’ve created something that absolutely did not exist and turned it into something that continues to grow while I sleep.
- I am most proud of how I set myself up mentally every morning; reminding myself of the ultimate WHY (to build community and connection through an incredible glass of whisky) vs the WHAT (endless To Do’s, sales figures, production hiccups, etc) as it’s the WHY that helps me create the pulse and stand in front of thousands of people sharing a message I have now shared multiple times a day for 1,825 days.
- I still don’t speak French fluently (LOL!)!
- I have some well earned gray hairs that frankly, I’m very proud of.
- I am more relaxed
- I became unmarried (that took a long time & added some grays!) while working extremely hard and consciously to move through this massive life change with grace, love, gratitude, and optimism. Not. Easy.
- I changed my name!
- Some day I’ll talk more about it but for now, I’ll just share this: about a year ago, I was attacked and walked right up to deaths door … and chose life.
- After that, I became REALLY comfortable at letting go of the “shoulds” (I “should” be X, we “should” be doing Y, this “should” look more like Z…).
- I moved into my very own apartment for the first time in my life!
- I challenged myself to learn an entirely new way of looking at life and the world, at every situation, at every moment, and at how I want to shape whatever time I have on this precious earth.
- Another thing I’ll talk more about in detail later and for now I’ll share this: I made a partnership deal with Brenne + an amazing company called Samson & Surrey, another choice that has changed the course of both my life and Brenne’s.
- I have fallen in love again… and it is oh-so-extrodinary
- Despite working hard, I’ve learned the importance of and do carve out regular quality time to sit with myself, my family, my incredible friends, and make space for regular personal, mental, creative, spiritual, and emotional growth.
In all of this, just as for all of you, life truly is a journey! We wake up every day and while we may think we know what that day holds, the truth is we don’t. Every day is a big mystery with life – and possibility!- renewing each second. … This is a thought that use to be terrifying to me (too much pressure!) and now occurs for me like a big, amazing, GAME (I can let things GO as life is renewed now … and now … and now again!). So in these last 5 years, Brenne has grown a LOT, I have grown a LOT! I’ve learned a LOT, created a LOT, met a LOT of you, hope to meet many more of you(!!!!), faced death, faced life, become a LOT more relaxed, and am TRULY grateful for and enjoying every single moment and dram.
If we’ve met, then you may have heard me say this: “If we are lucky enough to realize we are alive, then the only other guarantee we have is that at some point unbeknownst to us, we will die. So thus, everything else in the middle is up to us to create.”
I am definitely drinking Brenne tonight and hope you’ll join me in raising a glass to all of you; without whom NONE of this would have been possible. That’s a fact.
With so much love, Allison
Allison Patel is now Allison Parc
April 27, 2017 § 9 Comments
Allow Me to (re)Introduce Myself
Welcome to the first day of the rest of my life. Alright, that’s dramatic. But, it’s how I’ve been feeling lately, and often, and I’m excited to finally be able to share why! But first, we have some catching up to do…
On January 1st, I woke up, smiled, and began thinking about how completely different my life would be one year from that day. I genuinely had – and on some things still have – ZERO idea how the journey, or the outcomes, might look.
Change scares a lot of people. It has definitely gripped and threatened to cripple me at times. But I have always, for the most part, been a change champion and in 2016, I challenged myself to take it a step further. I chose to change nearly EVERYTHING.
(By the way, now might be a great time to open that bottle of Brenne and pour yourself a dram. Heck, I’ll join ya.)
What am I talking about? Well, my marital situation, my dating situation, my living situation, and my business situation (yay growth!) have all changed. And today, my name follows suit! (Yes, really. Although, that’s not a “Situation”… sorry Jersey Shore fans.)
Here’s a regular debate for women: to take, or not to take, your husband’s name in marriage. There’s a lot to be said for both sides, or a variety of ways to creatively merge names if that’s your preference. When it was my turn, I traded in my French roots and swooped right into Patel, subsequently throwing off a lot of people at meetings as a white gal rocking a classically Indian last name.
But, what does a woman, who practically marked the shift from ballet to whisky in ink with her name change, do when Patel is no longer applicable? Does she go “back” to her former name – an old identity that doesn’t fully serve the woman she has become? No, thank you. We can’t go backwards in life, only forwards. So, I’ve chosen an entirely new name for myself, created by moi, by way of too many factors to list without boring you!
So without further ado, allow me to re-introduce myself. Hello, I’m Allison Parc. No more Allison Patel! (As a bonus, yes, you can still call me AP. 😉
Thank you for continuing to join me on this wild ride. Let’s raise a glass of Brenne together for all of the powerful choices we courageously make while continuing to move forward. We have but one precious life, for an uncertain amount of time. Here’s to new things, and making the most of them!
With love ~ Allison
Trying to Restart
September 15, 2016 § 26 Comments
I am shaking my head as I type this … where do I begin? It’s IMPOSSIBLE to share what has been going on in my world with a single post – so I am going to begin with a “restart”. I’ve had months of “publish block” — unable to hit “publish” on posts I have taken hours to write. Why? Because of fear. SOOOO appropriate considering the last post I DID publish was on how to PUSH THROUGH fear! Ugh.
So on the 8hr+ flight home to NYC from Paris yesterday, I asked myself: what are you ACTUALLY afraid of with regards to this blog? Not being perfect? (kinda, but not really). And then I realized: I just can’t talk exclusively about “whisky” … my life is so much bigger than that one topic, and since whisky IS my life, they are interwoven so tightly that I do not know how to separate them. For me to write authentically, I simply can’t just share about whisky.
“SO F*** IT” I told myself, “The Whisky Woman” doesn’t have to mean anything beyond my “nickname” so to speak. I can just share the happenings of my life because what is happening is so wild I feel like some days I am living inside a really incredible movie.
In fact, when things have become nearly paralyzingly tough this year, the catch phrase that my friends have started saying is, “Well, it’ll be GREAT for the book!” And to repeat, since my life’s work IS whisky, our favorite topic will always be invariably involved in the subjects.
In January I had a sense that this year was going to be “big” … how big I did not know. But at least I was right about that. One of the awesome things that happened was that I have been blessed to welcome Katie Schloss to my team – an incredibly savvy woman with an eye for design, a brain for social media that intimidates me in the best possible ways, and a heart as big as Manhattan. Katie has taken Brenne’s Instagram from my “of the moment/on the fly” posts to a page that actually helps tell our story and inspire people (myself included!).
My last email before boarding my flight was to Katie. In it, I shared how I wanted to recommit myself to my blog and really start sharing again. That I am going to do my best to move through my fears and actually DO IT. To that, she responded with this:
“Erin Fetherston had a collection of dresses titled “Urban Flowers” when I was a freshman in college. “Urban Flowers,” to her, are the tiny, little weeds and flowers that look dainty, but who are able to work their way through the elements, through the concrete, and grow through the surface into the light. Being one of the only women to own her own whisky company (period, end stop), going through everything you’ve overcome this year, you have a beating-the-odds story of resilience that resonates; it just needs to be told, and it’s been an honor helping shape your story and watching your brand come to life on social platforms. :)”
So with this, I am hoping I follow my own lead and truly “restart” my engagement here. No matter what happens, I am so incredibly grateful and blessed that you all are still here, still supporting me, still behind my goals of being a successful entrepreneur igniting the conversations of “French Whisky” and “terroir-driven Single Malts” around the world.
With a lot of love and a dram raised way up, THANK YOU. xo – Allison
Pushing Through My Fears
February 11, 2016 § 6 Comments
Hi! It’s been a while … a long while. When I realized I am creeping up on my 1yr mark since my last post, I wanted to make sure I pass that moment with a fresh, new, shiny post. So here I am, saying “Hello!” again (thanks Adele), and getting over my “it’s been soooo long since my last post how will I ever blog again???” fear.
“Pushing Through My Fears” could (should?) be a multi-post series as it is something I actively do nearly every. single. day. and something I know everyone faces, no matter where you are in life. My inspiration for this post came when I heard myself correcting someone after he labeled me as “fearless” — flattered as I was, I am certainly not without fear — it’s just that I do my best to not let my fears prevent me from going after my ultimate goals, no matter the size or impact of said goal.
How do I do that?
- Step 1: Address fear
- Sometimes I actually have to say out loud, to myself, “I am scared of ___!” Just doing that diminishes the fear’s power over me 8 times out of 10. If that works, jump to Step 7!
- Step 2: Allow yourself to be vulnerable
- …publicly, with your “inner circle” or even just to yourself (this is a fun one, it humanizes you!)
- Step 3: Visualize ideal outcome
- Step 4: Brainstorm all possible avenues to get to ideal outcome
- Again, solo and/or with others
- Step 5: Commit to a plan
- …while always being open to “of the moment” changes
- Step 6: Start taking action on your chosen plan
- If it feels overwhelming, break the plan down into the SMALLEST pieces possible and truly take them one at a time.
- Step 7: CELEBRATE your action-taking self!!!
- YAY! I toasted the day I first filed for my LLC! Heck, I toast every single milestone I feel I cross with Brenne Whisky still today! When they say “it’s about the journey” I believe it – so I make it a conscious choice to genuinely love the small victories each and every time.
While “fearful me” thinks I should not dare publish a post without giving you a lengthy update on all the great things that have happened with Brenne since last I blogged (like, oh … I don’t know … the fact that I LAUNCHED A SECOND BRENNE WHISKY EXPRESSION called “Brenne Ten” and that Brenne Ten WON 2 GOLD MEDALS AS “2nd World Best Single Malt” AND “Best European Single Malt” in London’s ‘Wizard’s of Whisky’ 2015 competition … AND perhaps the very important fact that BRENNE launched in FRANCE in 2015 … and in the USA grew from 24 to 32 states) the “pushing through my fear” part of me says, “just publish what you have … you can always write more posts tomorrow!”
Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd that is why I didn’t blog much in 2015. I worked really hard, didn’t know how to distill down all that I wanted to share into decently-written posts (believe me, I tried, I have 23 posts in my drafts folder!) and traveled a ton to humbly & with honor grow this “little whisky brand that can” called Brenne. You know, the one with the blue label from France? Yea … that one) 😀
(PHOTOGRAPH by the amazing SARAH BAUMBERGER of “Beautiful Tangible Things” blog and a guest writer on “It’s Just The Booze Dancing” blog!)
If you want more – please follow BRENNE and ME on Instagram. That’s where I have been most active this past year! Thanks for sticking with me!!! Be back … soon 😉
Celebrate World Whiskies
March 27, 2015 § 19 Comments
Felt compelled to write this quick post as I’ve just returned from launching Brenne in France (yay!), the always-lovely Ian Chang, master distiller of the Taiwanese company Kavalan, just won Icons of Whisky Global “Master Distiller of the Year” (Congrats Ian!), we ourselves have won a few awards for Brenne recently (a Drammie for Most Innovative Whisky and 2 gold medals from Wizards of Whisky for our up-coming Brenne Ten!) AND it’s International Whisky Day.
Point being: World Whiskies are here to stay.
The International Whisky category does not only account for the Japanese whiskies. There are a lot of amazing and note-worthy distilleries from unexpected corners of the earth making phenomenal whiskies. Just look at our friends over at Mackmyra, Amrut & Sullivan’s Cover (to name a few)!
So if you’re contemplating hosting a whisky tasting anytime soon, informally or formally, maybe think about taking a “Single Malt Tour” around the world, trying one from France, Sweden, Japan, Tasmania, Taiwan, Indian … could be a fun way to travel in the comfort of your own home!
There is certainly no shortage of passion within our whisky community and it’s really exciting to experience that expanding in every aspect from what’s actually in our glasses to the conversations we’re having on social media, at the bar and beyond. I’m honored to be part of an ever-growing category and one where I think we may find a lots of innovation now and in the years to come.
So HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WHISKY DAY to you all – I’ll raise a glass of Brenne to you all this weekend!
#worldwhiskies #internationalwhiskyday #drinkbrenne
#BrenneVoyage … get ready
June 27, 2014 § 7 Comments
I’m super excited to share something totally fun & a little silly with you we’re calling #BrenneVoyage! Every day during the month of July, I’m going to post a photo of Brenne “out and about” and will tag the photo using the hashtag BrenneVoyage on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
As many of you may know, as the founder of Brenne Whisky (pronunciation reminder: “Brenne” rhymes with “zen”), I’m almost always in possession of a bottle of Brenne. It goes with me everywhere and in a lighthearted way, I’ve found myself occasionally referring to these bottles as having personalities and being far from the inanimate objects that they are (after all, I certainly care for them as if they were my children!).
So on a recent trip to Paris, my mother and I had a blast taking Brenne on a sight-seeing trip around town, photographing it’s journey along the way. When we got back and realized just how many of these photos we had, I thought it was only right to share them in a mini-series that you can follow along on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by searching for the “#BrenneVoyage” hashtag. It was a hilarious way to enjoy a city that I love so much, the theme of which has now taken on a life of it’s own.
I certainly encourage you to grab a bottle of Brenne, your camera and your sense of humor and join me in this month long photographic journey shooting Brenne around town, on your vacation and hanging out with you this summer – just make sure you use the hashtag #BrenneVoyage so we can all see them! (And please respect your local liquor and open-container laws!).
Here’s a taste of the “behind the scenes” …
And below is a teaser of what’s to come …
Hope to see you around the interwebz … I’ll be the one with a bottle of Brenne in her hand galavanting around some of my favorite cities 🙂
#BRENNEVOYAGE STARTING JULY 1 2014
I welcome you, 2014
January 3, 2014 § 12 Comments
Let’s have a toast: Welcome 2014, may you be exciting, peaceful, engaging, loud, quiet, and filled with moments so precious they fill our hearts with happiness and … of course, may we safely imbibe with delicious whiskies and great friends.
Not typically one for making grand promises and goals for myself at the top of a new year – I instead try my best to just be a good person to myself and others every day (that’s my personal motto – just be kind. It’s simple but to the point … and many good people forget that that applies to being nice to them selves as well!).
So imagine my surprise when I found myself wide-awake from 1-3am on Jan 2 with a scrolling list of New Years resolutions running a muck in my brain. And at the top of that list was spending a little more time blogging here with you. I’m rather proud that in I can look back at 2013 and say that we didn’t just “survive” our first full year of having Brenne on the market but rather felt like we thrived (in our own humble way – of course). And that’s a very proud feeling – but one that also has my head spinning in a few different directions … constantly.
With all of the many ways to communicate these days i.e. facebook, blogging, twitter -and- twitter, instagram -and- instagram, pinterest, email, texting and the most vintage of the bunch: phone call, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I blinked and the 365 days that made up 2013 passed by in less time then it’ll take me to finish this post. What’s even scarier is while I can’t figure out how I might have possibly crammed any thing else into those fleeting days, I still can’t shake the feeling that I could have done more. (And that drives me a little batty).
However – according to my year in blogging (an annual & fun report pulled together by wordpress), you were definitely here and to that, I THANK YOU!!!! Here’s how wordpress put it:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 39,000 times in 2013 from people in 142 countries. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Personally- I think that’s pretty cool and I’m honored to have your attention (and hope that at least some of that traffic wasn’t just here to “borrow” some images) ;).
So my goal for 2014 is to slow down a bit, do 1-3 things at a time, not 8-10, and by doing so, hope that I can re-engage with you more here on my blog as it really is something that I deeply love and miss when life forces me (by sheer lack of minutes in a day) to be a bit more disconnected then I’d like (well, here at least – you can always find me SOMEWHERE online!).
- I hope I get smarter & more efficient where social media is concerned.
- I hope I dance more … even if it is done standing at a counter waiting for my next espresso!
- I hope I take more walks outside – in all kinds of weather – and continue to look up and appreciate the effect a setting sun or rolling clouds have on whatever scenery is around me at the time.
- I hope I breath more. Deeply.
- I hope I sleep more. Deeply!
- I hope I keep laughing loudly and sharing more great whiskies with the many wonderful friends I have made and hopefully will make in the comings days and months.
- I really hope Brenne continues to move forward in the most positive of ways!
- I hope 2014 goes by a little slower so I can savor the time we’re blessed to have.
2013 was a strange one for me; professionally with Brenne it was remarkable (moving from 1 to 11 states across the US, being blessed to have had the attention of some pretty prestigious publications – including being mentioned in a few books! ah-hem Fred Minnick’s Whiskey Women(!), winning an Icon of Whisky award, etc). But while I experienced many professional gains, I also suffered a major personal loss when my Grandmother passed away just 2 weeks before her 102nd birthday. She was truly with us till the end and for that, I was extremely thankful (let’s face it, she remembered my schedule better than I did … and I have the “help” of 1000+ apps on my phone!) but she was one of the most inspiring people I have ever met – faced challenges with Grace (as was her name) and loved her family so much you felt it in every letter, phone call and interaction we’d ever had with her. I miss her terribly and was surprised when, months after her passing, just the thought of her could still bring me to tears. I am/was very close with my grandparents and now have only one left on earth – I cherish every moment he and I share. Loss is inevitable but having been freshly reminded of it makes me want to shout daily that we can’t take our loved ones for granted. We only get this precious time together and if 2013 is any indication of just how much faster time is going to go by – well – I hope the quiet and peaceful act of sharing a glass of whisky with those whose company you enjoy can help us all slow down and appreciate each breath.
And with that – I continue to express my deepest thanks for sticking with me – liking, commenting, reading, and sharing my words and engaging with me on all platforms. Mostly, I truly hope that 2014 is a healthy, happy and positive year for us all.
Happy New Year from the Whisky Woman!
Cheers to you and your loved ones ~
THANK YOU FOR BELIEVING IN ME AND IN WHAT I’M TRYING TO DO.
Cocktails for a Crowd – summer book signings
June 26, 2013 § 5 Comments
HI FRIENDS!!! MY COMMENTS START HERE:
This is my very first “Reblog” but there is a reason I’m doing it for this post (keep reading!) :D. As you all know, I’m a HUGE supporter of artists and appreciate that art is expressed in a variety of mediums; from paintings, to making whisky, to writing, to performing, to creating recipes, cooking and beyond. I wanted to write a shout-out post to an artist I respect, author Kara Newman, for her just-released book, “Cocktails For A Crowd.” But seeing as she’s a true writer AND wrote a blog post announcing the book and her summer book signing tour, I figured a reblog was more than appropriate this time. Oui?
I hope the formatting is ok (again, total reblog virgin here!) but please enjoy, support & share your comments as always below! I’m off to buy a new punch bowl!
Summer must be book-signing season! Here’s where to find me over the next couple of months. If I’ll be in your neck of the woods, please come out and say hello!
Saturday, June 29, 2-4 pm – Drink demo & book signing at Cook & Craft, Old Greenwich, CT
Thursday, July 18, 5:30-6 pm – Book signing at Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, LA
Sunday, August 11 – Cocktails, dinner and book signing at The Red Hen, Washington, DC (more details soon!)
Friday, August 23, 6:30-8pm – Cocktails for a Crowd: Summer Entertaining class at Astor Center, New York, NY. Hands-on class with cocktails galore; books will be available for purchase.
Balcones 5th Anniversary Dinner – April 6 in NYC
March 28, 2013 § 1 Comment
UPDATE: Since publishing this post, this particular event has been cancelled. There are definitely other Balcones events going on while Chip’s here so if you’re interested, please check out NYCwhisky.com for the most current list of whisky happenings in NYC! 🙂
I didn’t mean to do 2 event announcement posts back-to-back BUT next week the whisky circus rolls into NYC with the NY WhiskyLive event, the World Whisky Conference and whatever other events everyone is doing while they’re here and I thought this other one ought to be shared!
My good friend (& extremely talented distiller) Chip Tate of Balcones will be one of the many distillers in NYC next week. And in addition to WhiskyLive, he is also celebrating the 5th Anniversary of Balcones!!!
To celebrate, he’s doing a dinner at Harlow Restaurant in NYC that is open to the public (limited tickets available). Here a copy of the press release I received – I’ll definitely be there and can’t wait! Dying to try Chip’s NEWEST RELEASE, his Fifth Anniversary Straight Bourbon [64.2%] that just took Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition!
Hope to see you there! Please share below if you’re going, have experienced the Balcones line before or perhaps if you’ve met Chip! (or anything else you’d like to share, open forum here, folks) 🙂
WhiskyLive Coupon Code & WWC
March 14, 2013 § 5 Comments
Look out New York, here comes the Whisky Circus!
Every year during the first week in April, it feels like most of the flights that land at JFK are filled with distillers, ambassadors and adoring whisky fans (ok, geeks ;)) who all clamor into town with one main agenda: WhiskyLive NY (WLNY). It’s one of my favorite whisky events of the year, big enough that you can easily fill every second of your time tasting and chatting up the producers of different brands, but small enough where you’re not run down by a pack of over-inebriated, 18yr old + up “only” Scotch demanding drinkers. Nope, not here. Not that I’ve experienced, at least.
I’ve attended the last 3 NY WhiskyLive shows as a spectator (though last year, I presented Balcones at WhiskyLive London with Chip Tate… which was awesome). But this year will be an entirely different experience for me because for the first time at any large tasting event, I’ll be presenting Brenne! I’m so excited and it’ll be such a thrill to share my whisky with such a great group of whisky fans.
And as the kind folks at WhiskyLiveUSA often give me a coupon code for my readers, this year they really upped the ante and are offering you a 20% OFF COUPON! At check out, type in “brenne” <- it’s case sensitive! Hopefully this helps a lot of you who may be on the fence.
Now this year, for something extra special, the day following Whisky Live (April 4th) is the trade-only event: World Whiskies Conference (WCC). I had the absolute pleasure of attending this last year in London (as you might have noticed … my mug was all over their marketing material this year as many people pointed out, lol). But this event travels around the world, happening each year in a different city and this year, it’s on American soil!
Just check out the list of speakers & guests: WCC PROGRAM
I look forward to hearing all of the presentations, participating in the discussions and seeing lots of my old friends! I really can’t wait.
Any plans to attend either event? Have you been in the past? Share your experiences & thoughts below! 😀