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
December 23, 2016 § 6 Comments
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through town, happy Brenne bottles were selling out on liquor store shelves up and down.
Fine women and men exclaimed with glee, “I never thought I’d be a whisky drinker before I tried Brenne! Wee!”
The whisky was poured by the fireplace with care, in hopes that the angels would share their share.
Hearts filled with love and laughter as great stories were told and memories of this Christmas would be forever gold.
Happiest of holidays from us to you. Every like, share & purchase really do make dreams come true.
Thank you all for an incredible year! Looking forward to creating more magic with you all in a very bright 2017.
With so much love,
September 21, 2016 § 3 Comments
As someone who regularly tries to keep her emails distilled down to just the point (very different from my emoji-filled texts), I can only assume that the email I just fired off to my social media guru may have seemed like someone has been hitting the espresso a little hard today.
It started out like this:
“This is HUUUUUUUUGGE for us!!!! SOOOOOO many people in Europe have been asking for a place to buy Brenne online — now we finally have a partner!!!!”
Believe me, the authentic excitement is warranted. It has only taken 1.5 years (yes, years) to find a suitable retailer in France who has an online shop set up, is willing to create a link for Brenne (you’d think I have been asking people for their first borns) AND who will actually ship (aka: fill orders). In my opinion, this should not have taken this long. Hence the original title to this post: Seems Easy, Was Hard.
In my experience, France is a country where, on average, whisky over a certain price is primarily bought as gifts and thus picked up after work on the buyers way to X … why put in the extra work of selling it online? “Because,” I have pleaded, “I receive a wonderful amount of requests from people who are asking me ‘from where can they order a bottle of Brenne in Europe?’ and I would LOVE to have a site to where I can direct them!!!”
“Eh…. Peut-être un jour” (translation: “(sigh) … Maybe one day”)
[Insert spike in blood pressure for one particular whisky loving entrepreneur]
But alas, on my most recent visit to France just last week, I had the absolute pleasure of touring the brand new Whisky Shop Paris, located in the very chic 8th arr. at 7 Place de la Madeleine. I told Imogen Bankier, the inspiring director of the shop, that it felt like I was in the Dior of whisky stores. It’s DIVINE inside – especially the first and currently only “House of Walker” in Europe, located on the 2nd floor (it’s so new that at the time of publishing this post, JW hasn’t even listed it on their site).
Guess what? They sell Brenne. Guess what else? They now sell Brenne ONLINE.
But wait … it get’s even better. Now through the end of 2016, The Whisky Shop Paris will offer FREE SHIPPING to anywhere in the UK, France and Belgium.
Did you just fall over?! I did. I’m so excited I just stopped my day to write this post and make this little graphic:
So, if you have emailed the Brenne website with this specific request recently, get ready to finally hear back from me with good news. 😀
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
November 13, 2014 § 3 Comments
Hi Friends! Hope you all have been enjoying the change of seasons, wherever you are located in the world! For me, this has been quite a (wonderfully) crazy Fall. I’ve been to Vegas, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington DC, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and have had a full calendar of events while at home in New York City just trying to spread the good word of Brenne! (If you’re on Instagram, I regularly post photos of my travels & whisky shows on my Brenne and my personal IG feeds like this photo below). 🙂
It’s been a great experience getting out there and meeting so many more whisky fans. If you’re someone who has attended one of the many shows I’ve been at recently and came over to try Brenne, THANK YOU! For everyone who has continued to support me here and on various means of social media (and, well, by ordering Brenne at your local watering holes & liquor stores!), an even bigger THANK YOU. You all keep this particular solopreneur going!
In the mean time, I’m excited to announce that I’ve started a YouTube channel! My goal is to post a new video every other Wednesday (fingers crossed I can maintain that!). It’s been a really fun way to engage with people beyond the written word and photos on Instagram… and the “un-edited Me” is, well …something else!
WHAT YOU’LL SEE
CouchTalk: A series I’m developing where I invite some of my “whisky family” into my home for whisky (duh) and a chat on my couch about anything from a new book they’re launching to a review of a whisky event (like this one below!)!
How To…Cocktails: I’m asked regularly if I’m “okay” with people using Brenne in a cocktail and my answer is always YES! So I’ll be doing some “How To” videos of my favorite whisky cocktails using Brenne like these!
Vlog: I’m hoping to roll off some videos where I’m perhaps answering people’s questions or chatting about whisky news or other things going on that I think are of some value to share. I imagine these will be in a similar casual format to my “Welcome To My YouTube Channel” video like this!
So, if you’re a fan of YouTube, I really hope to see you over there! Please subscribe & like the videos (if you like them, of course) 🙂 I’m hoping this channel will evolve over time and that it gives us another avenue upon which to engage and continue the whisky conversation! But no worries if you’re not a YouTuber, I am still planning on maintaining my presence here too. 🙂 Big whisky cheers & hugs to you all. Thanks for spending your time with me!