Ep. 41 - Old Dominick's Master Distiller Alex Castle

BOURBON HISTORY // The return of a 19th Century brand and the journey to becoming a master distiller.

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Show Notes

It's time to head down to Memphis, Tennessee, not for specifically for bbq or Elvis, but instead to enjoy some top notch whiskey.

And my guest today is someone who has experiencing the distilling industry in both Tennessee and Kentucky. I present to you Alex Castle, Master Distiller at the Old Dominick Distillery. A distillery who picks up where its founder Dominicko Canale left off at the beginning of Prohibition.

I had the honor of meeting Alex at the Bourbon Sessions at the Ripy House in Lawrenceburg Ky a couple months back, a place she is quite familiar with - as she is from Kentucky and spent time working nearby at the Wild Turkey Distillery as well as Town Branch in Lexington.

So we're going to get into a good bit of history - from the historic Old Dominick Brand to the recreation of the Dominick Toddy, and we'll hear about Alex' experiences getting a crash course in distilling.

Here is just some of what we'll discuss:

  • The story of Dominicko Canale
  • The pack rats of Old Dominick
  • The location of the distillery in Memphis
  • The 100 year old grease burger
  • Kentucky distilleries vs Tennessee distilleries
  • How Union Avenue gets me singing
  • How Alex discovered distilling
  • That first experience with whiskey
  • Time at the University of Kentucky
  • From beer to bourbon
  • Polishing the pot stills
  • Learning to distill in 5 minutes!
  • Getting help from a scotch whisky legend
  • Pearce Lyons and Town Branch
  • Spring chicken at Wild Turkey
  • A gin I like!
  • Getting the distillery up and running
  • The misconception of blended bourbon
  • No judgment please!
  • The customized MGP mashbill
  • Tasting and waiting for the Tennessee Whiskey
  • A Kentucky girls approach to Tennessee Whiskey
  • Huling Station Very Small Batch and how small very small is
  • The history of the Memphis Toddy
  • Tasting a decades old toddy
  • Christmas in a bottle
  • The release of Old Dominick Tennessee Whiskey
  • Where you can get Huling Station

Listen to the full episode with the player above or find it on your favorite podcast app under "Whiskey Lore: The Interviews." The full transcript is available on the tab above.

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Drew (00:00:14):
Welcome to Whiskey Lore, the interviews. I'm your host, drew Hennish, the Amazon bestselling author of Whiskey LO's Travel Guide to Experience in Kentucky Bourbon. It's time to head down to Memphis, Tennessee, not for Elvis or barbecue, but instead to drink some top-notch whiskey. And my guest today is someone who has experienced distilling from both sides of the border, Tennessee and Kentucky. I present to you Alex Castle, the master distiller at Old Dominic Distillery, which is a distillery that picks up where its founder Dominico Canali. Left off way back at the beginning of Prohibition, and I had the honor of meeting Alex at a bourbon session at the Rippy House in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, and that's a place she's quite familiar with. She is from Kentucky originally, and she actually worked at Wild Turkey as well as the Town Branch Distillery in Lexington, Kentucky. So we're going to go through and talk a good bit about history from the old Dominic brand and the recreation of the Dominic Toddy. And we're also going to hear about Alex's experience getting a crash course on distilling. Got a lot of fun stuff to chat about. So let's dive right in to my conversation with Alex Castle of Old Dominic Distillery. You welcome to the show.

Alex (00:01:40):
Hello. Thanks for having me.

Drew (00:01:42):
Yeah, this is a lot of fun because I've had a chance to come visit your distillery a couple of times, and so now I get to ask some of those behind the scenes kind of questions and dig in a little bit deeper.

Alex (00:01:54):
Yeah. Anything burning? Anything been burning since the tours?

Drew (00:02:02):
No. No. I mean, I have lots of questions, but I can't think of any that were overly, overly burning. But I, I'm sure we will cover quite a bit here because there's some fun stories. And I want to talk a little bit about you guys. Were just actually in Greenville where I live now, at the Hog and Barrel event. And you were everywhere because your whiskey was being used in just about every recipe that was going on there, which I thought was really fun.

Alex (00:02:31):
Our rep for South Carolina does such a killer job with events he knows how to own,

Drew (00:02:39):
And he said you guys ended up like 50 gallons worth of whiskey that you had to get for that event. That's massive.

Alex (00:02:49):
Just give him a barrel. He's going to get a good commission check.

Drew (00:02:54):
Yeah, absolutely. So let's jump right in and talk a little bit about the history of old Dominic and the name Hearkens back to the 19th Century, and very interesting story about an area, we don't think of a country that we don't think as supplying immigrants to Memphis, but really interesting story. So tell us a little bit of the background of Old Dominic.

Alex (00:03:23):
Yeah, so old Dominic is a subsidiary of our parent company, D Canal and Company. And the company was founded by Doco Canal, that's the d. And Dominico came to straight to Memphis from Italy in 1859, and he chose Memphis because he already had family here. His uncle had already come to Memphis from Italy and had started a food and beverage wholesale business in Memphis. And so Doco came and started working for his uncle. And what's great is that building is literally diagonal across the street from where the distillery is today. So we're we're just steps away from where Dominico got started in Memphis, but learn the ropes from his uncle.

Drew (00:04:13):
Is that the chick? Is that where the chicken place is by the way? I'm trying

Alex (00:04:17):
To picture. So it is, there's a lot, an empty lot. You've got the chicken place and empty lot and then a building, and it's that building.

Drew (00:04:25):

Alex (00:04:26):
Yep, yep. So we're right next to the chicken place,

Alex (00:04:30):
But learn the ropes from his uncle. And in 1866 decided to start his own food in alcohol, beverage, alcohol distributorship, and formed Decanal and Company and started on South Front Street as well, which is the street we're on the canals, all kind of stayed on the same street back in the day. And shortly after starting his company, he decided to actually start his own line of whiskeys and what are you going to name it? You're going to name it after yourself. So he called it Old Dominic, and he was a very creative man, but he would source his product from Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio. He wasn't producing it himself, he was just getting aged product, bringing it down to Memphis on rail cars and then blending it and bottling it here in Memphis in a building called ING Station. It's a very large warehouse located on South Front Street, and again, it's only about two blocks from where the distiller is today.

Alex (00:05:31):
The building still stands, its apartments now, but the old Dominic brand was actually a very, very popular brand in the southeast during that time, and that really was the bulk of their business during that time. Well then prohibition hit, so that part of the business had to stop. Fortunately, they had the food distributorship and the fruit and all of that, and so they got to continue operations, and sadly, Dominico passed away at Prohibition as well. And so our brand champion was no longer alive. And so when Prohibition was lifted, we didn't have our cheerleader, we didn't have anyone to fight to bring back the whiskey brand. And so it stayed dormant. And the parent company, DEA Canal Company, continued operations in various ventures and continuous operation to this day. They had a beer distributorship, it was a Budweiser distributorship that they sold off in 2010.

Alex (00:06:32):
They also had a food distributorship that they sold off to Sarah Lee in, I believe it was in like 2019 99, 2000. And so fast forward a little bit to about 2013, 2014, and the current president of Decanal and Company, Chris Canelli Jr. Is great-great grandson still. He was, he's young at this point, still in his thirties, and trying to figure out what his legacy was going to be, what was he going to do for his family's company? And that's where the idea of bringing back old Dominic came in, they had all of these old whiskey bottles. People were asking, why don't you sell the brand? Whiskey was hot. Then people would've bought up any brand at that point. And he said, no, I'm going to do it. And so he decided to bring back the distillery, but even bigger way than what Dominico had. He wanted us to actually produce whiskey. And so he set off down the path of bringing back the brand and building the distillery that we know today. And so that's, that's how we got to here.

Drew (00:07:41):
Fun. When you do the tour at the very beginning, it has a timeline, so you can kind of see all that went on, and you can see a lot of the pictures of the old building and that, but yep. You also have a lot of documentation down there, licenses and that sort of stuff. Who was holding onto all of that stuff?

Alex (00:08:01):
They were Pack Rats, I guess. No, so our family office, the corporate office is, I don't know, about four blocks away on Second Street. And that is where they housed all of these ledger books, all of these photos, and we have way more photos than what you even see on the tour. And they had 'em in boxes just stored away for whatever reason. And fortunately, building a distillery and wanting to make it a tourist thing and doing the tour gave us a great reason to bust out all of that. But those Leisurer books are how we know that they did get barrels from Ohio. We have a letter that says they were transferred in bond from Cincinnati, Ohio. Nice. We can see ones from Kentucky and Indiana. We can see the different fruits that they had bought so that they could then sell again. We even have old price lists, and I love it because there are some brands in there that you recognize like Old Crow.

Drew (00:09:00):

Alex (00:09:01):
And I want to say Taylor was in there, all these names that they're in these price guides from before Prohibition, and a court of bourbon was like 50 cents or something.

Drew (00:09:15):
And I mean, bourbon was popular at the time. But yeah, inflation has done a number on our bourbon prices. That's pretty sure. It really

Alex (00:09:23):

Drew (00:09:25):
So what is the building that you're in now? What was its history?

Alex (00:09:30):
So the building we're in now, it was originally actually three separate buildings. They just kind of got merged together and each one was built at different times. And I don't think we've ever been able to identify when each building was completed, but the prior owner was Memphis Machine Works. And so they did a lot of machining in this building, but they vacated it, stopped using it years before they even sold it just because it was too much space. They needed a smaller workshop. And so it's that unused for, I don't even know how long before they finally decided to pull the trigger on selling it. And the Canals had been looking for a building for I think over a year and just couldn't find anything that was quite right. And then they finally landed on this building.

Drew (00:10:18):
It couldn't be any better because you're just a couple blocks from Beale Street.

Alex (00:10:24):
Oh, location is absolutely fantastic. Where one block off of South Main, which is a really great spot in downtown Memphis, a lot of residents, but also a lot of tourists go there. Bee Street's not that far away. We're really close to FedEx Forum, the Red Bird Stadium, all of it. And Front Street now is also being revitalized. We were on the first new businesses to come in and really do something, and now everywhere around us is being revitalized. So even Front Street's becoming a great place to be.

Drew (00:10:56):
Well, and I even took a walk around the block before my tour started and went down towards the river, and very easy to walk down there and see the Mississippi and the whole riverfront that's developing down there. It's really, really nice.

Alex (00:11:11):
Oh, Riverside is fantastic. Tom Lee Park, that's where Memphis and may happen. So Bee Street Music Fest, barbecue Fest, all of that happens down there. And what's great is it's actually getting renovation right now as well. So that's going to be even better in the future.

Drew (00:11:27):
So how much did you know about Memphis before you moved there?

Alex (00:11:30):
Nothing. My first time in Memphis was for my interview. I had never been here, never really gave it much thought I knew Elvis. That was about it in Beale Street. I had heard of Beale Street. Had

Drew (00:11:43):
You seen the firm? The Firm is how I knew Memphis, just because I, he's running all the, that's everyone knows. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, go walk out to the island. See the,

Alex (00:11:54):
But yeah, I had never been to Memphis. My husband had never been to Memphis, so we kind of just, well, we'll see what it's like at the interview and go from there. But we've been here six years now and it is such a great city to live in.

Drew (00:12:11):
And what's fun about it is that by knowing that when you first came to it, that it was kind of an out-of-the way place for you. It showed you the challenge that you were going to probably have in starting a distillery out in West Memphis where all the distilling in Tennessee was really located down around Lynchburg area and some in Nashville was starting to kick up and a little in Chattanooga. But you guys were kind of out there by yourselves.

Alex (00:12:43):
Yes, we're on an island completely to where when it came time to do the build out, we have amazing pipe fitters, some of the best work I've ever seen. They had no idea what they were doing as far as doing a distillery and what it is to move grain and no, you don't want to do that with your pipe because it'll cause issues. So just knowing that all of the labor we had, all the work we had, we were having to educate them from the ground up on everything that we did. And then same with staffing. Hiring a production staff in West Tennessee is almost impossible because I have no talent pool to pull from.

Drew (00:13:21):
So barbecue joint, what's your favorite one?

Alex (00:13:25):
It depends on what you want. All right. Central barbecue, some of the best smoked Turkey out there and delicious pork RINs, you go to one and only for the ribs.

Drew (00:13:39):

Alex (00:13:41):
So yeah, it just depends on what you want. And then tops, barbecue, everyone says the barbecue. You go to Tops Barbecue for the burger.

Drew (00:13:48):
Okay. Have you had one of those, the hundred year old grease burgers? I forget what the name of that is. Dyers. Dyers, yes, yes, yes,

Alex (00:13:57):
Of course. Yes.

Drew (00:13:59):
And what do you think it's like, no,

Alex (00:14:01):
No. Stop on Be is complete without a Dyer's burgers.

Drew (00:14:04):
We talk about aged beef. How about aged grease?

Alex (00:14:08):
It is so good. Those burgers are amazing.

Drew (00:14:10):
Yeah, fried hamburgers. It's creative. I will definitely give them that. So now that you are in Memphis, I have this thing between North and South Carolina, because we were just talking about Asheville and that's where I grew up. And now I live in Greenville, South Carolina. So I did the North Carolina, South Carolina thing. And when I lived in North Carolina, you always looked at South Carolina. Yeah, whatever. I'm really happy. I live in North Carolina, but now I live in Greenville, South Carolina. I look up at North Carolina, I'm like, yeah, I'm kind of happy I live here. It's kind of like you got that transition in and then you're rooting for the team now all of a sudden. So you came from Kentucky, which is Bourbon Rich, and now you've come down to Tennessee, which has its own history, but it's really only a history that is reviving over the last 10 to 12 years. So how has that transition gone for you? Are you rah rah, Tennessee now?

Alex (00:15:17):
I, I'm rah rah, Tennessee, because Tennessee doesn't take itself too seriously when it comes to its whiskey because it is really so new outside of Jack and outside of George Dickel. There really were no Tennessee whiskey brands, and so we're all kind of getting to come in and put our own stamp on what Tennessee whiskey is. It's a little bit harder to do that when you're making Kentucky Bourbon because it's an expectation. There's this hardcore tradition around it, and it's a fantastic tradi tradition, but you're up against some really big names, and so you can't go too crazy if you're making Kentucky Bourbon. So I love and respect Kentucky and what they're doing up there, but I think we have a lot more fun with it here in Tennessee.

Drew (00:16:08):
So I have done 40 distilleries in Tennessee now, so I've done as many distilleries in Tennessee as I've done in Kentucky. And I wrote a book on Kentucky distilleries, and I can tell you that my original plan was to do all of these tours so that I could write another book and do one on Tennessee in the same way I did this one, which is kind of a guide through, and here's what you get when you go here and here's what you get when you go here, and here's the personality of this and the personality of that. And you're absolutely right that in Tennessee, I really couldn't write the same kind of book because every distillery kind of has its own personality. And where you go to a Kentucky distillery and you expect that they're going to have a Karen Glass for you when you're done and the tasting, and it's very formulaic. You end up in Tennessee, and sometimes it's just you walk in the place and they go, oh, you want to do a tour? Oh, okay, yeah, yeah, let me walk you around. And you may have the master distiller walking you around the distillery. So it goes everything from Jack Daniels and George Dickel very formulaic down to bootleggers. You just kind of stop by the stand and talk to the owners, which is really cool.

Alex (00:17:24):
And it's not uncommon for your tasting instead of the fancy Glen Karen that you're so used to in Kentucky that, especially out east Tennessee using communion cups.

Drew (00:17:36):
Yeah. Yeah. And that's a challenge too, is I went through while Covid was going on, whereas I didn't when I wrote that one. And so things have had to adjust, and it's, yes, the glasses disappeared for a while because of that too. But it definitely has been an interesting experience. And I love going to Tennessee distilleries because they're close to home too, so that helps. It's only a, it's

Alex (00:17:59):

Drew (00:18:01):
Except for Memphis. But the reason I went to your distillery the first time was because my brother lives in Texas, so it's a natural drive through for me to head through Memphis. And so I've gotten to know the town too. And it went from, yes, all I could think of with Memphis was that Mark Cone song walking in Memphis, which I sing every time I walk by a street sign that says Union Avenue. So that was part of it, and the other part was Elvis. But beyond that, and then all of a sudden, so much rich history there and interesting story. And actually it was at your distillery that I got to talking to someone about Boss Crump and all of the fun history of prohibition and what Memphis was doing at that time. So it makes sense that unless you had somebody passionate there at the distillery to fight for it, I mean, Motlow had to join Congress to be able to get Jack Daniels back to the distilling. So it was going to take some effort,

Alex (00:19:08):
And especially in Tennessee, because Tennessee enacted prohibition, what was it, 13 years before the rest of the country. And then I think we were in the last states to repeal it. So we also just had a much longer time period of prohibition. And so yeah, you did had to just climb mountains in order to get past it.

Drew (00:19:29):
Yeah. So now that you are in Tennessee, we're going to actually take a look back at your beginnings in Kentucky. And so let's talk a little bit about what drew you into the whiskey industry.

Alex (00:19:48):
So up until I was about 14 or 15, I knew for a fact I was going to be a marine biologist, knew it. And I took biology my freshman year in high school, and it was the worst thing I've ever experienced. So at that age, I'm having a midlife crisis because now I don't know what I'm going to do with my life. So move on to other sciences. I find chemistry, I find physics, I find calculus, and I love all of them, really enjoy the subjects, helps. I had really great teachers, but trying to figure out what to do with those outside of teaching. And my mom was reading up on up and coming college majors and career paths, things like that. And she said, well, you could do chemical engineering. I said, okay, that sounds right. What do you do with a chemical engineering degree? And she first jobs out of her mouth were, you can make beer and be a brewmaster or you can be a master distiller and make bourbon. And I said, done. I'm done to do it. I don't know why. I still to this day have no idea what about that made me, what hooked me. Yeah. But I loved it. I was like, this is what we're going to do. And so I decided to do that. I went to the University of Kentucky, studied chemical engineering, got my degree there, and haven't looked back since.

Drew (00:21:07):
Did you have any family members that worked in the distilling industry?

Alex (00:21:10):
No. So we grew up in northern Kentucky, so literally just south of Cincinnati, Ohio. So we weren't even in real bourbon country. That's Louisville, that's Lexington, that's Bardstown. So we weren't even in that realm. And the only history with distilling in my family goes way, way back to my grandmother's family in Alabama who were moonshiners, but no one in our family was in the industry at all. The most my parents did was they were really into education. And so they took my brother and I to Maker's Mark when I was five years old. I don't know why they chose that, because neither one of them drank bourbon at the time, and my mom still doesn't. So I don't know why they thought it was good to take us there at that age.

Drew (00:22:00):
So what is their out in that area? I'm surprised they were doing tours at that time, actually, because tours are still somewhat of a new thing.

Alex (00:22:08):
They were doing tours because I remember my dad sticking his finger into one of the fermenters and eating the ferment mash thought that was the grossest thing I've ever seen. And then they gave us chocolate because of course my brother and I are too young to drink. And so they just gave us chocolate. Well, it wasn't plain chocolate, it was bourbon fudge.

Drew (00:22:27):

Alex (00:22:29):
As a five year old, it was terrible.

Drew (00:22:32):
Did you like a cruel joke? Did you walk out a little woozy after that?

Alex (00:22:37):
I just remember hating it. I have no idea. I think my parents found it hysterical though.

Drew (00:22:41):
I think it's funny that people's first experience with whiskey usually is not a good experience. They're like, ah. And you wonder how they somehow turn it all around and find a love for it somewhere down the road.

Alex (00:22:56):
Absolutely. Yeah. I, looking back, I don't know how I ever came my distaste of the fermentation room like smell.

Drew (00:23:05):
So when you were at University of Kentucky, because I know Louisville has plenty of opportunities around to learn about distilling, did they, on that chemical engineering track, did they have classes in there that maybe had some kind of a lean towards distilling?

Alex (00:23:23):
No. So when I was going through the program, I was one of the first students within their memory that said, on day one, this is what I want to do. And I had one professor who just thought I was stupid, why are you wasting your time doing this degree if you want to make beer or whatever? So the only distillation course I had, it was literally a distillation course. It was a semester of just distillation, but it was a focus on chemical distillation. So petroleum, I definitely not beverage alcohol, none of that came until long after I graduated. They weren't even talking about the James b Beam Institute when I was there that I was long gone by that point. So yeah, they didn't really have a bourbon program going. They hadn't realized that that was an avenue that they should be opening up to their students.

Drew (00:24:25):
Yeah. Well, they probably weren't seeing the ex explosion we've had here over the last 10 to 12 years either. So you wouldn't get that smirk from a professor these days? I have a feeling. No. A lot of money to be made in the bourbon industry.

Alex (00:24:42):

Drew (00:24:44):
Did. Because your first opportunity to be around whiskey was in Lexington at Alltech, which is I know better as Town branch and whiskey fans probably know as Town Branch. So how did you end up getting there?

Alex (00:25:03):
So I was looking to do a co-op during school, and at the time, I still hadn't undecided between beer and whiskey and was leaning towards beer. And so I'd actually interviewed at Anheuser Busch. And then at the same time, the woman in our co-op office who was supposed to help us find these different businesses to talk to, she's a hundred percent German. And so when I said I want to make beer for a living, she was a hundred percent on board. She was going to help me find a job. You

Drew (00:25:33):
Got fan now?

Alex (00:25:35):
Yes. And so she found all tech, and at the time, their main thing was animal nutrition supplements, animal feed. And then also they owned Kentucky Ale the beer. And so that's what made her bring it to me is she knew they had this small brewery. So I, I didn't get the job at the brewery. I got a job in engineering at headquarters working for Mark Kaufman. He was my boss. And people now know him as the master distiller at Town Branch. Very nice. So I, there was doing engineering projects, but Mark knew that I wanted to be at the brewery. And so every other Friday when they bottled beer, I got to go down and help bottle. And so that was his way of helping give me some exposure for the time being. Well, a couple months in, I start hearing talk about this distillery project.

Alex (00:26:30):
No one's given me any information on the outside of it, but I'm hearing it. Well, next thing I know, they have two Potstills being delivered from Scotland and installed into the brewery. And it looked very different back then than it does today. It was a very cramped space. But my first exposure to the stills was after they were installed, they wanted to clean them and polish them because they were going to do a ton of media and press conferences and things. So they have to look really pretty. And so me and someone else from the engineering department had to figure out how to clean copper and polish. And if you can picture how tall those stills are, we had to get top to bottom. Oh, wow. It was not good.

Drew (00:27:16):
What do you clean those with?

Alex (00:27:18):
We tried about a million different things, some of which probably were not the right thing to do. I think the one we stuck with most was a citric acid solution. So that was a lot of fun dealing with acid. It's terrible, but it got me exposure. And they finally fired up the stills and realized they didn't have anyone to run. And so Mark comes to me and says, do you want to observe a distillation? He said, absolutely. I've been waiting for this. So we plan the day I go down to the brewery distillery and meet 'em there, and he says, I forgot I have to take the boys to the dentist. I have to go crap. So I get to go back to the office and twiddle my thumbs. That'll be fun. Instead, he ran through the entire distillation process, what to do, look for in about five minutes and said, here you go. I was like, in worst case, if you need to shut it down, just shut it down. Don't worry about

Drew (00:28:17):

Alex (00:28:18):
And then he left.

Drew (00:28:19):
Oh man. And here you are alone with, I mean, I don't know if you could take a Kentucky bourbon distiller and put them into that room because the scotch process or this, the Scottish way of making whiskey is different. It's very different from dealing with column stills and pots stills. I don't think really. I think that they were probably some of the first pot stills back in Kentucky,

Alex (00:28:50):
Outside of Woodford, Woodford Reserve. Yeah's always had stills, but outside of them, I don't think any of the distilleries really went that route for a long time. So yeah, that was a fun day. But I also, I don't think I stopped smiling that entire day. That was the moment I knew that I didn't want to make beer. Yeah, beer wasn't enough. I needed to make distilled spirits.

Drew (00:29:12):
That would've been crazy. So how did you feel after you got done? Were you, I hope, hope this is good.

Alex (00:29:23):
Yeah. I had no idea what it was supposed to taste like. Now, fortunately, I wasn't even thinking about that that day. But fortunately, shortly thereafter, they actually brought a retired distiller from Scotland over Harry Coburn. He's helped do a lot of distilleries in the States. So I actually got to spend two weeks with Harry learning the ins and outs and what to do, what not to do. And it was very, very archaic almost because our steam valve was manual. So literally just standing by the still, and Harry would just be like, you do, how do you know how to tell when it's ready or about to boil or around? I said, no, what do you do? And he literally just puts his hand on the still

Alex (00:30:08):
And you, that's how he taught. He was, find where the heat is and you can gauge where you are at that point. He's like, and you'll learn to be really fast. Yeah, that'll come with time. And just learning it that way. And he's like, have you tasted the product yet? I said, no. He's like, well, you need to taste it. Like you do not get to stand up here and not taste it. And so just getting those two weeks with him and getting that super hands-on experience from someone with that kind of pedigree was phenomenal to where after he left, I felt confident that as long as I did what he told me to do, yeah, then we were going to have a really good product.

Drew (00:30:46):
So he actually was production director, I think at Bomo in on Ila at one point. Yes. And so coming from the oldest distillery in Scotland, or No, I'm going to get myself in trouble with that statement. There's always that controversy about who is the oldest. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I mean, that must have been something. And then actually, for people who don't know about Town Branch Pierce Lyons, they may actually recognize that name. And he was the one who had had this dream of coming from Ireland. Cause he had worked from at Jameson, I believe. Yes. And then now he had had a distillery in I Dublin and then wanted to open this one up in Kentucky. So did you have much interaction with him while you were there?

Alex (00:31:35):
I was fortunate enough to get some interaction with him, especially when the distillery project started and really took off, got to interact with him from time to time, and he was such a fantastic person. So full of life, so full of just ideas and dreams mean he started the animal nutrition supplement side, but then he is like, well, I want to own a brewery. I want to own a distillery. And it just kept going. Yeah, yeah. Nice. He never knew what he was going to do, but no, he was an absolutely fantastic person. And the fact that he trusted Mark, who then in turn trusted me with that project, I can't thank either of them enough.

Drew (00:32:17):
Yeah. Well, my first distillery tour, my first distillery tour day, I went to three different distilleries. And the first one I went to Mark was my first distillery, but I finished the day at Town Branch, and that was Pierce Lyons had just passed away at that time. And there was, they were all kind of saying how it's very sad and what was going on around that time. It had just hit everybody. Yeah, actually, and this would be interesting how much experience you got from Harry Coburn in going to your next job, which was at Wild Turkey doing something similar to what he was doing over there, which is managing production to a certain extent. Were you overall of production or you just over a certain part of production?

Alex (00:33:13):
Just a certain part of production. I was the distillery production supervisor in charge of first and third shift, which was just weird. But our department handled incoming grain, so we did all the grain inspections, grain receiving, milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation. And then we also handled byproduct treatment, so the dryer house, so producing distillers, dried grain. So I was in charge of or responsible for all of that.

Drew (00:33:41):
And so when you get to a large distillery like this, what was the feeling? It's like you've kind of gone, A lot of people would think when they see how big wild Turkey's facility is, that it would be going from a small business to a behemoth. That'd be very impersonal. So what was your experience while you were at Wild Turkey?

Alex (00:34:05):
It wasn't impersonal at all. It definitely starting out was overwhelming. They had just done one production season in the new facility by the time I joined, so they were still getting used to the equipment. They hadn't fired up the dryer house yet, so I got to help commission that. So there was a lot. And also when I joined, there was one other supervisor there, so it was our production manager, another supervisor, and me. Well, within the first three months of starting, that supervisor got moved to another department. So suddenly I became the most senior supervisor of the department.

Alex (00:34:38):
And it was just two of us running a 24 hour day, six day a week operation. So because of how small our team was, it wasn't, IM impersonal at all. Each shift had three employees. So our entire department was nine employees plus our grain receiver, grain receiving employee. So 10 people. So not impersonal at all. You had to be very personal because of how small we were. And then even interacting with the warehouse team, interacting with our lab team and product development team. We honestly were really, really small and interacted a lot. We were all got along well. We were all friends, so not impersonal in the least bit.

Drew (00:35:30):
But you were still quite young at that point, so I was youngest in, you were managing other people and being the youngest.

Alex (00:35:40):
Yes. Most of my employees had been there a minimum of 30 years, if not 40 years, that that's the only job they've ever had. And I was 24 when I started there. So most of them had been with the company longer than I had been alive.

Drew (00:35:58):
That has its own challenge. I've had that situation myself. And it's great when people are very welcoming. And the thing about the whiskey industry that I found, the reason I fell in love with whiskey is not just because of the spirit itself, but because of the spirit of the people in the industry who I've run across very few that I've been like, well, I probably want, wouldn't want to hang around them for too long.

Alex (00:36:25):
No, you're a hundred percent, this industry is one of the best ones, the most fun ones to be in because even if you don't know the person, they're still somehow your friend in a way. We are just incredibly open, incredibly welcoming. And I had employees that could have been my grandparents, and they never made it seem that way. And I think part of it is I made it very clear that I was wanting to learn from them. I wasn't coming in to just tell them what to do. I wanted to learn from their experience. They've been running it still for 40 years, tell me everything. So that helped. But yeah, this industry, just one big family.

Drew (00:37:06):
So how did old Dominic come about for you? How did the first contact happen and the decision making process to go there?

Alex (00:37:18):
Yeah, so one day I got a message on LinkedIn from a consultant from Thoroughbred Spirits, and it asked if I knew of anyone who might be interested in moving to Memphis to help start up a distillery. And I think I got the message on a Friday, and by Sunday night I had sent my resume in because I talked to my husband about it and I was like, do we even want to? He's just try. Yeah, because you're not saying yes to it. Just let's do the interview and go from there. So did a couple rounds of phone interviews and then finally about two months later, came down to Memphis, got to meet the entire team, which at the time was not very many people, I think like six people. Wow. And all of them worked for the family company, and I think the most junior of them had been with the company for five or six years at that point.

Alex (00:38:21):
And so got to meet them, hear what they were doing. And at that point, they had actually bought this building and had done some demo on it. So I was actually able to come on site to the distillery during my interview and see, okay, if I do, this is where it's going to be. And they made sure to take care of me that weekend. I got to go to Grizzly's game and got to go to Barbecue Fest, which if you've never experienced that, you need to do it once. But just really, really fell in love with the team and just everything that they were about. And I really believed in their vision. And so again, fast forward, I don't know, a month or two, and they finally call and say, we want you, here's the job offer.

Drew (00:39:10):
Was that as a master distiller right off the bat, or were you kind? I

Alex (00:39:13):
Was head distiller.

Drew (00:39:14):
Head distiller. Okay. I was

Alex (00:39:15):
Going to be, yeah, head distiller, which they weren't going to have a master distiller, so I was still going to be in charge. And it wasn't much of a conversation, it was just make sure the numbers make sense, but let's do it. Worst case scenario is the distillery fails. You know what I mean? If you're really going, worst case scenario, it fails. In the first five years, I gained an amazing experience of being able to build out a distillery, build a brand, even if it does fail, at least did it. Yeah. And I'll just go find another distillery. It. That's the absolute worst case scenario. And so we decided, let's try and so moved to Memphis in September of 2015, and here we are six years later

Drew (00:40:09):
And you're not looking for another job and it hasn't failed. If you could send 50 gallons of whiskey to Greenville, South Carolina, you you've got something going on.

Alex (00:40:18):
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And it's been an amazing six years. Start it, develop a whiskey, develop a vodka, develop a gin.

Drew (00:40:27):
Yeah. That's a kind of, and the gin I like, which is rare because I'm not a big fan of gin, but when I was doing the tasting there the first time, I said, Ooh, it's not pinesol

Alex (00:40:40):
That I'm, because I was not a big gin drinker when I started here. And so I was like, okay, what are the things that I really don't like about gin? Yeah, yeah. Let's get rid of him.

Drew (00:40:50):
And you have to, the juniper in there, it's not gin, but how do you mellow that Piney? I love rye and I love rye because it has these herbal notes and you feel like gin is going to be right up my alley, but it just is too aggressive for me. It's Christmas

Alex (00:41:08):

Drew (00:41:09):
And so the only way I could drink it was to dilute it with some vodka to try to make it not be quite as aggressive or make a cocktail out of it or something. But yeah, just gin and tonic was not my thing, but there's almost like a, there's a licorice kind of a flavor that comes through on it. And I'm a big fan of licorice, so that's probably the reason why it also stands out to me because that's not a flavor I would expect to really be out front on a gin.

Alex (00:41:39):
Yeah. I wanted it to be different, unique. There's a ton of gins out there. We needed something to stand out, we needed to put a stamp on what Memphis gin would be. And so that's kind of what we were going for. But the six years knowing that I got to develop that, and we've got whiskey coming out next year. It's been a fun six years. And you said it, I'm not looking to leave anytime soon.

Drew (00:42:04):
So you did you get to pick out the equipment and go through that whole process? And did you have any mentors or people who came and helped you get this all figured out?

Alex (00:42:18):
So most of the equipment was actually already designed and ordered through Vem and I, it's all great. So there was no complaint there. I did get to help do the layout, do the installation, not like the bottling line. There was nothing there that was a hundred percent blank canvas when I came on board. Same with the mill. And so it was kind of a mix, mix and match of the two scenarios. And when I started, were using a distillery consultant named Pete Kamer, who has done a lot in the Kentucky bourbon world. And so he kind of was my mentor through this whole thing, using his experience in building, I don't even know how many different distilleries and like, oh yeah, you don't want to do that because I did it and it didn't work. So really getting to utilize his knowledge and his experience to try and help make the build out and the startup as painless as possible.

Drew (00:43:21):
That's got to be in a way really exciting to see all that equipment. And then also at the same time go, I'm the person that the controls, what am I going to do here? Plus, I mean, how do you come up with your mash bills? Because really for me, the first challenge would be trying to figure out what are we going to make and how are we going to set ourselves apart from everybody else?

Alex (00:43:52):
Well, so I'll be honest, the Highrise bourbon mash bell and the wheat mash bell were developed before I came on board. They started working with MGP in 2014 because they knew they wanted some aged product. And so they actually worked with MGP and one of the team members from Thoroughbred Spirits, they worked together to develop these mash bills and they settled on those two because they are unique. One wheat whiskey, especially in 2013, 2014, wheat, the wheat category didn't exist outside of Bernheim. And going with an 83% wheat, not a hundred percent, but 83%, it's a really high wheat content. So it was unique. And then the bourbon, they settled on that because again, they needed something to help us stand out. The bourbon world, there's so many bourbons out there, what makes you different? But the reason I love that mash bill, when I came on board, I was like, I'm not touching it. It's because I actually love rye whiskey. I like rye whiskey. Nice. And so having that 44% rye in our bourbon kind of gives you a rye whiskey without being a rye whiskey.

Drew (00:45:02):
Yeah. Well, and then coming from Wild Turkey, one of the things I love about it is that the high Rye just, I think gives it that little ooph and not, the thing I run into with rye sometimes is that if they have too much corn in them, sometimes you get that over aggressive Kentucky hug out of them. But I love how wild Turkey is just a really nice drinking with a lot of personality to it.

Alex (00:45:32):
Absolutely. Wild turkey's completely underrated. It's so

Drew (00:45:36):
Good. Yeah. For the price especially.

Alex (00:45:39):

Drew (00:45:40):
Yeah. So one of the things that we got a chance to taste when, because I had seen you out at the Rippy house mansion and you did a presentation there and you brought some whiskeys for us to try. And one of the ones that I tried there where I could see a little bigger smile on your face when you presented it, and I got a bigger smile on my face too when I tasted it, is the blended bourbon, which is an interesting category because I think a lot of people here blended bourbon and they think, oh, like blended scotch, is it going to have a lot of personality to it? Or is this just going to be something cheap you throw on the bottom shelf? And everywhere I've gone, including doing the tasting here in Greenville with Andy when he was here, everybody in the room was gravitating towards that blended bourbon. So talk about how you came up with the idea of blending bourbon first, and then tell us how you created that bourbon. Yeah,

Alex (00:46:55):
And you said it blended whiskeys are, they're misunderstood. And so the consumer just shies away from them very, very quickly. And so ours is a blend of our highrise bourbon and our wheat whiskey. And it came about because as I said, we did all of this within mgp, and those barrels are aged in Indiana for us. We don't have the space in Memphis to take the entire inventory. And so I would have samples pulled quarterly from our barrels just so I could check the progress. And I would get, I don't know, three bourbon barrels and three wheat barrels, and I'd be in the lab, I'd sample all of 'em. So all six samples. And I learned very quickly that people, no matter what your job title is, that people will judge you if you walk down the hallway at 8:00 AM holding six glasses of whiskey. Just a fact, even

Drew (00:47:53):
In the whiskey industry

Alex (00:47:54):
It is, yes. Cause I didn't necessarily need the entire sample. I poured, but I also don't want to pour it down the sink. And so to stop the stairs, I decided one day, for whatever reason, to pour all six glasses into one. And so you get less stares. Some people start like, are you drinking at 8:00 AM But it's less because it's only one glass. And I realized that I loved the flavor profile. I was getting the bourbon, but I was also getting the wheat. And so I was like, there's something to this. But at the time, didn't need it, just kind of put it on the back burner. But every time I did samples, I would do the same thing because, and I'd just sip on the glass all day long. And so finally we're talking about the healing station line of whiskeys, and we've got our bourbon out already, the red label, and we're about to do the wheat and sales being sales are like, okay, well we need something else.

Alex (00:48:52):
We need another skew. What in the world were we supposed to do? And that's when I pitched the idea of a blend of the two whiskeys. I'm like, I was at Wild Turkey when they came out with forgiven and that was their bourbon and rye happy accident that happened. And I loved that product. I thought it was a wonderful product and thought that there was, there's something to that unique category. And so I pitched the idea of this to the team and I did a batch for 'em so they could taste it. And they're like, okay, let's try this. Let's see what happens. Sales didn't care, it just gave 'em another skew, which is really all they wanted. They're good at selling, they'll make it work. And in the end, it's been incredibly surprised by how people have accepted it and they love it because it does give them the best of both worlds. You get that rye. So if you're a bourbon drinker, you're still getting the spice, you're still getting the body, but you're getting that amazing light sweetness of the wheat as well. And it's amazing how the two just, they play off of each other. They don't overpower either one of 'em.

Drew (00:50:05):
So it's interesting thinking about, because one of the things that I had heard about mgp, and I've heard other people say this as well, is that they just have a certain set of mash bills. You go through a catalog and you pick out what you want, but it's not really that way. You can have a customized mash bill.

Alex (00:50:25):
You used to be, I don't think they do the custom match. Oh, do they? Not anymore. Unless you're grandfathered in. Oh, okay. Okay. Especially because they've launched their own labels now they didn't have that 10 years ago. And so at the time, they were offering custom mash bills. And so our bourbon, they flat out told us there is no other bourbon that they make that has that hive orry content. It was unique to them. And so these two mash bes are a hundred percent ours. It's our yeast, it was our barrels, it was everything. But yeah, if you're a new customer, I don't think you can go to MGP today and ask and demand a custom.

Drew (00:51:07):
Okay. So the healing station, is that going to remain an MGP product down the road or are you planning on trying to recreate it locally?

Alex (00:51:22):
So Healing Station will live on its own and continue to be MGP for the life of the brand. That was just a decision we made a couple years ago. And next year 2022, we will start releasing the actual old Dominic line of whiskeys. So if you've ever seen our Healing Station bottle, you'll notice that old Dominic's not on the front label. Healing Station is the brand we want it to be able to live on its own. And then next year you're going to start to see a brand that is old Dominic Whiskey and our Tennessee whiskey will be the first one to come out in that line.

Drew (00:51:58):
And these are your barrels that you made when you first came on board? Is there, you've been tasting those, I'm sure. Going okay. Are we ready? Are we ready?

Alex (00:52:10):
Yes. It's been a long, how long has it been? It's been five years now. So yeah, February they'll turn five. And the reason we didn't release it four years because the barrels tasted very good at four years, but we had to shut production down for a year actually because we ran out of warehouse space.

Alex (00:52:35):
And so we had to make a judgment call, do we go ahead and release at the four year mark knowing we have a very, very limited supply that could dry up before we get to the new stuff? Or do we just go ahead and delay the release so that we can do it bigger and continuous? And that's the decision we made and given the pandemic, I think it worked out for us. But yeah, so next year we'll start with our Tennessee whiskey and it will be a blend of four or five, four and five year old.

Drew (00:53:09):
And talk about Tennessee whiskey, because I hear that the charcoal filtering process is one, and you can tell when you go on the tour two because you see there right under the spirit safe this thing, and you're like, what is that? A little bit of charcoal in there. I guess they probably run it through. And I've had this discussion as I've gone through Tennessee that I think it was at Pennington that I went to where he said, as long as you just let it wash over charcoal at some point it's okay. It's like it's, it's not whiskey unless it's been in a barrel. Well, you could just run it through bar a barrel and have it come out the other side. And technically it's been aged for a split second in a barrel. So it's technically whiskey. Is that kind of the direction you took with it

Alex (00:53:59):
A little bit? Yeah. So the Tennessee's definition of Tennessee whiskey is rather loose when it talks about the Lincoln County process, which is the sugar maple charcoal. And so you can see ours is basically Kentucky girls' interpretation of Tennessee whiskey is nice, but it's also, it's a great way for everyone to be able to differentiate themselves that there is a very specific brand that everyone associates with Tennessee whiskey. And it has a very distinct flavor profile, whether you like it or not, it's a distinct flavor profile. Well, there is zero point in any of us trying to recreate that flavor profile because even if we achieve it, we're, we're never going to compete with them. So why even try to beat them? And so, and they go crazy with their charcoal. I forget how long it takes to filter through hours. Yeah, it's intense. Yeah,

Drew (00:54:54):
It's like 10 feet or something like that. I think it is. Yeah, it,

Alex (00:54:58):
It takes hours for it to go through. So instead of trying to go that route, our goal was to just, let's go the complete opposite. Let Jack and George be themselves and we're going to be old Dominic and that means very little charcoal. So hopefully, cause I know a lot of bourbon drinkers aren't super big fans of Jack Daniels. Cause the flavor profile, it's a very sweet product. Well hopefully our Tennessee whiskey, because we aren't going crazy with the sugar maple charcoal should actually appeal to the traditional bourbon drinker because it won't be as sweet.

Drew (00:55:37):
Well, nobody at the Rippy house was booting you out because you brought Tennessee whiskey. It was probably felt a little odd actually bringing in a Tennessee whiskey to Kentucky.

Alex (00:55:48):
No, what's odd is when you go to Kentucky to try and get your bourbon into a bar or a store and you also pull out a bottle of gin. That's

Drew (00:55:58):
Odd. Odd, okay. So what's interesting too about your whiskey is that in a way it kind of hearkens back to when you think of Healing Station, it kind of hearkens back to the original because you are basically bringing in whiskey from the outside. He was, and really just now taking it that final step,

Alex (00:56:26):
And that's why we called it Healing Station. It was in the homage to Dominico and how he found it, our original whiskey brand.

Drew (00:56:36):
So I have some back here. It's in glasses, it's waiting. And so this is the Healing Station, very small batch. So I always have to ask this question, what does small batch mean to you? And especially what does very small batch mean? Since small batch really isn't a legal

Alex (00:57:00):
Term. So coming from Kentucky, I know what they define small batches and you're talking over a hundred barrels. We do our batches and batches of six barrels.

Alex (00:57:15):
So that's why I was like, if you want to call it small batch, you want that designation, that's fine. But let's take it one step further because we are not the same small batch as Four Roses. And so yeah, we're about six barrels batch, which also means that we are going to have some nuanced differences from batch to batch to batch. So if you've been drinking a healing station since we released it in 2018, you will have noticed a difference from then to today because the product has aged. We didn't have a huge inventory, so the product's gotten older and now we're starting to blend in some younger vintage to it too. So it's, it's been an evolution.

Drew (00:57:58):
And so in saying very small batch, you're kind of saying almost like a single barrel, this is going to have its own personality.

Alex (00:58:06):
Exactly. Yeah. We wanted to set the expectation for the consumer.

Drew (00:58:13):
So you definitely get the vanilla and oak character in it, but there's a lot of dark fruits in it that I kind of pull out of it.

Alex (00:58:24):
Ours has always had a lot of dark cherry notes and other stone fruits, which is something I'd always loved about those barrels.

Drew (00:58:36):
And then a little grain comes through in addition, it's just to let you know where it came from.

Alex (00:58:43):
A bourbon.

Drew (00:58:44):
Yes. So what is the mash bill on this?

Alex (00:58:46):
So that one is going to be 52% corn, 44% rye, and then the rest is malted barley in all of our whiskeys. If you ever curious about the mash bill, it's on the back of the bottle. We do make sure to put it on there and that we bottle it a hundred proof. So just a nice hardy proof that can hold up to a nice cube or hold up to a cocktail.

Drew (00:59:11):
Yeah, this again, you get the vanilla, but the baking spices kind of stand out to me on this one. And it goes for this, you get a little char on the finish, but it's like you get a nice warm kind of a cinnamon thing going on. So another whiskey for the holidays, it sounds like. It is,

Alex (00:59:33):

Drew (00:59:34):
This is going to be a nice pairing with my TDY back there. Yeah. Very nice, very nice. So talk a little bit then about the Tady because it has its own little history. Does you actually had found a bottle or someone had found a bottle or had a bottle of the original tdy, is that correct? Yeah.

Alex (01:00:04):
Yeah. So the TDY was a product from before Prohibition and at the time it was called Dominic tdy, not Memphis tdy. And we had a full wax sealed bottle of Dominic Toddy and no records of a recipe, nothing. We can't find anything about it other than we have ads that say that it was recommended by all of the finest doctors.

Drew (01:00:31):
Of course.

Alex (01:00:33):
Can't get away with that today. No, back then it worked. And so they decided, when they started just deciding to bring back Bull Dominic, they decided to kind of look into the Dominic Todd and they cracked that bottle open and they sent it off some of the liquid off to a lab in California to have it analyzed. And it was able to come back and say, based on this peak and this peak and this peak, these are probably the ingredients present. And it kind of gave us an idea of concentration. And then from there we reverse engineered it really more for De DA's palette. I'm assuming we have no clue if it tastes like the original product because the original product had turned, the liquid was was black. It was so gross.

Drew (01:01:21):
Yeah. Cause you've got natural cause because Aati is a bourbon plus, it has other natural ingredients in it that are perishables. Right.

Alex (01:01:30):
And so odds are back then, especially before prohibition, they probably were just chucking fruit into it. And so it did. We really don't know if what we have today tastes like that. But it's definitely tailored to today's consumer. And what it is, it's a bourbon base, so it's actually that same highrise bourbon that you just drank and we steep it with cinnamon, clove, black pepper, caram, and citrus peels. Basically creating just giant tea bags that we put into warmed up bourbon and water solution. And we let it steep overnight. And then we come in the next morning, we take those tea bags out and then we add a little bit of citrus flavoring to give it a brighter citrus because dried citrus peel is not super bright. So just a little bit of extract to give some brightness to it. And then also just a little bit of sugar. And I said, I use the term little very loosely, there's fair bit of sugar in there and it's at 60 proof. So we like to say that it really is a cocktail and a bottle. You don't have to do anything to it. It's a low enough proof that you can just sip on it straight out of the bottle.

Drew (01:02:42):
Did anybody have the guts to try to sip the old Todd? I

Alex (01:02:45):
Believe one. I believe one of our owners, Alex, I believe he was brave enough to sip it. He's still alive. My understanding, he was as goofy before as he is now. So no

Drew (01:02:59):
Change, no damage there,

Alex (01:03:03):
Because I've seen the liquid and I was offered the opportunity to sip it and I just, I'm like, I'm good. I have no desire to taste turned fruit. I mean, that's what it is. It's rotted fruit at this point.

Drew (01:03:16):
I had had an opportunity to go through and taste a bunch of pre-prohibition whiskey that were just in car, and they didn't really have anything but a toe tag on them that said what they were supposed to be in their former life. And so we did the chemical analysis on all of 'em just to make sure they weren't poisoned. And one of 'em I came across, I was trying to give 'em tasting notes as I was going through, and my face just went like that. And they said, what is it? And I said, they said, it's obviously not good. I said, if you really sour, it's okay. But I mean, maybe a sour beer fan would like this, but somebody put something in this whiskey that was perishable or they just had a bad experiment because it just was not good. And you don't know until you try.

Alex (01:04:07):

Drew (01:04:08):
Yeah. So

Alex (01:04:10):
Alex Elli said it wasn't good, so I took him at his worry. Just

Drew (01:04:14):
Go with that. Just go

Alex (01:04:15):
With that. Yeah, I'll trust him.

Drew (01:04:17):
So this one, when you don't even have to put your nose near the glass on this, some whiskeys, I have to bury my nose in the glass and snort it in to try to get some kind of a smell out of it. This I can hold it back here. And it's just cinnamon sticks and cloves and all of those really. I want a little gingerbread cookie to have with this because it's just so nice. And while at the event you guys were, the evening event, they actually had apple cider and this mixed together hot apple cider. That was great.

Alex (01:04:56):
That's my go-to. Yeah, that's my go-to in the wintertime. Ugh, that's because it's so easy. It's so to make.

Drew (01:05:06):
Yeah. Yeah. See that's just again, and it follows through on the pallet, everything that you're getting. And that citrus actually does come through and kind of gives it a little life there on the end as well. But

Alex (01:05:21):
Oh, it's fun with that product is it changes with temperature. And so for me, if you pour it over ice, I actually get more citrus. Oh, it enhances it. Okay. And so it's a fun product that way because depending on what you do, you're going to get a different flavor.

Drew (01:05:37):
Yeah. So what's next for you? You got your Tennessee whiskey coming out. When is that going to hit the shelves?

Alex (01:05:44):
Second half of 2022. I'm super vague because we're still fighting supply chain issues and I'm being told to expect that through second half of next year. So yeah. Is it bottles? I'm not making everything, is it? It's bottles. It's corks. Wow. It's the little PVC shrink capsules pretty much anything at this point. So we think we're ahead of the game and should be able to meet our target launch. But yeah, I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic on that,

Drew (01:06:18):
Man. And so how far across the United States is Healing Station right now?

Alex (01:06:25):
So Healing is Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, central, Florida, Georgia. Right now, just Greenville, South Carolina. We should be expanding special to the rest of South Carolina. You are special.

Drew (01:06:40):
We're special because I have seen it on my shelf locally, so Yeah.

Alex (01:06:45):
Yep. Just Greenville. Yeah, just Greenville for right now. But should be the rest of South Carolina next year. We're in some parts of Texas. We're up in Wisconsin. I feel like I'm probably missing a state. Yeah.

Drew (01:06:59):
Do you think?

Alex (01:07:00):
But our website, our website's updated, is it you go to all dominic.com and you can see where every single one of our products is available. Oh,

Drew (01:07:07):
Good. Okay. Is there ever going to be a day now the tariffs thing is eased. Is there a day that you'll be in Paris and you'll see, oh look, there's some healing station on, or some old Dominic on the shelf Is, what are your dreams for how far this goes?

Alex (01:07:25):
Right now, just focused on the states. I just, we're an American brand, so I want to focus on that, but I would absolutely love to be able to go to London or Edinburgh and go to a pub and be like, yeah, there's my whiskey. Yeah. Yeah. So I would love that. But right now I think that's so far out for us. But the tariffs being lifted was a huge

Drew (01:07:50):
Step. Will help. And that's part of, for me, when I go over there and I hear people say, well, I don't like bourbon. And they say, well, when I look on the shelf, all I see are Jim and Jack. So I can see why, if that's all you have as a choice, you don't know anything about what's going on with the craft distilling in the United States. And I think that people over there would be very surprised at the wide range of different types of whiskeys that are being made in the United States right now.

Alex (01:08:23):
Absolutely. Unfortunately, we've got programs through the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and couple other groups. They are doing programs where they're able to take smaller distilleries to Europe, take 'em to Japan, and help get them introduced to the market. And see, I think they even take some product to do some sampling to see how the consumers over there respond to it. Yeah. So hopefully efforts like that will help shift that over there. Because imagine people with scotch here in America, and how many people have you heard say they don't like scotch. Right. And then you realize they've only tried one scotch or one style of scotch. Yeah. It's like, okay, come on. Yeah, come on. There's so many more out there.

Drew (01:09:08):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, that's what it's all about, is just introducing people to a world of whiskey and trying all that's out there. And I'm so happy that Tennessee is now exploding with distilleries and we have plenty of opportunity in that area to be able to experiment from one end to the other. And now we have a reason to drive out to Memphis beyond just going to see Graceland

Alex (01:09:35):
Come get some whiskey and get some fried chicken across the street while you're at it.

Drew (01:09:38):
Perfect. Perfect. Well, Alex, thank you. It's been a pleasure and I, I'm wishing you all the success down the road and look forward to my next time in Memphis and some barbecue.

Alex (01:09:48):
Thank you so much. Look forward to hosting you in Memphis. Thanks.

Drew (01:09:52):
If you'd like to learn more about Old Dominic, just head to old dominic.com. And if you enjoy today's episode, help whiskey lore. The interviews grow by telling a friend about the show. And if you love the fall weather like I do, let's stay warm and show your love for whiskey history by grabbing an official Whiskey lore hoodie@whiskey-lore.com. You also find show notes, transcripts, tasting kits, and links to whiskey lores social media, plus a whole lot more. That's at whiskey-lore.com. I'm your host, drew Hamish. Have a great week, and until next time, cheers. And SL JVA Whiskey Lores a production of Travel Fuel's Life. L L C.


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