Whiskey 101: Launching Your Own Bourbon Brand

Launching a bourbon brand isn’t just about creating a drink; it’s about crafting an experience and about distilling dreams into liquid gold, filling each bottle with a piece of your heart and soul.

In this episode of  Blending Bourbon, David and Dixon from Golden Sheaf share how road-weary and complicated launching a bourbon brand can be.


What does it take to launch a bourbon brand? 

What are some of the trials and tribulations? The crafting process of Whiskey is a long one, and once the bourbon is in the barrel, there’s no turning back. There are no second chances to tweak the blend or refine the theme. 

This means you’ve got to have the perfect symphony of flavors before it hits the barrels. It’s a delicate dance of taste and texture and meticulous attention to detail.

While the journey of launching your own bourbon brand can be immensely satisfying, it can also be solitary at times. Hours spent refining the blend, ensuring every note is pitch-perfect, can often feel like a lonely serenade. 

And, of course, launching your brand is about patience and resilience but also about mastering the whole process and knowing what you are doing. Love for Whiskey itself isn’t enough. So, the first step to building and growing your brand is to know the craft left and right. 


The Bourbon Process

The process begins with grains: corn, rye, wheat, and malted barley, each lending their unique flavors to the final product. These grains are ground and mixed with water, beginning the transformation from raw ingredients to a rich beverage.

Fermentation is next, a crucial step that typically takes about three days. During this time, yeast works its magic, converting grain sugars into alcohol. 

Distillation is where the true character of the bourbon begins to emerge. Most bourbons go through this process twice. The first round involves distillation in a beer still, and the second round refines the spirit further. This double-distillation process ensures a smoother, more refined flavor.

And then, perhaps the most patience-demanding part of the process. Bourbon is aged in charred oak barrels, slowly acquiring its color and distinctive flavor profile. The aging process can take years, even decades, but it’s this slow maturation that gives bourbon its depth and complexity.

Lastly comes the bottling, labeling, and marketing process, where the products are almost ready to be distributed. 


The Launching Moment

After the distilling, blending, and aging, there is a moment when the bourbon is finally ready to be presented to the world. It’s bottled, labeled, and gleaming with promise, a physical manifestation of your dream. 

However, this moment of joy is often tempered by a harsh reality: the world can be a tough critic. Distributors, clients, and even casual onlookers are all armed with opinions that can sometimes be hard to swallow.

The pressure can feel immense, and it’s crucial to remember that self-care is as important as the care we put into our bourbon. After all, your mental well-being is the secret ingredient in the recipe for success.

Keep in mind that critiques are directed at the product, not you. It’s about the bourbon, not the blender. 

Embrace feedback as a tool for growth, not a judgment of worth. Your job is valuable, and your contribution is significant. So, breathe deep, stand tall, and pour your passion into your craft with the knowledge that you are creating something truly special.ç


Enjoy The Ride

As we have reviewed in this blog, the process of making bourbon is long and tiring. It’s a journey that requires dedication and a deep love for the craft. But as you take your first sip of a finely crafted bourbon, as you savor the rich, complex flavors that dance on your palate, you’ll understand why it’s worth it. 

The bourbon process has also created a community of bourbon lovers who appreciate the craft deeply. These are the people who understand the labor of love that goes into each bottle and acknowledge the art behind the amber liquid. Their appreciation fuels the industry, encouraging bourbon creators to continue refining their craft.

In the bourbon industry, every connection made, every story shared over a glass of bourbon, strengthens the sense of community.

So here’s to the bourbon makers, the patient artisans who dedicate themselves to this beautiful craft. And here’s to you, the bourbon lovers, who appreciate the journey as much as the destination!

Stay tuned for the latest insights, tips, and secrets about the whisky and bourbon industry with Blending Bourbon.