It’s been a long and crazy journey, but we’ve made it. Whiskey Culture, as of today, has officially turned 5 years old. It’s insane to think that I clicked “create a new page” on Facebook half a decade ago. And, I’d like to take this special day to say “thank you” to you, our readers, for making this whole journey possible.
I have always wanted to be a writer. It was a borderline obsession. I had written short stories, plots, and even two completed books, yet I never had the confidence to show them to anyone. But, doing reviews just seemed… well… less intimidating. Whiskey reviews aren’t gospel. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, so no one looks at what you’ve written as “definitive.” So, I took a chance.
In 2021 I wrote and published a book, a lifelong dream of mine, and doubled down on growing Whiskey Culture. We hit the top 250 history books in the country, grew from about 45,000 followers to almost 90,000, did masterclasses and event panels around the country, started a docuseries, and traveled across 10 states to meet new people and try new whiskeys!
Never did I think this would become my life, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth every second.
I’d like to take a brief moment to share with you all a bit of the last 5 years.
2015-2016 – Tallahassee, FL
My friend Chad and I tried a pour of Orphan Barrel – Barterhouse that was, quite literally, the best drink I had ever tasted. Until then it had been Jack, Jim, Crown, and Pinnacle. But, once I tried that buttery, woody, sweet and earthy combination, that was it.
We hunted that darn bottle for 6 months before finding it. But, along the way we built relationships with our local liquor store and bar owners. We tried new and great pours during that time and I began posting about the bottles we tried that I really liked on my personal Facebook page.
I got connected to a magazine out of New York that had me write a few guest reviews about some of the bottles I’d tried. I had so much fun that at the end of 2016 I began contemplating doing it on my own for fun.
Look at that sweet summer child. That was me in January 2017 the fateful month I decided to create the Whiskey Culture page. It was actually the first name I thought of. It combined my love of whiskey, history, community, and culture.
I began posting some reviews with a photo of a bottle, and that was the official beginning of Whiskey Culture. I even got so excited that I ordered this shirt with our old logo.
My local liquor store, Whiskey Willy’s, was helping me get reviews out by allowing me to sample their store picks and open taster bottles and write reviews on them.
Boy, did I have NO idea what was in store for us just a few years down the line.
After we started writing reviews, we got connected with one of our favorite local bars. They began having us come and review whiskey on Thursday to help us get some more reviews in without too much extra expenditure.
We had started getting a little bit of a following, breaking our first 5,000 Facebook followers.
We kinda phased out for the second half of 2018, as my career started picking up. But we’d be back with a vengeance in 2019.
My brother, Will, and I ended up going on a Whiskey Culture tour. Our very first stop was Michter’s, where me met Vicky, our very first friend in the industry.
Vicky has been a wonderful friend since, and we’ve loved seeing her on our trips up.
We got to see the whole Michter’s process, and we went around to a few different distilleries. It really cemented our love for the industry and history surrounding whiskey.
We had so much fun, we actually planned another trip right around the corner.
Orion made his debut with Whiskey Culture. He helped us by operating the camera so that we had some amount of professionalism rather than just being another bunch of bloggers with a cellphone camera.
We got to go to Buffalo Trace for the first time. The fabled, mythical, land of bourbon, and we had such an incredible time learning about their history.
We also went to Maker’s Mark, one of the most beautiful distillery grounds we’ve ever been to. We went back to Michter’s, checked out Evan Williams, and drank way too much white lightning at 1792.
We really put our time where our mouth was this year.
We got really into the science and art of distilling. We’d visited dozens of distilleries by this point, doing highlight articles for our trips and visiting Kentucky multiple times per year in a push to bring people more content than ever before.
We grew substantially this year and got our first paying sponsor with Dark Door Spirits in Tampa, FL. This was the seed that eventually would grow Whiskey Culture into what it is now, and make it the professional focus of my life.
In 2020 we went from under 10,000 followers to around 35,000. That was when we knew the power of aligning your purpose with your passion.
We filmed our first episode of “The Rickhouse” which would develop into our mini docuseries.
So far, we’ve filmed episodes with dozens of distilleries in over five states and are planning to go international with our series in 2022. It was the first time that we really focused on creating high-brow content (well, at least high-brow for us) and really take our passion and our travels much more seriously, trying to share not just our passion and stories, but the passion and stories of those who are a part of the whiskey industry around the world.
This is the first time we really focused on getting our podcast off the ground as well with over 30 episodes to date!
We released our book, Whiskey History From Around The World, which you can get by clicking here. We actually broke the top 250 history books the night of the launch. The launch party had over 80 people in attendance!
In addition, we released our first-ever private barrel in collaboration with Dark Door Spirits. It’s was a Florida bourbon finished in a brown ale cask for a few months. It was incredibly woody and earthy with a thicker viscosity. We called it “Brown Butter Bourbon” and it sold out in less than a month!
Our first booked class was at the Epicurean hotel where we sold out for an “Around The World With Whiskey Culture” dinner pairing.
We featured an elevated menu and rare whiskey selection featuring whiskey from Kentucky, Japan, and Ireland. We showed pictures of the distilleries, historical photos, and pictures of the countryside while explaining the historical significance of whiskey in each of the regions.
We got booked for the opening of another one of their hotels not much later, which became our very first Masterclass where we partnered with executive chef Ewert for a Scottish and Southern fusion dinner pairing featuring popular expressions of scotch.
The last part of 2021 saw us in Tenessee, Colorado, and back to Tennesee where we were filming episodes of “The Rickhouse.” We also have regular local events where we’re educating our community about all the amazing things whiskey has to offer.
We’re extremely excited to see what this year holds as we work harder than ever before to earn your readership. We promise to keep the content flowing and make it our most exciting year yet.
We’re kicking it off with a trip to Texas to film the 4th season of our “Rickhouse” web series!
Thank you so much for being a regular reader and part of the Whiskey Culture community! We appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!