Celebrate 4-Years with Seelbach's|
I don’t think there’s a business consultant that would the suggest the Seelbach's business plan. Start a business 600 miles away. Make sure its in a niched part of an industry. Don't carry the "popular" brands that have been proven to sell. No storefront (and while you have four kids 4-years old and younger lol) . On day 1, I walked into a storage unit in Washington, DC. It was overwhelming. I tried to make sense of the products stacked to the ceiling around me. Slowly, we made progress! The people I need to thank for getting us to where we are today could fill this entire email.
How did Seelbach's get started? Based on my time writing the Bourbonr blog I realized there were hundreds of underappreciated products. There were also thousands of enthusiast looking for something new and unique. I couldn’t have predicted in 2018 what the Seelbach’s portfolio would look like today. But, I’m thrilled with the collection of products we carry. The word "craft" has expanded since 2018. We now take a non-Heritage approach to sourcing our products. Some of the brands and distillers may be outside of the ADI definition of craft. But, if they’re transparent, tell a unique story and offer a great product we want to carry them!
Where is the industry going? I see less stories about “grandpa’s secret whiskey recipe” that is in fact sourced from a major producer. We now see brands taking pride in where they source their whiskey from. They also highlight the art of blending. Brands like Pinhook, Barrell Craft Spirits, Rare Character, Blue Note, Nulu and others. They work to source new and unique. They take time to craft a stellar product through blending or barrel selection.
Consumers now care more about the grain. Distillers like New Riff, Chattanooga Whiskey, Wilderness Trail, Spirits if French Lick, ASW and Old 55 highlight grains and batched distillation. These factors are important. A heritage grain brings a flavor profile that a commercial grain doesn't. People care less about the age. Customers embrace brands that weren’t on the market 4-5 years ago. I love seeing a cult following for brands like Blue Run, Penelope Bourbon, O.K.I., Lucky Seven, Old Carter and Smoke Wagon.
Seelbach's now carries products from friends I knew in the whiskey world before Seelbach's was an idea. Whether it’s Pursuit United, Nashville Barrel Co., Bardstown Bourbon Co, Blue Note or Short Barrel. These are people I’ve known for years. Our passion for bourbon and whiskey has evolved from enthusiast to industry. Nothing gets me more excited than seeing someone creating a business out of their passion.
Exploring barrel finishes is a trend I hope continues. We’ve seen a few traditional distilleries and brands dabble with barrel finishes. The depth of knowledge and exploration distilleries like Starlight, Four Gate and Dancing Goat bring to barrel finishes is incredible. They’re pushing the boundaries of what’s good in bourbon. Does bourbon work with a Pinuea Des Charante barrel? I’m not sure. But I love having brands that are willing to find out. Seelbach’s will always support the quirky and off-beat. We never want to get complacent with what whiskey has to be. It may not be everyone’s first choice. If we reach one new customer with a unique barrel finish it’s worth it.
What’s next for Seelbach’s? I don’t know what the next 4-years holds. There have been some incredible highs. There have also been some hard times. All I know is we will continue to deliver obscure spirits to a curious drinker. We hope that you share a bottle with a friend. We hope that you tell a new brands story to a fellow enthusiast. We hope that you find the bottle you’ve been searching for. There will be new products and I hope you’ll give something new or different a try. We hope that you’ll join us for what’s next!