I imagine every entrepreneur has "the" moment. A moment laced with equal parts fear and excitement.
When every logical bone in your body is telling you to continue down the road that brought you to that point, but your heart is telling you that if you don't take your shot now, you may lose the strength to fight that nagging logic for good.
I'm a bourbon man, and 27 years ago I left a successful law practice to revive a family recipe that hadn't been seen in more than a century. It sounds just as crazy today as it did then, but I can't imagine my life any other way.
In that critical moment I thought the success or failure of Bulleit Bourbon was mine to determine and mine alone. As I look back at the past few months, where I have seen Bulleit break ground on a brand new distillery in Shelby County and add The Bulleit Experience at Stitzel-Weller to the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail, I've realized how wrong I was.
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While I feel a great sense of personal pride in how far my family's name has come, I know full well that it is because of the passion of others that I sit here today, still a bourbon man. And for that, I want to say thank you. Thank you to our partners in chemistry — the bartenders here in Kentucky and around the world. Meeting with, and most importantly listening to, these mixologists has been the smartest thing I've done, and they've responded with incredible passion.
I'm honored every time I see a bottle of Bulleit behind the bar. In fact, Bulleit Rye — the No. 1 selling rye in the U.S. — would never have been created if there weren't hundreds of bartenders pushing me to add it to the Bulleit family.
Without this community, Bulleit is not the brand it is today.
Thank you to my friends throughout the industry and especially to my colleagues at Diageo who believed in this brand when it wasn't fashionable and pushed me to heights I could have never imagined on my own.
And thank you to the great state of Kentucky we have proudly called home for generations. It's no surprise Bluegrass people are some of the most hospitable folks around and go to great lengths to take care of their own.
I believed that when I founded Bulleit in 1987 and I believe it even more today as the last few months have been the most humbling of my life. The reception my Kentucky neighbors have given my family and I has been nothing short of incredible.
Now, it's our turn to give back and we're thrilled at the prospect to be the best neighbors you've ever had.
From the new Bulleit Distilling Co. in Shelby County producing local jobs, to our goal of running one of the most environmentally responsible distilleries around with zero waste to landfill, we are very serious about our commitment to the community.
We're also excited about playing a part in boosting tourism by adding The Bulleit Experience at Stitzel-Weller to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Stitizel-Weller is such an iconic piece of Kentucky history and we are confident visitors are going to love walking the halls of this bourbon cathedral.
My office is located right by the front door at Stitzel-Weller, so please stop in and say hello. It would be my pleasure to shake your hand, welcome you and say thanks for helping make Bulleit Bourbon a reality.
And to all the other entrepreneurs out there with big ideas: Take your shot, as I'm living proof that dreams do come true.