Paul Tuell, Founder of Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey, shares his secrets to creating a whiskey brand and how he has grown the company from idea to booming success.
Where would you begin if you wanted to start a liquor company? Find out how Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey was created and the steps Paul Tuell took to ensure his brand would be a success.
Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey:
- Paul discusses his career before launching his own whiskey brand, and how his experience at major corporations prepared him to launch his own business.
- When did he have the idea to start his own brand, and how long did it take to go from idea to product on the shelf?
- How did he determine the time was right to leave Corporate America?
- How many variations of chocolate whiskey did it take to get the perfect formula?
- What flavors didn’t work?
- Why did he decide to enter the category of flavored whiskey as opposed to another space in the liquor industry?
- Like many entrepreneurs, Paul saw an opening in the market and took advantage of it.
- Paul explains how, even though he is an entrepreneur, he has never left the “corporate world” behind him.
- Also, he gives insight into the advantages of a corporate job and how many people don’t appreciate working at big companies.
- He credits much of his success as an entrepreneur to his experience in the corporate world and the relationships he built over time.
- We learn how Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey was named (and also get a little history lesson on boxes of chocolate).
- Ballotin launched with four flavors, and Paul explains why he wanted to start with multiple flavors to give the brand instant credibility and recognition (the flavors are Original Chocolate, Caramel Turtle, Bourbon Ball, and Chocolate Mint).
- FYI – John’s favorite is the Caramel Turtle while Paul Heintzman loves the Bourbon Ball.
- When deciding on flavors, Paul Tuell made sure to stick with flavors that were recognizable and can be found naturally in whiskey (mint, caramel, chocolate, nuts).
- Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey originally launched in Kentucky and South Carolina in 2015 and has expanded to 15 states in 2017.
- The current bestsellers are Caramel Turtle and Bourbon Ball (~28% each), followed by Original Chocolate and Chocolate Mint.
- We have a tasting of the flavors on air, and can honestly say they blew our minds. While you definitely taste the flavors in each whiskey, none were cloyingly sweet and all were extremely enjoyable and easy to drink. John and Paul Heintzman would definitely recommend these to whiskey/bourbon drinkers (like us) and non-whiskey drinkers as well.
- We find out what’s next for Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey and can’t wait for what the future holds.
Last call questions and answers:
- Best career advice:
- “Never burn a bridge. Be nice.”
- What advice would you give your 24-year-old self?
- “Work harder.”
- The best thing you have spent money on the past 6 months:
- A car for his son’s 16th birthday.
- What media do you recommend:
- Favorite thing to drink with Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey:
- Dirty Manhattan – 1 part Old Forester, 1 part Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey Original Chocolate, and a splash of bitters
Special shoutouts and show notes:
Enjoyed this episode? Check out the episode with Great Flood Brewing where we discuss how to open a brewery.
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