Kentucky produces 98% of the bourbon whiskey made in the U.S. Bourbon whiskey is a distilled spirit that consists of 51% corn and is aged in charred oak barrels. The aging is what gives bourbon its distinct taste as the caramel, sweet and smoke flavor builds within the charred white oak barrels. Kentucky is ideal for distilling because of its bourbon (sour mash) history, but also because of its heavy limestone filtered, creek water that produces a smooth taste.
There are an estimated 8M+ barrels of bourbon aging across Kentucky. Think about that number again! That is a lot of bourbon barrels stored across the Bluegrass state. Straight bourbon whiskey must age for a minimum of 2 years, while any bourbon that ages less than 4 years must have a statement of aging on the label. Bourbon distillers must have a lot of patience and be able to assess future market demand and needs. If they miss it can be costly. In bourbon production patience is a must. It’s similar to the patience timber companies like Georgia Pacific, must have when planting trees and estimating their future timber harvesting.
Master Distiller’s are patient people. They know the proof is in the waiting, no pun intended. It can’t be rushed. However, there is payoff in the patience and the more patient, the better the bourbon and the higher the cost. Still (pun intended), they have to have a great recipe going in.
Regardless of your take on alcohol there are lessons to be learned for business from Master Distillers.
- Hone your craft and brand (ingredients, recipe)
- Don’t flood the market increase demand through discipline
- Plan for the future (Business today is aimed at tomorrow, next year, the future)
- Be willing to wait, don’t jump the gun too early
What are you impatient about in business? What requires patience and what are you doing to increase patience in your company’s/team’s culture? Patience is a necessary discipline. It has to be learned, cultivated and exercised. Companies and teams need members who are willing to pull the trigger, but they also need people who take the long view of things. Who is your long view person? Do you have one?
This isn’t meant to be exhaustive just a primer to start the conversation when you are doing introspection about your company, products, team, etc. Slow/deliberate and steady win’s the marathon. Sprinters don’t run marathons.