An open letter to friends and family about whiskey and Kickstarters....
Here's what Kickstarter is, and why we're doing it, for those who are new to the forum.
Its called "crowd funding", a pre-sale of sorts that lasts for one month. The first few days of the campaign are critical. You present an idea, cause, product, etc. and you serve it on a well designed platter to the world. It is an all-or-nothing game plan hoping they will buy your product/good/whatever before you actually give it to them, or in some cases before you have actually made it.
Workhorse Rye Kickstarter is Saturday January 25th to Sunday March 2nd!
THE GENERAL OUTLINE OF THIS STORY IS:
We have been working on this whiskey project for two years, and are now ready to release to the public. We make an unprecedented organic and delicious product that will blow your mind and mouth. Sorry if you think that's arrogant, it totally is, but we can back it up with explanation of our practice, and taste.
We have chosen to work with Kickstarter to pre-sale our products, because they are a trusted company that partners with Amazon to launch tons of new and creative companies that have become successful. It is crucial for those people close to us, who already know they want to contribute, to do it RIGHT AWAY as soon as possible once we launch. This is because when a Kickstarter is launched with a bang, it receives a lot of attention from publications and Kickstarter itself will put this particular campaign on their front page, which is a HUGE deal! Front page status means that the campaign is going to soar well above its' goal, which is we want obviously. The better we do on Kickstarter, the more whiskey we can produce and deliver to the public, and in doing so the more organic farming we can support locally.
For the story of how we got here, some words below...
I have been working on a whiskey project in San Francisco called Workhorse Rye for over two years now. It started in Chicago at Siebel Institute of Technology where I took "Craft Distilling Technology and Operations" taught by whiskey pro's such as Dave Pickerell of Maker's Mark fame. I moved to San Francisco from Tucson and worked at a bar called Rye (which I still work for) and a coffee shop called Four Barrel (we now make bitters from their coffee) while getting my hands dirty at a local distillery. One thing led to another and a guy I've know for over 15 years, David Gordon, encouraged me to look into the details of starting my own brand. So I did, with his help and now we've been making and aging our own rye whiskey for two years. If you've seen our website, or drank our booze, you know that its special. Not only are the ingredients from organic and sustainable farms (an aspect in whiskey that is beyond a minority, distilled spirits quality is leaps and bounds behind that of craft brewing and biodynamic vineyard practices) but our aging methods are very unique in that our barrel program is almost exclusive to freshly used French Oak wine barrels (as opposed to NEW American Oak, which defines the flavor of Bourbon), with cider and beer barrels on deck to be added to our program.
A year and a half ago, I received a job offer from Kings County Distillery which is "New York City's Oldest Operating Whiskey Distillery". Since I had spent so much time working with rye (which is the moodiest and most mysterious grain you can brew) they offered me the opportunity to work on their rye whiskey program and assist them on their existing Bourbon program as well. Considering my work load, I didn't see how this could possibly happen, although I had wanted to work for this company for years... Before I knew it, we worked out that I could relocate temporarily (while my own whiskey aged) before I had to get back to my own project. Turns out New York is super cool, and I stayed longer than planned. Because I was learning so much, and considering a hurricane came through, we had to rebuild the distillery for a month... I stuck around.
My learning pool increased by tenfold. I mean literally tenfold, since there are ten times as many distilleries in NY than there in SF. I worked at a couple cocktail bars, one of which I was able to serve Workhorse to some interesting characters (like Mario Batali who said our whiskey was "surprisingly superb"; alright I'll take that sir). I became familiar with most of the Brooklyn distillers, while making whiskey "the old fashioned way", which is Kings County's schtick and really just means "as difficult and laborious as possible". But, it was time I came back west, so I have been back for a few months now.
We did our first public showcase back in September 2012 at San Francisco Cocktail Week where we got to show "the world" what we're up to. From East to West, David and I have brought our whiskey to over 70 bars of quality now (I've made a list!) and I'm proud to say that the feedback has been shockingly positive. We're ready to release this stuff to the public.
Which brings me to the whole point and climax of this tale:
We are launching a Kickstarter on Saturday January 25th that lasts until March 2nd. Why? Our process and our choices (American made glass, organic ingredients, etc) are quite expensive, so a pre-sale will help us move like the wind and up our pace in bringing you this stuff. I started working on this Kickstarter over a year ago, but we all work many jobs and weren't able to make it priority until October of this past year. I had been working on this campaign day and sometimes night at various coffee shops in SF and my buddies at Taylor Stitch saw me losing my mind. They offered me a space to work in their office. Wow! Hats off to you, friends. I shouldn't say "I have been working", I really should say "we have been working" actually, as its been a valiant effort of many trusted friends/colleagues and I, most notably the notorious media wizard and wanderer Aaron Grimes who filmed and produced all the footage (and more, my god…), the sweethearts at Four Barrel who are designing one of our products with us, and Rohit Acharya who has been my Editor-In-Chief, always asking the right questions and being a strength and support beyond which I could explain.
This campaign goes from Saturday January 25th until Sunday March 2nd. If you know you'd like to contribute and taste (and wear!) some of our offerings, the sooner the better so we can attract the most possible attention from blogs, magazines, and most importantly Kickstarter!
How do you access it?
You can find it on Kickstarter.com staring Jan 25th by searching "Workhorse Rye", or by clicking the link which will appear on the front page of this website when we launch. If you can't find it, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you a link.
Thank you for taking the time to read this friends,
Reach me at any time with 520.429.4591 or email@example.com