Season's Greetings & Thanks
I almost thought about changing the headline of the previous post to "Jefferson's 18 Year Old ISN'T Here!" after the way it flew out of here yesterday. Without a doubt, that is the fastest we have ever sold a whiskey of that quantity. 300 bottles of $75 Bourbon went in 19 hours. Amazing. It's a testament to the quality of the booze, the reputation of the distillery, and the amount of people we are now reaching with our insider emails and blog. We used to rely on the general K&L email database when we had large numbers of great product to sell, but it appears that our ranks of insiders have grown substantially and are just as rabid as we are about drinking good product. We love tracking down a thrilling new deal - not because it's lucrative, but rather because we're excited to drink it ourselves!
What has really inspired me personally this year is the number of people who really "got into" what we were doing here. I remember talking with ownership at the end of 2010 and telling them, "I think we should go to Scotland next year." It wasn't as easy to make the case at that time, but after the 2011 we've had, there are definitely many Scotland trips in our future. We thought we were getting second-rate barrel samples from vendors and believed we could get better whisky by tracking down the samples ourselves. It turns out we were right. The whiskies we had access to in Scotland were on an entirely different level from the ones carried by distribution sales reps. The quality showed as soon as you, our customers, had the chance to taste them and momentum has been building ever since. The lessons we learned on that trip have proved invaluable.
The amount of positive emails, phone calls, and messages we've received as a result has been simply overwhelming. It seems that people really enjoy shopping with us for their whisky needs and that's an incredible feeling. It's one thing to supply people with what they already want, it's an entirely different thing to provide them with something new and exciting - something different that inspires them to branch out and become more adventurous. You would think that strong and lasting relationships would transpire between a doctor and his patients, or some other form of interaction based on trust and the ability to help someone in need - people that actually make a difference. However, I've never experienced the kind of general goodwill, not even as a teacher, as I have from the people who shop at K&L. I have become friends with so many of the faces I see on a weekly basis and have struck up some strong penpal relations with customers via email. People baked me cookies and brought me gifts for Christmas this year! We're just selling booze here! :)
As you would likely expect we're going to have a record December for spirits at K&L. The casks have been a big hit and the reviews have been kind. I'm also quite proud that we've been able to do it the grassroots way. We've had a ton of support from local whisky bloggers (you know who you are and we thank you deeply) who have almost always had great things to say about the whiskies. We never paid for one piece of advertising. We never sent samples to any reviewer. Our casks were never written up in any major publication (surprisingly enough our Cognac was, however). It's all from local, home-grown support and that means more to us than anything. Even though the holidays in the retail business are absolute torture, it's still such a great gift to know that many of you are supporting us through it. There's no fickle, points-related, media-inspired trend going on at K&L. It's a legitimate base of awesome people who like to drink.
So what's ahead for 2012? There should be a pretty big announcement from us shortly after New Year's Day, as well as a huge expansion into the distilled spirits of France. Another Scotland trip is slated for the Spring and we'll try to build on what we've already accomplished so far this year. Right now, I'm just trying to make it through the next three days without collapsing. Things are getting tense, emotions are running high, patience is wearing thin, and our energy supply is almost out. However, what I want to say before we all go into holiday hibernation is - thank you. Thanks to everyone who reads the blog. Thanks to everyone who bought the casks. Thanks to all of you who come every Wednesday to taste. Thanks to all of you who talk about us to your friends.
We really, truly, deeply, honestly appreciate all the support.