points in its history. So that’s one aspect. More broadly, what was driving the name change was really getting behind the entrepreneurial model that [the company was] launching. It’s quite unique and it’s actually one of the most exceptional things about this role and what motivated me to come here— the idea of me not just being a distiller in name only or some kind of marketing figurehead but actually creating an entrepreneurial position that is truly the head of the company. And so if you are going to do that you need a company. And we wanted it to be bigger than just George Dickel, the brand, in order to really give me some room to get creative and drive future innovation.
Does that mean you may launch other brands beyond the Dickel label? N.A. Cascade Hollow Distilling Company produces and is the home of George Dickel, but it could be any number of things, so it really opens up a lot of opportunity for me. And that’s part of what makes it really appealing. There’s a certain amount of freedom that comes along with that, so we may launch other brands.
Could you describe the management structure with the Cascade Hollow board? N.A. The structure of this role is really unique—I can’t think of a lot of other things that are like it. Rather than plugging in to the corporate structure, I actually report to a board of directors inside the company— they’re really putting their money where their mouth is. [Diageo SVP for North American Whisk(e)y] Sophie Kelly is the chair. It’s also got the president of Diageo North America and other marketing and supply folks on it who support this company, but really gives me a lot of freedom to define the strategic direction and then go and execute it.
What are your immediate plans in the role? N.A. Right now what I’m focused on is getting to know the people, the place and the whiskey that’s here. What I don’t want to do is just bring the same ideas I had in New York and try to plug them in to what’s going on in Tennessee. My ethos about whiskey making is that it should really be driven by the place and the agriculture that’s in the area. So what I’m doing is trying to get to know what grows here in Tennessee and what is the whiskey expression of this area. Part of it is familiarizing myself with local growers and local producers and then also familiarizing myself with the key capabilities of the facility.
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