I love whiskey.
In fact, my wife says that I love whiskey and golf more than I love her, even though I have told her many times that I love her more than golf. I have had a love affair with whiskey for so long that I have turned my affection into a hobby.
I collect all kinds of whiskeys including Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, American whiskey (bourbon), Tennessee whiskey, Canadian whisky, and Rye whiskey. There are as many ways to make whiskeys as there are whiskeys, but for the most part, whiskey is made from barley, corn, or rye, or some combination of those grains.
Why do I mention this? After all, this is a blog targeted at entrepreneurs. The reason is that the whiskey industry, like so many other industries, has been in a state of consolidation for years. This means that most liquor brands are now owned by major corporations like Diageo plc, Beam Suntory, and Pernod Ricard Group.
However, there are still a handful of whiskey distillers around the world that make small batches of great tasting adult beverages and they are able to compete very successfully.
It’s all about execution.
- By building and protecting their brand, they are able to charge a premium price
- They partner with distributors that give them market access
- They have a very well defined target customer
- They know their numbers and have a very tight control over their costs
- These companies know who they are and don’t try to be someone else
- Management has an ecumenical feeling about quality
- After making a great product, they understand that a positive cash flow is paramount
- The team has an unbelievable passion for producing a great product
- Successful entrepreneurs take care of their customers
- They are grateful every day
I could add another 10 bullets but I think you are getting the idea. By now you’re probably saying, “What makes distillers different from any other entrepreneur?” Great question. Probably nothing. For more information on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, check out It’s Your Biz – Real World Tips for Building a Business.