Why This Whiskey Entrepreneur Is Willing to Forgo Easy Cash
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Whiskey is hot right now. Really hot. And if you are sitting on a small, but growing, rye whiskey brand, it can be oh-so-tempting to get as much product to market as quickly as possible. After all, booms don’t last forever. Whiskey could lose its luster.
But Raj Peter Bhakta, the founder of Shoreham, Vt.-based WhistlePig whiskey, is holding firm to his commitment to quality. And with whiskey, quality takes time. “We take a much more patient approach to putting our product to market. It starts at 10 years old. Now think about that. That’s 10 years that we have to wait before putting our product in a bottle,” Bhakta told Entrepreneur.com.
While WhistlePig is maintaining its commitment to quality, that’s not to say Bhakta hasn’t felt the heat of temptation to produce more, lesser quality spirit. He could relatively easily flood the market with a younger, and therefore, less delicious whiskey.
“In this boom, where there has never been this sort of boom in American whiskey in the last 50 years, there is a lot of pressure to launch younger, less expensive products just to meet demand. We are willing to let our competitors take that position while we focus on making sure that the whiskey we put in the bottle is the best,” says Bhakta. “There is a huge amount of opportunity cost in that view. The boom could come and go. You never know. You could be sitting on large reserves of old whiskey when people aren’t interested in it.”
But Bhakta is confident that his dedication to quality will support his brand for the decades and generations to come.