Blue Run Spirits has unveiled its first Private Whiskey Barrel Program, “CHOSEN”. Developed by Chief Experience Curator Trey Wade, the program “features elements similar to the most exciting aspects in collegiate and professional sports,” says the brand, and is designed to give consumers a more engaging experience than simply thieving whiskey from a barrel and receiving a co-branded bottle.
“Since Blue Run has already established itself as a company that approaches the industry through a different lens, we wanted to make sure our private barrel program focused on the holistic experience, not only the ultra-premium whiskey,” said Blue Run Spirits cofounder and CEO Mike Montgomery. “Picking a private barrel is an exciting moment and a meaningful investment, so the process should feel elevated and leave a long-lasting impression.”
Launching this month, the Blue Run Private Barrel program begins with “Scouting Season,” as Blue Run seeks out retailers and organizations that share the company’s values and vision for a broader, more diverse whiskey community and automatically brings them on board. At the same time, the brand will be spreading information on the program to other members of the whiskey community leading up to the launch of an all-inclusive opportunity for whiskey enthusiasts to get in on the action.
On the day after Super Bowl LVII, February 13, 2023, “The Portal” will open. This online experience will give interested parties the opportunity to throw their name in the “hat” for a chance to select their very own barrel(s) of Blue Run Whiskey. Potential draftees will be asked more about their organization, probed on what kind of whiskey they are looking for and asked to design their bottles, with the ability to customize their strip stamp, neck label, proof label and, perhaps most significantly, the color of Blue Run’s signature butterfly medallion. More than 750 design combinations are possible.
March 23, 2023 is “Draft Day!” With the same pomp and circumstance as the NBA, MLB, and NFL drafts, every qualified entry from “The Portal” will go into a barrel inspired by a lottery wheel, and one by one, 16 lucky entrees will be “CHOSEN” at random. The event will be streamed live on multiple online platforms for enthusiasts around the globe to tune in and see who is allocated these coveted selection experiences. “The Blue Run Draft” will have an invite-only live audience and take place at whiskey partner Bardstown Bourbon Company in Bardstown, KY.
From there, “The Season” begins for all who have been “CHOSEN.” Participants will work directly with Wade early spring through mid-summer in a curated fashion to uncover the profile of the whiskey best suited for them. They will select either a single barrel or create a micro-blend from inventory hand selected by Blue Run Whiskey Director Shaylyn Gammon. The barrels set aside for the program vary in age, proof and even mash bill.
The crescendo in the fall will be the Blue Run “Butterfly Gala,” a VIP launch party to showcase the creativity of each private selection, not dissimilar to the ESPYS. There, guests will get to sample a variety of the whiskeys from this year’s program, in addition to meeting the other participants and those who submitted to the original draft. There will even be superlatives awarded for the best barrel, best blend, and best design.
Blue Run estimates each barrel will yield an average of 170-215 bottles. Picks can include single barrels or micro-blends (blends from at least two barrels, but no more than four). The base SRP will be $199.99 per 750ml bottle. Roughly 50 unique customers will participate in the first year’s program.
“Having done scores of barrels selections for individuals, retailers and organizations over the past six years, I have a keen sense of what makes a private barrel program truly rewarding and memorable for the participant, particularly around how to build anticipation and excitement,” said Wade. “Our program will provide the widest possible access to consumers to participate at varying levels, while offering an exclusive product at the level of quality for which Blue Run Spirits has quickly become known.”
Wade is a well-known figure in the American whiskey industry, having served as the Vice President of National Partnerships for the Black Bourbon Society for three years. An Executive Bourbon Steward, he has participated in more than 120 barrel selections and contributed to dozens of blending projects for well-known brands. In 2021, Wade collaborated with Blue Run on its inaugural 12 Days of Bourbon release, which set records for selling out 12 days in a row, each in less than two minutes.
For more information, head over to Blue Run’s official website.