MCC 021: Tom Bulleit – How to Bulleit Proof and Grow Your Business Like the Pros


Episode Description

In this episode, Host Scott Joseph talks with Tom Bulleit, the founder of Bulleit Distilling Company, about “How to Bulleit Proof and Grow Your Business Like the Pros.”

Tom Bulleit is an expert when it comes to the subject of business disruption and that’s exactly what his brand did in a very crowded marketplace. He walks you through his early struggles and tells the incredible story of how he grew his business into a worldwide power.

In 1987, Thomas E. Bulleit, Jr., fulfilled a lifelong dream of reviving an old family bourbon recipe by starting the Bulleit Distilling Company. Inspired by his great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit, who made a high-rye whiskey between 1830-1860, Tom left a successful law practice and risked everything to experience life on the frontier. Today, we’re not the only ones who are glad he did.

Give this episode a listen if you want to learn what he did to combat those early challenges and become the success he is today! Can’t get enough? Check out some of our previous podcasts too!

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More About Tom Bulleit and Bulleit Bourbon

According to Tom Bulleit, son of a preacher, great-great-grandson of original creator Augustus Bulleit and developer of the modern brand, the first batch of Bulleit bourbon was made around 1830. Augustus continued to produce it up until his death in 1860. The current recipe is substantially different from the whiskey produced by Augustus Bulleit, which used a mash bill of about two-thirds rye and one-third corn (which would make it a rye whiskey today, not a bourbon).

Tom Bulleit began distilling his version in 1987, characterized by a high rye content and relatively lengthy aging. He maintains that most phenol is filtered out.

Seagram bought the Bulleit brand in 1997 and began distilling it in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

The brand was widely introduced to US markets in 1999, and to Australia, UK and Germany in 2000.

Diageo acquired various Seagram’s assets, including the Bulleit brand, which was then produced by its subsidiary Kirin Brewing Company at the same Lawrenceburg plant, then known as the Four Roses distillery.

On March 14, 2017, Diageo opened a new Bulleit distillery. The 300-acre, $115 million facility is located just east of Shelbyville in Shelby County, Kentucky. It is designed to eventually operate at a peak capacity of 1.8 million proof gallons annually.

In June 2019, Bulleit opened its visitors’ center at its Shelbyville distillery in Kentucky. The Visitor Experience includes guided tours, a cocktail bar and an opportunity for visitors 21 years or older to design a customized Bulleit label to apply to their own bottles.

Tom Bulleit

Tom Bulleit is the founder of Bulleit Distilling Company. Tom was the first one in the family to recreate his great-great grandfather, Augustus Bulleit’s legendary Bourbon recipe. He is an expert when it comes to the subject of business disruption and that’s exactly what his brand did in a very crowded marketplace.

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