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Breaking Tradition in the Whiskey Industry: A Spirited Conversation with Tom Lix, CEO of Cleveland Whiskey

As we all know, whiskey has a very rich tradition steeped in history and most notably the manner in which its made. For instance, bourbon has always been aged in oak barrels. It has been done like this for 1,000 years. The very thought of doing something different in the aging process would render any traditionalist faint of heart. But imagine what it would be like to craft a bourbon with the flavors of other woods? No one wood can store liquid like oak, so how would you do it? 

Enter Tom Lix, CEO of Cleveland Whiskey. Tom is an entrepreneur but also a self-proclaimed experimenter. Since he was a kid his curiosity knew no bounds – for example – he almost blew up his family home mixing substances from a chemistry set. Several years later he became the apprentice to a Petty Officer in the Navy to distil spirits in a decommissioned destroyer.  

Now he has set his curiosity on addressing the bourbon shortage but figuring out how to bring bourbon to market faster and with different wood flavor notes thanks to a top secret distilling process he has come up with. 

Using the WeFunder platform for equity crowdsourcing, he has already raised millions and raised the disdain of many in the bourbon trade for his practices. But Tom is quick to point out that he is a technology company, not a craft distiller, and he wants to disrupt the way in which we think about how bourbon is made with sacrificing quality (or tradition). 

Check out my podcast with Tom to learn more about his journey towards turning the bourbon market upside down.