Daniel Whittington; How the Power of Choice Gave One Whiskey Connoisseur Top Shelf Status

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So many brands approach marketing the wrong way. 

They focus on the product before thinking about how their product adds value to customers.

In fact, most of the time, it’s those ideas that become the marketing ploy or selling feature.  

However, I believe consumers are smarter than that — don’t you? 

I think it’s fair to assume that when people spend their hard-earned money, they want more than just another product — they want value.

On the latest edition of The Art of Making Things Happen with Steve Sims, we spoke about the advantage that companies have in creating smarter solutions than the old standby described above. 

We spoke with Daniel Whittington, a rocker-turned-entrepreneur who created the world’s first crowdsourced Whiskey Brand

Rather than using traditional tenets of marketing, Daniel decided to add value first, then designed the product his “Whiskey tribe” wanted.

It All Started Honestly

After rocking stages all over the world and spending another decade behind the bar serving drinks, he decided he wanted to create a company based around serving spirits. 

It all started honestly. Daniel took classes to become a wine sommelier, only to realize he liked whiskey a LOT more. 

Then it hit him! He realized that no one was giving whiskey the same love as wine. So he decided to start the Whiskey Marketing School to help proprietors, bartenders, and enthusiasts share their love of whiskey with others.

Finding His Tribe Innocently

In order to help graduates of his Whiskey Marketing School, Daniel created a YouTube channel to support them in having conversations about whiskey.

He started with an advent calendar of whiskey videos to support his students, and to his surprise, found a whole new whiskey tribe he hadn’t yet considered. 

Within the first year, his channel earned the coveted silver play button for gaining over 100,000 subscribers. 

Customer Service Always Prevails

After earning loads of fans on YouTube, Daniel and his business partner Rex quickly assessed what was working and created a recipe for their videos. It was this recipe that helped them amass a HUGE audience. 

He then focused on building a community by responding to comments on all their videos. It didn’t take long until his community of commenters became his biggest supporters.

Moving over to Patreon, his top fans became known as the Whiskey Tribe. Never wanting to leave his fans lacking in value, he dedicated his Patreon experience to start a revolutionary idea. 

Experimenting With a New Business Model

Daniel decided to create an entirely new business model to provide a truly customized experience for his biggest fans. He thought about the power of choice and how influential that can be. 

Daniel and Rex created Crowded Barrel Whiskey Company, a completely crowdsourced whiskey brand.

Through different subscription plans, the Whiskey Tribe have the power to choose: 

  • The whiskey gets made
  • How it gets made
  • The label and branding
  • Even how big of a batch that gets made

What’s created is a highly valuable product that the whiskey tribe and others consume with emotional and sentimental veracity. They even offer whiskey tastings at Fang and Feather, the Crowded Barrel Whiskey Co. tasting room.

It’s More Than a Product; It’s a Community! 

Ever focused on the customer experience, Daniel has created more than just another product. He’s created a community. 

They have a fun and educational newsletter, an events & meetup calendar, online social groups, and more. The only thing left to do is to learn how to scale it without losing its natural appeal. 

For more exciting interviews from the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, be sure to check out The Art of Making Things Happen with Steve Sims

Steve Sim is simply known as the real-life Wizard of Oz to his clients, the rich and famous. Find more about him and his community of entrepreneurs at stevedsims.com.