Airing between regular episodes of the VinePair Podcast, “Next Round” explores the ideas and innovations that are helping drinks businesses adapt in a time of unprecedented change. As the coronavirus crisis continues and new challenges arise, VP Pro is in your corner, supporting the drinks community for all the rounds to come. If you have a story or perspective to share, email us at [email protected]

In this “Next Round,” VinePair CEO Adam Teeter speaks with Jeff Kozak, CEO of WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, the relatively young yet much-beloved whiskey producer based in Shoreham, Vt.

In response to current safety considerations in the coronavirus pandemic, Kozak discusses how the brand has reconfigured its rye blending strategy. For example, around this time of year, Kozak and his team typically assemble a group of bartenders and whiskey connoisseurs on the WhistlePig farm to taste-test upcoming blend options for the brand. With an inability to conduct in-person tastings, Kozak and his team have utilized Flaviar to distribute tasting kits to tastemaking industry members. These recipients tasted, mixed, and recommended blend percentages based on the three WhistlePig whiskeys sent in the kits.

In addition to this creative approach, WhistlePig has taken other nimble actions, including promoting its whiskey-barrel-aged maple syrup, emphasizing e-commerce, and relying more heavily on retail sales.

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