Brittany Penny is the Founder of The IX Bourbon, pronounced “The Nine,” a project she dreamed up during sleepless nights with her newborn. She wanted to do something that not only honored the “firsts” achieved by African-Americans but also that would rise above the challenges to still achieving firsts in 2021. She is the first Black woman Founder and CEO of a Kentucky Bourbon brand.
BW: How did your love of bourbon lead you to the founding of your own brand?
BP: I’ve always loved the smell of bourbon. When I was pregnant, a game that I created was that I would nose different bourbons in our collection and see what notes I could pick up. Then my husband would drink the bourbon, and we would compare notes. During our game, I would joke with my husband and tell him that we should have our own bourbon brand. Unknowingly, I was doing research in determining what notes I liked versus what I didn’t like. After our daughter was born, we decided to bring the brand to life, since we weren’t sleeping anyway, being new parents. And it just took off from there.
BW: What do you hope to accomplish with your brand in the next five years?
BP: In the next five years, 2 Cents Inc will have Phase 1 complete of the 2 Cents Inc/distillery, operated by an innovative, diverse workforce. By that time, 2 Cents, Inc should have three new products to market.
BW: What is your favorite way to drink bourbon?
BP: Neat and chilled. But I also love a really good Kentucky Mule or Old Fashioned. Honestly, it really depends on what mood I’m in.
BW: What advice do you have for women who want to start their own brands?
BP: Most people wait to for the right time to start their brand. But guess what…there is never a right time to start your own brand. I just had a baby, in the middle of a global pandemic, and out of sleep deprivation, I started my own brand. Just do it. You don’t know what you don’t know, but you will figure it out along the way.
BW: Tell me about your perfect whiskey weekend in Louisville.
BP: I also start my weekends off with brunch! One of my favorite bourbon brunch drinks is a Kentucky Mimosa served at Toast on Market in Nulu. After brunch, I would visit some of the shops in Nulu with my husband and daughter and then end the weekend at Brendon’s Catch 23, who makes one of my favorite bourbon cocktails, The Dark Side (which I love that name because I’m a huge Darth Vadar fan!)
Photos Courtesy of The IX Bourbon