Tia Edwards, Co-Founder of Fresh Bourbon discovered there was no one bourbon to start a bourbon journey and decided to create one, and to create more acceptance of drinking your bourbon however you like it!
BW: Tell us about how you got started on your path to starting a bourbon brand?
TE: My husband and I travel often. During our travel we noticed people around the world recognize Kentucky for three things; Bourbon, horse racing, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
With that recognition, we realized there was no starting place for bourbon. If you ask 10 different bar tenders what bourbon they recommend, you would get 10 different answers. We also noticed people like to tell you how to drink your bourbon. First, we wanted to answer the inevitable question,“what bourbon do you recommend?” Start Fresh and Finish Wherever You Like! And then,
I like bourbon in a cocktail, people shouldn’t tell you how to drink your bourbon. That was our aha moment. Bourbon is meant to be enjoyed however you like it.
BW: What’s different about the bourbon you’re making and the path you’re taking to get there?
TE: Fresh Bourbon is a completely new mash bill, it was developed by us. Traditionally new brands go to large distilleries and source barrels, place their label on it, and create a brand. There is nothing wrong with that, we just didn’t want to do it that way.
BW: When you started your journey, what did you think your path to success was going to look like? How has that matched reality?
TE: Very similar to other brands, we planned to raise funds, build a distillery, and expand our brand. But COVID totally killed that portion of the plan. We had to regroup and adjust to survive the COVID crisis. Instead of going to the shelves immediately after our launch, we moved to our online Pre-Sale campaign.
BW: The kernel for Fresh started in 2017. Looking back now, what do you wish you knew or could tell yourself about the journey you were about to take?
TE: We believe we put everything in place to succeed, but like the rest of the world: were not prepared for COVID.
BW: You’ve been immersed in the corporate world since the start of your career. How does that inform and drive the decisions you make as you all continue to grow and build your company? Are there things you’ve had to unlearn, or things that translated well to the spirits industry?
TE: Working for a multi-billion dollar company provided me with a multitude of training and sales experience to help me execute in the spirits industry. As a Founder, I’ve had to increase my appetite for taking risks.
BW: What’s one thing you wish people understood better about getting funding and capital as a woman and an African American?
TE: It’s not easy. As a professional woman who has been committed to maintaining excellent credit and developed a solid business plan. It was an eye-opening experience when I realized banks and Investors could not see passed the fact that I was a woman and African American.
BW: What advice do you have for women and especially women of color who want to follow your path or develop their own brands?
TE: Persevere through all road blocks and challenges.
BW: How would you describe the traits one needs to have success as a woman in this business?
TE: Confidence that can’t be shaken by stereotypes and ignorance.
BW: Tell me about your perfect whiskey weekend in Lexington.
TE: Dinner on a patio, with excellent weather, listening to great music, and drinking a “Fresh Five”!
- 2 oz of Fresh Bourbon
- 1 oz of Agave Syrup
- 1/2 oz of Lemon Juice
Shake and pour over ice