We’re talking with Wendy Peveich, whiskey review podcaster (at 51 and proof podcast) and consultant out of Columbus, Ohio for this week’s Meet the Makers. She’s known for her exacting palate and her ability to describe the merits of the whiskies she’s sipping to make them approachable to enthusiasts and new sippers alike. She talks about the whiskey that started it all for her, how whiskey and the medical career are similar, and how not to overlook being self-taught in the industry.
BW: How would you currently describe your role in the whiskey industry?
WP: Highlighting and celebrating the plethora of whiskey brands and some of the most extraordinary people I have met thus far that help mold the trajectory of the whiskey arena.
BW: How did you end up being a podcaster who reviews whiskey? Tell us how you got where you are and the journey:
WP: As most whiskey fables preface…… it all started in 2014 with a gift I received one of which most can relate to, I’m sure, starts a majority of whiskey odysseys….. Blanton’s ( 😂😂😂 yes yes I know I know, but let’s glaze over that, shall we??!! 😂😂😂). I live in Ohio and it is very Kentucky/Buffalo Trace concentric enrapt. I was frustrated with the fact that I could not procure certain products to try due to the allocation process. And that was the zenith – I set out to find and highlight other brands that were just as good. Therein my journey began my love affair with craft whiskey.
BW: You come from the medical field. What similarities and differences exist between that and the whiskey world/industry?
WP: When it comes to differences, it’s definitely apples to oranges for sure. However, one of the most prominent similarities I have found is in being detail-oriented with processes. One mistake in a healthcare scenario can lead to a sentinel outcome. The same with whiskey- you deviate in ratios, and calculations, or overlook quality control for instance in grain inspections etc. you can skew so much and have an incredibly expensive and adverse outcome/product- or a happy accident.
BW: You do a lot of work with Jack Begeudou – can you tell us a little bit about the ways in which your paths have woven together?
WP: I think the most paramount and common denominator is that we are both immigrants. Our experiences and culture sculpt a different view and voice on how we approach whiskey.
BW: What does your day-to-day life as a podcaster/reviewer and brand ambassador look like? What do you have to balance with your non-whiskey career?
WP: Depending on what my work schedule is, which is hectic- I work nights (Yikes!) , I tend to record my episodes in bulk- preferably 4 episodes at a time to cover the month-if feasible. I allocate one day to recording and editing the images that go along with it. On the days that I am not working my “9-5” I am traveling fostering relationships with stores and service industry accounts. And in between that, I weight train with my trainer at least 4 times a week.
BW: What’s one thing you wish people understood better about podcasting and reviewing whiskey?
WP: You need to set your ego aside and honestly heighten your sense of self-awareness. What I may like, another may not. Taste is incredibly subjective. Thus, navigating that space can be tricky- but I am learning and giving myself grace with it. I always preface or note who may enjoy that flavor profile. Recommend, help highlight, educate and celebrate brands- do not impose.
BW: What advice do you have for women who want to become podcasters or develop their skills as whiskey reviewers?
WP: This may sound cliche, but I am speaking from personal experience and want to help others navigate their path. Bet on yourself and believe in yourself! At first, I didn’t! I was too worried about external opinions and trying to fit in by not being myself. As I continue on this journey ( I am self-taught- much to the disdain of some of the “certified individual entities”) I read a lot! lol, I’ve had to draw from books, whiskey organizations such as the American Distilled Spirits Council (ACSA), American Distilling Institute (ADI), Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and industry mentors that I virtually follow and some I personally know, who have been a godsend. I write notes- It takes time, and that’s ok! Find your tribe of people that will support, encourage and help you along your journey- joining organizations such as bourbon women, local whiskey/spirits guilds/clubs, or attending events that avail the opportunity to network are some ways to meet your tribe. Truly- be yourself, that is how you will fulfill your purpose on your path in the whiskey arena. External opinions are something you can’t control and pretty much not your concern- keep doing you, authentically! Your vantage point is what sets you apart. Remain persistent and passionate about your purpose.
BW: If you had a crystal ball, where would you like to be and what would you be doing in 5 years?
WP: Sheesh Kabob! The pandemic and working the frontlines kind of put a monkey wrench in forecasting that far. However, in synopsis continued advocacy for women from all walks of life do have space in the whiskey realm. Whether it’s founding a whiskey brand, distilling, education, marketing, agriculture, barrel procurement, mentorship- you name it. I know for certain I will still be in the whiskey industry, you will have to wait and see what connotation that will be 😉
BW: Tell me about your perfect whiskey weekend in Columbus:
WP: I’m a sucker for a brilliant charcuterie board (of which my friend Stacey Jones @freckledandcharred makes a mean tasty one!), but when I am in town, I love to visit places I have never been and share appetizers or a charcoots with friends.