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  1. #1
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Crestwood, KY USA
    Posts
    39

    Conecuh Ridge Update

    Friends,

    I am please to have been asked by the Administrator to provide an update on Conecuh Ridge. In addition to straightbourbon.com, I am also a member of another spirits site. For expediency, I am posting the same note on both forums, but it is my pleasure to participate in discussions about distilled spirits whenever and wherever I am able.

    As many may remember, Conecuh Ridge was in the middle of an insane series of political events when we were named the "Official Spitit" of Alabama by the legislature. This caused Governor Bob Riley to veto the non-binding resolution, using the argument that it was bad public policy to endorse any private commercial product. In some respects, he was probably correct. Things being as they are in Alabama, the legislature voted to override the Governor's veto.

    While we are appreciative of the honor, this political storm painted a big target on Conecuh Ridge. As part of an Alabama ABC sting operation, our founder, Kenny May, was enticed to deliver some specially labeled product into another county (a dry county), where an 18 year-old was sent (because her "mother" was unable to make the trip) to receive the product. Kenny plead no-contest to charges for delivery of the product to a dry county and delivery to a minor. A very stupid mistake, to say the least. While Kenny was clearly entrapped, if you don't put yourself in that position, bad things won't happen.

    In response to our founder's error in judgment, the ABC revoked our license to sell in Alabama. Quite a heavy handed decision considering the cirsumstances, and that we had never previously violated any liquor laws or regulations. Despite this decision, I have respect for the ABC, and I do believe that we will be back in Alabama in the future.

    While it has been a huge struggle, we recently began sales in Georgia, where we are distributed by Gusto Brands. The product is also available in the Knoxville Area (Knoxville Beverage), Nashville (Lipman Brothers) and Mississippi. In the next few. weeks we can be found on the Internet Wines and Spirits site. Texas and Florida are soon to follow. Distributor inquiries are welcome!

    It is still an uphill battle to build the brand on shoestring, but we are blessed to have an amazingly loyal customer base. We are working hard to expand distribution and obtain additional capital for growth.

    As for me personally, I have been a member of the spirits "family" since birth, as my father was the Master Blender/Distiller for Brown Forman for nearly 40 years, up until his retirement in 2004. I grew up in the r&d lab at BF, and even spent a few years working at the company myself(nothing better than a Friday afternoon is the tasting lab!). It is a huge honor and responsibility to grow Conecuh Ridge, and with so few new and credible brands, I feel a strong sense of stewardship.

    I also look forward to the guidance of this group. Money can't buy a focus group or consultants with the experience found here. My apologies for the long-winded response, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk about Conecuh Ridge.

    Cheers to all...

  2. #2

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Welcome, Wes -- glad you're here.
    As I'm sure you've noticed, we also found the Alabama legislature's actions re Conecuh Ridge puzzling. It's always nice to have 'inside' information from reliable sources.

  3. #3
    Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Chicago SW 'burbs
    Posts
    1,178

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    As part of an Alabama ABC sting operation, our founder, Kenny May, was enticed to deliver some specially labeled product into another county (a dry county), where an 18 year-old was sent (because her "mother" was unable to make the trip) to receive the product.

    (...)

    I have respect for the ABC, and I do believe that we will be back in Alabama in the future.
    (maybe this belongs in the Politics board)

    IMHO, any government agency that stoops to such tactics is utterly unworthy of respect. Then again, I'm a Damn Yankee who's fortunate enough to live in a non-control state, so take my opinions with a grain or two of salt.

    Any chance we'll see Conecuh Ridge in Chicago? Don't worry, I'm old enough that the liquor stores don't even bother to card me. (40, if you really want to know)

  4. #4
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Crestwood, KY USA
    Posts
    39

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    As part of an Alabama ABC sting operation, our founder, Kenny May, was enticed to deliver some specially labeled product into another county (a dry county), where an 18 year-old was sent (because her "mother" was unable to make the trip) to receive the product.

    (...)

    I have respect for the ABC, and I do believe that we will be back in Alabama in the future.
    (maybe this belongs in the Politics board)

    IMHO, any government agency that stoops to such tactics is utterly unworthy of respect. Then again, I'm a Damn Yankee who's fortunate enough to live in a non-control state, so take my opinions with a grain or two of salt.

    Any chance we'll see Conecuh Ridge in Chicago? Don't worry, I'm old enough that the liquor stores don't even bother to card me. (40, if you really want to know)
    I do think that we were slapped pretty hard by the ABC for the actions by our founder. There is much more to Conecuh Ridge than just the founder (officers, shareholders, etc), and we were handed the harshest penalty possible for the mistake of one person. On the other hand, it can argued that the founder of a distilled spirits company should be held to a higher standard with respect to alcohol law.

    We are in the process of brand approval in Illinois and will be carried by Southern Wines and Spirits in the Chicago area.

    Thanks for the note!

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Nelson County, Kentucky
    Posts
    2,734

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Welcome Wes I wish you well

    I am also a member of another spirits site.
    Yes, there is another board...but know this , that board is the shadow (or should I say the "wanna be") Straightbourbon.com . On the average, Straightbourbon.com gets over a "million" page hits per month...Several times, it's hit a 1 1/2 million...That's incriedible, and says alot for Jim Butler and what he has created.

    Bettye Jo Boone
    Line Mechanic
    Heaven Hill Distilleres, INC.
    Bardstown, Ky.

  6. #6
    Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Pelham, AL
    Posts
    3,890

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Welcome Wes I wish you well

    I am also a member of another spirits site.
    Yes, there is another board...but know this , that board is the shadow (or should I say the "wanna be") Straightbourbon.com . On the average, Straightbourbon.com gets over a "million" page hits per month...Several times, it's hit a 1 1/2 million...That's incriedible, and says alot for Jim Butler and what he has created.

    Bettye Jo Boone
    Line Mechanic
    Heaven Hill Distilleres, INC.
    Bardstown, Ky.
    Thanks again, Jim, for this wonderful website and bourbon resource. There is nothing else in its class.

    Tim

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Posts
    540

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Wes, I was sure glad to hear all this from you personally this week. Thanks for taking the time to call and for posting on sites like this. We look forward to having you on the shelves here in NYC. Best of luck! Hey, I'm from Alabama, and there's a reason why I ain't there now.

  8. #8
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    virginia
    Posts
    441

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Thanks for the info, Wes! Any possibility of availability in VA?

    Confession: we passed on buying Conecuh Ridge while visiting Gatlinburg, TN about five months ago. However, now that you have taken the time to let us know more details about your product, we will be more enthusiastic about giving it a try when we cross its path!

  9. #9
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Crestwood, KY USA
    Posts
    39

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Dave and Tina,

    Drop me a note at whenderson@crbrands.com and I will put you on my list when we are available closer to home.

    Thanks!!

    WH

  10. #10
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Crestwood, KY USA
    Posts
    39

    Re: Conecuh Ridge Update

    Wes, I was sure glad to hear all this from you personally this week. Thanks for taking the time to call and for posting on sites like this. We look forward to having you on the shelves here in NYC. Best of luck! Hey, I'm from Alabama, and there's a reason why I ain't there now.
    I look forward to visiting your shop when in I am NYC for Whiskeyfest.

    It was great talking with you, and please call of there is anything I can do.

    WH

 

 

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