The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE is blessed with more than a great nose and palate, he operates with what appears to be a sixth sense. The longest serving malt master in the industry, Stewart’s ability to plan 40 or even 50 years in advance is nothing short of extraordinary. From choice of oak to the careful selection of the special casks that will one day become decades-old bottles of The Balvenie, Stewart has mastered the art of playing the long game.
Stewart’s expertise may not be rooted in the business world, but it’s surprising how many commonalities his craft shares with entrepreneurship — chief among them patient forecasting, confidence to forge ahead while learning from mistakes, and keeping an eye on both long term planning and short term solutions.
An adept entrepreneur must understand the fundamentals of business — things like cash flow, value proposition, and marketing tactics — in order to build a foundation for a thriving company. But, more than one astute observer has made the comparison between a startup’s success and a chemistry equation. The Harvard Business Review published an entire series about the chemistry of business as it relates to team dynamics. Similarly, a Malt Master at a beloved whisky label must be skilled at crafting something smooth and beautiful from the combination of raw, elemental components of nature.
Then there’s the artistry side of the equation. Business acumen goes beyond what’s taught in business school. There’s something innate to entrepreneurship — qualities that most successful entrepreneurs share — such as good judgment, “big-picture” foresight, and a willingness to take calculated risks.
Again, these same principles apply to whisky making. The Balvenie’s unique range of whiskies are hand-crafted to perfection — and the journey from barley to bottle is an inextricable element of the final product. Bringing these parallels to light is The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3 — a unique collection of whiskies selected by Stewart. The title and theme for Chapter 3 is “Secrets of the Stock Model,” a reference to the dizzying projections Stewart needs to make to ensure The Balvenie can produce and sustain a full range of matured, “age-statement” whiskies, some as old as 55 years.
With the launch of The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3, Mashable had the chance to sit down with Stewart and The Balvenie’s Global Brand Ambassador Dr. Sam Simmons (“Dr. Whisky”) to gain some sage insights into the art of distillation. Here are five surprising parallels between this centuries-old craft and the process of starting and maintaining a new business in today’s fast-paced startup world:
Cherish early adopters and reward brand loyalists
Beta testers have the potential to become valuable brand advocates — for life. When a startup begins to gain steam, it can be tempting to neglect early adopters in favour of focusing exclusively on growth. But savvy businesspeople know the merit of rewarding loyalty. There are persuasive numbers behind the practice of customer retention strategy: In fact, it can be 20 times as expensive for a company to court new customers as it is to cater to existing ones.
One of the best ways to ensure customers stick around? Maintain a sincere commitment to quality.
The Balvenie understands the importance of its fervent loyalists. The Balvenie’s range of exquisite whiskies, starting with the DoubleWood 12, is engineered specifically to reward adventurous aficionados. These whisky and Scotch enthusiasts aim to continuously surprise their palates; they relish new and interesting tastes and finishes, but appreciate the foundational, hallmark flavor of The Balvenie in each bottle.
The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3 whiskies — which include the oldest whisky ever to be released by the distillery (a 55-year-old from 1961) — are crafted with dedication, patience, and the sincerest commitment to craftsmanship.
Get comfortable with failure and learn from loss
Startups fail more often than they succeed, and entrepreneurs who accept that reality will be better prepared for the long term. It’s been widely documented that some of today’s most successful startups began with countless rejections from VCs, or even complete about-face pivots away from an original business model. The Lean Startup methodology, widely cited and adopted by many successful entrepreneurs today, emphasises the importance of “failing fast.”
In the whisky world, failure isn’t as cut and dry as being snubbed by venture capitalists. Loss, for example, is a part of every cask at The Balvenie: The “Angel’s Share” is the term applied to the whisky that’s lost via evaporation over the course of the ageing process.
And just as seasoned entrepreneurs know to expect the unexpected, and the same holds true for malt masters. Two identical casks might mature in completely different ways, which presents challenges. But hand in hand with this challenge is the promise of possibility for new, delightful flavour profiles: Bold single malts that take the drinker on an unexpected journey.
Embrace evolving consumer tastes — but stay true to core values
“Always be iterating” is a favoured mantra of Silicon Valley startups and established corporations alike. That said, there is no quicker way to disillusion a core customer base than by straying from established values.
Whisky making, too, is an evolving art that relies heavily upon tradition and history. “While I’m not sure if it is Scottish modesty or the truth, every whisky maker will tell you they are always learning,” says Simmons.
Remaining true to The Balvenie’s core values means staying resolute about producing the highest caliber product. “At The Balvenie, as with many distilleries, we are observing that demand is outstripping supply,” explains Simmons. “We laid down a limited numbers of casks 10, 15, and 30 years ago, and therefore have finite stocks to draw from today.” Despite this growth in Scotch drinkers, says Simmons, The Balvenie maintains a commitment to the quality whisky that the brand’s loyal customer base has come to expect and cherish.
Stewart — who this year celebrates his 55th year with William Grant & Sons, The Balvenie’s parent company — confirms that a blend of experimentation and loyalty to crafting an elevated product is at the heart of what makes The Balvenie’s whiskies so special. “We experiment a lot with different cask types to fill with mature Balvenie liquid and these have not always been successful,” he says. “If we are not happy with the final quality, we won’t bottle it.”
A human touch goes a long way
In a world inundated with technology, today’s consumers are particularly appreciative of a business that champions the human element. Of course, staying on top of the latest technology trends is also paramount — so it’s crucial to find the right formula of tech-infused tools and old-fashioned manpower. In business, this may mean relying on a real, live human to respond to customer service inquiries (instead of being tempted by the trendiest AI-infused chatbot).
At The Balvenie, it means that each and every step of the distillation process is touched by human hands.
“When you visit our distillery and see more people than computers, see Maltmen turning barley by hand, Stillmen manually selecting the ‘heart of the run’ as the spirit flows into the safe, Coopers dismantling and raising casks without glue or nails … you cannot help but feel inspired,” says Simmons.
Play the long game
In today’s startup-laden society, it’s likely you’ve personally experienced the shrapnel of a burgeoning business’s epic failure. Perhaps you backed a promising product on Kickstarter that fell far short of its marketing promises. Maybe you excitedly signed on to beta test an app, only to find the user experience full of glitches.
The core problem underpinning many startup misfires relates back to one thing: Timing. Perhaps the company moved out of beta mode before it was prepared to handle increased user demand, or launched its website before its servers could handle the influx of traffic.
On the flip side of the coin, when the pieces of a budding business fall into place in a way that seamlessly works, it’s a beautiful thing.
Those intimately acquainted with the whisky business know all too well the importance of perfect timing — and by extension, patience.
“Nothing happens quickly, whether it is filling an experimental new spirit, or trialing mature Balvenie experiments — this can take many months and years for the final outcome to become apparent,” says Stewart. “So I’ve learnt to be patient.”
“The patience a distiller exercises in waiting for the perfect balance of cask, spirit, and time almost always pays off,” Simmons goes on to say. “Whether that is three years or 30 years varies case by case. Certain flavour compounds can only fully develop in a spirit over lengthy periods in oak, through extractive and reactive interactions — as well as those complex ones that cannot be expedited through exposure to oxygen.”
Who would have thought that the ancient art of whisky distillation would hold such relevant and time honoured advice for entrepreneurs? Whether you’re distilling a fine cask of whisky or launching a new startup venture, it pays to remember that success comes from staying true to your roots while viewing the journey as an opportunity for experimentation, leading to an ever more refined product. And like a cask of complex whisky left to mature for decades, playing the long game in business promises to deliver an outcome well worth the wait.
More From this publisher : HERE
If you like our content help us with a share… or two …
Also - I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. In This FREE Report you can Discover:
Secrets to acquiring the freshest, hottest leads via YouTube In-Stream ads quickly and easily! Best secret tips for the most effective targeting for your ads! Totally legal, but little-known method for literally stealing traffic from your competitors! Get more traffic to your videos and landing pages without spending a fortune! And much more - all within this special FREE report!
Nr 2. Did you know you can Absolutely EXPLODE YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE with UNTOUCHED offline sources?
Nr 3. The #1 secret to becoming an affiliate superstar - Earn your first $100 online – without a dime to invest.
If you’re still looking to “make it online – I have just the thing for you. It’s a video series that shows how to make your first $100 online – even if you don’t have a dime to invest. Yes – nothing. Free. Nada. Is this possible? You bet. It’s the most powerful system used by those “in the know”. Good things don’t have to be difficult. And they don’t only come to those who wait. Have A Look
Nr 4. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?
Nr 5. You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...
Nr 6. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 7. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 8. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 9. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 10. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 11. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 12. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 13. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 14. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 15. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 16. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 17. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 18. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
Nr 19. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 20. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 21. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 23. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 24. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!Use them .... and have fun !