Chris Lacoe started working at a local burger joint a few years out of high school, and after many years putting in the hours, became a franchisee of 300 Hwy 55's. Now, Chris improving his local community by building a brewery in Leland, NC called Leland Brewing Company. We discuss a lot about hard work, dedication, pride, leadership and of course, bourbon!
This week we were sippin' on High West Bourye
A limited-edition blend of 10- to 14-year-old straight Bourbon and Rye whiskeys. Released once per year and blended in great secrecy, the Bourye is a collector's whiskey, prized for its intense honeyed-fruit character, rich caramel notes, and toasted vanilla flavors.
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This week we have on another Chris, his last name is a lot cooler than mine. It's Lako Lako he is a local business owner. Looks like he's opening one of my favorite spots in the near future because I like to drink you're right across the river, right? Yeah. Leland. Yep. So it'll be nice set up. Yep. And also another whiskey Cono with a very nice collection himself. He makes our collection look. Yeah. you gotta start somewhere, man. Yes. True, true. But before we get in too far with Chris Lako other Chris, what are we slipping on today? So the older, more knowledgeable Chris brought us this high west distillery Boer Burra BOAI Burra Burra. Oh, cuz that makes sense. it's BOAI cause it's bourbon. That's Morry. Yeah. That's funny. And it's a limited sighting. This is actually really kind of cool. It's batch 19 L 10. But this is really cool. The label on it has a Jackelope which is what I've always called it. If you don't know it's a rabbit with antlers, but apparently another name for it is an. Anal never heard that before, given have all kind of ways, skills that day Southern thing versus, you know, or they could call it that out west in anal. Yeah. That's harder to say so much harder but it's kind of cool. It's based outta Utah. It's nice little setup in the loveliness that is Utah, just outside of park city. And this is a nice blended straight whiskey has some fun flavor notes on your nose. Butter finger filling is one of the, since you can hear smell and some pineapple juice love that one. But my favorite part is the taste on it should have some like plum dried peach and cinnamon DRAL. I think this would taste amazing at Thanksgiving that would, we want to have, yeah, that actually sounds good. Yeah. And does have a nice pie. Dark chocolate to some dried fruits finishing off. But I am excited to try this one. Give us one second. Oh, does smell amazing. Yeah. Be yeah. Cheers. Cheers. Cheers guys. Thank y'all for having me all. Oh, that's so smooth. That is flavorful. Mm-hmm and I don't say that a lot. You guys know? Oh, that's smooth. But yeah, no, that one has a lot of flavors you really can taste. Like I said, it's one of my favorites. Yeah. It is a good, almost impossible to find in North Carolina. Like I said, it's it's it's it's an amazing, yeah. And guess what you guys were doing this one. Neat. That's how good it is. Yeah, exactly. No ice cubes in this one that tells you anything. Might have to make a special trip to Utah or Texas or somewhere to find this bottle. That it's really good. It's probably my favorite Ry right now, too. Yeah, I think it sell if you can find it in a, a store it's, you know, like 90 bucks, but a secondary market I think is running like five and $600. Oh, wow. Yeah, I believe it. Yeah. I believe so. I'm not a hundred percent sure on that, but it's, it's definitely up there. No, it tastes like it. Yeah, I'd pay it. but before we go on the rabbit hole of, or the Jack low Jack, you go of qualities of whiskeys. Chris, tell us about yourself. I'm born and raised about an hour down the road. Warsaw Kenansville area. Oh yeah. Okay. That's straight up country. I mean I grew up, my parents closest neighbor was a mile away or less hog farms, Turkey farms. Cropping tobacco working in the fields as a kid, didn't really have a choice. That's just right. Kind of the way it was went to small schools, very small schools compared to you, anything around here you know, realized that wasn't what I wanted to do. Mm-hmm uh, I went to Mount off college and U N C w. Okay. As I like to say, I was enrolled in both didn't go a lot. Matter of fact, I always tell this story if y'all don't mind, but yeah, I uh, back then, you know, I had some friends who had really good computers and so basically what happened was I was, I was kicked outta school. They just sent a letter that said you were no longer enrolled here. Oh, wow. So I made up fake report cards and back then they would come into mail. So I would, I'd open up the mail and put the fake one in. Yeah. And then my parents didn't know. I, I mean, I didn't come for 20 years um, and, and, and, you know, in hindsight My mom was like, when I finally told 'em they just laughed. They were like, well, I think you did. Okay. Like you you know? Right. So but anyway, so, so that was early college. I went two straight years all the way through summer and everything. Yeah. At 20 started with a company called Andy's cheese steaks and cheeseburgers. Yeah. Which, when I started, it was 13 stores in the company, the president of the company, a guy named Kenny Moore who started it. I, I I'd known him a couple years prior to, he used to play a lot of basketball. I mean, that was, that was my thing. You know, I was a white guy who had a 36 inch vertical, so I could, yeah, I could jump and dunk and played a lot of basketball and just kind of knew that I needed to to go a different road in life. And you know, when, when you go to your parents and you say, Hey, I'm quitting school. Mm-hmm they typically want you to have a. Some sort of idea. Yeah. So I'd gone to him and I was like, Hey man, would, would you hire me at uh, one of your stores? And he actually said, no but what he did is he he, he put in a good word for me at a, at the Clinton location. Okay. Okay. Which was the, the newest one at that time. And the premise behind that company in the beginning was you could only own if you were an employee and worked your way up. Oh yeah. So for me that made sense, like definitely, Hey, you know, college wasn't for me. You're saying things that made sense to me as a, as a business person I'm gonna follow your philosophy and your lead and, and, and how you go. And, and I did, I, I got into it and, and loved it. And honestly, like after six or seven months, my parents just kind of said, all right, we understand. You're you're doing this, you know did that for, you know, ended up becoming a manager, I think about nine or 10 months in. Wow. Never should have been in hindsight. um, Did not do a great job at all, but, but loved it loved the concept, loved the, the overall, like where the company was going. So ended up going to work for the corporate office. And the day I went in, you know, he said, Hey if you wanna be an owner, I got a store for you. You can either own it yourself or you and your parents at that time, my mom and dad were, were gonna help me out. I mean, I was 22, 23. Okay. Wow. Who at, at that time who's who could go get a loan for a hundred thousand dollars, right. You know? So they helped me out. Richlands North Carolina was, was the first store. Yeah. And ended up doing five or six more with them as partners. And then I opened up the first location in the Wilmington area, which was Leland. The one that's off of, well, it's not there anymore, but it was Mount misery. Oh, by the food line. Yeah. So that was the first one in the entire Wilmington market. Oh, wow. And, and I mean, I, I didn't know anything about Leland. I mean, it was, I, I, I knew downtown Wilmington. Yeah. And, but I, I drove over there. Loved it. Loved Leland. Yeah. Ended up moving there, which was 19 years ago this month. Oh, wow. When I opened up that, that first store and then grew from there ended up, I've owned 14 within, from basically Jacksonville to Shalot. Oh wow. Through the years sold all those for the most part to people that worked for me that worked their way up. Yeah. The company ended up Decided they wanted to change how it was doing your ownership and you, anyone could come in and be a franchisee mm-hmm So they started franchising outside of North Carolina. Okay. Well, that's where the name change came from, which is now, ah, highway 55. Okay. There was a trademark issue with the company and Missouri, I believe it was so I just kind reengaged a little bit. I had a good life at that. I'm not gonna lie. I mean, I, I really did. I didn't get married till I was later in life, you know, I didn't have kids, so I, I enjoyed life. definitely, I mean, I had some great, amazing people to work for me. So made my life pretty easy. Went from there. As, as the company was growing, I, I ended up coming to him and we ended up me and another partner who was a guy that I hired when he was 15 years old, who became, oh, wow. A franchisee too. We bought the rights to a hundred locations in South Carolina. Oh, wow. So that was the first franchises outside of North Carolina. And then about nine months to a year later, the Texas market became available and it was 300 in Texas, so wow. I was like, Hey man, you, you run South Carolina. I'll go run Texas. Yeah. And I'd never been, I wanted, I wanted to go. Yeah. So so yeah, so ended up doing that time went on, you know, just things changed that's right after we had our first kid. Yeah. Just priorities change in life a little bit. Mm-hmm and I ended up just saying, Hey, this, this isn't really where I want to go. I, I still love the company. Don't get me wrong. It was just it's time for a change. It'd been 25 years. Oh, wow. I mean, it'd been a long time, so I'm actually a lot older than you guys, so I don't act it, you know, but I'll be 48 this year, so oh, no way. Yeah. Act 25, so I wouldn't adjust it. So I wouldn't have guessed either. Yeah. And so ended up selling everything that I had. I was the largest franchisee at that time. Yeah. Still love it. Still got all the stuff around here. All these stores around here were pretty much somebody that worked for me. They all own everything here. Oh, wow. The guy that still owns south Carolinas for me, the people in Texas are for me, great people. Like, I mean, they they're all for the most part Leland kids. Like you, you wouldn't believe that these are kids that are born and raised in Leland. That stuck with me, started with me from the time they were 16 years old. Mm-hmm worked the way up. And then they ran parts of my company and then they went out and did their own thing. That's incredible. They're they're killing it. I mean, they're, they're better off at the early stages than I was. Cuz I mean, look man, I, I worked this is what most people don't get. Mm-hmm I, I worked from 24 to 30. I worked 60, 70, 80 hour a week every week. Wow. I would take three to four days off a year. And that was Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving when the restaurants were closed mm-hmm and usually one other day we had like a, an employee banquet type thing. I worked every day. I didn't work all day every day, but I worked every single day. I remember counting every single register that I had for, for like five years. I did every food inventory I did every schedule. And then I, you know, I still was broke up until I had seven, eight stores. Yeah. You know, it was just robbing Peter to Paul, you know? I mean, mm-hmm, that's just kinda how it typically works when you got that many restaurants. Yeah. But eventually believe it or not, Leland was the game changer. Whenever I opened up Leland, it was as if that store just boomed and did a ton of money. Great people. Mm-hmm life got better business. Got better Delco. The other one in Leland by Walmart. I'm in surf city Shalot. So, so business just changed a lot. And then at that point, you know, I'd been doing it for so long. It was like, Second nature. Yeah. In the meantime, I actually went with some other partners and opened up a surfing and kite ward school called odysey surfing kite, which is a oh cool. Carolina beach. And then we started a nonprofit called ocean cure, which I don't know if you ever see all the stuff on TV with the paraplegics and quadriplegics where we take out serving called life. Roll on we're we're the guys that run all that mainly. It's my other partner, Kevin. I mean, he's okay. He's, he's the guy for that. He, he, he eats, sleeps and breathes it and, and is perfect for that. He's he runs the nonprofit. I just kind of show up and try to help when I can But I've went into wine shop in Southport, which is now oh, neat out in Oak island. It's called a grape and nail we, yeah. Yeah. I did that with some other buddies originally that was 2008. When the market crashed, we opened up like a month before the economy But so we ended up selling that to the lady. It was our manager and she moved it out to Oak island. She's done well. Since then I just kind of had like real estate and just, you know, different things and businesses. And so now my next project is, you know, obviously the brewery, so yeah. So in the middle of all that, I went got a real estate license. So I, I work with a company called Wicker properties, which is okay. Um, Up off of market street. They've been awesome. You know, I've been doing an agent for three years. Love it. Yeah. You know, I know everybody, so it's kind of been a good business for me. Yeah. I'm not very professional too much. I mean, I like literally, this is how I dress every day, which is, so if you look at my Instagram, it's unprofessional and I name my boat unprofessional. So it's, that's awesome. It's kind of a joke, but it's, it's me too. At the same time, I'd rather be barefooted and then board shorts the majority of the time. Yeah. But then I've got the thousand dollars suits I can dress up if I have to, to look appropriate. I'm sure your clients appreciate that too though. Yeah. I mean, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm not selling. Multimillion dollar houses at figure eight, but mm-hmm, I'm just the average everyday person. I'm I, because I grew up kind of poor, you know, I mean, I, I mm-hmm, I have friends at every spectrum, you know, multi, multi, multi, multi billionaires to, you know, to white trash, poor, you know, I mean, I kind of, I know everybody I get along, so, and I've been in Leland so long. You know, I've seen Leland grow from 2300 people when I first moved there to 35,000. Like it is now I've own multiple houses there and businesses and, and been on boards for different things. So I love it. Yeah. So so that's that, and then now we're opening up the brewery, which is right in front of town hall, if you know much about Leland. Yeah. Okay. Off of old Fayetteville, which has been a project we've been working on for about four years me and one of my best friends, a guy named Nick Floyd Sitting in his garage drinking one night. Yeah. And, and got, you know, he was, he was basically the number one sales guy for coastal beverage. Oh, wow. Had been with them for 20 years. Yeah. Loved the company. Had just said, man, you know, I I'd like to do something for myself, you know, rather than being an employee, he just kind of had seen me and other friends do that. So we started talking about it and the name 7 26 became an argument that he was like, oh, it's hit, it's harder to hit a baseball than it is a, a tennis, I mean a, a golf ball. And I'm like, nah, man, like golf is the hardest. So we, we get back in this debate and whatever. Right. And comes down to 726 inches from home plate to the pitcher's Mo. Oh, okay. So you have that short of time, you know, which then becomes seconds and you start right looking and, and like you have to get the ball. You have to be able to hit the ball in that short of time. So. That became kind of the stick. That was, that was what we were going with. So as we bought this property, it's crazy scenario. So we bought this property and we walking on the bases five acres right there. Mm-hmm and we're walking on the back and there there's this wooden boat basically buried in the, the ground. The bottom's like, you know, heat out of it. And you're looking at the, the tag on the side and it says it was last registered in 1984 or 85. Yeah. But if you look at the, the North Carolina registration numbers, it was 7 26 square. No way. crazy. Crazy. here we go. Since then, my, my, my, my youngest, my two year old was born December 20th, 2020. And um, is that right? Yeah. Yeah. He's cause there'll be three this year, 20 19, 20 19. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was right before COVID right. So we're in the hospital. She's given birth, the baby pops out at 7:20 AM. So it was like, all right, so maybe this is the name for us. Yeah. But anyway, so we, we start this process. We get preapproved, we're getting ready to start closing this deal. The bank loves it. Everything is good to go. COVID hits three weeks later. And the bank essentially pulled along. Cause at that point, P P P PPE loans started mm-hmm they got, we were, we were an SBA seven, a loan. Okay. Okay. So we got bumped to the back of line. Yeah. That's all well and good. Okay, great. We understand it. But we're hundreds of thousands of dollars already invested in on this deal. Yeah. And can't really walk away. Mm-hmm the bank says, look, we love your deal. We, we, we love your concept. We see what you guys are doing. Mm-hmm because of the people we had involved in this there's, there's four of us partners, mainly there's the brewmaster Ethan Hall. Buddy Nick, and then another partner, mark Sied who came along, who I I'd known from an investor's group and yeah. And mark owns his own company. So it was a great fit. We all kind of had something to bring to the table, which is not normal for a typical brewery to have guys who have been in distribution and a guy who's already owned multiple breweries and helped start up a bunch of other ones. And, and then business guys on top of that. So anyway we could a, as, as we got bumped, we could not get a bank to deal with us. I'm talking, we went through 12, 13 banks. Oh wow. We were during C's height of that year to the early two, three, they wouldn't touch us because they weren't touching anybody with, with um, they consider a brewery food service industry. So we, we couldn't get anybody to deal with us. Luckily, the banker that we had. Who's outta salt lake city. Yeah. His dad and grandfather had worked in SBA lending laws. They wrote some of them, his grandfather wrote SBA lending laws. oh, wow. So his, his knowledge of what we needed our business plan to say, and what, what needed to batch up was spot on, you know? So, so we're technically in distribution. Like that's what we are as we are a distributor. We are, that's not, not distributing different beer, but, but we were getting in the distribution game, not just the walk through the door, grabbing beer game mm-hmm so that continues. And man, I you're in the banking industry. Yeah. During that height, you couldn't get a banker to return a phone call, a text message email. It, it was, it was Harry for a while. Finally. In December he goes, Hey man, cares act just passed. We've told you we wanted to do this loan. You're the first people that we've called. Okay, great. Awesome. We, we, we, we start all over again in January of last year, essentially starting over. I mean, some of our stuff was together, but you gotta go back and remit bids and all this, if you know what happened last year, building costs went through the roof. Yeah. So, and essentially a one, one year period, our, our cost of this brewery doubled. Ooh, my God. Yeah. So then that caused another entire issue with lending. Yeah. Yeah. So, so needless to say, finally got jumped through all the hoops. We dotted all the I across all the Ts and I sold my first kid and kidney and I mean, it was, it was a lot to happen. Yeah. Um, But we finally got it broke ground six weeks ago. I think it was now. Yeah. I saw that on Facebook. That's that was super. Thank you. So yeah, we, you know, the town has been super supportive. Mm-hmm I mean, I've known everybody there for years. Always joke. I say like, Brenda, the mayor, I was like, I knew Brenda, when she was Brenda, like before she was mayor, you know? Yes. Cuz she used to eat with me years ago and so I, I just build a relationship with her. So yeah, so that's, that's kind of where we were going with that. So I mean, you know, while that's working, I do real estate deals and mm-hmm I had a really good commercial background from all the restaurants I dealt with that for years. Yeah. So uh, it, it only made sense to, to get into the other market and, and try to become an agent that could just help out friends and, and do stuff, you know? And, and so anyway, but so now this is, this is almost there. This is the, the brewery's almost there. We're we're nice. You know, I guess we got about six months give or take. Okay. Long as no big hurricanes or something like that, you know? So, yeah. Right. Yeah. Knock all. So, yeah, so that's, that's me and I got a beautiful wife, amazing wife and two little boys eight and two that are a hundred percent me. They're just two different sides. So and yeah, so, yeah. Nice. So I gotta, if you've ever heard any of our podcasts, I always have some random questions. awesome. This one's not that random, but why did you choose Leland for your brewery? Was it because of the saturation in Wilmington or just cuz you're like, mm, I don't gotta drive too far. Well, me mark and Nick all live in Leland. Okay. And had been there for years. Ethan is, is kind of in the castle hay area, but you know, me and Nick started this kind of having these conversations in the garage and he had seen where the craft beer industry was going. Yeah. You know, And then he, you know, he really, he, he wanted to do something for himself and, and I have bus business knowledge and, and, you know, it, it was a great fit. So it was like, Hey, Leland needs this. I mean, there's, there was, yeah, I think at one point there was, there was only one in Brunswick county, maybe two, yeah. At, at that time. Right. Um, And when you look at Leland, Leland is the, the fastest growing town in North Carolina, since 2011 mm-hmm you kinda look around at the landscape and what's going on. We, we know everybody in town, excuse me. And it was like, this is the place to do it. I mean, I, I wanted to support Leland. I wanna see Leland grow. Yeah. I sit on the board for the Leland tourism authority. Oh. Like, so I, I kind of get to see, you know, and, and I I'm friends with a lot of. Town hall crowd. So I've seen kind of coming and going to what, what the town was gonna do. It only made sense to do it. I mean, because mm-hmm, you guys live in, I know you live in Leland. Yeah. But, but if you've been in the Wilmington area and you say you live in Leland, people go, God, how do you, you live all the way out there. I'm like, like, dude, on five minutes from downtown, I live closer to Wilmington than you do. Yes But, but um, it is, it was just that stigmatism of going over the bridge and I'm like, mm-hmm, what, like, Leland makes sense. Like you can, you can still get to all the beaches. Yeah. I can hit 74 to Charlotte or to 95. You can get on the, that one 40 bypass to go to Raleigh. Yeah. Myrtle beach is 45 minutes. Like why not Leland? You know, mm-hmm so of course all the friendships that I'd cultivated through the years too, but so yeah, so, so Leland was a no brainer when it came to like, somebody's gonna do it. Why not be first? Yeah. We were first. I don't wanna talk about who's coming, but there's another, another, you know, breweries coming now, but they're different, you know, they're, they're, they're more, they're a restaurant that sells beer in my opinion, you know, which we, we, we're not a restaurant. We are a traditional brewery who has a building Outback that we're building that is somebody else is gonna run the food industry out of it. And we will have food, but it's not associated with us. Right. That way we can still do food trucks and we can have like, you know, different things going on. Plus you look at Leland across the street at town hall. I don't know if you're familiar, but they're building an amphitheater over there. Yeah. We're gonna be right. There's a perfect spot. Yeah. Yeah. So we have some bigger plans too, for our property. One of our partners just bought the five acres beside us and there's some other groups looking at some land over here. So a distillery is what we want to build. Secondly. Yeah. So we have a brewery distillery. And then hopefully these guys are gonna do an apartment complex beside us. Yeah. So that you, you can kind of, right. I mean, if you, and if you look at Leland, the gateway district, which is what that area of Leland is that's what Leland proper really wants to become known as and they're, they're re you know, the zoning has been redone to kind of look, make it look a little more urbanized mm-hmm and that all the setbacks are right on the side, the street where it's, it is gonna look like this outside, you know, where you, you walk by and there's a sidewalk in a building and no gaps in between is kind of the plan so that everyone can enjoy it and walk around. And, you know, I know that's gonna be a few years off, but we, why not be first? Why not? Why not be the first ones there? There's a lot of risk that come to that. And there's a lot of headaches that come with that, but I mean, you just gotta do it. So exactly. Without the rest, there's no reward, right. I mean, that's very true. I've never had a job other than growing up, working in the fields. Like I've, I've always, when I started, when Andy's, mm-hmm, Excuse me. It was just a few months of basically having a job after that I was in charge and then I became an owner. So I've, I've really never worked in traditional jobs. Right. You know, I I've. So this was one more thing to, just for me to own and build and go from there. Hopefully that answers your question about Leland. Yeah. oh, no, no. I, I was just curious cuz I know people most of the people who listen to the podcast are from the area and we were talking earlier mm-hmm and the cargo district is turning into an actual district. Yeah. And I was joking cuz I was in Charlotte last week and I'm like, there's so many little pockets and each pocket has its own thing. Right. And I feel like that's what Wilmington's trying to do. Mm-hmm I just need somebody to put something in w Whitesboro slash castle hanging area. that's gonna be the last place that gets developed right now. I mean, you look at Hamstead and you look at Leland and then you go south, that's kind of pinched off by river and ocean, but yeah, I mean, oh no, I'm just picking because I tried, I was like, Hey babe, I wanna go to the bar. And those are not the bars for me. I was like, I'm gonna need to open up my own spot and be like, Hey Chris, this is, this is where you get to sit. So you've seen what's going on at Bergal Bergal has like that. They're kind of redoing that downtown Al to, to, to do that kind of image, the, you know, so things are common. Yeah. And, and then again, this is what we wanna do in Leland. We wanna make this a destination. So if, if we're a, a brewery, a distillery, and then you have some food places that'll probably pop up. Why is, you know, this becomes a destination. Yeah. Leland Leland becomes. A spot for people to come visit to. Right. Mm-hmm And so honestly, I forgot something. So we did change the name. We changed the name to Leland brewing company. Ah, so back to a trademark issue. When we started this, we registered North Carolina. Everything's good. We had to go to North Carolina. All of a sudden we come to find out that there is a federal trademark for 7 26, like an area code. Yeah. But it's, it's a beer 7 26. It's in San Antonio, Texas place called busted sandal brewing. And we were like, wow. Okay. But that's an area code for San Antonio. I get why they got okay. So we reached out to 'em with attorneys through social media. I mean, I went straight there to websites. Like Infocon no one would speak to us. No, we we've done everything to say, Hey, can we use the trademark? Cause we're, we're listed different than you are. We're we're a company we're not even selling a beer cause of. No one was taught to us. So as we finally got this loan done and it was time to move forward, it was like, listen. So now we're in this situation where we can't grow outside of North Carolina, which is not in our game plan. I mean, we're, we're looking to distribute in South Carolina, Tennessee and stuff like this. So we had, we were smart enough in the beginning that we went ahead and registered five different names with the state. Ah yeah. Which were associated with Leland and some Brunswick county stuff so that no one else could come in and take them. Right. Yeah. You know, so Leland brewing company was it, and it's simple it's to the point, you know, WB, it kind of proves the point of like, Hey, we're, we're the real first ones here. Yes. Right. Cause I mean, you got rightful beach brew. I'm like, that's kind of cool, but is it really in rice? Beach is not it, you know, right. Yours is actually in Leland. That's the cool part. And here just to prove a point of how much Leland needs a a brewery like this is early 20, 20 before I even knew Katherine knew you. I was following you guys on Facebook. I was like brewery in Leland. What I need to know what's going on with this? It, it, well, it just took forever to get started. you know, I mean, it's, it's just been a nightmare on that end. But, but it, but if you look at LBC yeah. If you're a Snoop dog fan, maybe we can get, you know, we can abbreviate ourselves at the LBC and some things like that, that just go along with marketing. There actually is a, a place in Raleigh that LBC is what they use, but, well, we'll find interesting the future that's Raleigh, we'll worry about them later, but but yeah, I mean so, so anyway, the name change, which. I, I talked to people at the town. I said, listen, is this gonna be an issue? If we use Leland right across from town hall, I don't wanna be stepping on you. Guys' I don't want the town to look bad. Right. In the sense of, oh, well, Leland brewing company is across like, and you know, they, they fully supported us and said, no, no, no, no. You know, we, we appreciated y'all would be happy to use the names. Okay, cool. So we're working on a trademark now for that and working on new logos and also oh yeah. Any of these shirts, which I'll get y'all some later yeah. Or vintage, they become, say that's extra valuable right there. I have, I went somewhere the other week within a tree Smith food truck t-shirt on. And then we're like, that's a classic. Like, you can't even buy it. I'm like, yes. I know right. I don't know why I bought it. We were out during COVID and they had like the, like you could pre-order and just show up and get food. Mm-hmm it was like, you know what y'all are putting the work in. I know you guys are sweating your tails off in that thing in the middle of the summer. So I'm gonna buy some clothes. is that that's what I did. Yeah. I've got some, some old concert shirts from I love those way back in the day, you know? So anyway, good old taste. What part of Texas did you live in when you were down there? Dallas Ford there. I don't know if you Bedford, if you so Bedford and north Richland Hills, which are kind of right there next to each other, mm-hmm going toward for Fort worth, which I love Fort worth. I still got friends there. I was talking to my wife today. I was like, I was trying to get a flight back to go hang out. Dallas is awesome in the sense that I'm a sports fan. So it was like, man, I can go to all these games within like a 45 minute drive. And that's what I, you know, I was a big Texas fan. I loved Texas in general. I, the DFW area always said you could do anything you wanted to do within an hour's drive, except for snow ski. Or go to beach but you could go to lakes and you could boat and you could do all this kinda stuff. Didn't like Houston as much. That was Houston wasn't as cool. Austin's a cool place. Traffic just sucked, but yeah. You know, but I like Texas in general, it's just so big. mm-hmm, just insanely big. So I feel like Texas, like how North Carolina, like Wilmington, Leland area, and Nashville are so different. Yeah. You have that. And then it does it another time, like three more times. Yeah. Cause I follow a bunch of people who live in Houston and they are like the greater Houston area. Right. Cuz they're like, well we're too old to live in downtown. Cause mostly all like sugar land, but it's a well sugar land and I had a, had a place in sugar land, but restaurants that were going there and um, I can't think of another other place. Missouri city, Missouri city is another big one. No, it's it's. Keep going out there drastic, but like one of the guys like, oh, Hey, you know, I might move to Austin. And I'm like, it's like night and day. That doesn't seem like the vibe for you. Um, And then when I went to Dallas, I'm like, Dallas is a totally different mm-hmm vibe. Like in general. I'm like, I don't hate it. It's just a different vibe. Yeah. This was so easy to get around. You basically had a, a four lane all the way, or, you know, a, a interstate around Fort worth, interstate around Dallas and then four to five roads that connected. Yeah. Depending on what part of that area you, you needed to be in. Yeah, that ran east west. And it was like, I loved it. I mean, it was, it was amazing. I met a guy before everybody. I met a guy um, a couple weeks ago and he lived in the like Dallas area too when he was going to college and a little bit for his um, corporate world. And he said the same thing. He said it was the, like one of the largest, easiest cities to get around in. Right. He also was talking about, there's a cigar bar that's down there that got grandfathered in to allowing you actually to still smoke inside of it. Cuz they got rid of that in the city. And he was like, it's the best cigar bar and I'd have to look up what it is again. But yeah, he had a lot good things to say about it. Cico ranch. Cico ranch. A Houston sinker. Ranch of Houston is huge. That was where I was. I I was down there one time. Just, just crazy. Sorry off topic. No, it was, I was trying to explain to someone that I was driving down the road in STCA ranch and it was this high school, a five, a high school and wow. A like a mile and a half down the road was another five, a high school. Yup. And so as I'm doing my, you know, population reports and all this and it's like, oh what? And then there was 21 feeder schools that all fed through that. And I was like, oh my guess that's insane to think like. When, when you were going through these neighborhoods. Yeah, like I think CCO ranch, there was a, there was a neighborhood right there that had 35,000 homes in it. And I was like, it's crazy to think that you could drive that short of a distance. And those kids don't even know each other. Like, I mean, unless they're playing each other. Right, right. But we were driving by this high school and I'm, I'm like filming it. And I was like, that's like a, a mini college. Like, it was insane. Wow. But yeah. Interesting place like, yeah. Other than traffic. Yeah. Just, just didn't like Houston's traffic. It was, yeah. That's true. True. A nightmare. Yeah. I'm just living life. I feel like Wilmington is getting to that point where like, they have to find space to put in either another school, but you really can't. Cuz everyone bought the property to houses. I'm like, man, we can't even I'm like, how are you guys having a swim team? Like where do these people practice in someone's backyard? If you can swim in the ocean, you can still, that's true. About half of the year. true. Yeah. But swim during high school is in the winter time. Oh, I'm true. That, yeah. I think they do the wine don't they? I think so. They do the wine in U C w yeah. Oh yeah. C w that makes sense. But it was just, we talked about that a while back were like high schools up north were like, Hey, well, we have a true gymnasium. Mm-hmm and then I don't know the word for it, but they actually, like, I knew somebody whose high school had a gym and then underneath had an actual pool and it had like a whole fancy name for it. NAU auditorium, a NAU auditorium. Mm-hmm like Nautilus. Yeah. Okay. That's pretty cool. Yeah. We're not that cool here. Yeah, we had one. That's why that's okay. I knew it was somebody on you. I mean, if you look at what's going on, I mean, it's, it's coming. It's just, I don't know how much you remember about UNC w but if you, if you were looking at trash Coliseum and you looked off to the right, do you remember when all the basketball courts were there? Yes. Yeah. Cause they used to play ball there every Sunday. You know, now that's turned into parking and tennis courts and it I, I drove through campus about a year ago, just trying to like, kind of find my way through. Oh yeah. Completely lost. I mean, I had, no, I was like what these, but the roads are the same. They've just put more shit. Yeah. Like I was completely lost. Yeah. You couldn't find a landmark. You used to could go by the baseball field said basically baseball field was on the right. And then you had the dorms on the left, which. Back then called the Virgin vault us sports or something like that. Yeah. Yeah. You, you went past it and then you would turn left and then that road would take you basically to, to the cafeteria be off to the right. But you could take that road all the way back around to the other side of campus. Oh, okay. I was like trying to figure, I couldn't figure it out for, cause I lived back in the suites or the yeah, back by, by the camp. I mean the, by the calf. Yeah. Like there was some off to the righthand side. Yeah. Wagner hall. Yeah. But yeah, I was like, this is ridiculous. Like, it was just insane how big it had gotten. I was like, I'm I'm I'm excited. I mean, yeah, it looks cool. Yeah. Just since so I started around 2011, graduated 2015, went back again, 2017 and just those times it's changed so much. And then I was at one of the buildings at U C w for an event a couple days ago. So I was like, you know what? I'll I'll drive around campus. See what's going on. It's completely different just since 2017. Like it's crazy. It changed during COVID. because we lived off rightful Ave. Mm-hmm so if I wanted islands or beat ups, I would just cut through campus. right. And you, I would like, see the, cuz they just added only 1, 2, 3, at least four dorms got added to the back and they're all like high rises. Right. And I'm like, why are y'all? And then they added like two more buildings. So there's a whole nother quad set of buildings on the back. And I'm like, I remember when I was a kid and I had to do science Olympia and you would walk from one building to the other and it was just trees. Yep. If, if you remember where Wagner as the road to go straight into Wagner. Yep. Yeah. Everything to the left was woods. Yep. Everything. Oh, wow. They used to have a ropes course, like back up in the woods there and, and oh, what? Yeah. It was like repelling and all that stuff. They moved it like the ropes course. They, they have one. Yeah. It's but it's like back behind campus mm-hmm behind the new, like the newer. I say new those suites were put up in like, oh six and they were not really new talking about before then. Yeah. no, I grew up here, so I, I remember walking around, I'm like, oh man, this thing is cool. I wrote down a note here to go back a little bit. Yeah. How you were saying that pretty much everyone, when you started owning a bunch of the different spots around Leland specifically that they all grew up and inside of those restaurants and then eventually bought them and took 'em over. So that says a lot about your leadership and I think that's incredible. So tell us a little bit about your kind of what makes you a good leader and how you are able to bring them up like that. Good question. um, So, and, and they'll tell you this, cause I used to say it as like, I was an equal opportunity asshole. not that I was just a general asshole. It was, I, I, I said it as from an employee boss standpoint. there was a standard mm-hmm that was the standard there. It didn't matter if you'd been there five years or five days. Yeah. There was a standard. So when I hired you and I, I did all that for a long time, right? The standard was, this is how you're going to act here. This is how you're gonna dress here. This is how you're gonna look here. Mm-hmm it's not because I'm trying to infringe upon your rights, but it's this is business, right? Yeah. And I always explain to kids that work for me, like nobody comes to eat with you, cuz they wanna hear about your crappy day. True people go out to restaurants to, and to get away from their life. So when they come to eat with you at a restaurant, they don't wanna hear about the crap that you mm-hmm you know, the boyfriend broke up with you. You're mad at your boss to them. You need to portray the image that you are. Awesome. And you appreciate them. And regardless of whether you get a tip or not, you're treating them the same. Every single person, I don't care, age, color, whatever. You can treat people the same because in the end that person is taking their hard earned money to come eat with you. They can easily, he goes, cause we were not the cheapest person in town. We were not the fastest in town. Right. We didn't have TVs, we didn't sell alcohol. We didn't have naked of girls. Mm-hmm So if someone came to eat with us, they had to eat with you because they wanted to. Right. So that was, that was my standard. And I was hard to deal with. Like that was it. Like, I didn't give a crap how long you'd been around. Like if, if you mess up it's because you messed up mm-hmm you know, the rules, you understand the rules. And I think that the younger crowd kind of needed that right. A little bit more. Not that I wanted to be their mom and dad, but in lots of cases, mom and dad, aren't doing their job. Mm-hmm and. So, what happens is, is you get these group of kids that kind of like they're, they're growing up in this and hearing this and believe it or not, like I had my turnover in the restaurant business was like 5%. Oh my God. That's incredible. I kept, I retained people for a long time. Yeah. And when they left 99% of 'em did not lead because it was a like F you like, it was not that it was a I'm graduating. Yeah. You know, this isn't for me, whatever scenario I had a, I had a child, whatever the case may be. Mm-hmm because I was the same to everybody. Now honestly, you know, if you've been around for 5, 6, 7 years, and you knew the system, like, I mean, I get, I'd let you get away with a little bit more sure. But, but in general, I mean like, Hey, if, if you're on the schedule and you need a day off or you a shift off. Sorry, like right. Find somebody, but you have to okay. It with us or other management, like you not ju if you just don't show up for work, right. You better be cuz you got in a car wreck. You know what I mean? Like I, I try, I was, I was that way with everybody because again, the customer and you guys are seeing this right now. Yeah. I still got tons of friends in the restaurant business. Customers don't care that a restaurant can't get it staffed. Mm-hmm they come to you cuz they want to eat. Right. They come to you because they're trying to eat. And then whenever they don't care that you can't find employees cuz they don't understand it for one thing. Right. But they don't care that they can't find that you as a, as a owner can't find employees or you can't get people to show up mm-hmm that you do hire or whatever the case may be. So I was just always like, it was a different mentality. I mean, and, and then, so what I also did was. I had been given a lot. Like I had been helped a lot through my years. So I said, well, here's the deal. If I'm gonna open up another restaurant and you're, you're working for me and you've been with me, say two, three years, you started when you were 16 and now you're 18. You're graduating high school and you're starting to go, do I really wanna go to college? Mm-hmm do I, you know, I don't know what I wanna do with my life, whatever the case may be. Yeah. Here's the deal. You love this. You're good at, okay. Let's talk. I'll open up another restaurant. It's gonna cost me three, $400,000 to in this restaurant. You're gonna run it cuz that's what you wanna do. You wanna be a manager? You're gonna run it. Here's the deal. You ain't calling me when somebody don't show up at work. Yeah. You're not calling me when this petty little shit that happens in restaurants goes on. You call me when the AC doesn't work. I'll get it taken care of mm-hmm but I want you to run what goes on inside those four walls and that's all you're gonna do. And I'm not gonna pay you a ton of money. yeah, because here's the deal. I'm gonna sell it to you. In three or four years, say if I cost me at 300,000, I'm gonna sell it to you for 150. Wow. Because I've made my money back off of it. I know that it's making money. I know they can afford that note at 300,000. I've already made my money off of it. Yeah. In traditional business, I should sell it for more. Right. Because you're probably doing more than when we opened up. Sure. Yeah. But you ran it and you busted grass and you're doing a good job. So here's the deal. I'll sell it to you for 150,000 and I'll in house finance it. Wow. Cause you can't go to bank and get it. Yeah. I prefer you go to bank, which you can't, so I'm gonna in house finance it. So I did that to make sure that the people coming up could afford that restaurant. Mm-hmm because the other side of it is there's a lifespan in the restaurant business. I mean, I mean, you're, you're like, man, there's like 10 years and you're kind of pushing it. Yeah. You're you're you're at 10 you 10 years. Even if you start at at 17, 18 at 10 years, you're starting to go. Time for a kid time for a wife, a husband, time for quit working 60 hour weeks. My body hurts all these types of things. So if I get ahold of you and I get this going at 23, you're an owner. Yeah. You went to six figures at 23 years old and you have no debt cuz you didn't go to college. You didn't have a college degree. You don't have anything to pay back. You have a restaurant you're paying back. Yeah. But $150,000. And you're making six figures like, come on like, you know, grand scheme things. But, but it's yours. It's tangible. It's yours. Mm-hmm like, I mean, and I'm, I'm not, I'm not downgrading education at all. Cause you, you should educate yourself and you should always try to learn more. But I don't necessarily think you have to go to college and pay for it. But, but if you own a business and you, you own that, mm-hmm you have equipment, you have knowledge, you have everything that you own. So if it's. Okay, well, now it's time. I wanna open up my second locations. Well, now I've established myself, myself. I can go to a bank and possibly get a loan, and I know how to do this. I've already done it once. Why can't I do it again? Yep. Mm-hmm and I've had some, and there's still some amazing people that, that stuck with me for a long time that now own all these businesses have done really, really well. Like I'm proud of them. I'm like, it's pretty awesome to see 'em do that. So, so now it's the second phase in life. It's like, okay, so now you need to invest in this and you need to, you put your money into these retirement. You need to do these types of things, stuff that I never learned early on. I wish I had learned it years earlier, but I mean, that's, it's my job to, to, I guess, do that, you know, try to help people to help me. So that's kind of one of the returning themes of our podcast too, is the society. It keeps telling people like, oh, you need to go to college. You need to go to college. It doesn't make sense for everyone. And especially now for as expensive, it is, it doesn't make sense for a lot of people. Right. And just being able to find that one thing that you're good at, or the thing that you're passionate about and having the opportunity that you were giving these kids is incredible. Right. So hats off that's. That's amazing. Well, thank you. Appreciate it. Yeah. It's always funny. Just like talking to different people here, cuz Tyler went to school. He is a master's degree, which is awesome. Like I couldn't do that. Like I couldn't do that. Like, I mean, and then there's me. I like you. I attended ECU and Cape fear. I actually showed up to most of my classes, but still I was like, this is not my vibe. like, I, I learned things quickly for the most part and I like retain it and sitting in a classroom and they're like, all right. So today I'm like, this is the biggest waste of an hour. Right? Mm-hmm so then I would go to work and do whatever, even though I was making. Crap back then. So I, I mean, so what I said was this is, is so if I'm going to, why would I, this is just my philosophy and mine only. So why would I go to college to pay to go, okay. Mm-hmm to pay you as a professor or whoever to teach me how to do financially independent things. Mm-hmm okay. When you can't even do it. Yeah. And you're, you're not, I'm not different than anybody else. You're teaching me the same stuff. You're teaching the guys, girls sitting around me or anybody the next class around. So what is it that's gonna make me different? What is it? Mm-hmm what is it that you're teaching me? That's gonna make me different. I, I, I understand college is all. Teaching you how to address life and schedules and, and manage. I totally understand that. And honestly, if I'm going to a doctor, I want the person that went to class every day. like, you know, I mean, there are things that absolutely make sense, but in general, I was a business major and it just didn't make sense to go learn from a professor to how to be financially independent from a person that's making $75,000 a year. Mm-hmm at a job that I, it just didn't make sense to me. So I was, I, I, my philosophy was a little bit different. It's not for everybody, there's, I, I know many, a wonderful people to just their brain doesn't work that way. Yeah. It, it, like you said, I would, I would sit in class and I was just like, okay, like, this was like, this is driving me insane to sit here. But if I could do something that was giving me more of an instant, well, a reward, I could see the, the finish line. And there was no gr like there was no, the, the growth was totally up to. Yeah. Like, like the, the ceiling is whatever I wanted to make. Mm-hmm I can grow to this and I can say I'm cool with that. Or I can, as you know, hopefully done as I've, I've invested in other businesses and try to start other businesses and, and then do do different things. So that was just my philosophy on it. I mean, it's, it's not perfect by any means. yeah, it doesn't work for everybody. No, that's real. That's really cool though, because I think I was having this conversation with another buddy of mine too. The people that do very well and when I say successful, not necessarily money, but it does typically come with financial success too. But mostly just like having passion and stuff are the ones that we' able to look past the mold and do something that they truly love and something that was different that did break 'em apart. So yeah, it's, it's right down that same thing. Well, what if you're going, if you're gonna go to college and you're going to, you're going to learn from a specific person. Okay. Mm-hmm But you're paying them to teach you. Right. So I said, well, man, I'd rather go work for someone who's already done this. And they're gonna pay me to teach me how to do what they did. And I'm like, that's a no brainer. like, cause I was, I didn't have anything. So I mean, excuse me, I was starting off at zero. So it was like, if I'm gonna go work for this guy or girl or whatever that has already done this, and they're willing to tell me these secrets and they're gonna pay me instead of me paying them, it, it just kind of yeah. You know? Yeah. That, that's kind of how I got started in jewelry really is before I got into finance is I was going to college and my one goal was I was gonna come out of college without any debt, zero debt. And so I was like, and I want to own a jewelry store. So I went into the mall and I walked every jewelry store and hand out my application and got a job at Helberg diamonds and ended up being the assistant manager there after like a year. And worked 50 hours a week there while going to school full time finished that we went over to reeds. And I was like, you know what? I like this finance portion of res, like, I kinda like this, right. yeah. It was like, so let me look into this. And I was looking at other like finance jobs and they're like, Nope, have to have a master's. And then the thing that I didn't do to your point when I was in college is I didn't find a way to differentiate myself. And I didn't find a professor that I could really hold onto. And I was like, you know what? I can do this better next time. And now I have a goal of what I'm trying to accomplish. And that's the one and only reason why I went back for my masters and, and it, and it worked. So I found that professor that took me under his wing and was able to do a few hedge fund competitions and won those. So that was fun too. And this that's how I got to where I am now. And. Chris and I stayed best friends and opened this place. Yes. Hey. Yeah. no, we get to drink whiskey, right? I mean, you're doing something like I have wanted to do, but I, this is beyond me. Like this is too technical for me. Yeah. And see, that's another reason why we decided to go with the studio as well is, and this is at least for me, one of my big philosophies is everyone has a story. If they don't have a story, they have a passion. And if they don't have a passion, they have something they're extremely good at. Right. And I think the more that you can give microphones in front of people to let them tell their stories and passions even better. So we wanted to open this place for people that didn't have the background on how to build this place to come in at a relatively cheap rate and tell their story to people. And we'll, we'll throw it up on the internet for you so people can hear you. Yeah, that's awesome. I mean, I'm. I'm a fan. So we're glad to hear it. Yeah. Another kind of um, random rabbit hole that I got from your story previously. How did you meet the guy from Utah with the bank? Your financeer? Yeah. So, you know, when, when you start trying to find money and, and we didn't really wanna go private equity cuz mm-hmm you have to give up so much of your equity especially starting out. Yeah. And it wasn't really the route. And honestly, Nick, you know, I wanted this to be for him in a sense I wanted you know, I want, I wanted Nick to be able to have something that wasn't. Such, you know, a small piece really mm-hmm wanted it to be a bigger scenario. Something that he was building, cuz this guy has more beer knowledge than I could fathom. Right. Like, I mean the, when you sit down and get him talking about that business, it just like, it, it blows your mind. Yeah. And Ethan being the RoomMaster same thing, you know, they, they bring so much more to it that me and mark can't do. Yeah. So we, we, we started asking around, we went to one of these local banks that's really big and SBA financing and even made a, a call to a friend. And I mean, I got the man up top. Yeah. Gave me a call and got pawned off to a VP in California. Mm mm-hmm and um, basically it was like fluff BS that, you know, Hey, that's cool, but we don't really want to. Finance this for you. Wow. So that's, I mean, it's fine. Yeah. Whatever it is, business bank, you know, the banking industry is it is what it is. Mm-hmm so asking around, asking around, asking around and it was a, a broker out of Raleigh area. It was another buddy of mine. It's all about relationships, really? Yeah. And he said, Hey, this guy can get it done. So he did introduced us to this guy that he did projects with, who was actually used to live kind of in this area. Mm-hmm, actually used to work for that bank originally a long time ago. And then went out there and he has projects going all over the country. Like, I mean, we were small potatoes, but he believed in us, which is what we wanted. Yeah. We wanted someone who could see past brewery. Yeah. You know, like could see past. The average, Joe. And we sold him on it and he loved it. And citizens bank is actually the finance out of ner, Kentucky. Oh, okay. Tennessee, but ECL financial was the ones who did it for us throughout of Atlanta. Oh, I see. Okay. Yeah. But he was the one that put everything together. He was the one that stood up for us with these guys and said, Hey, it's gonna work. These guys got it together. So that's kind of how that happened. That's really neat. And he's, he's been awesome. I mean, he's typical banker, but you know, right. Hey, he stood up for us and, and backed us when nobody else would. So, yeah. That's cool. And I mean, we tried everybody it was, yeah, it was COVID caused a lot of problems. Yeah. I can, I can sympathize to a certain extent too. I was trying to get into a, a real estate venture up in New York, which is a whole other beast of a world, but we tried right in April and. 25 banks later. I was like, you know what? I have a full time job too. I can't continue doing this man. We had so many friends and family were like, man, just walk away. Like it's not, it's not meant to be. And that just pisses me off. Like, like don't tell me, it's not meant to be because I'm, I'm a, so that was the other thing about businesses. Like it was a gut thing. Yeah. Like, yeah, you kind of had this gut feeling of when that employee's gonna quit. Cuz they show these markers, these signs like these early things that you kind of pick up on. Cause you just learn to deal with it. Yeah. What this banker was saying, he said, listen, we got you. He's like, we just, we just have to go through the process. Trust the process. And I mean, there was many a times it was like, Hey man, are you, are you serious? Like this is he's like, you're good. We'll we'll make this happen. But the people on the outside standing in, just keep going. Ah, man. Y'all like, man, good luck to you buddy. And I'm like, but you know who the people are that say that all the time are the ones that will never take that change. Mm-hmm you know, I mean, they're the ones that are scared to invest in this and they're the ones that are scared to like go out on a limb and do anything. And that's great. That's wonderful. I mean, and, and these are people that had some good money. Yeah. You know, but, or, or I don't understand that business. And I'm like, do you really have to understand the business to, to invest in it, to invest in it, to make money? Like I'm not asking you to come poor beer. Right. I I'm just asking you to believe in us. And we had people that did, I mean, there, there were some people did invested some small investors that invested with us that are awesome, you know, but but back to having a banker that believed in you because I've met a ton of bankers. Who are already for your business. Mm. And you hand on the paperwork and you go through it. And then when it goes above their head, cuz they really can't make a decision. Right. Nothing gets done. Mm-hmm I'm like, okay. All right. Well, I get you. I understand. Right. but that's the banking industry, the traditional banking industry, right? Yeah. Especially on the loans and mortgage side and all of that too. That's a, that's like a black box that I don't even understand. it's like a black hole. Yeah. that's a better, better way describing it. Yeah. It's it's pretty, I mean, they, they, they want their security and they want their cash and they want, you know, they just, they want everything, it protects the bank. That's it's whatever. But take a, take us, you know, take a leap of faith, but right. Yeah. I get that. We're there. We're there. So I don't, I don't have to deal with that shit anymore. right. so on a brighter note. Yeah. We did mention at the top of the show that you are a whiskey kind OFE. I, I try. I can't, I could, I can tell you what I can tell you, but that's that's about it. Well, I guess the better word would be whiskey collector. Yes. Yes. I, I have, have done that quite a bit. I always laugh. Cuz we're like conno sore. I'm like, I don't. People are like, I don't know if that's the right. I, I mean, I don't actually know the definition of connoisseur, so I'll just keep using it until someone harass me. But no, as a whiskey collector cuz you're a little bit older than us. My, I got two questions. One what got you into it? And two, what has been, what are your top three favorite whiskeys? Yes. So whiskey or bourbon two, technically two different things, but I'll, I'll go. Right? So, so whiskey as the overarching umbrella. Yes, yes, yes. So I, I was always a, a vodka drinker. Yep. For the most part, like clear liquors. That was if I was, if I went out and. Race tail or whatever. Mm-hmm I could drink clear liquor and basically be fine the next day. Right. It seemed like if I ever drank dark liquor, God, I just, it was miserable. So, but, but it's, it's in how you drink it. It's not, yes. What you drink. So a buddy of mine in Leland and I'm, I'm not going mention his name cuz he's so I'll tell you after show but but he kinda had got me into it and then another buddy of mine in the neighborhood and we would just, man, we, it started off with crown of all. I mean, of all things, it started, you know, crown, you, you got crown and then went to crown apple and you're like, oh hell crown, apple and ginger, that's a great drink. And then crown vanilla and then XR and all these other ones came about mm-hmm crown isn't bourbon, you know, it's it's it's whiskey. Right. But it's good. Yeah. So time went on and then it was like, oh, so you know, what is this? And that looks cool. And oh, it's it's, you know, so we just kind. All right. Well, you supposed to drink it neat. Or you drink it on the rocks and you just kind of started developing a taste and whatever P works for you. Mm-hmm you know, you kind of go that route. So then what actually happened was me and that original guy yeah. Started a gentleman's bourbon drinking club in town. Oh, wow. And I know he had Sean on here. He might have he's he's been trying to get invite actually, I think I invited him to the last one, honestly. So it started off and we did this thing legit. It was at the buddy's house. We had five glasses for each person. It was about 15, 20 guys. Wow. You poured it. Neat. And we had Kentucky limestone water with a droplet that you would drop. I mean, we, and we rated it and it was just all, all guys. And then we cooked out like bros or something, you know? Oh, wow. And like just a gentleman's thing. Yes. Well, so we said, all right, well, next time let's go to tequila. And we, it was a gentleman's drinking. So the next time we did tequila's yeah, mm-hmm out in another. Gentleman house out in town, insane place. This dude had his own private Irish pub in his house. Oh wow. It was, it was insane. That's amazing. Yeah, it was, it was, it was, he had a taco truck come out. I mean, we did it upright. It was, it was insane. Right. Tried all these tequilas. I think it was like five or six at night. Okay, cool. But everybody wanted bourbon, like bourbon became the thing mm-hmm so we did a couple more and they got bigger. Next thing you know, you got a who's who Wilmington starts showing up to this thing and you're you're at like 30, 40 guys, something like this. Yeah. So then we had a, a really big one. It was like 80 guys. Wow. Catered had a guy's house over in landfall. Beautiful home. Same thing. We, we did it upright. And so I happened to be the guy that had some. Very unique bourbons. Cuz I had a buddy in town, this, this guy had 5,000 bottles. Wow. In his collection in insane. I was lucky enough to be the only person he would ever give bottles to mm-hmm so I was able to get some, some amazing bottles. So it was like, Hey, we're drinking stuff that you can't buy. Right. Stuff. You can't find all the guys wanna be part of this, you know, like okay. And it just kinda went from there. Yeah. And then then co hit mm-hmm and we did one actually last year downtown it's amazing place. And I think we had about a hundred guys there and it was wow. It was, it was a party. It was, it was an interesting group. I think we're going to tone it down from that. That was a little too much, but I think it was everybody needed to get out from COVID situation. I like that. Yeah. So we um, we'll probably go back to having like 40 guys and trying, we usually try to do five to six. Bourbons. I mean, and it could be Alans, which, you know, is not that amazing, but you just can't buy it anywhere. Like it's just hard to find. And then, you know, something like this that just nobody really knows about. And then mm-hmm, every once in a while, we'll have like a really nice Pappy in there. And just, just some unique stuff that you, some stuff's not, not even sold in North Carolina never has been sold in North Carolina. I've got actually one bottle that is it is a it's one of 250 that they ever made comes in a wood crate open up it's it's the oldest bottled bourbon in America. It's a 45 year old bottle. Oh, wow. Like you would never drink it cuz it probably taste like wood but it was originally Made for a fundraiser for the win warrior project. Oh, okay. So it was just awesome that I've got it with the, the ticket with it and, and everything. So we, we just little neat things like that. I mean, we just kind of tried to try to keep it together. So anyway, so that's where the bourbon came from. And the next thing you know, it was like, hell, every time I turned around, I was going to the liquor store and I'm just like, but, but what's happened is you can't find anything in North Carolina anymore. I mean, I'm, I'm not on any list you, if you're trying to get on a raffle or whatever, for anything in North Carolina, gang it up, I'll get these emails from the Newhan ABC who say, oh, there's six bottles of Blas hitting here. And I'm like, I'm not standing, you're staying in line for four hours, 80 guys. Right. So I usually would, when, when we're traveling, I would look at places outside of town all over the country. Yeah. That's been really big as I find stuff. So I would just buy. The basics here, you know, the good stuff, just everyday drinkers. So when people came to my, my little bar at the house and if they wanted to drink Jack, I had Jack and, you know, whatever. Yeah. So anyway, so that's kind of where the bourbon came from. My wife thinks I'm crazy, but she's, I mean, that's, that's my thing. Like whatever. She's cool. So yeah. Sorry, what was the second question? well, no, I've always wondered. Like how do people get into that? Because I was the same way. I was like, you know, I drank for years, either tequila or vodka. Right. And then I hit the point where my friends started buying like actual, like better than like, oh, Hey, let me get a shot of Jose. And that would mess me up. and then we, then they upgraded good tequila. You're not supposed to shoot. You're not good Tela. Yeah. So, well, I shifted, I went from Jose and then my friend was a bartender. So we would take shots of like a slightly higher quality. Yeah. Like we shifted to Espon mm-hmm and I'm like that, that has a good taste to it. And then my pop is he started drinking tequila and he was like, you know, well, you gotta drink this kind of tequila, cuz this is better than that. And you gotta do it at, I was like, all right, I'll try it. Right. And then I hit the point where I was like, you know, I'm just gonna try something different and Jameson hit. And I was like, whew, I drink that for a little while. Which Jameson's good. I mean, yeah. And then me and Tyler started, but that scotch. Yeah. Right. yeah, but that was the thing. I was like, it's dark, let, let's try something different. I didn't, I didn't know the difference between scotch and whiskey and Irish whiskey and Canadian. And I was like, Tyler, if we're starting this podcast, I guess I'll start drinking new things. But I think that's, what's gotten me, mm-hmm drinking and trying more bourbon and whiskey is just being on the podcast. Right. Just be like, oh, Hey, let's try something new. And that's why I've tried to get better at like, well, I'm going to be better at describing like how the things taste which I think will be nice. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's you just gotta keep trying mm-hmm. I mean, you don't have to become a drunk. You just have to just, just try and see what work. And again, like you, you noticed the difference between that with ice than you did. Yes. Big difference. Huge difference. Yeah. So really changes it. So, I mean, there's, there's all these different things. And then, you know, if you really wanna get wild, you start putting Kentucky limestone water as your ice cube versus is that tap water. Yeah. Right. So think about it. Tap water has chlorine and all these other flavors, you know, type of texture to it. Yeah. Kentucky limestone, like you, you can buy it online. You go on Amazon. It's like, I think I got like two bottles for like 16 bucks. It comes in like, yeah. And it just ships to your house and whatever. And you, you take it and you drop it in that that's the correct way to drink bourbon. You know, we saw a guy on tick TikTok that was doing that. Yes. I also saw a, saw a guy mixing Pappy with Coke. He should be shot yeah's that made me cry. Yeah. So which Pappy was it? First of all? so I can't, he, his statement though was like, Hey, it was the upper teens in year. Yeah. Oh. But, well, he was like, you know, I got bottles. You drink it. How you prefer to drink that's that's true. And I'm sure he's drank. Straight on the like hundreds of sure he did it to get all of the reactions. Yeah. He was trying to get views and not Yeah. Typical pack PPI. That's like the 15 and above. You don't need anything with it. It's good. When you get the 20, 23, this like 23 is like butter. I mean, it is so like just smooth and good, but you're talking about a $5,000 bottle, like who, if you, so, so if, so here's the deal, like it's about money. If you can get a Pappy 23 for the list price, which is like 180 to 2 25, something like that, you would probably drink it with Coke. Cause you didn't give a crap. Yeah. But if you paid five grand for it, you're gonna be like, I got a dropper that I'm dropping. I'm like, I'm not exactly, you know, so heart fell. But but yeah, I mean, so yeah. Good bourbon traditional and, and, and whiskey. Good high end. It's supposed to be drunk that way. Mm-hmm but it, but it try it. I mean, that's all I like, I can't tell you what I like and that you're gonna like, cuz you need to try, try try it. Yeah. Because like you said that guy's drinking Coke cuz that's the way he likes to drink it. Well, that's cool. But you don't drink PPI eight 15. Right. But, but anyway, so just, you know, find what works for you and, and don't, don't get stupid because there's so much out there. Now the other thing is bourbon in the last five years, like we talked about is just, it's insane. How many new things are coming out there and you can find some really amazing bourbon whiskeys for 40 bucks. Yeah. You know, like don't go spend just cuz it's more expensive. Does not mean it's better. I correct. I have learned that the hard way. So yeah. Just, just find you, whatever you like and you know, whatever you wanna add to your collection and. House the question was, what do you want to add? Yeah, its three, three. Okay. So we'll do this top three bourbons and top three. I that's gonna be hard. This is to do top three. Okay. So going through six, yeah. You start talking about rise, get into like a whole different realm. To me personally, the Pappy 23 was amazing. Now I was in Vegas on a boy's trip. I mean, it was like $500 for yeah. Like a two finger pour. It was insane, but I was eating a five Wu flavor. I mean like we did, if you're doing it about up. Yeah. To me that, that, that that's an upper echelon, but, but that's not an everyday drinker. If you wanna talk about everyday drinkers, like that is a great everyday drinker. Mm-hmm the four roses. Small batch select, not the small batch, the small batch select, which is like 75, $80. Mm-hmm is a great everyday drinker. Even like, if you look at Buffalo trace and Eagle rare, which are, they're not great bourbons, but for the price they're they're really good. They're a great everyday drinker. Excuse me. I actually was gonna bring you another bottle. It's called an go on it's a 15 year. God, what was it? It was anyway. I'll think of it a second, but that in a mid winters night jam is, is always the mid you can that mid winners night jam in the wintertime. Just pour that into a couple of like hot chocolateers. I mean, I mean, it's, it's, it's on point. Let's see the, this is gonna sound crazy, but the Eric Church Jack Daniels, which I've heard is the same as regular Jack Daniels. I'd not a hundred. The, the gentleman Jack is the gentleman Jack. Okay. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing bottle. Like so good. Believe just not the crown 18. I don't know if you've seen that. I haven't seen it. I haven't tried. It comes like in a big purple case. Yeah. So good. Now it's not traditional bourbon. It's, it's a, more of a whiskey, right. With a knee or a why I'm just missing oh, you lost me, but it, but it's, it's very, very good. God, you want three? That's just, no, I'm trying to like picture through my head, like all the bourbons and like if I had to have like what I would, I would pick out but like, these are good options for people who are listening and they're like, well, you know, I'm curious because we've the, I'm not even gonna lie. The shit that we've had on here has been the full gambit of bourbon and whiskeys. Yeah, like my wife brought me some stuff back that had what was it in it? Oh, the elderberry there. No, it wasn't elderberry. It was some other type of Berry that was in it from Montana that you can only get in a small town in Montana, which is kind of cool, like, which is just very unique yeah. And stuff. So we bring in stuff that we just randomly find like that. And sometimes we'll have two little more do, and then we'll bring on like an equal, rare someone was able to find it. Yeah. And I would've brought you that, but so here's, here's, what's crazy. I went, I w Harper, I w Harper 15, yeah. Comes in a square bottle. Oh, amazing. Sorry, go ahead. I I've had that too. That is very good. There was a restaurant who I won't. Say the name, but I went there the other day and I saw they had Eagle rare mm-hmm and I was like, oh shit. I like to have Eagle rare up there. I'm like, oh yeah, grab me a pour of that. And he comes back and he was like, I think it's a supply and demand issue. It's $28 for a pour. And I'm like the bottle's $40. it's like, cheaper now, right? Yeah. It's because it's the name? That's all it is. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's the name? Yeah. I mean, a Buffalo trace is what, 29, $30 somewhere like that, you go to store, you gonna pay more than that for a four. Huckleberry huckleberry is what that one whiskey had in it that we brought back from Montana. Yeah. Have to, it definitely throws you off cuz like now that we've had other, other ones, it's like feeling out the flavors and that's why I try and read the notes. For what people can kind of mentally picture and kind of taste which is really nice just to feel the difference and taste the difference. Cuz that one itself was just very, that's a whiskey I would drink in the summer. Mm-hmm like it was light similar to like the XO Tula, more Dew that that we had it's light enough that I would drink in the summer Tyler's bacon, the face he's like, that was not my cup of tea. it could have been because, because your palace is different. Yeah. It's exactly. But we also drink that one. Neat. And that's what we're saying is like you have to try everything in different ways. There's something that I've tried neat that I don't like. So, so high octane stuff. Anything, anything, sorry, anything over like, you know, you start getting the upper nineties or a hundred plus oh yeah. You know, bonded stuff. Lots of times, man. It's got you better be ready for that. You know what I mean? Yes. So that might be something that you knock down. With a little bit of water, right. Or, or something, but a, a, a real bourbon conno, traditional. They like the hot stuff. Yeah. Like they, and I've got some stuff kind of like 145, Chris, just a huge, well, I think you had a bunch of water you melt. I didn't realize that that's actually gonna be a really good. Yeah, go ahead and take a drink. That'll give a shot. No, we're over here. Just enjoying. Okay. Yeah, I get it. I get it. Now, Tyler just has a different flavor. Right? It's completely different flavor. But we're, it's no joke. Every bourbon whiskey, the whole gamut tastes different right? On different things. Like obviously just like wine. If you have it at different temperatures, it tastes different. But if you're drinking, drinking, most of this stuff need. if you're like me and a newbie to bourbon, you're gonna be like, Ugh, that's kind of strong. But as soon as you put ice in it, or a little bit of water, it mellows it out a little bit. But you definitely taste different notes. Which I thought was just straight bullshit. Well, that was first that there's nothing impeding the flavor. Yeah. Right, right. If it's straight, you know? Yeah. So, but you always should, should try it straight just at first. That's what pour little POS like don't, don't get crazy. You know what I mean? For it that big and, and then pay for it. right. No, what, what I would do when I was first, like getting into the whiskey game is I would have them just do like a very small pour, just neat and see how it was that way. So I could get the true flavor of it. Right. And then if it wasn't like burning me, then I'd be like, okay, we'll get like a full Bo knee or, but like, and that's a little bit more high octane for me. Let's throw, throw a cube in there and I'll wait a few minutes, but absolutely so random thought we should probably do on, on the back end. But if you guys do your gentlemen, like your, your tastings, we should have you on afterwards. So we can talk about what you guys tasted. Yeah. And do like a one off episode just to kind of, so people know the different flavors or we get like 10 of us in here and everybody's drinking on different. Yeah. different bike. Just like have five us, five different bourbons and everybody. You know, passes around and says their opinion on what that is. And we do have a mobile setup. I don't know how much wisdom you're gonna learn that night, but it'd be a lot of whiskey. A lot of whiskey. Yeah. I mean, there it's been primarily wisdom, so I'm not mad for a whole whiskey one. So, but that's the fun part is we'll like, eventually we'll have like one off. She, can't not, everyone's gonna be the exact same thing. So yeah. Yeah. We have a, before we made this set up, we had a mobile setup, so we kept the mobile setup so we can set up anywhere now. That's pretty cool. Which is awesome. Yeah. So we're excited about that will need two more mics, if we're gonna, do like a squat of people, but it'll be fun, but we are coming up on our time today. So I always have one last question for you. Okay. If you were to tell your younger self one thing, what would it. This is a good one. Invest way more money earlier on, instead of blowing it in Vegas and trips all over the world. that would that do something different with my money at 24, 25, 26. Yeah. Versus, you know, later on, but that's always a hard one, but right. Yeah, that, that would be the main one, cuz I did good, but I could have done better. It's it's funny that you say that because me being in the personal finance realm, it's really interesting talking to different people, especially retirees, because there's very rarely do you meet someone who was in the middle? You either have that guy coming in to you. That's like, I blew all my money. Like my whole entire life. We went on all these trips and they have like stories, but they don't have a retirement to feel comfortable on. Or you have the guy that has tons of money and never had the experience. Right. Very, very rarely do you get that guy that came in that's straight in the middle. It's like, oh, I had some good experiences over here and I have a comfortable life. We could do an entire seven hour podcast on stories about the shit I've done in life. Like I could tell you stuff like, so my wife is always like, I should have been, if I ever decide to change careers, all of my what do you call 'em the personal, the like the Myers Briggs type of deal. Yeah. Said I should have been a pro prosecuting attorney. like, that's because I like to argue, but. All of my friends know me as like, and I literally would do this is I wanna be a tour guide. Like I, oh, that'd be cool. That'd be so much fun. Oh, I would love that shit like this. So when brewer reopens, that's, that's what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna be the guy does all the tours. Cause all the other guys like hell and I'm not doing that. I'm like, oh yeah. I'm like, I'm, I'm the one. Cause I, I can, you know, living in Wilmington, when you look at the history and the things that are here from, let's just say top sold to, you know, Oak island. Right. You know, boy had I, the, the there's so many things that go on here between the movie industry, the college that just his history, the college mm-hmm, the just history of Wilmington. I like it all, you know? I mean, I'm like, I'm, I'm always like a story to tell you about something that I did or yeah. You know, what, what this did or movie star. I met that, you know, the interaction we had, what, whatever the case may be. So I I've always kind of thought if I could ever. You know, go make $6 an hour. I would love to be a tour guide. That would be, yeah. Hopefully it'll be more than $6 an hour. I, I would do it free. Like I love it, man. It would just be a cool thing to do so, but yeah. You know what you said? Like, I definitely would invest a lot more earlier on, but, but in hindsight, I've, I've lived a life. I've done a lot of stuff that I've enjoyed that. Awesome. So yeah, I feel like there's more to unpack here, but we'll, we'll do that on another podcast at another time. I'm sure. But yeah, so I wanna toss it out there. Thank you guys. Everybody guys gals. They, them, everybody it is pride month. So I gotta throw everything out there, I guess. Thank you for listening to our podcast. We have Chris on here. Yes Leko Leko Leko you got anything to shout out? I know you have your brewery opening up. Yes. I mean I'm no, thank you for having me on, I, I appreciate this. Yeah, this is awesome. I've had some friends on, so that was awesome to be able to share with they, you know, nice. Is there any way that people can follow the updates on the brewery? Yeah, so it's 7 26, but it's like the number seven spelled out 20 in the number six brewing that's on Instagram and Facebook. Okay. Which that is changing to Leland brewing company. We just haven't gone through that until we get the website up, which is in the middle of getting made. We'll have the new logos, the new t-shirts on this. So yeah, that's, that's the only way right now to follow it. Cool. And you can follow me at unprofessional. That's my, I love that Instagram. Yeah, unprofessional. So when Catherine told me about you and I was like stalking you first, I was like, I love that handle. That's fantastic. There's there's a whole nother story to that too. I thought it, you were like, that was in your bio was unprofessional, but your first name. I love that. Yeah. well, thank you. I appreciate it. but yeah. Thank you so much, Chris, for coming on. Yeah. And bringing this the high west distillery, so good. This thing, the boo eye yeah. Is delicious. It's I will say we've, we've almost hit 20, but this is mm-hmm I'll put in my top five. This is this one out of the 20 is my top one right now. Awesome. Thank you. Appreciate there's some people that, yeah, that's, that's a lot to live up to. Thank you. No, that's a good one. And I went through I'll I'll do a quick shout out real fast for, for rounds in may fair town center. Yeah. So they have a very nice whiskey selection and they have a whiskey club. Then this is a buddy of mine. Love tennis. Yeah. I I'm gonna have to. Dennis told me about you and I never put it together. shout out to Dennis on here too. Okay. That that's finally all coming together now. Anyway, I finished all three of the whiskey clubs that they have there. So yeah. So I got to do all of that too, but this, this one's incredible. Love it. So if you guys want to support us at whiskey and wisdom, definitely follow us on all of our social medias. On Instagram, technically we're on TikTok as well. so hit us up, leave us a nice review. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all is what my mom always said. But we are on all the, the platforms for listening to us. Thank you guys so much for following us and enjoying the wisdom that we're getting on this journey. But yeah. Cheers. Cheer. Cheers. Cheers. See you on the next one. Yes.