A month ago a crew road tripped down to Kentucky to explore and take in the sights.  Check out the highlights of the trip HERE.  I learned a ton about leadership while I was down there.  Here are Lessons 1-5.  Onward to Lessons 6-10.

Our tour guide at Buffalo Trace was an incredible man.  Freddie.  He was larger than life and had many stories of bourbon lore.  Freddie’s granddad and Colonel Blanton (has a bourbon named after him) were good friends and his dad and Elmer T. Lee (also has a bourbon named after him) were also tight.  They worked together for 47 years.  He said when in moderation there is no right or wrong way to drink bourbon.  Freddie also said that swishing water around between tasting different kinds of bourbon is recommended.  He said “most people call this ‘cleansing your pallet’ but I call it rinsing out your damn mouth!”

My Air Force special forces friend John admiring and “trusting” the process

Lessons 6-10 learned on the Bourbon Trail. 

6. Never bring out quality food, drink, or cigars when you are in a hurry. You want to have space to enjoy them. The best things come to those who wait. Premium goods deserve premium time and premium experiences.

7. Life is a journey but the memories make the life worth living

8. You are making something right now that the next generation will enjoy. You are actually creating for the next generation. We need to develop leaders behind us.

a. Freddie said you only got a couple of shots in your life to make good whiskey. If you started in your 20’s, your first batch came to fruition in your 40’s. Then you use what you learned in your first batch for your second batch. That won’t be ready till your 70’s. You rarely get to taste your 3rd batch. You make the whiskey for the next generation. You pass the torch down. Legacy at its finest.

9. Diversity is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.  Early distilleries were some of the most diverse places in the country. They were leaders in diversity and acceptance. They took care of the people working there, no matter what they looked like or where they came from.

a. Hospitals and distilleries were the only 2 places that did were not attacked during civil war skirmishes. Both were considered sacred ground. The distilleries sold their product to both sides.

10. Passion is contagious. I’m sure Freddie has given many tours but he was almost giddy as he explained the process, history, stories, science and art of the bourbon industry. We are grateful to him and for him for sharing his passion with us.

Pete Hardesty

Author Pete Hardesty

Pete Hardesty grew up in Baltimore, MD and graduated from the University of Virginia. Pete then joined the staff of Young Life in 1997 till present. He lives outside of Washington D.C. where he leads the college division of Young Life for the eastern part of the U.S. He loves college students, beach volleyball, and his 2 nieces very much. Likes: His nieces, Ravens football, college people (even though they make him feel old), movies, cigars, Thai food, the Middle East. Dislikes: Country music, tomatoes, shrimp, rice crispy treats, and wet socks. Pete believes because we only get one shot at this life we need to figure out what matters and give ourselves to it. Let’s make it count. If you have a problem with this, he challenges you to meet him behind the dumpster after school to fight.

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