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JR Revelry Bourbon Whiskey

Rick Tapia

Rick Tapia, founder of JR Revelry Bourbon Whiskey

JR Revelry Bourbon Whiskey

On this episode I featured friend of the show, Rick Tapia, the founder of JR Revelry Bourbon Whiskey.  I met Rick last year around this time, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month when he appeared on Let’s Talk Small Business, sponsored by the GMSDC.

JR Revelry Bourbon Whiskey

We talked about how he  spent the early years of his career learning about the business side of the beverage industry with Seagram Company.  As his career advanced, the possibility of having to relocate began to appear on the horizon Rick decided it was time to pursue an idea that had been on his mind for a while—he’d start his own brand.

So, Rick began working on developing a recipe that would provide the flavor profile and color he was looking for, found a contract distiller, selected the glass he would use, and JR Revelry was born.  When I met him last year he was in the process of contacting distributors through which his bourbon would make it to package store and restaurant/bar shelves.

Tapia shared how challenging it is to forge a relationship with distributors, describing how many new beverage makers are trying to do the same time.  He ultimately found a receptive distributor in New York and was able to begin marketing his spirit.

Today, JR Revelry Bourbon Whiskey is available in four states, including Georgia, and he’s continuing to work to expand the footprint of his brand.

I had the opportunity to try his bourbon and I can tell you, it is excellent, particularly for its price point.  To find out where you can purchase your own  bottle, visit the JR Revelry website to see merchants who carry his product.

Special Guest:

Jesus Ricardo (Rick) Tapia, Founder of La Bodega International, LLC and Creator of J.R. Revelry

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JR Revelry

  • 17 years of experience in alcohol beverage industry
  • Successful entrepreneur
  • Actively involved in the community, supporting Hispanic and Latin American Chambers of Commerce
  • BA, Boston University
  • Speaks Fluent Spanish

 

Three Fantastic Female Entrepreneurs

women

Three Fantastic Female Entrepreneurs

This week I got to sit down with Three Fantastic Entrepreneurs from the Atlanta area. Diana Keough, CEO and founder of ShareWIK Media Group (Share What I Know), LeeAnn Maxwell, Co-Founder of Vixen Vodka, and Lara Hodgson, multiple-time successful entrepreneur and CEO/Founder of NOWaccount.  We talked about some of the challenges they faced as women launching their own businesses, hear what they believe helped them succeed as entrepreneurs, and advice they offer for women contemplating starting a business of their own.  For the longest time most of us would envision a man when thinking “CEO” or “Doctor”, or even “Entrepreneur”.  And, as our guests shared, many times they’re the only female CEO/Entrepreneur in a room full of men.  Times are slowly but surely changing.  And today many women are launching successful brands and businesses, some of which are now global brands.

ShareWIK Media Group is a licensed content-generating group, producing high quality, interesting content across all media types for use in population health management efforts, inbound marketing/branding, testimonial content, and pertinent health optimization content.  Diana talked about her transition from a journalist for the Plains Dealer newspaper to a Chief Executive Officer in a leadership role.  She says, “If you are not surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and open to the fact that you might be wrong; or they might have a better idea on how to do things, then you’re not going to grow.”  Over the weeks since I met Diana I’ve had the opportunity to meet several of the folks who make up the team at ShareWIK and seen some of their work.  I can tell you: if your organization or agency needs to move an initiative or your business forward and you rely heavily on engaging your target audience to drive awareness you MUST include ShareWIK Media Group on your shortlist of content providers.  At their core, the people at ShareWIK Media Group are journalists with expertise across all media types.  On top of journalistic skills they bring knowledge and expertise within the healthcare journalism space as well.

Vixen Vodka is an EXCELLENT vodka that was born out of a trip to St. Simons Island, GA where two friends, drinking cocktails by the pool, decided they should launch their own vodka, branded and tailored for women.  As LeeAnn says, “We came home, sobered up, and remembered it was a great idea.”  “A dream without action is merely a fantasy.”  It took them 2 years from beach to shelf.  She shared how she and her good friend (also a woman) broke into the spirits business, starting with ZERO knowledge of how to make vodka much less how to bring one to market.  After being told her idea was fantastic by a business consultant he turned around and told them, “I’ll never work.  The spirits industry is a Good Ol’ Boys network.  Those men will chew you up and spit  you out!”  That was several years ago and now the brand is adding more states to the seven states where they’re currently sold.

NOWaccount got started as a solution to a problem Lara Hodgson encountered as an entrepreneur with an earlier business, the impact of not having access to cash that is tied up holding unpaid invoices, particularly when they aged for several weeks (or more).  She firmly believes that a successful business needs to have people behind them who are providing the product/service to solve a particular problem for their customer more so than “to sell lots of ‘X’ and make lots of money because it’s a great product”.  She said, “So many people come up with a great idea and they fall in love with the ‘What’.  They fall in love with the widget or the product.  And if your ego and your passion is in the product then they are going to woefully un-deliver.  But if your ego and your passion are in the “So What?” and the impact and the problem you’re solving then the sky’s the limit.”  NOWaccount is a merchant services company that provides the B2B company with access to capital by selling slower-paying invoice accounts within 2-5 days for basically the same cost as accepting a credit card.  Their solution is invisible to their client’s customers, has no minimum time commitment, and includes only those accounts selected by the B2B they’re helping.  The NOWaccount option gives businesses the capital they need to accept larger orders, add staff, often enabling them grow larger and faster than was possible before.

Special Guests:

Lara O’Connor-Hodgson, CEO of Nowaccount Network Corporation  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

Nowaccount Network Corporation

Lara O’Connor-Hodgson of Nowaccount Network Corporation

  • MBA Harvard Business School
  • Former Adjunct Professor of Finance, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Board of Directors, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
  • Owner, Insomnia Group
  • Chairman of the Board, Atlanta Heights Charter School
  • Second Language–Japanese

Diana Keough, CEO/Founder of ShareWIK.com  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  Pinterest-logo  google-plus-logo-red-265px  

ShareWIK.com

  • Journalism Instructor/Guest Lecturer, Emory University
  • Member, Koles College of Business Advisory Board, Kennsaw State University
  • Former Front Page Series Writer, The Plain Dealer
  • Former Reporter/Commentator, WKSU
  • Co-author, “Building a Business, Building a Life: The Incredible Life of a Woman Business Owner”

LeeAnn Maxwell, CEO/Co-Founder of Vixen Vodka  Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Pinterest

Vixen Vodka

  • 28 years experience in finance sector
  • former Director, Client Services of AccousTech Music Productions
  • Crossfit fan
  • 50% Firecracker
  • 50% Do-It-Yourself Woman

Vixen Vodka and JR Revelry Bourbon

Vixen Vodka

CW & Schwegman talk spirits with Rick Tapia and LeeAnn Maxwell

Vixen Vodka and JR Revelry Bourbon

Vixen Vodka was conceived by LeeAnn Maxwell and Carrie King after a girls’ trip to St. Simons Island in Georgia. It was an idea that came to fruition after a few slightly dirty martinis and several sun-soaked hours lying by the pool. An idea that took root and took hold of friends who wanted to make a difference in their lives; it was their why not moment. After all, women like to hang out, chill out and drink vodka just like the boys. But research and focus groups showed that no vodka brand currently on the market tapped into targeting women. In fact, it was a boys’ club waiting for a revolution. So they decided to raise their glasses to toast an idea that eventually became Vixen Vodka. This award winning company is poised for national expansion and is the perfect marriage of a sexy flirty brand and the smoothest gluten-free vodka you’ll ever taste.  Schwegman and CW can attest to how great it tastes!

I had a chance introduction with Rick Tapia of La Bodega Interacional and founder of JR Revelry Bourbon during his appearance on our sister show “Let’s Talk Small Business“, sponsored by the Georgia Minority Supplier Developmental Council (GMSDC) just before we were going to be talking with LeeAnn of Vixen Vodka on Midtown Business.  On “Let’s Talk Small Business” he was celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month while talking about his involvement with the GMSDC and the launch of his new product.  Given the chance to sit down with two innovative entrepreneurs who were launching their own brand of spirits we were glad he was able to stick around and talk more about how JR Revelry came to be.  La Bodega Internacional is a wholly minority-owned producer of specialty craft premium spirits.  Rick spent 17 years in the alcohol beverage industry, gaining experience in the gamut of business roles from accounting to brand marketing and more.  He knew he wanted to have his own line of spirits and ultimately decided to plant his flag and leverage his working knowledge of the business to develop his own small batch bourbon.  He partnered with a well-respected distillery (SPEAKeasy Spirits) in Tennessee to produce JR Revelry, a combination of what he describes as “Some expected and some unexpected” flavor profiles in this excellent bourbon.  JR Revelry will begin to hit the shelves later in 2014 and expanding in early 2015.  Schwegman and CW are pleased to have been able to sample one of the bottles from his first 20 case batch!

Special Guests

LeeAnn Maxwell, CEO/Co-Founder of Vixen Vodka  Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  Pinterest

Vixen Vodka

  • 28 years experience in finance sector
  • former Director, Client Services of AccousTech Music Productions
  • Crossfit fan
  • 50% Firecracker
  • 50% Do-It-Yourself Woman

Jesus Ricardo (Rick) Tapia, Founder of La Bodega International, LLC and Creator of J.R. Revelry  Facebook  Twitter 16x16

JR Revelry

  • 17 years of experience in alcohol beverage industry
  • Successful entrepreneur
  • Actively involved in the community, supporting Hispanic and Latin American Chambers of Commerce
  • BA, Boston University
  • Speaks Fluent Spanish