Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Bill Welter, Owner/Founder Journeyman Distillery
What led you to starting a distillery? What keeps you excited about it?
Post my college education and in my early 20’s I spent 18 months living and working in St. Andrews Scotland in pursuit of a greater understanding of the genesis of the game of golf. I unexpectedly took a great interest in another Scottish passion…whiskey. Several years later I tied in my time in Scotland and passion for whiskey into the formation of Journeyman Distillery. Im excited by the opportunity to be a part of the creating what I hope will be a multigenerational family owned and operated business….I know and hope Ill never get to see how far Journeyman goes but Im driven to see how far I can take it….after that its up to our daughter Islay (should she decide to be a part of the business). When it comes to our customers Im a people pleaser…the desire to server our customers with a great experience has never waned. Lastly my wife (co founder) Johanna and I are inspired by creativity both with our distilled spirits but also the creative challenges of running and growing the business.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to start a distillery?
From a business perspective CAPITAL and secondary or third source of revenue. It’s a capital intensive business to begin with but also everyone always underestimates how much capital it will take. The secondary source of revenue could be don’t quit your day job but it could also be some derivative from the distilling business…ie. retail, restaurant, tasting room or bar, events, tours, and in our case even a 30,000 sq ft natural grass putting green on site at the distillery. From a personal perspective SACRAFICE or another way of putting it gratification delaying. My wife and I have been lucky in that we are both committed to making Journeyman the best it can be in our lifetimes. LOVE….if you don’t love doing it its going to be that much more of a challenge and the chances of success and longevity go down tremendously.
How do you continue to educate yourself as a distillery owner?
A lot of reading about various parts of the industry…staying current.
What is one company or service (besides Distillery Products) that your business cannot live without?
It’s a love hate relationship but our business wouldn’t be what it is today without our restaurant. Its created a wonderful opportunity to create Journeyman evangelist but also its assisted in creating cash flow for what I like to call our distilling hobby.