Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Gus Brown, Co-Founder of Whiskey & Whitetails, located in North Charleston, SC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Whiskey & Whitetails ® creates and produces high-quality products, digital media, and in-person educational experiences for whiskey and outdoor enthusiasts. All of our products are handmade from bourbon barrels and range from game calls to whiskey and cigar accoutrements. We take pride in creating rustic, timeless products that perform as well as they look. Our digital media ranges from our general social media presence and YouTube page to our Patreon, which provides exclusive subscription-based content, and our Podcast, which can be found anywhere you listen to podcasts. Most people in the whiskey and outdoor communities know and understand the importance of community, camaraderie, and fellowship. Not surprisingly, whiskey enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts are often one and the same. Our wish is that our products help bring people together to enjoy time afield as well as help them celebrate and solidify those memories with friends and family.

Tell us about yourself

We are Gus and Matt, and we have been childhood best friends since we were in diapers. As you can imagine, many conversations have come and gone about starting a business together. With military parents, we traveled around a lot in our early years but never lost touch. In 2020 we were sitting around a fire after hunting, and we came up with the idea to start a hunting podcast. One of the podcast segments was called "Whiskey & Whitetails," where we would review a whiskey and discuss the deer hunt from that day. That specific segment got a lot of great feedback, and we soon realized what we had in terms of potential for a business named "Whiskey & Whitetails." We got to work right away, finding ways to subsidize the costs associated with podcast gear and an eventual studio. We had previous woodworking experience and leveraged that to start making things out of used whiskey barrels. One particular product, our cocktail smoker block, really took off. We sold over 1,000 units in our first 3 months in business. We realized at that point that we had something pretty special to offer. Today we offer a range of handmade bourbon barrel products as well as our Podcast, Patreon, YouTube, and other social media content online.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think our biggest accomplishment as business owners are the relationships and friendships we've developed with The WLS Foundation and Camp Hero Kentucky. We've been able to help and support a number of events and initiatives with these organizations to support veterans and first responders in their journeys to deal with their physical and mental health challenges. Having both come from military families and Matt having served in the Army, these organizations and the things they're doing utilizing nature, hunting, and outdoor therapy to help others is something very special and important to us.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is also the most fun. It's the process. It's the process of failing and failing again to figure something out but then seeing success! It's the process of working through product design, marketing, budgets, content creation, and planning future phases of the business with just one other person to share the load. It's stressing about things that probably nobody else is thinking about. It's worrying if it's all worth it and if it's going to go the way you've planned it. It's watching it all come together and watching others enjoy your products and content. All of that is incredibly hard and stressful but also extremely rewarding.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Have a clear vision of what you want your company/brand to be and who you want to serve. All other decisions are based on this information.
  2. It's going to be lonely, even with a business partner(s). You and your business partner(s) are going to carry stresses and burdens that nobody else will understand. Make sure you have a good support system that understands this.
  3. Find mentors who have been more successful in business than you and learn everything you can. Avoid making the mistakes they did and duplicate the things that helped them.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

We'd love to say thank you to our Patrons who make up our Patreon community. They are fantastic, and things would be way less awesome if they weren't here with us. We'd also like to thank our families for their unwavering support and encouragement as we continue to build Whiskey & Whitetails®. We could not do this without them! Last, we'd like to offer your readers 25% off an order at our online shop. Readers can use code "GOSOLO"!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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