Working Alongside Booker Noe with Kathleen DiBenedetto of Beam Suntory (Bourbon Pursuit #350)

This episode was never intended to be a two-parter. Once I sat down with our guest, I couldn’t bring myself to hit the stop button because I wanted to keep hearing the stories she had to tell. Kathleen DiBenedetto is the Sr. Director, Premium Seed Brands but has had a near 30 year career span at Beam Suntory. And one of her first jobs was working alongside Booker Noe. She traveled the country with Booker and learned what it took to market and find audiences for this premium uncut and unfiltered small batch whiskey. She helped the brands of Booker’s, Knob Creek, and Bakers grow from its infant stage, this is before Booker’s even had a box, to what we all see today. Kathleen shares her fondest memories of working with Booker and the Noe family and how that set her down a path to be inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame and also have her own Booker’s Batch named after her.

Show Notes:

  • Above the Char with Fred Minnick (@fredminnick) talks about the current whiskey shortage.
  • You’ve spent 30 years at Beam. What did you do when you first came into the company?
  • How did the interview process go with Booker Noe?
  • How did you build on-site tastings with consumers?
  • Booker didn’t like fancy packaging but do you find it weird now that Basil Hayden is upscale packaging?
  • Do you remember what time the Booker’s box was introduced?
  • Where was Baker’s fitting into the portfolio at this time?
  • Can you recall the price points and how you competed with clear spirits?
  • What was Booker’s first impression of Blanton’s?
  • Were you there when Booker’s began introducing different batch numbers?
  • @jimbeamofficial @knobcreek @knobcreekbourbon
  • Support this podcast on Patreon

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Bourbon Pursuit

Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil host the Bourbon Pursuit podcast from Louisville, KY. Together, they share a passion for the stories that made an industry flourish with a focus on history, personality, and of course, great bourbon. Their guests include master distillers, bloggers, historians, local events and more.