One of our most frequently asked questions is, “do you make all of these products?” Followed closely by, “Do all of your products come from one producer?” The short answer to both of these questions is “No.”. But that’s where it gets really interesting . . . We have a lot of fun identifying new products for our shops and we work with quite a few small producers from all over the USA and all over the world. And when I say, “we work with” small producers, I’m intentionally being a bit vague because that collaborative process can be quite different depending upon, well, life.
My husband likes to say that the path to success is never in a straight line. And the path to bringing in a new, and hopefully great, new product is not a straight line either. Our new Honey Vanilla Rye is a great example of that.
The path to bringing in the new Honey Vanilla Rye began on a cold and wet fall day in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at least 8 years ago when a young couple from Fort Collins, CO, Dustin & Lesli Tanski, walked into the Jackson Hole store. It was slow and I was tending the store alone and this young couple were the only customers I had for most of the afternoon. They were visiting Jackson Hole to celebrate their anniversary. I spent a lot of time with them discussing brandies and they bought a small bottle of our Spanish Solera Brandy before they left. Dustin was clearly enamored by the store concept and the product lines.
At that time, we were part of a German franchise and a year or so later this young couple opened up their own store with that same franchise in Fort Collins, CO. As all small business owners do, they threw theirselves into building their business. Through the next 4 or 5 years, Gary and I saw the Tanski’s at franchisee meetings and we came to appreciate Dustin’s fervor for new ideas and new ways to present products to our market and Lesli’s quirky and innovative marketing approach. Unfortunately, the Tanski’s store in Fort Collins, CO was not able to make a go of it and they closed in 2016.
Eventually, Lesli came to work for us (woo hoo!) as our Director of Online Sales & Marketing and Dustin settled in as tasting room manager of The Heart Distillery and High Hops Brewery. In early 2019, Dustin was playing around with flavor profiles using the Rye whiskey produced by. The Heart Distillery and he came up with a recipe for what is now our Honey Vanilla Rye. Dustin presented the sample to us and we knew we immediately we had a new hit on our hands. Slightly sweet, smooth with a hint of honey and vanilla, this is a perfect Rye based liqueur. After agreeing that this recipe would be exclusive to Spirits & Spice, the Heart Distillery produces the Honey Vanilla Rye for us and its bottled just for us in our bottles.
So, how did we come up with our new Honey Vanilla Rye? Well, it’s a long story. It began on a cold, wet fall day in our Jackson Hole store and it progressed through years as store franchisee peers and then morphed into a symbiotic relationship where we are a part of the Tanski family and they are part of us. The offspring is our Honey Vanilla Rye. Enjoy.
Kim Weiss - Owner of Spirits & Spice