When I was a kid, my mother always told my brother and I, if we were honest and told her about the trouble we got into at school, before the administration did, then the punishment would be less severe. I guess this was her way of promoting honesty, and addressing life's failures upfront. Integrity, fairness and honesty have been imbued in me from an early age.
Thus, I must be up front and honest. I fucked up! Well, sort of.
Six years ago when Geri & I conceptualized the Mel, we had more questions than answers. What would it taste like? What would it look like? What exactly would it be? Both of us had our ideas; our desires for the spirit. I mean, you can't go out and buy a fucking bottle at your local grocer. There are only five distilleries in the world that make this shit, and six years ago we knew of only one.
So... we started to create this product in our heads. We wanted an extraordinary spirt. The color had to be golden, like dripping honey. The mouthfeel had to be viscous; rich. The finish had to be distinct. The flavor? It had to be perfect! We had an idea of what it might taste like. Subtitle almond, vanilla and leather from the barrel, distinct honey & light caramel on the palate. All of which are logical and educated guesses based on the raw material, proof, distillation and maturation methods. To be frank, we were fucking guessing, and hoping.
To be clear, Mel is all of those things. And so much more! Where I went wrong was the marketing of the product. This is where ideation and pragmatic application failed to coalesce. Building a company from the ground up takes a lot of time. One facet is the creation of each product line and the strategic marketing initiative behind each product. How do you want the world to perceive your product?
Naturally, I thought "Fuck (this word percolates in my head often), we don't have a rum, and never will, so let's market it as our rum replacement." This is where everything went off rails.
Mel is nothing like a rum. In fact, it is a discredit to the spirit to compare it to anything. It is nothing like anything you have ever tried. It is Mel Vocatus! It is fucking amazing in every way, and to compare this to any other spirit in the world would be a travesty. However, human beings need a frame of reference. Thus, I ran with the hashtag #TheRumOfTheNorth.
It is its own beautiful, delicate and perfect creation of nature, and Geri's brilliant mind. There are no comparative adjectives, descriptors or superlatives to share. You must experience it on your own.
I will leave you with one thought...
"Your foreign dram is about to be replaced by a local."
Bad news? We haven’t written in a while. Good news? It’s because we’ve been busy as fuck. Our reception in Elk Rapids has been fantastic. We have had an incredible amount of repeat local support and I simply cannot say how grateful Nick and I are for this. The hugs, laughter, and business have been seriously appreciated, and we cannot wait to foster these relationships further and have so much fun (hopefully) for years to come. All this overwhelming positivity aside I have a few bitches that need to be vented for the sake of my sanity.
The parking. Holy mother of pearl, if I have to answer the rhetorical question “you guys have a parking problem here you know” one more time my head might explode. Yes, we have shitty parking and I know this might sound crazy, but we happen in fact, without a doubt, to be aware of this. We did after all put some thought into purchasing a commercial building and starting a business there over the last 6 years. We are unfortunately not rich, and therefore couldn’t afford the “perfect” space (actually it totally didn’t exist for our needs), so instead chose to go with a space where the water quality would be the best for our product. That being said… you got into the building to ask the rhetorical question, so clearly you found parking, walked or biked… you got here. We are working on this problem and have had a plan for over a year, however again… we aren’t loaded and don’t have investors so for the time being we are hoping people will continue being creative. Also, shout out to Elk Rapids Physical Therapy and Fischer Insurance for allowing after hours parking at their spaces, you guys are fucking awesome neighbors and we are so lucky to have you! Cheers.
Not Tipping. People… this is 2017 in America, EVERYONE who has not been raised by wolves knows that tipping is a customary process for service industries. If your service was not satisfactory by all means, the tip is optional, and please let us know so this mistake doesn’t happen again and we can apologize… however, I am here all the time making sure things go well… and my employees are fantastic and bust some serious ass (one of them wearing a pedometer put on over 3 miles behind the bar)… given this information I am fairly certain your service was great, and you are in fact just being a cheap ass. Tip your service, or you can fully expect me or Nick to come directly to you and ask for an explanation (which can prove quite embarrassing), because despite being paid well, our employees deserve every penny of their tips, and we support them 100%.
Blatant assholery. We have received a multitude of reviews, most positive (thanks guys we appreciate the love) some critical (thanks also, we can only get better if we know what we could be doing better), and a few downright mean (fuck right off). I feel the need to address the review recently that called our patrons “baboons” and stated that everyone who comes here has “stolen wealth”. This is completely unacceptable, and you sir must truly be a miserable human being. You don’t have to like my product, my service, or my building, but you will respect the other people that choose to. It’s a shame you spent all your time making assumptions and judgments, if you allowed yourself, you might have had a good time with everyone else. By the way, nice work assuming I don’t live here, I’m local asshole, and my husband was born and raised here (and a 3rd generation local business owner in the area). How sad for you, but if you choose to come back I will gladly accept your apology, give you a hug, and hopefully share some laughs.
So that concludes this public service announcement. I hope it was informational and at least mildly entertaining. I hope everyone is having a fantastic and safe holiday and doing their part to keep the local watershed clean (seriously quit pooping in the lake people)… no one likes poop in their whiskey. Cheers and thanks again so much!
This blog is our journey. Distilled.