Brett Carlile and Orlin Sorensen Of Woodinville Whiskey Company– Spotlight on a Drink Careers 101 Project Advisory Board Member
Brett and Orlin are longtime friends who decided to leave their jobs and pursue their passion, turning a love of whiskey into a career. In just three short years, the two have made their dream into reality, creating the first bourbon in Washington State since Prohibition.
Our Creative Director Julie Hadjinian first met them at a whiskey education night at Woodinville Whiskey Company. She admired the hard work they have done, in creating and building Woodinville Whiskey Co. into a respected, well-known craft spirits brand.
Why did you want to work in the spirits industry?
I’m a whiskey geek. I love everything about it–the history, the industry, and the product itself. I spent many years in the corporate world somewhat unfulfilled with where I was going. I broke away and spent a few years as an entrepreneur, which taught me a tremendous amount about business. When our state laws changed to allow small distilleries, it was something I was immediately drawn to, and I’ve never looked back.
What was the best moment you’ve had at Woodinville Whiskey Company?
Pulling into the distillery on the morning we released our first whiskey and seeing a line down the building. By the time we opened the doors the line was around the building and the local news stations were here. I’ll never forget that feeling of support from our fans.
What is your favorite thing about working in the spirits industry?
The creativity involved, from product development to marketing you are always challenging yourself in this area to stay ahead of the curve. It’s also a great industry because consumers of your products are typically in a social, off work environment, so everyone is having a great time, and pleasant to be around.
What do you think a college student should know about the beverage industry before choosing a major?
Be focused, I see so many people that want to be the XYZ vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey distillery. Not only do you never have time to perfect your product, you have no brand identity. Pick your passion be it soda, coffee, Cachaça, or whatever, and own it.
Check out this video to learn more about Brett and Orlin.
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