In 2020 the zombies invaded and things changed. As Bourbon Trading Co founder Matt Snyder had more free time, he turned to tasting bourbon. What was frustrating is all of the tools for understanding taste profiles for bourbon were online. Bourbon tasting is meant to be sensory and Matt felt that looking at pixelated flavor wheels online took away from the tasting experience.
Matt made an impulse buy to solve the problem and acquired a laser engraver. His next stop was to a local woodworking store to acquire a few lengths of beautiful mahogany, maple, and sassafras. Matt's background in art and technology enabled him to design a tasting board and create a board that made his bourbon tastings a heightened bourbon experience. Matt quickly made boards for close friends and held their first blind tasting using the tasting boards! Aside from a few spelling errors ("marshmellow" vs "marshmallow"), the blind tasting using the boards was fantastic! It was reinforcing to know that having tasting notes next to the bourbon filled Glencairn elevated the experience and encouraged new flavors to be teased out of the bourbons.
As restrictions came into play, Matt leveraged his experience as a remote technologist to create virtual bourbon tastings with friends. Each friend contributed to the cost of the boards, Glencairn, and bourbon samples and received a tasting kit in return. It was not long before Matt with the help of his friend Dave had established a group of tasters doing virtual blind tastings 2 to 3 times a month! At the recommendation of a friend, Matt launched an Etsy store.
What happened next was a surprise to Matt. "The demand for the tasting kits was surreal!", said Matt. The operation quickly went from a hobby to a startup business. "After coaching small business owners and entrepreneurs for years on successful launches, I finally applied the same principles to my own startup", said Matt after shipping his 50th tasting board in a single week in July. Leveraging his network, Matt identified other opportunities to create heightened experiences centered around virtual bourbon tastings.
"I've always enjoyed giving back and have done so with opportunities like Spike For Tykes and Hope Homes", Matt said in reference to a new opportunity to support a large non-profit's virtual tasting event. Matt's Bourbon Trading Co. is now focusing on partnering with craft distilleries to not only promote their products, but to also support non-profits during a time when they need to innovate around charitable events.
"This whole thing was a delightful surprise. I love what I am doing now and people love what I am doing.", said Matt about his career pivot. The Bourbon Trading Co. is still run out of Matt's garage and is looking to expand into a larger space. And while it might seem like Matt did this alone, he did not. Without the support of his friends and family, in particular those that love bourbon, this would not have happened. Bourbon is always better with friends.
If you are looking for advice on running a virtual bourbon tasting, wanting to support your event with tasting boards, or even need help with software delivery consulting, reach out to Matt, he would to love to discuss any of those things with you! Matt can be reached by email at email@example.com