Whisk(e)y Business: The Spirits Group

After three years, our Tequila Plata is finally ready to ship! Although there is much to celebrate, we won’t be kicking up our feet with a glass of tequila anytime soon. It is only the beginning of our exciting journey and our second spirit is already underway. For our next release, we kept it close to home - Louisville, Kentucky, to be exact.

After expressing our interest in crafting a whiskey to H. Joseph Ehrmann, KOKORO advisor and whiskey expert, he introduced us to The Spirits Group. A first glance, the women-owned consulting firm hit all the marks on our partnership checklist. Once we met with co-founders Monica Wolf and Ashley Barnes, we were wowed by their profound passion and experience in the world of whiskey.


At The Spirits Group, Monica works on whiskey-related business strategy, operations, developing pro formas, and more. She is also a board member for Bourbon Women and Historic Locust Grove, and former Bourbon Ambassador for Churchill Downs. As the master blender, Ashley knows how to craft whiskies to perfection. She was previously at Buffalo Trace Distillery and Four Roses Distillery and has blended many award-winning whiskies. Both Ashley and Monica serve as judges at the American Distilling Institute and American Craft Spirits Association spirits events.


At KOKORO, finding the right partner relies on more than just expertise - but also a reciprocation of our vision, something we found in The Spirits Group. We share the same craving for adventure, innovation, and traditions with gusto. We knew then that we had tasked the right duo to craft our Four-Grain American Whisk(e)y. Monica will be sourcing our barrels and developing the pro forma, while Ashley blends a whiskey unique to KOKORO that she will be proud to share with the world.


The Spirits Group has also chosen a non-profit to support with the sales of our KOKORO Whisk(e)y. This foundation focuses on closing the skills gap and providing scholarships to attend trade schools. Monica and Ashley admire the foundation’s efforts for empowering people to stray from the social norms of a 4-year college and be proud of their ‘Dirty Jobs.’


“Trade jobs and other related options require an education and training as well,” says Monica on encouraging an alternative education. “The world needs those willing to do "dirty jobs" pun intended. It isn't a horrible thing to be a welder, a plumber, a mechanic, and if you are those things, you should be proud,” adds Ashley.


Our plans are quickly unfolding, and our KOKORO Whisk(e)y is expected to launch this summer.


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