Here is a short video that I created using the new rum with a long, smooth taste. Yes, I actually said that. With a straight face too. It is for the Cocktail Whisperer. My friend Brett Wilshe shot it. It certainly got my foot in the door.
I’d love to interview Ron Jeremy for the Five Questions- and I suppose if I asked nicely, it could be arranged. I saw Ron at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans- it was about 3 in the morning. Where I first saw him is better left from polite conversation.
The scene was the crowded lobby at the Hotel Monteleone. Over by the Carousel Bar.
He was surrounded by fans. Not the best time for a cold call- meet/greet.
I did instead meet the owner and president of One-Eyed Spirits soon after Tales via Social Media.
I asked him to sit for the Five Questions.
How do I meet interesting people?
I suppose Social Media has much to do with this. It’s amazing to me how the playing field is leveled through the use of Facebook and Twitter. Sure, LinkedIn plays a role, but in the world of Spirits- LinkedIn is sometimes just too serious!
And cocktails are all about having FUN! (musical interlude)
I love this week’s Five Questions. Why? I think it is the passion of Olli Hietalahti, the owner of the company that makes this section of my Five Questions project so interesting.
So, how did I meet Olli?
I just went into the Ron de Jeremy Twitter page and introduced myself. The rest, my friends is this week’s version of – The Five Questions!
WRR: 1. Where are you from? How did you get into the liquor business? Are you an entrepreneur?
I’m from Finland. My path to liquor business was long and winding. My first career was in advertising. For the past 15 year I was copywriter in top ad agencies in Helsinki. In 2004 few others and myself founded King Helsinki. I’ve done my fair share of consuming alcohol and one of my largest clients was Finnish brewery and beverage company called Hartwall, nowadays owned by Heineken but basically I was in totally different business.
Until one day a joke came along.
About 7 years ago I was sitting in a bar in Amsterdam with my colleague and good friend Jouko Laune. It had been a very long day of shooting commercials. At some point between the second and third beer we happened to gaze on the wall. There was a rum poster, bottle and the name of the rum; Ron de something. Collectively we started laughing and pointing the poster. Ron de Jeremy!
We thought it was pretty funny and got excited. Jouko drew a sketch of the bottle on the bar receipt and we kept throwing ideas. Eventually we got pretty drunk, also on alcohol.
The next day, hung over, we went home and got busy with real work and our lives. But the idea kept coming back, like good ones tend to do. Finally two years ago Jouko did a real layout of the bottle. He spent all night honing it and came exhausted to the work next morning and threw me the picture. My immediate reaction: “Holy shit! This really is a good idea! We got to make it happen.”
Not too long after that I was sitting on my couch, totally nervous. I dialed the number for Mr. Jeremy. Talk about a cold call! He agreed to meet, we flew to LA, gave him little presentation and he loved the idea. Phew!
From there on we had to figure how to make great rum. Fortunately the concept is so much fun that a lot of people wanted to help. First we found rum expert, author judge and over all great guy called Luis Ayala from Texas. One fine day we were sitting in his living room surrounded by 600 different rum bottles and discussing life and great rums. Luis found us another legend: Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez.
He crafted Ron de Jeremy Rum.
From there on we’ve worked very hard to bring Ron de Jeremy to different markets. 2012 is going to be very exciting for us. We’re expanding to new states in the US and opening new markets at least in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Yes, I am an entrepreneur. Our company, One Eyed Spirits, is very small. Which is nice, we get to do everything from business negotiations to tweeting to representing the brand to making the coffee.
WRR: 2. Do you like cocktails? What is your favorite one? Mixed by whom? Where?
I’m going to be completely subjective here. I love good rums, especially ours! Guys at great Helsinki cocktail bar A21 recently did great version of El Presidente called El Ron. I also like Old Fashioned with Ron de Jeremy. Matin Cate and Wayne Curtis created wonderful rum punch out of Ron de Jeremy at the Tales of the Cocktail. Most often I enjoy my Ron neat, naked with nothing on.
WRR: 3. Do you cook? Who taught you? Mother? Father? Grandparents? Television Cooking shows? Why Rum?
I’m a decent cook. Not great but my family tends to eat when I cook, sometimes they even smile. My parents are both good at cooking. They live in countryside and use lot of homegrown ingredients, forest mushrooms and wild berries. My dad also hunts and does fishing, also ice fishing during the winter.
The rum comes from the idea. I’m glad Ron happens to mean rum instead of cherry liquor.
WRR: 4. Is there anything you eat or drink that brings a tear to your eye when you imbibe it? Why?
Must be something my mom made out of moose hunted by my dad. Also last spring when I was at Macao Trading Company in New York and had the first chance to order Ron de Jeremy at a bar was little emotional. Seeing your own brand behind the bar was a dream come true.
WRR: 5. Social media brought us together. Do you use Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIN? Do you have a SmartPhone?
One of the strengths of Ron de Jeremy brand compared to other new spirits brands is the buzz created by Ron Jeremy. Ron de Jeremy is perfect for social media. The brand is fun and the rum seriously good. People love to spread that kind of message and we do our best to help them do that. We try to be very active in social media. I personally answer all inquiries and try to have as much dialogue as possible with people interested in Ron de Jeremy Rum. I’m slightly addicted on Twitter and follow it way too much! We also run Ron de Jeremy FB and have the admin right to Ron Jeremy official FB. I’m quite active in LinkedIn and being new to this business found it useful to expand my personal spirits network.
What I’ve noticed is that people really like it when our tone is informal, funny, sometimes even self-mocking. Lot of brands take themselves too seriously, in social or traditional media. We are very personal and try to stay as far away from corporate bullshit jargon as possible.
Thank you Ollie for sitting for the Five Questions! Happy New Year to you my friend! wb
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Wild River Review/Wild Table editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a Biodynamic farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston- with a degree in Film, he spent his senior year of college as a research assistant in visual thinking. (Center for Advanced Visual Studies @ MIT)
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Today’s fun!! 1/4/2012 click!