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Building While Flying

May 27, 2021

If entering the spirits industry—as rookies, no less—were easy, everyone would do it. Childhood best friends JD Recobs and Chris Buglisi are tackling this challenge head on with a unique product: whiskey for everyone.

Welcome to Building While Flying!

This weekly podcast is brought to you by the Sasha Group. We’re the small-to-medium-sized business arm of the VaynerX family of companies. We help ambitious companies build strong brands that flex with the times through strategy, branding, media, and marketing.

In ever-changing times, businesses and brands have to shift and adapt. And across all sectors, there is an air of experimentation. Business owners are trying new things out in the wild;  building the plane while flying.

Our pilots, Katie Hankinson and Mickey Cloud, will be talking to a diverse range of business leaders and founders. They’ll explore how these guests tackle various challenges while staying resilient and committed to growth. Through these real-life examples of strategies put into practice, we hope to inspire you to experiment and develop your own strategies as we all navigate these uncertain times together. 

JD Recobs and Chris Buglisi are two of the most unpretentious whiskey guys you’ll ever meet.

They created Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey with one goal in mind: to make the whiskey for whiskey newbies, connoisseurs, and everyone in between. It began as a passion project that they worked on tirelessly after their corporate jobs, and has grown into a strong brand with big plans to keep growing. 

In their conversation with Mickey, Chris and JD talk about the early days of Misunderstood Whiskey: experimenting with blends and infusions late at night after working corporate jobs, and many not-great tastings. After landing on the right batch, they took it to market. They discuss the challenges of entering an old, traditional industry with lots of history, and how they discovered their ideal target audience. Mickey asks them about the tension between eagerness to grow and the need to stay patient (spoiler alert: it keeps them up at night). And lastly, Chris and JD give a sneak peek into what’s coming up next for Misunderstood Whiskey - including breaking into some new markets!

Other in-flight topics:

  • Passion projects
  • Entering the spirits industry as rookies
  • Breaking into a traditional industry with a new, unique product
  • Importance of knowing your audience and customers
  • Challenges of national distribution 
  • Tension between eagerness to grow and patience
  • Building and running a business with a friend


What experimentation led to becoming your main business?