I've been meaning to add a post for about two months, but I run on Ozark time so I reckon I'm just about on time. I'm headed to South Korea. I'll be there for two years and I ain't coming home until I play this game like a professional. I'm not sure, but I think this will be my last post for a real long time; just because I like to be honest and real honesty is hard. Soul-crushing hard. We lie everyday and it doesn't matter how you rank yourself on the piety scale. We lie and the person we lie to most is ourselves. Let me be honest with you though. The last year and a half has been the best, and hardest year since my last deployment. I realized the American dream; I opened my own business. I opened a business with my best friend. My best friend quit. My second daughter was born- on the day that I opened the distillery. I made a whole bunch of new friends. I barely made my mortgage payment. I did tastings at big events with my neighbor and good friend Mark. I damn near got bit by a copperhead (multiple times, seriously I have killed about 20 of them). I made whisky at George Washington's distillery. I filled damn near 1600 holes on leaking barrels created by leadcable borers. I maxed an Army APFT for the first time. I two-stepped with my 82 year old grandma who beat cancer. I was actually there for my child's first words. I read 20 books. I had legit hugs. I listened to TOOL with a whole new perspective. I helped an old man clear out his winery. I set myself on fire- be careful, distilling is dangerous. I watched the sun come up over the Chesapeake bay in Virginia.
But I went back on to active duty for the Army because I ran out of cash and didn't really want to bring in anyone else on the operation. Opening a business is tough. There is SO much that you don't know and won't know because hell, you've never done it before.
I have a very "old school" mindset of doing business. If you can't pay for it, then don't do it. I didn't run a line of credit and didn't sell out and buy my inventory from MGP just so that I could provide an aged product without making it myself. Everything that WHITE MULE DISTILLERY has ever sold is what we made, aged, and bottled ourselves.
If you don't take that first step though, there's a good chance that you'll never do it. That was my reasoning when I opened up. I'm actually a very logical, step-action oriented person. If I don't have a legitimate path for getting from point A to point B, I really am not interested. A craft distillery is different though; there is not a lot of guidance on how to do it and ZERO guarantees of success. However, the possible outcomes are tempting; wealth and an independent lifestyle are a legitimate possibility. The only drawback is the possibility of bankruptcy and failure. Yeah, bankruptcy.
So here I am. Packing my stuff and wondering if my youngest daughter will remember who I am when I get back home. I am thinking about how my eldest daughter will change over the next two years and what she will look like in 2020. I feel regret that I won't see the next four birthdays and relief that I will be able to fulfill my financial obligations. If you sign that bank loan, then you pay for it. I wish that our large US banks and corporations had the same values.
In the end, don't feel bad for me or my family because I have zero regrets. I've had a lot of great experiences and truly lived a hell of a lot more than most people ever get the chance to. How many people do you know that were born without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of? How many of those have shot machine guns, opened a distillery, stepped foot on over a dozen countries, and made chocolate chip waffles for their daughter? That list has gotta be short. Be patient and stay tuned. We are bringing you the best of the Ozarks.