The First Bourbon Crafted by an All-Female Team With Rachel Svoboda of Lynxx Spirits

by Drew Hendricks
Last updated Nov 30, 2023

Legends Behind the Craft Podcast

The First Bourbon Crafted by an All-Female Team With Rachel Svoboda of Lynxx Spirits

Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by nicole

Headshot RachelSvoboda
The First Bourbon Crafted by an All-Female Team With Rachel Svoboda of Lynxx Spirits 11

Meet Rachel Svoboda, the trailblazing founder of Lynxx Spirits, known for pioneering the first-ever bourbon crafted by an all-female team. With a background in running a successful marketing company, Rachel’s journey into the liquor business began during a bike ride with her father, sparking the idea to create a bourbon tailored for women. Her vision led her to assemble a team of talented female experts, from master blenders to distillers, setting Lynxx Bourbon apart when it comes to taste and innovation. Today, Rachel Svoboda stands at the forefront of reshaping perceptions in the spirits industry, challenging stereotypes, and bringing a unique and refined experience to bourbon enthusiasts.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Discover the story behind the first-ever bourbon crafted by an all-female team
  • Learn the differences between launching a service-based business and a groundbreaking product
  • Explore the unique taste profile and barrel choices designed for a sophisticated unwind
  • Addressing misconceptions about bourbon, gluten, and the distillation process
  • Rachel shares insights on the importance of accolades in the competitive spirits industry
  • Breaking the news of Rachel Svoboda’s decision to sell Lynxx Spirits
  • Navigating the double-edged sword of marketing expertise and the Lynxx Spirits Owners’ Club
  • Rachel predicts the evolution of the bourbon category and envisions a Lynxx clear bourbon
  • A glimpse into Rachel’s agency, Sunday Brunch, and its unique angle in helping spirit brands thrive

In this episode with Rachel Svoboda

Join us for an exclusive conversation with Rachel Svoboda of Lynxx, breaking barriers as the force behind the first bourbon crafted entirely by an all-female team. Rachel shares the inspiring journey of transition from a successful marketing career to venturing into the intricate world of bourbon creation.  

In today’s episode of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast, Drew Thomas Hendricks and Bianca Harmon are joined by Rachel Svoboda, Founder of Lynxx Spirits. Discover the unique taste profile designed for a feminine palate, the surprising truths about gluten in spirits, and the untold story behind Lynxx Bourbon’s distinctive growth. In a special announcement, Rachel unveils her plans for the future of Lynxx Spirits. Explore the Lynxx Spirits Owners’ Club and get a sneak peek into Rachel’s thoughts on the future of the bourbon category. From the explosion of micro-distilleries to her vision for a clear bourbon. It’s a spirited episode filled with revelations, misperceptions, and the artistry of crafting an award-winning bourbon brand.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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Barrels Ahead is a wine and craft marketing agency that propels organic growth by using a powerful combination of content development, Search Engine Optimization, and paid search.

At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.

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[00:00:00] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Drew Thomas Hendricks here. I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft podcast. On this show, I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Before I get on with the show, brief sponsor message. Today’s episode, is sponsored by Barrels Ahead. Barrels Ahead, we help the wine and craft industry build stronger bonds between their customers and brands through authentic content.

Go to today to learn more. Today we have, Bianca Harmon’s joining us, our channel director, and we have Rachel Svoboda. Rachel’s the founder of Lynxx Spirits, the producer of the first bourbon made entirely by an all-female team. Welcome to the show, Rachel!

[00:00:36] Rachel Svoboda: Hey, y’all very happy, very happy to be here talking about Lynxx Bourbon.

So, yes, we are the first bourbon ever made by an all-female team and I gotta tell you, I’ve owned a marketing company for, for many years and, this was before COVID. And I was like, you know, I really want to own a product, you know, what kind of product do I want to own? And I was on a bike ride with my dad and he was like, well, what do you really like to do?

And I’m like, well, I like to exercise and I like to drink and he’s like, well, why don’t you make something in that camp? So I had talked to a couple of my girlfriends who had made vodkas, like cocktails, skinny girl cocktails, you know, and I thought, all right, like that’s working for them. But, you know, has anyone made a bourbon for women?

And so when I found out that that had not been done yet, it was like a blue ocean space. I thought, okay, I know the marketing side. How do I architect a team of people who are the best at what they do? So I started shopping around for, you know, female master blenders, female distillers, female bottlers, female tasters and architected this team that would bring the vision of Lynxx Bourbon to life, which is, I wanted something that was really smooth.

I wanted something that drank more like a rich wine than a traditional bourbon, and I was almost convinced to do like whiskey or scotch. And I was like, no, no, like that wasn’t authentic to me. So I really wanted to go down the bourbon route. And I love how this got started because the first, I felt like really important key for us was finding a master blender that understood the vision.

And so I was looking online for master blenders that I could hire. And I found this one lady and she likes to remain anonymous, but she was like a third generation, you know, master distiller or excuse me, master blender, and she did not want to work with me. Like I live in California. She lives out in back East, but like out in the middle of nowhere.

And I said, “I’m going to come out and visit you.” And she was like, okay, Hollywood, like not your bourbon, but sure. Come visit. So I flew out there. I drove like a couple of hours after her farm. I was like, you know, head to toe like it was winter. So I had on like a big Burberry coat and like high heels.

She’s like, all right, this Hollywood thing, you are out of your league.

[00:03:23] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You’re doubling down on Hollywood.

[00:03:24] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah, no. But eventually after spending a time with her and a couple more visits, she was like, okay, I see where you’re going with this. You really are passionate about it. You really believe in what you’re doing.

And I want, I want to work with you. So getting her on board was huge. And then, it was all the things that a lot of people go through when you decide you want to start a new business. Right. And it was like, okay, well, I know how to start a service industry business, but starting a liquor business is totally different.

What are the federal-like hoops you have to jump, jump through? What are the state rules you have to jump through? What kind of license you need and the ABC and, you know, all these different things? So I learned a lot.

[00:04:07] Drew Thomas Hendricks: How’d you go about learning all that? Cause like you’ve been part of product launches, but actually to create your own product and launch, it’s a different story.

Talk to us about the differences between launching a service-based business and a product.

[00:04:21] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah. So. A service-based business, I’ll say it’s fairly easy in comparison, because with a service business, I mean, it’s really simple. I mean, I have a, I have a whole consulting company where I’ll walk you through it.

Like, all right, like you need to get your EIN number. You need to get, you know, your, like papers. Like set up. It takes like 10 minutes. It’s really simple, right? You open and make an account. You’re good to go, right? It’s easy. But with a product, all right, so you have to really back out of it.

You’re like, okay, so I want to start this business. Yes, I know I need to do the basics, but what else is there? So I researched and read online and kind of self-taught and then I was like, all right. Well, I have to get I have to get a bottle, right? For this product. Thank you. And it’s half-drinking.

[00:05:15] Bianca Harmon: Love the bottle.

[00:05:17] Rachel Svoboda: So this actually was designed after an antique perfume bottle. I wanted the experience to be look almost like a vodka bottle and more feminine and sleek. So there’s no cork, it’s a glass top and it just fits right. So it’s very easy to open. And, but I also wanted it to be round because I was also learning that, you know, as you’re filling bottles, it’s much more expensive if you do a custom bottle that, you know, so you have to be able to get the label on.

And then if you’re going to run it through the machine for bottling, like if you’ve got a weird shape that can’t be run through and has to be done by hand, that is going to affect your cost. I also learned that the people who make the bottles aren’t the people that make tops. So you have to have different vendors for tops and bottoms and they don’t all match.

It’s not a universal size. And then if you’re like, Oh, well, I can get it cheaper in China or I can get it cheaper somewhere else. But then what if they stop making it or what if you get it and then they, they change it again? So, I bought all American made and I was all by a woman-owned company for the tops and for the bottles.

It would go to, you know, I really wanted it to be authentic all the way through, and,

[00:06:35] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Where are you sourcing the bottles from?

[00:06:38] Rachel Svoboda: ByQuest.

[00:06:39] Drew Thomas Hendricks: ByQuest, okay.

[00:06:40] Rachel Svoboda: And I’ll give you the link to that. And the logo we developed, because Lynx is the most ferocious of all the jungle cats. So we wanted a feminine touch on that and then the way we spelled it with the double where’s it with the double?

Two female chromosomes, so there was a lot in the branding and the positioning and you know you can really blame that on the day job, right? I mean all the smart branding background. So if we thought a lot about it and the way it was made, and then you have to submit your label to get it approved, you know, through the government, right?

And of course, I’m doing all this and getting ready to launch and then COVID happens. So it’s like the silent launch, right? Because you can’t have a big party or anything. And the labels had already been approved. And then because of COVID actually, here’s something not everybody knows. The label says that it’s been aged for two years, but because of COVID, it actually aged for a bonus third year.

But I didn’t want to get the labels reprinted. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. If anyone’s listening.

[00:07:48] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I think it just has to be a minimum of two. So you’re, you’re good to go.

[00:07:51] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah. It’s a, it’s a bonus. And, so that is a little bit about the bottle. Let me tell you about the mash bill. So in order to achieve the taste profile that I was,

[00:08:01] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Let’s talk about the taste profile though, because the mash bill.

So you’re going after a feminine, I don’t know the right word, female taste profile. Talk to us about how that might be different than the general bourbons we see out there. And then that goes to the mash bill.

[00:08:15] Rachel Svoboda: So, women have a more like sensitive taste palate than men do. And so, and knowing that I wanted it to be, to be softer, I needed to have a very specific mash bill to start with.

So it’s 70 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, and 14 percent barley. We have no rye. So there’s not very many weeded mash bills out there. Can you name off just for fun? Can you name a couple that come to mind?

[00:08:50] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I cannot. That is a that is not a strong suit of mine. I’m a consumer, but I, my mash bill knowledge is limited.

[00:09:00] Rachel Svoboda: All right. So Pappy Van Winkle is the most famous and oldest weeded mash bill out there. And so that was like my gold standard, right? There’s that. Maker’s Mark is the more commonly known weeded mash bill out there, but those are really the only two that most people know. Like even the Basil Hayden’s that has rye in it.

Blanton’s has rye, you know, all the other kind of like go to ones that people,

[00:09:30] Drew Thomas Hendricks: And the rye would give it that more kind of masculine, spicy, kind of just stronger taste.

[00:09:36] Rachel Svoboda: Yep. So that was important. And then our bar, our barrel char was a number four. So that was also important. And then we,

[00:09:47] Bianca Harmon: What kind of barrels are you doing these in?

[00:09:49] Rachel Svoboda: So bourbon has to be done in a new, in a brand new American oak white barrel. That’s a rule for bourbon. You can’t use a barrel. So a lot of times bourbon barrels are resold to people that are making scotch or whiskey or. What’s the other one I’m thinking of ram even like the bourbon barrels get reused a lot, but they have to be brand new for bourbon.

And then, most distillers don’t want to do this, but I convinced them to take the proof as low as possible. So it’s an 80-proof, which is the lowest you can go for bourbon, which also helps with the taste profile. So what you get with this low proof. Low char, we did mash bill is, it’s like notes of like creamy vanilla and caramel, even though it’s not flavored.

It’s, it’s really an understated kind of flavor. It has like a little hint of like spice and kind of like velvety. It’s beautiful in old fashion. So, Manhattan is also quite pleasing with it. Or even just like over-crushed ice by itself. You don’t even need to mix it if you don’t want to.

So, I think, both women and men really enjoy it. I have some women customers who originally bought a couple of bottles for themselves and then their husbands drank it all.

[00:11:21] Drew Thomas Hendricks: So that would probably happen in our house.

[00:11:25] Rachel Svoboda: Yes. You know, it’s, I really wanted this to be a, like part of a ritual for people.

You know, you work hard all day, like how do you reward yourself at the end of a hard day of work? Right? Some people go to the gym. Some people sit down with a cigar and a bourbon or, you know, and it could be you’re working hard at the office or you’re a stay home mom or you’re a teacher, like whatever working hard is to you.

I wanted people to feel like it was a sign of success that they were ending their day. With, you know, a decadent, you know, unwind with sophistication variance. Right? So

[00:12:11] Bianca Harmon: Were you a big bourbon drinker?

[00:12:14] Rachel Svoboda: I had done my fair share of bourbon. Yes. Yes, I have. Yeah. I originally was introduced to bourbon and I was fascinated with all the different types.

So I, I’ve tasted a lot of them, not all because there’s a lot, but I’ve tasted quite a few.

[00:12:37] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I’m curious. I’m curious. Cause you do have, and this is ignorance on my part, it’s, it’s a weeded, bourbon and yet it’s gluten-free. Are bourbons just by fact of the distillation process gluten-free or did you do something extra to make it gluten-free?

[00:12:54] Rachel Svoboda: I’m so glad you asked.

[00:12:56] Bianca Harmon: I was going to ask that.

[00:12:58] Rachel Svoboda: Here’s a fun fact. I have two fun facts for you. Alright, so one is all distilled spirits are gluten-free. That’s what I thought. Okay. But they’re not all marketed that way. And I felt like I wanted to hit home with that message because people have the misperception that if it’s a dark spirit, it’s not gluten-free.

Like only vodka is gluten-free. And that’s not true. If it goes through the distillation process, it’s gluten-free.

[00:13:26] Drew Thomas Hendricks: That’s what I thought. And I’ve had more than one person at my house that just would not even touch bourbon. I’m like, and I honestly, it’s my own thing. I never really researched it, but intuitively I’m like, how does the gluten make it up the column and out?

[00:13:39] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah. I think it’s just a hot topic for sales.

[00:13:42] Drew Thomas Hendricks: But it’s really, it’s a, it’s a really important topic. And then the other point is like between, I mean, health, you got vodka, the perception of vodka is cleaner, lower calorie, better for you. Then you got bourbon, it’s dark, it’s spicy. It’s got to be bad for you.

[00:13:58] Rachel Svoboda: But it’s not, it’s like, and there’s no sugar, just like with vodka. There’s no sugar. So you are just as fine to have your vodka soda, or you could have your bourbon and soda and it’s the same health implication. The second misperception that I was just tell talking to somebody today. I don’t know. I don’t know who started this rumor, but bourbon does not have to be made in Kentucky.

It’s not like champagne that has to be made in Champagne France. Bourbon is not that way. I think someone from Kentucky started that rumor and it just caught on.

[00:14:35] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I think so too. Cause I was also, I’ve seen now being in the industry for such a long time. I know that, but back in the day, ask me 10 years ago, I would have told you had to be from Kentucky.

[00:14:47] Rachel Svoboda: So that is interesting. But I know that the water in that part of the country and the way that it goes through, like the different minerals, you know, that are naturally occurring in that region. It is to make your, your bourbon over there. So we’re distilled in Statesville, North Carolina, which is, you know, right over the border from Kentucky.

It’s very close. We still get the good water. I wanted to work with an independently owned female-run distiller. So that’s why, you know, we went there. That’s incredible. Oh, here’s a third fun fact. Almost all the bourbon on the market, I’d say 80 percent of it is all made by one company. Do you know which one?

[00:15:32] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Bardstown?

[00:15:38] Rachel Svoboda: No. Buffalo Trace.

[00:15:41] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Well, that’s right. Okay.

[00:15:42] Bianca Harmon: Oh, Buffalo trace. That makes sense.

[00:15:45] Drew Thomas Hendricks: The other weird fact is that Buffalo Trace is impossible to get in North Carolina. It’s like a hard commodity. I’m like, it’s like dime a dozen out here. But I’ve got a friend that wants me to mail some back to him.

Has to do with liquor distribution laws in there. Oh yeah.

[00:15:58] Bianca Harmon: Well isn’t there a weird…

[00:15:59] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Artificial scarcity.

[00:16:01] Bianca Harmon: Yeah, isn’t there a weird, that in like Alabama, they have… Super weird control issues with the liquor content, and it’s weird.

[00:16:12] Rachel Svoboda: Oops, sorry. And Maryland has weird rules as well. So, right now, we ship to 33 states.

We work with an online distributor that specializes in, in spirits. And, um…

[00:16:24] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Who do you use?

[00:16:26] Rachel Svoboda: We work with Speakeasy.

[00:16:27] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh yeah, Josh is a great guy.

[00:16:29] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah, they’re awesome.

[00:16:31] Drew Thomas Hendricks: He started right, right, right in COVID too. I mean, he was in the right place, right time.

[00:16:36] Rachel Svoboda: I was one of their first customers.

[00:16:38] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, that’s great.

[00:16:39] Bianca Harmon: Oh, that’s cool. I think Utah still has the worst shipping laws out of anybody. I used to make the joke when I was in the wine industry, that you can have eight… Wives in Utah, but you can’t have any alcohol to go with all of those wives.

[00:16:56] Rachel Svoboda: That’s a good joke. True. Yeah. So, all right. So I wanted to talk about that.

All right. The other thing that I’ve learned is very important in the spirits business with this product is you want to be awarded. So just like with, you know, my Sunday Brunch Agency, like we want to win, like the, you know, best business awards, right? The most creative awards. So there’s awards for the spirits category too.

So I applied to the World Spirits Competition and I was like, I don’t know. I’m just gonna apply. Like, what’s the worst that can happen? Right? So, you ship out like, you know, a case or whatever, and it goes to the judges and, I didn’t hear back for like a year. And then I got this email from this woman in London and she works with the Rolls Royce and Bentley, and they’re having this like big owners event.

And she was like, well since you were such a big winner at the World Spirits Competition, we would love to have you at our upcoming for our members. I’m like, did you call the right number? She was like, yeah, Rachel, Lynxx Spirits. I was like, yes. So I won. Lynxx won, but they had like a typo in my email or something and they never, I never got it.

[00:18:18] Drew Thomas Hendricks: They never told you that you won, oh my gosh.

[00:18:21] Rachel Svoboda: So I called them and they were like, Oh, we’ve been trying to get ahold of you. Yeah. So, we won the, we won gold, which is the highest that you can get. Which I’m so grateful for the third-party validation. That meant a lot to me. You know, being a new spirit was a big deal.

And then we also submitted to Cigar and Spirits Magazine and we got a 95 ranking out of a hundred for them, which was also phenomenal. So the feedback from, you know, beyond the friends and family, right? Like people who don’t have to tell me they like it, you know, have been doing really well.

[00:18:55] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, that’s fantastic. Where is this World Spirits Competition?

[00:18:59] Rachel Svoboda: San Francisco.

[00:19:00] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh. Okay. It’s in San -. So you mail it out and you just, what year was that? Was that right when you first launched?

[00:19:07] Rachel Svoboda: No, this was, last year. Oh, okay. Yeah. So I just found out about the results this year. So like a couple of months ago.

[00:19:15] Drew Thomas Hendricks: That’s funny.

[00:19:16] Bianca Harmon: Don’t you have to, don’t you have to fill out like a form that has your phone number and all of that on it? Cause I used to send that out for wine. And I start to fill out all my info, email, phone number.

[00:19:28] Rachel Svoboda: I don’t know how it happened, but anyways, then they sent me my plaque and they sent me, you know, all the certificates and all the things, but the way I found out about it was also like the silent win.

Pilot launch, silent win, but we’re just chugging right along.

[00:19:46] Bianca Harmon: That’s awesome.

[00:19:46] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You’re now four, four years into this enterprise.

[00:19:49] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah.

[00:19:50] Drew Thomas Hendricks: We’re in 2023. And so over the last four years, I mean, talk, talk, went through COVID and made it out of COVID. Now we’re in some weird post-COVID time. We’re still talking about COVID, even though no one’s talking about COVID.

Talk to me about the growth over the last four years. Like how has the brand evolved and how Talk to me about the brand evolution.

[00:20:12] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah. So the biggest evolution that’s happened has been on of the owner.

So, when I got into this, I feel like in pre-COVID days, I was in a different, very different place in terms of socially and events and networking and being at all the shows and all the things. And then through COVID and post COVID, I’m in a very different personal space where I am much more selective with where I want to be and spend my time.

I focus a lot more on health and wellness. I focus a lot more on my kids. Like before I’d say four years ago, like I had somebody else picking them up from school. I had somebody else taking them to sports. Like I, I was working and that was my priority. Then now I’m room mom, I’m soccer mom, I’m baseball.

Like I don’t miss a practice or a game. Like I’m always there. So my lifestyle has greatly changed. I’ve much closer and I’m a better mom, I think for it, you know, now I’m much more present. But I also, that also means that if you’re in the liquor business, it’s important that you’re, that you’re at these events and you’re networking, talking to people in other industries, like that are, compare, complimentary, right?

Like, right or other liquor owners and going spirits competition versus just being like, oh, I can’t go that weekend. I’m so glad I won. That, you know, my son’s got a tournament, so I won’t be there. So what I’m actually announcing today with you guys, that very few people know is that I actually am looking, I’m going to start looking over the next three to six months for somebody to purchase the whole Lynxx Spirits business.

[00:22:09] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, wow. That’s exciting. Yeah, I can imagine it would be a crown jewel in somebody’s portfolio.

[00:22:16] Rachel Svoboda: It is. It really is. And I mean, all the branding, all the marketing, all of that is set, locked, and loaded. All the distribution is set. All the licenses are set. All the product is set. The only thing that I can imagine somebody might want is they’re going to want to put their stamp on it, right?

Maybe they want to put their. They’re, they’re going to want to customize it, put their twist on it. Maybe they want to re-bottle it. I don’t, I don’t know.

[00:22:43] Drew Thomas Hendricks: They’re going to want to mess it up.

[00:22:44] Rachel Svoboda: I, you know what? That’s fine. I want people to believe in it and feel like connected. So I’m, I’m actually even offering to throw in like six to 12 months of marketing support to help with the transition.

[00:22:58] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Because that’s what, that’s your ace in the hole. You’ve got that full-service marketing agency, Sunday Brunch agency, which also specializes in helping spirit brands evolve and brand themselves.

[00:23:09] Bianca Harmon: So are you only going to sell to a female?

[00:23:12] Rachel Svoboda: I’m open to either. In my mind, I kind of think that a woman is going to be who wants to buy it.

But in my opinion…

[00:23:20] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Well, sell it to Skinnygirl.

[00:23:23] Rachel Svoboda: You know…

[00:23:25] Drew Thomas Hendricks: They need a bourbon in their portfolio.

[00:23:28] Rachel Svoboda: You know, it’s all possible. I’m not ruling anything out. And I’m not giving anything away either.

[00:23:34] Drew Thomas Hendricks: No, you built up a great brand. Let’s talk about the brand for a second though. Cause you come, you came at this for such a unique, like a lot of people just start the bourbon cause they like bourbon and they don’t know anything about marketing.

You came with such a rich, knowledge base. Like, talk to us about that. Like it, it’s gotta be a double-edged sword because you know so much sometimes you. Don’t make those happy mistakes that people might make with ignorance is bliss.

[00:24:04] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah, we, we didn’t step in any of those landmines than the marketing space.

I’ll tell you that. You know, everything from having a very robust and consistent social media presence to getting. You know, the website up, we also made like a custom book and it’s a menu book and it has recipes from famous women throughout the years. Like we’ve got like a Audrey Hepburn’s Manhattan and we’ve got Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s drink.

And so, I mean, we were really able to have some fun with it. And, you know, look at women through history and what they’ve been drinking. And so I enjoyed that part of it a lot. We also, because of the marketing and the branding, it was easy for us to identify, like, you know, who’s our target market, like all.

Basics, right? We also put together like a, an annual program calendar of like different sales incentives, our marketing calendar, when our PR was going out, press releases, you know, all of that was all wrapped up easy. That was like, you know, that happened probably while we were waiting for the product to age, we were like, oh, why doesn’t it get a jump start on everything?

So we did.

[00:25:16] Bianca Harmon: Tell me about the, speaking of marketing side of things, tell me about the Owners Club.

[00:25:21] Rachel Svoboda: So I wanted to create something for the enthusiasts, you know, who wanted to have a closer relationship with the brand. And I feel like that’s important, as brands grow, that they have a strong base of customers.

So, you know, we just try to communicate with them. Like last year for Christmas, we came out with a diamond stemware collection. It had a diamond decanter, a diamond wine glass, diamond tasting glasses, diamond shot glasses. And so we reached out to them first before everybody else, “Hey, we’re offering this,” you know. The year before we did a custom wood charred barrel.

That had the bottle in it for the holidays. And so we reached out to them first, “Hey, this is what we have for gifting or anything.” And, you know, just little nuggets like that and make people know that they’re special and important. Oh, and we do discounts sometimes. So that goes to the Owner’s Club too.

[00:26:28] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I bringing the, the sort of that coming from the wine side of the industry, sort of that wine club mentality of just nurturing, nurturing your existing customer base.

[00:26:40] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah, that’s, you know, loyalty is important in all the brands that we build. And, you know, people want to have that personal relationship with me.

They want to connect with me. They want to know what’s going on for me. So I’m happy to, to do that. And more frequently with our core group.

[00:26:59] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah, for sure. Let’s talk about the bourbon category. Just where you see it evolving over the next 5 to 10 years, it’s just, it’s exploding with the amount of micro-distilleries, not, not so much bourbon, but the whiskey category itself.

[00:27:15] Rachel Svoboda: I agree with you. There has been an explosion of brands. Absolutely. But there’s three other things that I think are happening simultaneously. They’re important. One is the cost of the raw ingredients, like the corn, the wheat, the barley, everything that goes into it, the ingredients, the prices of those materials have skyrocketed.

So I think you’re going to probably see a little bit of a tail off of new brands starting cause it’s more expensive to start. The second thing that I’m noticing is I’m sure you’ve seen it too. All the seltzers that are out there, so many seltzers people are like, do you, are you going to do a Lynxx seltzer?

You know, I personally am not, maybe after it sells and maybe the next owner might want to do an expression that way. I think that would be really neat. The other expression that I thought would be fun to do is, and this again, hasn’t been done, except for maybe once. I would want to do a Lynxx clear bourbon.

If as long as you flash it through the barrel, it doesn’t stay. It gets the color by staying in the barrel, but if you flash it in and out, which is all it takes to be considered a barrel is it has to go in and then it can come back out immediately. It can be clear. It can look like vodka. So I think it’d be really fun to do a length bourbon that’s clear.

[00:28:45] Bianca Harmon: What would the taste profile on something like that be?

[00:28:49] Rachel Svoboda: It would be a little harsher because it’s not resting in the barrel for as long, but because you don’t have the barley and you’re proofing it down, it’s not going to be vastly different. Shocking, right?

[00:29:02] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah, it just doesn’t have that vanilla quality.

There’s a couple of the local distilleries around here. They, when they need to get their product to market, they’ll do their, the white old fashioned, like the coast distillery down here in Oceanside. They’ve got their old fashioned that’s unaged.

[00:29:18] Rachel Svoboda: Yes.

[00:29:19] Drew Thomas Hendricks: It’s got a really nice taste to it. I actually prefer it sometimes, especially in the mixed drink category.

[00:29:26] Rachel Svoboda: I think that would be beautiful. So I’ve got ideas for whoever decides that they want to take this on next. Like I’m happy, like I said, support with the marketing that’s needed to go into that. So that could be cool. And then the third thing that I also would be fascinated if I was going to pursue staying in the spirits category is I would want to do a non-alcoholic version because I think the next generation that’s growing up right now is more interested in the mocktails than any other generation before them.

So I think that Lynxx could do a nonalcoholic brand extension and maybe it’s, maybe it’s enhanced with like B12 or like other vitamins in it.

[00:30:13] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Super, I like that because I, I’ve had the Lyre’s spirits.

They have those, they have their bourbon or they have their whiskey and their gin and I really don’t know how they make it and it, something about it. But how would you do a non-alcoholic bourbon?

[00:30:30] Rachel Svoboda: Well, I talked to a couple, like I very, very briefly started having that conversation. I didn’t go too deep into it.

But it, it wouldn’t technically be a bourbon. It would be. It would be an extension of the Lynxx family of brands.

[00:30:47] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Like something that has something that has like a bourbon-esque quality to it, but because you don’t really just de-alcoholize that you’re going to take everything out of it. You have to like actually just create something that tastes like it I think.

[00:30:59] Rachel Svoboda: It would, it would have to be created totally separate. It wouldn’t be made at the distillery. It would be made somewhere else. There are companies that specialize in this. I can introduce people to these if you want. Sure. But,

[00:31:11] Bianca Harmon: There was when I was in Bottle Rock.

[00:31:13] Drew Thomas Hendricks: In the ready-to-drink category that like a, like a mock old fashion, it seems very doable.

[00:31:20] Bianca Harmon: When I was a Bottle Rock music festival Memorial weekend, they had a whole, non-alcoholic drink station and it was all of them. They had, I mean, and because I’m currently not, I’m pregnant, so I’m not drinking. And so I had the best Aperol Spritz that you would have never known didn’t have booze in it.

Never in a million years.

[00:31:42] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah.

[00:31:42] Bianca Harmon: And it was, they had all of the, they had bourbon, they had gin, they had vodka, they even had tequila.

[00:31:51] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah. See, so there’s a lot changing in the, in the spirits category like this.

[00:31:56] Bianca Harmon: So far I had, I, I, they used a sparkling that was, you know, kind of what made up the Aperol Spritz.

Now the wine category so far, I haven’t found a wine that’s non alcoholic that I like. They all seem pretty sugary still to me. Unfortunately, but these liquors, I mean, I’m telling you the Aperol spritz was incredible.

[00:32:18] Rachel Svoboda: Yeah, I believe you. I think that would be great. I’d like to see more brands continue to explore that space and do it without the sugar and, you know, infused.

Like I, I have Nespresso at my house and like the little pods and they recently came out with that’s infused with B 12.

[00:32:35] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Mm-Hmm. like the Infusing it with nutrition is that that ties into the one thing that I think a lot of these legacy spirit and wine brands are missing out on is the fact that the new seltzer and all they’re going, they’re, they’re hyping the nutrition aspect of it and the healthfulness of it.

[00:32:54] Rachel Svoboda: Well, like, they’re like glu, like being gluten, gluten-free. Yes. They’re, yeah, just bring it up. But, but that I think is more authentic with where I’m personally evolving in the health and wellness space. So, you know, I mean, I technically probably could take Lynxx in run that direction with it.

But I don’t know. I’m open to entertaining. the sale of this and then starting something new because I’m an entrepreneur. I like starting new businesses all the time and then selling businesses and it’s sport, right? It’s fun.

[00:33:25] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, absolutely. Let’s talk about what, if you mind, let’s talk a little bit about your agency, Sunday Brunch and how you might help other spirit brands.

I, we do the same thing, but you have your unique angle and you come from a, you come from a, whereas I came from the wine industry and grew up, you came from like the big wigs and now run a boutique agency.

[00:33:47] Rachel Svoboda: I did. And I loved it. You know, I spent most of my career at Saatchi & Saatchi doing work for Toyota.

And we also did a lot of work getting Toyota. This was like back in the days when we launched the Prius and it was brand new. We launched the Tundra. We launched Toyota into NASCAR, right?

[00:34:07] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You’re responsible for getting all those stars to show up in the Academy Awards in the Prius that one year? ,

[00:34:13] Rachel Svoboda: Oh my God. We had a lot of, we had a lot of fun with that and all, so many other things too. I really loved it. But, you know, Toyota aside, you know, I’ve also done work with Los Angeles World Airports, Metropolitan Water District, Fredericks of Hollywood, Cedar-Sinai Hospital. Oh God. What else? Oh, I’m blanking.

Anyways, so many other brands and businesses in L. A. and then, oh, eat Z Pizza, Nectar Juice Bar. I mean, the list can go on. And then I’m originally from Orange County and I decided to start my own agency in 2016. And at the time I remember having a very important conversation with the team. I said, you guys want an office?

And I always had had a kind of a problem with the way agencies. I’ve always believed in this like butts in seats rule, you know, be in the office. And I never liked that. It just wouldn’t, didn’t work for me. And so I asked that question, very important. And the team, the team said, we do not want an office.

And I said, great, I don’t want an office either. So, back in 2016, we were a virtual agency before it was trendy to be a virtual agency. And no one even knew what to call it. They were like, so you’re freelancers. And we’re like, no, we’re not freelancers. We’re a company. And we would work out of private business clubs.

We would work out. Sometimes our clients would have an office for us in their office, which made us or an integral part of their team, which was wonderful. And then when COVID hit, you know, I mean, the events slowed down and changed, but otherwise it was business as usual for us. So, and we do everything from strategy and branding, website development, social media, public relations, press release, writing, video production, photography.

You know, I feel like because we work with independently owned people and businesses, you know, the needs of their businesses change all the time. So we’re structured to come in and it could be, you’re starting a new business or maybe it’s a legacy family business and you’re taking it over and you’re modernizing or, you know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter where you’re at in your business journey, we can come in and help kind of like a special forces team, whatever that is, and then we can stay with you forever as an extension of your team.

Or we can like say, okay, you’ve graduated, you go here if you need us. But like, we’ve trained our replacement to work on your staff. We’ve got you up to date like you’re good, you’re golden. So, you know, that’s opened us up to work with a lot of different businesses from the OC marathon to Hyatt, to the Irvine company to, you know, the people in the spirits business, the wine business, the cannabis business, fashion, spas.

I mean, so many different businesses. And I love that because the people that work for Sunday Brunch have all these personal interests and I really try to match their personal interest with their professional excellence. So if they like doing Pilates and we have a Pilates studio client, then they’re going to work on that and you know, same thing if they’re a foodie, then they’re going to work, you know, Redo was a client.

And so we had foodies working on that. So they were like, oh, I love this. It feels like a hobby. I get paid for right. So that’s how I try to match people up and it seems to create a really good culture. Very supportive. Yes. Culture. And you know, everybody is on a different journey in their life. I’ve got a girl six months ago, put her stuff in storage, and decided to be a digital nomad.

And she’s all over and she’s been a part of our team for years and we love her and she loves us and she knows that with it was with our blessing that she could take this big journey of once-in-a-lifetime thing for her. And so, you know, just whatever success looks like for each person, we want to support that.

So I love Sunday brunch is like, it’s my baby. It’s, you know.

[00:38:38] Drew Thomas Hendricks: How did the name come about?

[00:38:40] Rachel Svoboda: Oh, thank you. I knew that I didn’t want to name it my name because Svoboda is tough. And I feel like when people think about marketing if you’re not a marketing person, a lot of times I had clients that were like, oh, I got to do marketing now.

Oh, it’s like trying to tell someone like they have to go do math homework or something. They just, oh, they don’t want to do it. So I noticed that whenever I say, “Hey, let’s go to brunch.” Everyone’s like, “Oh, what a great idea.” And I feel like in marketing, you always need great ideas. And so I wanted something that people had a positive correlation with.

And then it played off the good ideas, which we always need. So, sometimes just to be kitschy, we will bring them to meetings. So, you know, that’s just fun too.

[00:39:32] Bianca Harmon: I love the name. I also love brunch on Sundays.

[00:39:37] Rachel Svoboda: I think this year for our Christmas gifts, we are going to do like a Sunday brunch, mimosa set.

That’ll, that’ll be it. We’re going to be ready.

[00:39:46] Bianca Harmon: Do it. There’s this great place in the city. And it’s called the Pink Elephant and they do the best Sunday brunch. They do unlimited mimosas, but they have about 40 different handmade juices you can choose from. And they’re all in those like tube drinks things.

So you like go in and you pay like, I don’t know, like 25. You get the table for like three hours. good brunch and then unlimited mimosas with all, I mean, they have every like jalapeno juice. I’m like, eh, no, you know, but like some people love that and it’s like all the crazy juices. So that’s what you should do.

[00:40:29] Rachel Svoboda: Okay. I like it. That’s great. You noticed in June, and I’m thinking about Christmas presents because by August, I gotta have them. Absolutely. Planning ahead. Yeah.

[00:40:41] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Gotta start, gotta start ordering. So.

[00:40:44] Rachel Svoboda: And like the, hey, you know, gonna, it’s gonna be available for purchase for some lucky winner that’s always wanted to get into the spirits category, and they can just literally turnkey walk into it.

I mean, this is. So you does this opportunity does not come up very often, so, I’m excited to be throwing it out to your audience. Yeah, let me know if you wanna talk about it.

[00:41:09] Drew Thomas Hendricks: We’ll have to get the word out. So, Rachel, as we’re wrapping down, where can people find out more about you and Lynxx and Sunday Brunch Agency?

[00:41:15] Rachel Svoboda: Alright, so is the website for that one. And then And I have Instagram. You know, all the things, right? I even have that literally just has links to like website links to all my business. So the people there, I’ll put this on the screen. I don’t know if it works, but it’s QR code for Lynxx that anyone wants. No?

[00:41:47] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I’m sure it’ll work.

[00:41:49] Rachel Svoboda: All right. Well, there’s that. Here’s one of our marketing pieces, beautiful photography.

[00:41:57] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Very well done. Helps to have an agency behind you.

[00:42:02] Rachel Svoboda: No, I mean, you’ve got the same thing going on there. I love it. Entrepreneurial.

[00:42:09] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yes. Well, Rachel, is there anything else we haven’t talked about that you’d like to bring up?

[00:42:13] Rachel Svoboda: You guys, you hit all the high points, but, right now, if you go to the Lynxx website to buy it, you have to request, I’m going through some updates on the shopping part. So, it’s set up where you can send me a message right now, and then we can set that all up for delivery. So, but don’t be shy, like, don’t be discouraged or anything.

[00:42:35] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Awesome, well Rachel, thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:42:39] Rachel Svoboda: This was wonderful. Thank you for having me. Talk to you later.

[00:42:41] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Talk to you later. Bye. Bye