This is a special post we’re doing to join in on’s Best Bourbon Experiences Roundup.  Being an avid Manhattan lover, I have so many great Bourbon experiences that it was really tough to pick a favorite.  But I ended up deciding to talk about a pretty recent one – just a few weeks ago we finally implemented a single barrel program for Bourbon at the restaurant where I work.  I thought it might be helpful to discuss this project, and some of the things we learned along the way!

What You Will Learn:

  • How did we go about making this happen for our bar?
  • What are some of the positives and negatives of a single-barrel program?

How we did it

A lot of restaurants are actually buying an entire barrel of whiskey for their business and I wanted in! I reached out to the vendors and he guided is the whole way. We tasted samples from different distilleries and we decided which one fits us best. We got our whiskey after 2 months.

Benefits of a Barrel Program:

  • Staff gets really excited which results to great conversations with guests.
  • When your staff engages in these conversations, you in turn gain credibility and shows that you care about the details of your bar program.
  • You’ll be able to have a considerable marketing option. Wether on your local newspaper, Facebook, Twitter or any social media.

 Drawbacks of a Barrel Program:

  • A very large cash outlay.
  • 2 month lag time between sampling and receiving shipments.

Do you have a single-barrel program at your bar, or have you ever implemented on?  What are your thoughts?  Be sure to leave your comments below and (if you liked this post) vote for us in the DrinkWire Roundup!

Click Here to view the Transcript

Hi! This is Chris from and I’m very excited to be contributing to’s celebration of National Bourbon Heritage Month!

So one of the bourbon experiences I’d like to share with everyone is something that has come about fairly recently for our restaurant. And that is introduction to barrel program. And I’m not talking about barrel-aged program; I’m talking about actually buying an entire barrel of whiskey and how we kind of went around it. So the last two years or so, I’ve heard a lot of rumors of restaurants and bars buying entire barrels of whiskey and I really wanted to know more. So I reached out to one of the vendors and got some more information and this is what I’d like to share with everyone today.

So our vendor actually guided us through the entire experience and presented us with all the distilleries that supported the barrel program. At that point we decided which two distilleries we were most excited about doing a barrel program with. At that point he provided us with a couple of different samples and we tasted through those samples and decided which one best represents our restaurant and brand. He went back to the vendor and he went back to the distillery and we took possession of our whiskey about two months later.

Now there are a lot of benefits and drawbacks to a barrel program. Some of the benefits are that this is something you can get your staff very excited about. So your bartenders are sure to have these really great conversations with the process; your service staff, if you’re in a restaurant, or waiters will be very excited to be able to up-sold this to a table and be able to have a conversation about it. At that point you’ll have a lot of credibility and it shows that you really care about the details under your bar program and you’ll elevate your bar program to a whole new level. Not only that, but you have a considerable marketing option if this is something that you like to at least to tell the local paper or even just to have on your Facebook or Twitter feed or social media of any sort.

Now some of the drawbacks are that you have to put a very large cash outlay right out of the gate. So you have to be able to move a lot of bourbon. You’re gonna use about 200 bottles of bourbon and you’re expected to go through it within about three months. And one of the things is that, if you work with your supplier, they can possibly hold some of the bottles in their inventories so you’re not getting a shipment of 200 bottles all at once. But these are details that you should definitely talk to your vendors about. One last thing they consider the drawback is, if you’re running a very fast-paced or very high volume bar, just remember, you have that two-month lag time between sampling and receiving shipments. So just consider that and put that into your factors when you consider doing the barrel program.

So I hope you guys found this informational and educational. I know I did going through the process. So, I hope you guys have a great shift and I look forward to talking to you again! Cheers!

Chris Tunstall

Co-Founder of A Bar Above and career bartender and mixologist. I love experimenting, creating cocktails, and drinking Green Chartreuse.