Issue #7 - Bourbon People is Delivered to You Each Wednesday
This Week We Take A Look at:
Royce Neeley
Dedicated to Everything Great in Bourbon
About Bourbon People the Weekly Publication from the ABV Network
by Colonel Steve Akley
Bourbon People is a real look at the people from the world of bourbon. In my role as the owner of the ABV Network, I'm lucky enough to get to interact with many people from the bourbon industry on a fairly regular basis. It wasn't that long ago, though, that I was simply just a fan of bourbon and reading about these individuals just like every other fan. 

As I would read about these individuals, I always wondered what they are really like. Not the public persona they want to represent, I'm talking about the real person. Are they always serious? Are they funny? Are they genuine? These are the things I get hung up on when I'm reading about someone or seeing a video of an interview with them.

Like any good business person, you see a need you fill it. Now, I have no idea if people's minds work like mine and they are interested in a look a the real people we know from bourbon, but, I do know it's something that interests me, so I'm going to put this out there for you each Wednesday (unless BZ Delivers that day, then it gets delayed a day). I hope you enjoy it!

Royce Neeley

Owner/Distiller for Neeley Family Distillery

Getting involved in the bourbon industry truly has re-energized my life. I have this whole group of amazing new friends, people I would have never have met had it not been for bourbon. It's really pretty cool to think about what bourbon really means to me.

One of the real unique friendships is the one I have with Royce Neeley. On paper, it doesn't seem like it could be possible... a 27-year-old guy and 50-year-old man. One single, living in Kentucky and the other, married 26-years living in Missouri. A guy steeped in moonshine culture, and another raised by a St. Louis policeman.


The bond that can break down all barriers.

So, Royce and I initially met at an event held yearly at Limestone Branch Distillery. Steve Beam himself sent Royce in to be interviewed by me on my podcast, The Bourbon Daily. I enjoyed Royce's ability to tell a story, and his "matter-of-fact" approach to sharing his family history. Despite the fact it involved breaking the law, violence, heck, even murder, he wasn't bragging about it... nor was he embarrassed by it. He was simply stating fact.

Isn't that kind of what building a bourbon brand is? Sure, you can own the brand for a while, but your ultimate goal is to create a legacy to pass it along to your heirs.

Royce and I would go on to not only record that show, but dozens of others. He's a regular on the network and clearly not just one of my best bourbon friends, but my truly one of best friends.

Why do I like this guy some two-dozen years my junior? Well, we have this love for bourbon... not just the distilled spirit in terms of drinking it, but the history and appreciation for doing things in this business like they've always done. I take great pride in preserving the history of bourbon by talking people and Royce is doing the same thing with his company by making his bourbon in a traditional way that not only is different from most distilleries but it makes him less efficient and his job harder. That's okay, though, because that's what he wants to do... create a product that is not only reflective of him and his family before him, but the industry before him as well. I'm not sure there is anyone in the bourbon business today as committed as he is.

Plus, if you know Royce, you can't help but respect what he's doing. I think most people would think it's pretty cool to be a 20-something owning a distillery. It's so glamorous. Well, sure, there is this cool quotient to making bourbon. Mostly, though, it's hard work. I'm not kidding when I tell you many days for Royce are 5:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. He is giving up a lot to pursue his dream. 

I feel that way sometimes. Cranking out the content that we do... podcasts, a daily podcast, an eMagazine, newsletters, clubs and more, it's not easy, but I do it because I work scared... scared of failure... scared of being forced to go back to a corporate job... a world I never fit in. Royce is doing the same thing. He's building a family legacy and he, his parents and those related to him are all-in on this thing and that cannot be easy. He's the right guy for the job, though. Hardworking, genuine and an all-around good guy. A person people want to be around.

He's going to find success... not because he's lucky or his timing was good, because he's working hard for it and creating a unique product by doing things the right way. If you haven't done so yet, head up to Sparta, Kentucky, and see what he's doing. He's changing the bourbon world... one barrel at a time.


Featured Item:
Neeley Family Bait Shop Hats 
from the ABV Network
We have two cool trucker hats featuring a Neeley Family Distillery Bait Shop design. Is Royce Neeley getting into selling bait & tackle? Well, there's a whole story to this one. Check out these hats and more, by clicking here to head over the the ABV Network Shop.
Hit the "Online Shop" button below to buy this item now!
Save 10% at the ABV Network Shop everyday with the #ABVNetwork Crew Club member card along with deals at 70+ other distilleries, restaurants bars and bourbon-focused businesses. Additionally, get involved in events with people from the bourbon industry, free "Learnin' Bourbon" online classes, barrel picks and more by joining the Club. 
Sign Up for the #ABVNetworkCrew Club Right Here!
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See you next week when we take a look at Samara Rivers in Bourbon People.

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