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American Whiskey Co. – The Phantom Whisky Company — Dramming
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American Whiskey Co. – The Phantom Whisky Company

by Oliver Klimek on October 2, 2015

A few months ago I was pointed to the Facbook page of a new whisky company called American Whiskey Co. “Yet another one” was my first thought. But when I took a closer look I noticed this is not your usual “craft distiller” startup.

The company which is based in Birmingham, Alabama, did not have a website, and it still doesn’t. The Facebook page only links to a crowdfunding page on gofundme.com. Or rather it used to link because that page was deleted a few weeks ago. The introduction written by the founder Johnny Ray Little did not mention any details of what is exactly planned, other than that they were currently looking for a suitable site. The main focus was on how this was going to be a 100% American distillery, unlike those big brands who had sold out to multinationals, all made by Americans in America with all American raw materials and that they were going to employ veterans. This text was definitely struggling to keep on the right side of the fine line between patriotism and chauvinism.

Last time I looked, the crowdfunding didn’t do too well with just a handful of small investments totalling $225, and this included $100 given by the founder himself.

The Facbook page does not offer much help in finding information about the company either. It mainly consists of generic whisky “motivationals” of the “Soup of the day: Whisky” kind and ever changing logo graphics, everything embellished with Stars and Stripes. No text, no questions, no responses. Then, a few weeks ago – along with the deletion of the crowdfunding page – a mysterious “10 days!” notice was posted. These days have passed, and nothing has happened so far.

In my quest to find out more about the American Whiskey Co. I had contacted Johnny Ray Little and Chris Brooks who had started the crowdfunding campaign. I received no response whatsoever to my questions about specific plans for the distillery like the envisioned volume or product range.

The closest I got to finding information about the company was a Facebook post of a Birmingham lawyers office who apparently are their consultants. It points to an apparent interview of the founder with an internet radio station called Raggradio, whose nightmarishly designed website mainly acts as a hub for picture galleries of women with little or no clothes on. I emailed the station asking for an audio file of that interview, but other than an acknowledgment of receipt I so far did not receive a response.

Isn’t all this a bit strange? More and more distilleries and bottlers are competing for a piece of the cake, and you would expect a startup to generate as much publicity as possible. Instead it seems as if they don’t want anyone to know what they are up to. Doesn’t this make you wonder if this venture is actually real or if this is just a Potemkin village set up for whatever reason?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark @ Malt Review October 2, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Nothing inspires trust quite like directing people to the Facebook page of your lawyer.


Oliver Klimek October 2, 2015 at 8:51 pm

To be fair, this connection is indirect. I found it only with a Google saerch.


whiskylassie October 5, 2015 at 8:51 pm

I know you are on on Instagram, but they also have an account there that seems to be a bit more updated. (Photos posted a few days ago, last week, etc… Mostly weird stuff but always the hashtag #TheAmericanWhiskeyCompany… which led me to their twitter account… and a few other places.

The applied for trademark registration and were denied (final refusal order was sent), they have 6 months to fix the problems or appeal otherwise it’s deemed abandonned.

Johhny Little is also on LinkedIn and is part of many groups that are about brewing or whisky making.

I love to poke around and have “channels” where I can find interesting information 😉




Jeff October 10, 2015 at 10:04 am

None of this is nearly as much a “mystery” as why whisky experts who can’t defend the internal logic of NAS – “age matters here, but not there, depending only on the label” – don’t condemn it for the nonsense it is.


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