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Wolves Whiskey Is Reshaping The Luxury Spirits Landscape

Wolves Whiskey

President Jennifer Marks talks to us about how Wolves Whiskey and its California roots help the brand guide trends through intuition and authenticity

Wolves Whiskey is California whiskey. Not only is it made and founded in the Golden State, but the very principles that separate it from other brands spring from the region’s ethos. From utilizing local ingredients to the innovative spirit that drives the company forward, James Bond and Jon Buscemi’s whiskey brand continues to reshape the luxury whiskey landscape and how we look at it.

Wolves Whiskey doesn’t approach the spirits world like others. It all begins with French cut glass bottles featuring Italian leather labels and extends all the way to one-of-a-kind custom liquids created for special partnerships. We sat down with President Jennifer Marks to learn about the California whiskey brand and how it separates itself from the competition.

Jennifer Marks President Wolves Whiskey
Jennifer Marks, President Wolves Whiskey

Spirited: Can you tell us a little bit about Wolves and what makes them unique in the growing whiskey space? 

Jennifer Marks: Wolves is a luxury California whiskey brand innovating in the new category of American Single Malt. We combine an American distilling tradition, Californian innovation, and a global sensibility to create a top-shelf product for the world’s most discerning drinkers. 

Many brands in the past 10 years have compromised on quality and standards in exchange for unsustainable scale. Wolves Whiskey represents a return to ritual and uncompromising quality and taste. We’re aiming to become the luxury standard in the newly-emerging American Single Malt category and, in so doing, build the first luxury American whiskey brand. 

Sp: You came to Wolves from another California brand, Amass. What makes working with whiskey different from working with other types of alcohol? 

JM: There tends to be a sense of seriousness around the tradition of whiskey making. Wolves is looking to alchemize the old into the new and revive the craft of American whiskey. We want to reinvigorate the excitement around innovation in this category. 

Distilling whiskey is an art form that requires constant attention to detail and quality control. Between the barrels, the finish and the aging process – there is no set it and forget it. It’s why so many whiskey brands create clear spirits first, while they wait for their whiskey to be ready. 

The intense, and sometimes monotonous task of waiting for the whiskey to be just right makes it fun and challenging. Our team gets to continually innovate making room for our limited edition products – none of which will taste the same. They are truly one of a kind, and once they are gone, they are gone for good. 

Sp: You were previously at Pernod Ricard USA as Brand Director for Plymouth Gin, what’s different about being with an independent producer? 

JM: One of the exciting parts about working with an independent producer is that you can lead with creativity and take chances. Innovation is a big part of the Wolves Whiskey brand and we are able to move fast to get these products to market.

Sp: What’s it like working with James Bond (of Undefeated fame) and Jon Buscemi (Buscemi, Truff)? And what is their level of involvement? 

JM: Working with James and Jon is both exciting and inspiring. They have a storied history of disrupting the market with their products / companies, and Wolves is no different. They teach to lead with a high quality product and don’t focus on following trends for the sake of growth. 

Jon and James are involved creatively and think outside of the box when it comes to design and partnerships amongst other items. They take a simple idea and spin it into something remarkable whether it is the type of leather we use for our labels, our collaborative partners or our overall branding in the market. You can see their creative touch in everything we do. 

Sp: From an outside view, Wolves seems to have a unique creativity at its center due to its founders. How would you describe the brand’s approach to spirits marketing and creating and how does it differ from others you’ve worked with? 

JM: We lead with intuition and authenticity. It is easy to fall into a mold, doing things because you should, but it needs to feel right. This allows us to try new things, put out new liquids, and secure amazing partnerships. We are deliberate/intentional in everything we do. 

We guide trends rather than follow them. 

Sp: How is California unique when it comes to a spirits landscape? 

JM: Terroir plays a large part in all spirits due to different environmental factors such as temperature, water and soil. The geographical diversity in California makes it an ideal location for the production of barley and the aging of whiskey. The shift in temperature across the state, warm during the day and cool at night, creates ideal conditions for whiskey making. The barley itself is an extremely resilient grain. It requires plenty of sun and cool nights, and the temperature variation exacts an intense effect on the liquid as it expands and contracts in the barrel. 

Sp: What does Wolves bring to the whiskey world that no one else currently does? 

JM: Wolves pairs creativity with excellence and an adventurous spirit, we are willing to take chances. The luxury experience starts the moment a consumer touches the bottle, heavy custom french cut glass and soft, Italian, leather labels that are numbered and dated by hand. The product looks so good, but tastes even better.

Not only do we craft coveted limited editions for collectors, we have the ability to partner with established brands and offer a truly unique collaboration. We can create one-of-a-kind custom liquids that cannot be replicated, even by us. 

Sp: What are the next steps in bringing Wolves whiskey to a larger market? 

JM: We have broader distribution plans in place and ambitions to bring to market a product that will not only help increase brand awareness but also consumer demand. Stay tuned for more!

Back in December, the brand unveiled new editions of their Winter Run and 11 Year American Single Malt.

For more information, head over to the brand’s official website.