The Unforgiving60

S1E31 – Jimmy McKeown- Master Distiller of the Year; The Young Whipper Snapper

November 28, 2019

Tim and Ben like jobs where you can drink at work.  This week they get to do just that during their interview with Jimmy McKeown in the ‘Black Room’ of Whipper Snapper Distillery.  Whipper Snapper is fast becoming a well-known brand amongst whiskey lovers and the go-to drink for many, and in this episode, Jimmy talks us through its amazing origins – and his equally amazing personal story.  From an illegal moonshine still run by a World War II bomber pilot to being recognised as a certified ‘Icon of Whiskey’, the Whipper Snapper story is a cracker.

Jimmy discusses his attitude towards risk and regret, both of which served as catalytic elements in starting the distillery, before taking us through the ingredients and distilling process.  He then talks about their range of spirits, from their flagship 'Upshot' to more experimental lines including quinoa whiskey, the soon-to-be released red corn whiskey and – of course – their 'Crazy Uncle Moonshine'. If you don't know who your crazy uncle is ... then it's you!

Tellingly, one thing that Jimmy doesn’t talk about is the fact that he had – just the week prior to the interview – been named as Master Distiller of the Year in the Icons of Whisky 2020 Australian awards. Truly humble, a truly great bloke and a truly tasty drop of whiskey – enjoy!


Intelligence Summary (INTSUM)

  • 02:00 – Jimmy’s early years
  • 06:45 – Vic’s story – Lancaster bombers and illegal moonshine
  • 09:15 – Ben makes up some statistics about WWII Bomber Command attrition rates
  • 10:25 – Jimmy on risk and avoiding regret
  • 13:45 – What is an Australian whiskey? Jimmy talks grain and flavour profiles and the dream of making an Australian whiskey at scale
  • 16:30 – “Full disclosure”
  • 17:10- On the ‘microfactors’ that help make Whipper Snapper different to mass produced whiskey
  • 18:30 – What goes into Whipper Snapper’s whiskey?
  • 21:20 – Red Corn whiskey (coming soon!) – a crazy idea which highlights Whipper Snapper’s close relationship with its grain growers
  • XX:XX - Does anyone actually read the timeline in the Show Notes?!
  • 23:20 – How to make whiskey
  • 33:20 – The story behind the Whipper Snapper’s logo – and its name!
  • 39:40 – Quinoa whiskey – superfood!
  • 45:10 – The whiskey environment in Australia
  • 51:20- Signature Whipper Snapper cocktails
  • 53:50 – Marketing Whipper Snapper
  • 56:30- The Special Operations relationship
  • 1:02:00- How many stories could be tyold over a glass of Upshot
  • 1:03:00:– Quick Questions / Quick Answers!
  • 1:08:00- Jimmy’s favourite quote: From CS Lewis.
  • 1:09:23 – Jimmy’s toast to the entire world!


About Whipper Snapper



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