It’s no secret that whisky (or whiskey, depending on the country of origin of your preferred dram) has experienced a resurgence in recent years. No longer dominated by behemoth brands like Diageo and the like, craft distilleries are popping up more and more, similar to the craft beer craze of the past decade-plus. A trip to your local spirits store only confirms this with what seems like a new entry on the shelves every week. It’s an industry white hot with creative outlets, whether that’s in branding, graphic design, advertising, or photography. Whisky is big business and its momentum is an opportunity to create some amazing work.

It seems no industry relies as heavily on nostalgia than whisky. And no industry may have more lingering vibes of elitism. Scotch, in particular, is still seen as a drink that perhaps only the most refined and educated can access and enjoy.

Enter Scotch Trooper (aka Brett Ferencz), a whisky enthusiast with a Star Wars problem. I was first turned onto Brett’s fantastic work as I really started to ramp up my own whisky education and affinity. Thanks to a timely recommended follow by Instagram (I guess that algorithm sensed I was showing more and more interest in the subject matter), my world was forever changed by the mashing up of two of my favorite things, old (Star Wars) and new (whisky). Now, this wasn’t just any schmo taking silly pics with his iPhone and his childhood collectibles. Far from it, these images were “crafted” with care and professionalism befitting of the subject matter. Clearly this was a creative entrepreneur who achieved what we all dream: how to turn a hobby or obsession into content and possibly income. It’s unbelievable—my jaw was on the floor. 

The more I thought about the images, I was struck by the absolute genius at work here. What Brett has done is tap into a pop culture vein at absolutely the right place and time to create a movement. Think about it: Brett’s target audience is probably mid 30’s to late 40’s…old enough to be entering their prime earning years in their career, probably with families, etc. That likely means they aren’t just out to “tie one on” every time they partake in alcohol, it’s more of a relax and unwind moment than a partying one. If they’re like me, they enjoy the education, history, and culture of whisky, and don’t mind spending the disposable income on a quality product that they know will be around for sipping and enjoyment long past that craft beer six-pack.

But here is where Brett gets smart. Whisky has a pretentious track record. Until recently, learning about and enjoying whisky without all of the baggage could be a challenge. So why not just pop the lid off that right away, use Star Wars and humor as the gateway to a rough Scotch education? Make it understandable and flat out fun. But also enjoy the pure craftsmanship of the photography.

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“A Jedi approaches things much more direct.”
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This is an exciting week. Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes out in theaters, and another line of whiskies in The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar. So, lets get to it. - - - -Day10 Lost Distillery Company: Jericho Archivist This one sure snuck up on me. The nose was so soft and (I don’t want to say) nonexistent. But I expected a bit more. However, once I had a taste, the whisky blew open for me. Even the nose came out much more. As one of Lost Distilleries older whiskies, it sure held up and now I need to find a bottle. -Day11 Samaroli: Samaroli Islay An Islay blend containing a large portion of Laphroaig… I’m sold. Exactly what you would expect from an Islay Blend. Smokey, but bright, you can tell there’s a good portion of young whiskies in here, but the salty butter notes really sweeten this dram up nicely. -Day12 Secret Spirits: Undisclosed Speyside 19yr You had me at “63.4% Speyside”. Some rich vanilla tones here. So sweet and smooth on the nose, and some warm spices and evergreen trees on the palate. Or is that just me drinking this next to the Christmas tree? I am horrible at blind tastes test, but I would guess this as a possible Glenrothes. -Day13 Shetland Reel: Shetland Reel Bach 3 I don’t know much about this one. I know batch 1 and 2 were blends of Islay, Speyside and Highland whiskies. Batch 3 sure feels like much of the same. I am getting some slight smoke, with some sweetness, burnt fruit and licorice. Surly a dram I’ll have to come back to. #whiskyadvent #AdventCalendar #SecretSpirits #ScotchWhiskyAdventCalendar #Samaroli #TheLostDistilleryCo #JerichoArchivist #ShetlandReel #StarWars #Stormtrooper #ScotchTrooper #LukeSkywalker

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This a great example of how to combine a few passions into a noteworthy output. Whether Brett set out to monetize this project or it is simply something he does for fun, he clearly cares enough to agonize over the details to make sure he is releasing a high quality product. A product that has found an audience that continues to grow. Oh, and the t-shirts and swag are pretty sweet also.

How would you combine some of your hobbies and passions to carve out a niche business or creative outlet?