HOLLIS B: Whiskey ICON
I did not always think of myself as a co-founder of Bulleit; yet, I was with the company since day one, My participation was integral, critical, and pivotal in the creation of one of the liquor industry's most successful brands in the 21st century. The Bulleit brand was built on my passion for innovation and raising bourbon to a higher art form and transforming its "good ol' boy" culture to one that was all inclusive.
I did not grow up with ready access to art. Therefore the Sunday New York Times served as my local MOMA. I used to collect the full page ads and display the Absolut™ ads on my walls. When my father began discussing bourbon as a career change he liked the generic name "Thoroughbred Kentucky Bourbon." I urged him to use our last name instead. I pitched the idea of a bourbon that was "as cool and innovative as the Absolut™ vodka campaign.
Later, I graduated with a BA from Smith College with an Art major and Women Studies minor and later I obtained an MA from New York University. While at college, I continued to consult on the Bulleit brand, and after graduation I was the first and only employee of the Bulleit Distilling Company prior to it being acquired by Seagrams.
To prepare myself for educational whiskey tutorials I trained with the Masters of Whiskey and I received the same degrees as those in that elite sales and educational work force. As one of only two Bulleit family members ever hired directly by Diageo North Americas, I helped change the face of bourbon to be more inclusive of women and LGBTQ2IA+. I did this through sourcing, creating, running and participating in several mixology and women's groups and events. My involvement went beyond "brand ambassador" duties as I was integral in many facets of the Bulleiit Rye. I worked with several teams: innovation, design, marketing, and tasting. My most publicly noticeable input was on the color scheme and the additive "circle 95" of the current Bulleit Rye label.
I began, designed, and produced swag campaigns and I was known for my hand painted bottles: helping to entice established artists to work with the brand on projects that spawned the likes of "frontier works". Through my personal presentation and style I brought pizzaz and joy to liquor events nationally on a very restricted budget. I created a unique asset and legacy for the whiskey community with only the help and consistent support of my spouse, Cher.
Hollis at The Center's LAWN (Los Angeles Women's Network) inaugural event
Hollis training with the Masters of Whiskey in Scotland 2007