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RackHouse Whiskey Club: Every whiskey has a story

The whiskey industry is booming. New distilleries are sprouting up left and right. In less than 15 years, the U.S. had gone from just 60 craft distilleries to over 1,600 today. With the number of distilleries growing exponentially, you can’t blame whiskey makers for trying to stand out from the pack. Therefore, distillers need to sell a story as much as they sell whiskey.

A new subscription box service is looking to help them do just that.

RackHouse Whiskey Club is a subscription box service that delivers a package filled with a select premium bottle of craft spirits and other custom accessories. But RackHouse isn’t just simply delivering whiskey.

Rackhouse goes on adventures in search for the best whiskey distilleries and brings their stories straight to your door along with unique products.

“There’s really nobody telling these stories,” said Dannie Strable, co-founder of RackHouse Whiskey Club. “And distilleries don’t have a lot of money to be spending on marketing. They put most of their money back into their product.”

RackHouse finds the best distilleries out there, visits them, films them and does a podcast with them in order to learn about their history and what goes on behind the scenes. Then they take everything they’ve learned from the distillery and put in a box for members to enjoy.”

“We try to make it feel as if our customers were traveling to the distillery,” Strable said. “Our first box just got sent out last week and we have subscribers that are signed up from California all the way across the United States to Florida.”

For RackHouse’s first box that was just sent out last week, they put two autographed bottles in there from Iowa Legendary Rye. The box also came with a whiskey glass from the distillery and several other accessories from Iowa legendary Rye.

RackHouse Whiskey Club’s first box from Iowa Legendary Rye.

“They reached out to us to do something and I thought it’s our first one, let’s stick home to Iowa,” Strable said. “It was just an incredible story. We got to go see where this whole thing happened and all this stuff is still there.”

Iowa Legendary Rye is a small-batch whiskey distillery that is based upon the recipe of the CEO Heath Schnedier’s grandma who was bootlegging more than 300 gallons of whiskey a day in the 1930’s.

“We asked why they used 15-gallon barrels to age their whiskey and they said because you can’t run with a 50-gallon barrel over your shoulder, but you can with a 15-gallon barrel,” Strable said.

Membership to RackHouse Whiskey Club is $129 every 60 days. Click here to subscribe.


RackHouse Whiskey Club: Every whiskey has a story | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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