5 questions with Heather D. Dolland

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It’s no surprise that New York City is a mecca of culturally infused bars and restaurants, with endless options and pairings. No matter how many years you end up living here, it never truly feels like you can experience all there is to offer in this city.

Recently, I was sent information on a new business called All the Tastes of New York. It’s a startup firm that organizes and hosts “food crawl” dining experiences at some of Manhattan’s top restaurants. By first introducing a unique take on dining All The Tastes of New York now introduces us to the movement, “Farm to Glass” through new book, Discovering the New York Craft Spirits Boom. The book chronicles the lives of 30 Craft Distillers throughout New York State, it is an intimate look into New York’s craft spirit distillers, their journey to success, and their emphasis on using locally grown products.

Owner and author Heather D. Dolland was kind enough to chat with me about her startup and her new book. Check it out:

1. What made you decide that you needed to create your brand (Or less entrepreneurially: what made you feel the need to get the NY spirits boom out into the public eye?)
Having been in the wine/spirit business for over 10 yrs, I was surprised that I had no idea all that happened in New York to make Craft Distilling take off as it did. With that realization, it occurred to me that there is likely a large number of people who are also unaware. Being desirous of bringing attention to my own company, I thought writing a book on the subject could be advantageous to us all, because as small businesses, we all struggle to get our message out to mainstream media.

2. When did you think to yourself “okay, this is definitely viable?”
After my third interview, the realization of the historic significance of what I was writing hit me. It was no longer a story just about alcohol. There were a number of laws that changed, and a number of industries that previously did not exist in New York that is now having a significant effect on the local economy.

3. What’s a surprising challenge that you didn’t know you’d encounter along the way?
Being new to interviewing and realizing the trust that was put in me to tell each story accurately, it took me some time to determine my “voice” while writing. Much of that had to do with understanding who my audience is which takes time. I know it will not appeal to everyone, so finding that balance so that those who read it feel like I was speaking to them.

Heather Dolland interview on Handmade Brooklyn

4. How important was social media in your success? Do you think you would have been as successful without the advent of social media?
Social media goes back again to understanding your audience, because there is not always a direct correlation between social media activity and sales. I think what is really important is to know where your audience is and connect with them there. Social media or otherwise.

5. What is something someone outside of your industry might not realize about the work you do?
Having been a brand ambassador for numerous brands, I don’t think many people realize how important focusing on creating experiences for your patrons is. It all seems like just fun and almost frivolous. But if you don’t take the time to create experiences with your brand to engage people, it will only be a matter of time before another brand comes along and takes your market share. I pride myself on creating memorable experiences.

Discovering the New York Craft Spirits Boom is set to release on July 4, 2015 and will be widely available through retailers such as Amazon.com for $29.95.

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