084: On Whiskey and Strategic Partnerships: A Conversation with Luis Gonzalez, CEO of Old Elk Distillery

Today we are happy to be joined by Luis Gonzalez, the CEO of Old Elk Distillery. He’s responsible for the vision of the company, the growth and planning initiatives, and for developing the distribution and brand strategies. Prior to his current role, Luis spent seven years with Otter Products in various sales and marketing leadership roles. While at Otter, he established strategic partnership and licensing approaches for long term brand alignment with leading global brands.

In this conversation, we explore Luis’s story, as well as strategic partnerships, brand strategy, and the importance and challenges of organizational culture.

“I learned the difference between vanity and sanity very early in life,” comments Luis. “Vanity can look good and feel good, but sanity is about giving back and doing the things you need to do to be a better person, a better team mate, and a better coach.”

On forming strategic partnerships, Luis told us, “A lot of people will try to align with a strategic partner only to release they don’t have the same appetite for speed or innovation… I think that it’s important to align with the people and organizations that have the same appetite and interest in risk, innovation, and speed…A lot of times if there isn’t alignment around these elements, that can really derail the path of success out of the gate. Culture informs the speed of innovation and the willingness to go to different places.”

To hear more of Luis’s journey growing up as Cuban American and what he’s learned from the whiskey business, listen in!

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