I'm dedicated...

to helping each part of the sales cycle, and with Whiskey-Gnosis, I'm offering customized category training and hand-sell techniques for all distilled spirits for sales organizations.  See Build a Better Brand Ambassador for the 2nd phase of the project.  For many years, I've conducted whisk(e)y classes for consumers and sales organizations on the history, distillation techniques, cultural and maturation effects of whiskies from all over the world: Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Japan, America and beyond.  This has been extended to all spirit categories.

Combined with a ground level understanding of market forces that produce true sales momentum, the goal is to take learning out of the abstract and into the practical.  This class will provide every sales organization the necessary knowledge to demonstrate and maintain a leadership profile with their customers as well as their brands.  Knowledge is valued by every part of the supply chain, it is a key component of trust.  And trust creates sales.


Using the distributor's current whisk(e)y portfolio as the core (and adding in others as necessary), I'll create and execute a customized training program for the entire salesforce.  It is in two parts. 

Part One: Spirits Mastery

  • Definitions of spirits: vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, brandies, vermouth, grappa, etc.
  • Process of spirits making and what that means to the brands you carry
  • History and effects of types of distillation: pot still, column, hybrid, Charentais, etc.
  • Wood effects, maturation effects, cultural effects on flavor and taste
  • Balancing competing or complementary brands in a portfolio
  • Cultural, religious and economic influences on spirits creation and production

Part Two: Getting to Yes

  • Creating a team and individual sales methodology that has meaning
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Brand introduction and followup
  • Working with the brand story as a wedge
  • Pricing as a competitive tool
  • Working with a supplier
  • Psychology of sales and how to use it without being a douchebag
  • Objection handling
  • How to make sure you feel like you accomplished something at week's end
  • Product pusher or consultant, you choose
  • Time management

Additionally, an engagement can offer the following

  • A train-the-trainer program if the wholesaler or sales organization has in-house education staff
  • Courseware and reference guides
  • Follow ups and updates to allow for new products
This training was a success…We have a lot of trainers in here, this was by far the best we’ve ever had…very productive. Your energy level was impressive, you had everyone engaged and the clarity of your material was easily understood. It went by too fast, so much so that we would love to have you back.
— Jay Frary, GM, Blueprint Spirits
Robin’s seminars are informative, easy to understand & most of all enjoyable.

— John Palladino, Field Sales Mgr, Empire Merchants, NY


A Shared Culture of Knowledge

I believe in creating a culture of shared knowledge. Whiskey-Gnosis is focused on customized brown spirits training, certifications, and knowledge seminars for spirits professionals.  As part of the Unified Vision of Knowledge, Whiskey-Gnosis focuses on the selling of the "category" of spirits as the foundation of brand training.

If knowledge is the key to sales;
And all sales is a service:
Then knowledge is a service that creates sales.
  • In depth, spirits training for sales organizations distributing or selling a portfolio varied types.  
    • Focused on selling, communicating and taking a leadership role in your market as knowledgeable and focused professionals.
  • Up to date, unbiased, sales oriented educational seminars for retail chains, restaurant groups and other commercially oriented organizations.  Its not just about brand training, its about the world that brand lives in.
 The seeker gets rewarded: more knowledge, more respect, more sales.

The seeker gets rewarded: more knowledge, more respect, more sales.

For the most part, the small brand cannot afford financial incentives to move its product down the distribution chain.  Nor does it have extra resources of manpower to continually feed back into any one marketplace to support the product.  It needs an educated, knowledgeable sales organization as its partner to continue the momentum.  

 I brought this to your garden to grow and multiply...

I brought this to your garden to grow and multiply...

 ...so we kind of weren't expecting this

...so we kind of weren't expecting this

From a small brand’s perspective: imagine showing up in someone’s garden bringing with you a beautifully groomed potted plant, carefully nurtured, watered and pruned to grow and multiply there. But the soil is deficient, lacking the necessary minerals and vitamins, or it may be full of mineral content meant for other types of plantlife. When you return, you find no growth or worse: it’s become brown, dry and choked by weeds, or overrun by competing growth.
  • The refrain of "lack of knowledge" is so prevalent in every market I've worked in the US it's practically symphonic: the complaint comes from retailers, bartenders, general managers and, most importantly, the brands themselves.  Knowledge is no longer an option, it is essential.
  • The consumer public of 2015 is hungry for category knowledge and unique narratives of product brands as a means of differentiation in an increasingly saturated spirits market.
  • The smaller producers must do their part by producing the best possible product and wrapping it in a narrative that is compelling, resilient, true and full of life.  
  • But the sales force as a whole must fully galvanize around them to truly deliver on a brand's potential.  They must now be as conversant in whiskey knowledge as they were in wine knowledge 30 years ago.
gno•sis (ˈnoʊ sɪs)
knowledge of spiritual matters; mystical knowledge.
Robin knows the ins and outs of the whisky business, and brings a true commitment to excellence in his work…
Mark Gillespie, WhiskyCast

 A recent example of "Whiskey-Gnosis" for the Bar:

On November 16 & 17, 2015, Whiskey-Gnosis presented an unprecedented bar staff training at Pouring Ribbons, NYC, in conjunction with its proprietor, Joaquin Simo.  A total of 23 bar tenders, managers and servers from 5 of the city's top cocktail bars - Pouring Ribbons, Death & Co., PDT, Porchlight and Cafe Dante underwent a 2-day, 6 hour intensive whiskey training class.

  • We presented a complete category training for grain brown spirits: whiskey from every part of the globe: Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Japan, US, India, Wales, France and American craft.  A total of 24 whiskies were tasted and discussed.

  • We tasted and learned about single malts, grain whiskies, blends, straight, corn, wheat, millet, barley and rye; independent bottlers to boutique blenders, cask strength to chill-filtration.

  • We covered everything from the history of distillation to current day practices and took in every type of process: alembic, charentais, column, Coffey and pot still

  • We discussed cultural influence, tradition vs. science, climate and temperature, warehouse placement and humidification; grain selection to fermentation control, backset to reflux. We learned that 3 people created whiskey in the west as well as the east.

  • We dedicated a section to wood and its powerful effect on creating flavor; 

  • We discussed the service of whisky, the challenge of cocktails and alternate recommendations.

  • We talked about myths vs. fact, when a good story is important and why.

  • We tasted 24 different whiskies in two separate glasses: a traditional Glencairn and the newly developed NEAT glass.  We were amazed at the effect of different glassware.

  • Each brand had a dedicated slide in the presentation deck, delivering brand information as well as producer and distribution contacts

In all, we believe this was an unprecedented presentation of the entire category of brown spirits given in an unbiased and appreciative setting.  It was hailed for its objectivity, depth, and lack of cant or bias.  While presenting a brand's messaging, we allowed each whiskey to have its own time and place with the participants to understand the spirit in context of its category.