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Article: Our BHAG Defined.

Wild Life Distillery Whisky

Our BHAG Defined.

Goals are an interesting thing. They inspire us, they drive us, and they motivate us; but at the same time they scare us, intimidate, and belittle us. Sometimes we share them with others, sometimes we don't; some are very private, while others are uncomfortably public.

The trick is to make them challenging enough to require a lot of work and learning, but attainable enough to make them realistic and achievable. SMART goals advocates were on to something... 

But once in a while, we throw out a really lofty one; a big dreamer goal, a 'what-if-er', an 'imagine that' type of Big Hairy Audacious Goal. A "B.H.A.G".Wild Life Distillery Scotland Scotch Tour
Keith & Matt in Scotland, 2015

8+ years ago, in June of 2014, Keith and I shook hands at the back of Upper Kananaskis Lake. It was pouring rain, and we were camped out for the night with @pjwidmer. We sat around a very smoky, soggy fire, and sipped on some whisky.

We talked about life, as you do after a couple of whiskies, and hashed out what was important to us, and what wasn't; what we wanted from work, relationships, life, and what we didn't; and then we shook hands and agreed on a novel goal: To build a craft distillery in Canmore, that would produce, and one day release vodka, gin, and ultimately whisky, for locals and visitors alike to enjoy; a distillery that was built and branded around our shared beliefs, in a place that we both knew we wanted to continue to call home. 
Pot Still Whisky
The day our 500L Pot Still arrived from Spain, 2016

There was only one problem: We knew nothing. We had no previous knowledge of distilling, manufacturing, building code, fire code, barrel aging, marketing, sales, etc., and etc., none of it. So it was time to get to work. 

As I sat down to write this I wondered if we had reached the 10,000 hour mark along this journey in our craft..? Malcolm Gladwell, among others have said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert or master at anything. This is of course an arbitrary number, with the quality of work/practice, baseline talent, and field of study all factoring in to its relevance. But I was curious.

Are we there? 

On average - 50hrs/week x 52 weeks/year x 8 years = 26,000 hours
Matt + Keith = 52,000 hours of WLD

I share these numbers not to boast about how hard we have worked, or glorify 'workaholism', that's not what this is about. It's merely a reflection for the day when Keith and I look back on this moment in our lives; a point of reference in summary of a chapter.
Wild Life Distillery Whisky Barrels
Keith & Matt, 2019

Often times when you are just 'in it', it doesn't feel like any progress is being made. It is only when we lift our heads once a year, and look back on the past 12 months, that we can notice any change at all. We've had this goal lurking in the back of our minds for 8 years now. It's been a part of our working relationship and friendship - along with learning the importance to pause. 

One of the most important lessons we've learned is that no BHAG, or any goal for that matter, is worth the effort unless it leads to a moment of celebration with good friends. Otherwise, what is the point amirite?

At this juncture in time, we lift our heads out of the day-to-day, tip our caps to the amazing team that we have at WLD, and acknowledge that a goal has been reached. Change has been made, whisky has been poured, and we are proud to share this fruit of our labour with y'all!

On Saturday, November 19th, 2022, we will release our first ever whisky into the world. 

Wild Life Wheat Whisky Batch 001 is ready to roll!
Wild Life Distillery Whisky Barrels
WLD Rackhouse, 2020
We will be having a whisky launch party at the distillery on Saturday, November 19th, from 1-9pm.

We invite you to join us in this celebratory moment, and take a second to enjoy a truly Bow-Valley-Made product. Although this is our first whisky release, you can be assured that it won't be our last, with many barrels aging in our warehouse that will be shared in the months and years to come. 

Cheers to you, our #WLDCommunity, for supporting the distillery, sharing our products, and telling our story. 

- The WLD Boys

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