In 2013, the Indiana Legislature created a pathway for craft distillers to produce and sell spirits to the public by the glass, bottle, or case. The hope was to start a micro-distillation industry in Indiana, and one of the first companies to take the plunge was called Hotel Tango Distillery. It was co-founded by husband-and-wife attorneys Travis and Hilary Barnes. With the help of a handful of investors, they opened a production facility and tasting room in the early 1920se century carriage house in the Fletcher Place area.
In eight years, it grew to three tasting rooms in Indiana and retail sales in 25 states and 120 military bases around the world. For 2022, Travis Barnes predicts total sales of around $6 million.
Travis is a former Marine who served in the elite special operations reconnaissance force. He enlisted right after 9/11, and it turned out to be a life-changing experience that went far beyond the serious injuries he suffered in Iraq. Much of what he learned in the military is encoded in Hotel Tango’s values and processes. In this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, he discusses the creation of Hotel Tango, its skyrocketing sales, and how one of the state’s first micro-distilleries could establish such a significant footprint. in less than a decade.
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Looking for another podcast to try? Check out IBJ’s Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman, a monthly discussion about diversity and inclusion in the central Indiana business community.