Chattanooga Whiskey only debuted three years ago, but it has proven to be a great brand with a lot of heart in those few years. It started with founders – and Chattanooga natives – Joe Ledbetter and Tim Piersant posting a question on Facebook: “Would you drink Chattanooga Whiskey?” The response was so overwhelming, that they knew they had to develop a plan for a product and figure out how to do away with a 100 year old prohibition law that would prevent them from making their dream a reality. In the end, they got the law rewritten and Chattanooga Whiskey made history.
Now, things are changing within the fledgling whiskey company and founder Joe Ledbetter has announced his resignation. Ledbetter has been the face of the brand since the beginning, so he felt the need to explain his reasoning to the public. In a prepared statement, he wrote:
Over the past several years, being the co-founder of Chattanooga Whiskey has taken its toll on me, my family, my business partner, our employees and certainly the amazing investors that have taken a huge risk on our dream. Having never started a company, let alone one that grew so quickly, I think it would be fair to say that I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Specifically, the biggest mistake I’ve made is that I put my personal vision for Chattanooga Whiskey above valued personal and professional relationships. I could probably go on for days on other mistakes I’ve made over the past few years, but at this point, I realize it’s time to move on.
Ledbetter chatted with Nooga.com and elaborated a little on why he’s leaving the company. He told them that he thrives in a fast-paced startup situation where the main focus is on innovation. However, once he can’t create anymore, he becomes hard to work with. Because of that, he’s shifting his focus to a new project called The Barrelhouse Lab and also working on November’s Tennessee Whiskey Festival. He is also writing a book, tentatively titled “The Gospel of Whiskey.”
Although Ledbetter is no longer with the company, he says he’s confident in the current leadership at Chattanooga Whiskey. It will be interesting to see if and how this brand changes with this slight shift in command.