We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Armstrong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The act of creating a business has always intrigued me. Ever since I was a kid, my grandfather and I would constantly develop ideas for businesses. Whether it was a lawnmowing business or a woodworking business, we were always creating and building. It is usually pretty tough to answer when entrepreneurs are asked how they got the idea for their business. Typically, the business being asked about isn’t their first entrepreneurial venture. When I began taking business seriously, my first venture was a non-profit organization that organized community events that raised funds for people who have had a tough go in life or for charitable organizations. My second business was a mobile smoothie stand in Nashville, TN. From there, I created a clothing and coffee company, which is still in business. The point is, creating businesses typically is an evolution and progression of ideas over the years. With that, you examine what worked and didn’t work from business to business and continue fine-tuning the business. So, with Bananaman Whiskey, the initial concept was to create an e-commerce whiskey business in which customers could order our whiskey online and have it delivered to their doorstep within two days. This has been a huge convenience for customers, especially throughout the pandemic. Additionally, I wanted the whiskey business to create a lifestyle, so I incorporated my clothing business to help create the branding, which is a modern-day Rat Pack vibe heavily influenced by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The whiskey industry is a very saturated market. I knew if I wanted to have any success, I would have to take a different approach. I wanted the business to become more of a lifestyle rather than another whiskey brand on the shelf. When people check out the brand, they will see it is more of a lifestyle. As mentioned before, it has a heavy Rat Pack vibe with the suits and cigars, but we also do other things that other brands aren’t doing. For example, we created a whiskey club in which we have regular Zoom meetings with our members to give business updates and chat, and the group is continuously growing. We make sure all of our apparel and products are top of the line. We want people to wear their shirts and hoodies in public and for people to ask about it. We are also planning whiskey retreats for the members to attend as a group. Our first one is scheduled for March in Nashville. Additionally, we make sure we give back to the community. So far this year, we have sponsored multiple high school sports teams, donated to breast cancer programs and youth sports booster clubs. Philanthropy and giving back to communities is one of our highest priorities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a great question, and it recently happened. My best friend, Tony, visited a few months ago, and I was able to take him to a few of my favorite spots in South FL. South Florida has so much beauty, so it is hard to fit all the spots into the calendar for one week. However, a few of the stops that must happen are: • The Rusty Pelican – You can’t beat the view of the Miami skyline from this restaurant.
• I am a huge Florida Panthers fan, so if they are playing, attending a game is a must.
• The Vizcaya Museum
• All of Wynwood – so many great spots in this area, but I especially enjoy the art at Wynwood Walls and spread out all over the area. Also, check out Wynwood Brewing Company and Veza Sur Brewing.
• If someone is visiting and there is enough time to drive 35 minutes north, the Delray Beach strip is one of my favorite areas. Be sure to eat at Elisabetta’s and El Camino
• Another recommendation is more for locals, but I highly recommend the Miami Marathon if you are a runner. The route allows you to run through South Beach, over the beautiful bridges, and next to cruise ships – an amazing experience!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that deserve recognition in my entrepreneurial journey. First, my wife, Sarah, is the one I always bounce my crazy business ideas off of, and she is excellent about giving me honest feedback or ideas on what may work better. Also, I have to give a shoutout to my family, particularly my mother, grandmother, and grandfather. They have always supported me in all my entrepreneurial ventures. Next, it’s essential to have an incredible support network of friends, and I have been blessed with amazing friends throughout my life. Last but not least, my business partner, Michael Jasper, has been instrumental in this process. I also believe it’s a good idea to have proven successful business people for influence. For me, I keep up with the entrepreneurial ventures of Matthew McConaughey, Mark Wahlberg, and Rob Dyrdek.
Light Sky Photography Andi Whiskey – Twist and Tailor