Augusta Neat: a whiskey enthusiast club hosts first public event

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) Le Chat Noir will host the first public event for “Augusta Neat” a whiskey enthusiast club.

The event is a time for locals to try spirits from around the world and network with fellow whiskey enthusiasts. The event was private at first, but has been made public with the purchase of a ticket required.

We sat down with the group’s co-founders Chris Nabholz, Zach McCabe and Blane Richoux to have an in-depth conversation about the event and its future.

Tell me a little bit about what this event is and how it came about.

Blane Richoux: “The idea was born from something we used to do at my house. We used to have some friends over and I’d pull out a few whiskeys and they would bring a bottle and we would just kind of have the supply of them to share and to taste and exchange and talk about the differences like ‘hey this one’s a little smokier or this one’s a little sweeter… I’m getting some fruit out of this one’ – and that’s kind of where it started. There’s so much misconception about what whiskey is. I think a lot of people…they start out drinking whiskey, maybe in college, shooting at the bar and maybe they see whiskey as this old fashioned drink their grandfather used to drink; but once you look at it, the process really does not change style to style but there’s so many variances in flavor and really you can explore the world at your own table.”

Chris Nabholz: “Let’s get a group of people together and educate people on all the different whiskeys in the world and that’s really the idea of the event: education. And that’s how it started. We started doing events…our first event was at Augusta Candle Company, and it was maybe about 20 people, Zach was there, and it was an invite only and free event, but you brought a bottle of whiskey to share – and so you have 20 different bottles of whiskey to try, you don’t have to worry about wondering if you’d like it or not…you try it. You don’t like it, dump it out try something else and so that just built this community of people who wanted to learn more and more about whiskey and we grew.”

Zach McCabe: “Whiskey is a unique spirit, right, and whiskey has to be made from grains; but a lot of people know whiskey, a lot of people are more comfortable with some form of whiskey. It’s just something that people are familiar with and we take that and try to leave all pretention at the door. What you don’t like, you don’t like. Come in and let’s have some new things.”

Blane: “One thing we like to say in the whiskey world is ‘everyone loves whiskey, but not everyone has found the whiskey that they love yet’ – and there are so many flavors and so many styles. I promise if you come and you give us a chance, you will find one that you love, that you can make yours.”

You guys plan on making this a regular thing and is it going to be a regular thing at Le Chat Noir?

Zach: “We try to meet once a month at a minimum and we want to get more and more people involved with whiskey and learning about whiskey and just enjoying it with friends. So, yes we are trying to do this on a regular basis and I’m happy to say we are doing our next event at Le Chat Noir in October.”

Chris: “Yes, October 23rd, I believe.”

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