Terry Bradshaw Finds Bourbon Home

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On this episode of The Fred Minnick Show, Fred is joined by Terry Bradshaw, the legendary NFL quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his 14 seasons in the league, Bradshaw helped lead the Steelers to four Super Bowl wins in a career that would lead him to induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. Since 1994, Bradshaw has been an NFL analyst on Fox NFL Sunday. On the show, Fred and Terry sip some whiskey and talk about many things, from Bradshaw’s brand of bourbon to his football career and plenty more.

Whiskeys tasted:

  • Bradshaw Bourbon Batch 2 (10:15)
  • Bradshaw Rye (25:51)
  • Old Grand-Dad Vintage 1970s 86 Proof (36:41)
  • Very Old Barton Vintage 1960s (52:21)
  • I.W. Harper Vintage 1933 (1:10:00)

EPISODE SUMMARY

Fred and Jay talk about a wide variety of things, such as:

  • Terry is immediately impressed by the Fred Minnick logo mini-bottles.
  • He tells Fred how he came to release his bourbon, emphasizing the importance for him that he loved the bourbon he ultimately chose to release under his name. “I wanted it to have a wow impact. I wanted it to taste to last and not fade out on me.”
  • Terry notes he didn’t know anyone in the industry, nor did he have any clue how to launch a whiskey brand, before jumping in. He started by watching the film “Neat.”
  • He doesn’t like the fact it was immediately termed a “celebrity bourbon,” but says, “Hey, it is what it is.”
  • The 51.9 proof in the bourbon is also Bradshaw’s career completion percentage in the NFL.
  • Fred says the Bradshaw Bourbon tastes more mature than its two years of aging.
  • There is a long and involved discussion of smelling things. Fred notes when he was in the agriculture business, he could smell fertilizer from five miles away.
  • When Terry first got into the bourbon business, he didn’t know who Fred was, and then he discovered that Fred was “important” to what he was doing. “When I heard you liked me bourbon,” Terry tells Fred, “it was like … oh my god.”
  • They try the Bradshaw Rye, and Fred gets sugar cookies and lots of spice. (Terry admits he’s never been a “rye guy.”)
  • Fred notes that two other former NFL stars – Peyton Manning and Charles Woodson – also are in the bourbon business now. Terry says he heard Manning’s bourbon is highly expensive, and to Terry that means he isn’t a “serious player” in the business. Bradshaw’s bourbon hits around $40.
  • They move to the vintage Old Grand-Dad, which Fred says it is a “throwback” to when National Distillers was making its hay releasing 86-proof whiskeys. The one being tasted dates back to the 1970s, when Bradshaw was lighting up the NFL.
  • Fred talks about how distilling is different today than when the Old Grand-Dad was made, much the way football is different today than it was then. Fred then asks Terry if this particular whiskey reminds him of any game or play from the 1970s. “If I could drink a bunch of this, I could go back and tell you about some times,” Terry says, laughing.
  • Terry: “I call it bourbon, I don’t call it whiskey. Bourbon is a little sexier than whiskey.”
  • Fred tells Terry he got into the bourbon business at just the right time. Terry then tells the story of how he picked his first barrel. Terry’s pretty sure the master distiller who helped him was none other Jim Rutledge at Four Roses. He ended up doing it two more times – while also donating profits to Wounded Warriors – which is how he ultimately decided to get into the business.
  • Terry: “I have a little problem with my preacher. They think I am some kind of heathen.”
  • Terry: “I get the feeling I would become an alcoholic before I ever got good at this.”
  • Terry talks about a scene he wants to shoot a scene that has a James Bond theme. Sadly, Bond was a vodka drinker. Terry chimes in: “I don’t like vodka. I can’t stand gin. Tequila, you can have. If I drink beer I have one beer and that’s enough for me. I’m a bourbon drinker.”
  • Fred notes that many ranchers would use whiskey as a medication for horses. Terry owns a ranch.
  • Terry tastes the Very Old Barton from the 1960s, and he exclaims, “Whoo! This one jumped me!” Fred says it tastes like cherry cough syrup, indicating that the age did not treat it kindly. He says vintage bourbon is a crapshoot because sometime the seal isn’t tight enough or it was stored in unideal conditions.
  • Terry says there is a reserve edition of Bradshaw Bourbon in the works for release.
  • On someday becoming profitable with his bourbon: “I can’t be on television forever. I need a reason to get out of bed.” Terry says he isn’t planning to retire from TV, but he also knows that he isn’t irreplaceable. “Everybody is replaceable,” he says. “I’m set for retirement. Mentally, I’m set for it. … I would love for my bourbon to take off.”
  • Terry and his team at Fox last year were inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
  • Terry revels that, indeed, Cletus the Fox NFL robot is a dude in a costume and not an actual machine. Fred’s psueod-mascot Tater gets a mention.
  • They go to the I.W. Harper, which was distilled prior to World War I. Terry is mightily impressed and also surprised that bottles such as this one can go at auction for tens of thousands of dollars. “This is definitely a taste of history,” Fred says.
  • Fred talks about how proud he is not of his accomplishments in bourbon so much but for the philanthropic work he has been able to do as a result. Terry also does plenty of philanthropic work.
  • Terry tells a story about trying to do a Christmas show for the USO, a Bob Hope-inspired thing. It would have involved music, comedy and more, and his idea was to air it on Fox for the troops. But there wasn’t time to put it together. In the meantime, the USO did the same thing – but with Wayne Newton instead of Bradshaw. “Quite honestly, the troops don’t know who he is,” Terry says.
  • They agree the nose on the Harper is amazing, but the flavor hasn’t caught up. Fred believes it needs to open up and intermingle with the oxygen. Fred goes back to the Bradshaw for sipping while the I.W. Harper catches up.
  • Fred tells Terry he admires his humility and philanthropy. Fred points to a time when Terry and his wife helped a guy who couldn’t get his car started, and much of it was caught on camera (he had no clue it was being filmed). “He would have done the same thing. I think good people help good people. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?” Terry said his wife deserves most of the credit anyway.
  • They then discuss what is bourbon versus whiskey and what that means historically. “The whiskey industry is always full of shenanigans,” Fred says. “Always.”
  • Terry describes the first time he heard the term, “white dog.” He had no idea what the distiller was talking about. Then he tasted it. “I was shocked at how good it was.”
  • They finish up by tasting the Harper again, and they both agree it has improved.

QUOTABLES

Terry Bradshaw, on his namesake bourbon’s price point: “I’m very conscious of America. (For) most people that are hard workers, $39.99 is not high, it’s not low. It’s medium, I guess. I’ve had a lot of bourbons and I would think, ‘$39.99, I’ll try that, but it better be good.’ My plans for my bourbon are to sell 45,000 cases this year.”

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