IBJ Podcast: Indy anesthesiologist quit career to become whiskey-making entrepreneur

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You certainly hear a lot of people these days talk about changing careers, especially to start their own business—maybe a restaurant, coffee shop or microbrewery. Juliet Schmalz hears from a lot of people who are impressed that she actually did it. In her mid 40s, she left her career as a medical doctor—an anesthesiologist—to start a company that produces high-end whiskey. That company, called Fortune’s Fool Whiskey—a nod to a line in a Shakespearean tragedy—debuted its first product a few weeks ago in Indiana stores, bars and restaurants.

It’s called The Prelude. It’s a 109-proof straight rye whiskey that has been aged nearly three years, which, yes, means that Schmalz has had to wait nearly six years to see any revenue from a company she started in early 2018. In the meantime, there are another rye whiskey, a bourbon whiskey and a wheated bourbon whiskey sitting in barrels on the four-year plan.

An Indianapolis native, Schmalz is our guest on this week’s edition of the podcast. Host Mason King asks what possessed her to leave a lucrative and respected profession to make spirits for a living. They also discuss how she brought herself up to speed in a fickle industry, determined how she would position her product, and funded what by necessity is a long-term startup process.

Click here to find the IBJ Podcast each Monday. You can also subscribe at iTunesGoogle PlayTune In, Spotify and anyplace you find podcasts.

You can also listen to these recent episodes:

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