Who wants whiskey?


By Kelly Dyer

When it comes to selling products and opening new businesses, there’s nothing more important than demand.

You can have the best customer service, the nicest facility and even the greatest products. But if there’s no demand, you are doomed to fail.

For entrepreneurs, estimating demand can be perilous guesswork. That’s where I come in. I regularly work with startups as they create their business plans and seek initial funding.

Last year, I had the opportunity to advise a micro-distillery that was working to create a compelling business plan in order to attract financing.


Kelly Dyer is the manager of entrepreneurship and business development at the Missouri Chamber.

To help the future owners understand the market, I used mapping software created by the Environmental Systems Research Institute, often called Esri. This incredible tool allowed me to visualize what types of distilled products people around Missouri are drinking and how often they drink them.

I created a map for whiskey consumption for west central Missouri and sent it to the entrepreneurs. They were very excited and asked for a complete list of available maps.

So I went back to work and created a map for each relevant category – mixed drinks, rum, etc. – by ZIP code for the whole state.  Based on the maps, the entrepreneurs were able to determine the product mix to include in the business plan.

Ultimately, these maps helped the company find a lender. The distillery broke ground last year, and its first products are coming soon.

There are many reasons why companies would want to take advantage of the data visualization and analytics software available today. From finding the best location to making predictions, analytics help companies optimize decisions.

Rye Blended Whiskey Map

This whiskey consumption map helped guide a distillery startup. Similar maps can be generated for businesses in many industries.

Whenever you look at a map, you inherently start turning that map into information by finding patterns, assessing trends or making decisions. This process is called spatial analysis, and it’s what our eyes and minds do naturally whenever we look at a map.

But many patterns and relationships aren’t always obvious when we look at a map. Often, there’s too much data to sift through and present coherently on a map. That’s why someone like me can help fine-tune your data.

Please let me know how I can use my knowledge and data tools to help your business either start up or grow.

Learn more about the tools available to startups at mochamber.com/support.

Contact Dyer at kdyer@mochamber.com or 573.634.3511.

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