Several years ago, back when we first started Bourbon & Banter, I introduced a feature on the site called the "Member Spotlight." It was a way for me to introduce some of the bourbon friends I had met along my bourbon journey and invite others to connect with them as well. The 3rd person featured was Dennis Nelson.
I met Dennis at a local tasting event shortly after I had launched the Bourbon & Banter Facebook page (we didn't have a website at that time). We quickly became friends, and Dennis always made an effort to attend the Bourbon & Banter events that I held in St. Louis. His enthusiasm for what I was doing with Bourbon & Banter helped me stay focused and helped me overcome moments of doubt.
Dennis was also kind enough to take part in an early experiment where I had local folks help taste a new bourbon hitting the market. He was quick to volunteer even though we were doing it blind and on video. If it had something to do with bourbon, you could always count on Dennis' help.
Dennis' enthusiasm for all things bourbon and whiskey meant that I would run into him all over town if I found myself at a whiskey bar or tasting event. It was at one such whiskey bar that I ran into Dennis and wife on May 15th. I was waiting to meet someone for a business meeting, but I was thrilled to see Dennis again and hear about his latest bourbon adventures. We spoke for about 5 mins before I had to sit with my guest - but not before we both suggested a more extended meet up over drinks was long overdue.
It was just a week later that I heard Dennis passed away.
I've been trying to write this post for almost a week now, and I still struggle to acknowledge that he's gone. I mourn for the loss of a great man, a spirited friend whose enthusiasm helped me pursue my passion and for his family who lost their husband and father. The world lost a beautiful soul, and all that knew him will miss him for years to come.
Farewell, my bourbon brother.