our story

It all started back in 2011 with one simple goal – to spread the Bourbon Gospel. And for the past several years we’ve had a hell of a time doing it. Through our shared love of America’s native spirit we’ve met new people, swapped stories and even starred in few of our own.

But, along the way, we realized we had stumbled into something far more interesting, and frankly more fulfilling, than whatever was in our glass at the time. A remarkable kinship – born in bourbon, but cemented through genuine curiosity for the world of liquor and the resulting unfiltered conversations we call banter. It’s a big reason we’re here today and the soul of what we’re planning for tomorrow.

We’ve got our sights on going beyond spreading the Bourbon Gospel. We’re looking to unite a band of curious drinkers, original thinkers and just downright candid folks over intoxicating conversation. In renewing our commitment to unpretentious booze reviews, approachable content, and honest barstool talk, we’re creating a community fueled by personal passion and opinion unlike any other.

With a colorful cast of characters – from professional palates and cocktail connoisseurs to casual drinkers and bottom-shelf dwellers – our opinions may be varied but our mission singular: to help you drink curious. Please, pull up a chair and let the banter begin.

Our Team

Patrick “Pops” Garrett
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Chief Bourbon Drinker & Editor

Born in the shadows of the legendary Anheuser-Busch Brewery to parents that rarely drank, Patrick grew up observing drinking culture from the sidelines. He moved to Japan after high school and spent several of his formative adult years immersed in the infamous Japanese drinking culture. After successfully mastering the Japanese art of drink (or survived if you will), Patrick returned to life in the US and still had no clue what bourbon was all about. It was only after he was married and raising his children did he discover his love for bourbon. Upon finding his beverage soulmate Patrick set about finding others that shared his passion for America’s Native Spirit and started BourbonBanter.com. As our Chief Bourbon Drinker (CBD), Patrick is responsible for charting the course of Bourbon & Banter while we pursue our goal of spreading the bourbon gospel across the globe. Should you ever encounter him in a social situation make sure to introduce yourself. You’re sure to find yourself engaged with quality banter and a free glass of bourbon.

Sr. Contributors

  • Brett Atlas
    Sr. Contributor
    Ready Full Bio

  • Luke Castle
    Sr. Contributor
    Blog Posts

    Growing up in Minnesota gives a person a great appreciation for anything that warms the body and soul.

    Whiskey and wine have been helping to warm Luke for many years. Jim Beam and coke morphed into whiskey waters and eventually Bourbon. Two buck chuck led to several trips to Napa Valley and a love for most varietals of wine. He is fortunate enough to have travelled most of the US through his career in financial services. A beautiful and understanding wife mostly tolerates his other hobbies including golf, hunting and reading. 2 young kids keep them busy as well. Appreciation for the subtle differences that each decision a distiller makes keeps him coming back for more and has him excited for the future.

  • Kyle George
    Sr. Contributor

    Kyle was born in St. Louis and has lived in the Midwest his entire life. His father introduced him to bourbon when he was 21 years old, and has been enjoying it ever since. Kyle has completed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail on three different occasions, and cannot wait for the opportunity to return. He shares his love of bourbon with his wife, Emily, who traveled the bourbon trail with him for their first wedding anniversary in 2011. He enjoys comparing bourbons from different distilleries and different areas of the country and enjoys sharing a glass with friends and family. Currently, he spends the majority of his time caring for his two young sons but manages to share his love of bourbon with them as well. His four year old frequently says, “When I’m older, I’m going to drink wine and bourbon.”
  • Jim Knudsen
    Sr. Contributor
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  • Brent Joseph
    Sr. Contributor

    Brent was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. After graduating from the University of Kansas with a degree in Journalism, he moved back to Indy where he eventually resurrected his family’s brand of all beef kosher style hot dogs and opened a restaurant, King David Dogs, in downtown Indianapolis. When he’s not juggling the many duties of an entrepreneur, he can usually be found relaxing at home with his wife, their twin boys, and their two dogs. Brent is a member of the Bourbon Society of Indianapolis, a BBQ enthusiast, and a cigar aficionado. Three things that are even better when enjoyed together with good friends. If Brent is not talking about bourbon, he’s probably talking about sports, in particular NFL football and Kansas Jayhawks basketball. You can follow his blog, BBQ and Bourbon here: http://bbqbourbon.tumblr.com/.
  • Jarrod Lapato
    Sr. Contributor
    Ready Full Bio

  • Matt Self
    Sr. Contributor

    Raised in the great state of Tennessee, Matt has a hard time admitting the native spirit of the Bluegrass neighbor to the north captured his obsession (& most of his wallet). Having progressed through the red solo cup days to a passion for a barrel-proof wheated bourbon, neat, Matt is always on the hunt for the next bottle. When he is not scouting or sipping bourbon, Matt spends time with his wife and four children. When he needs money for the next trip to Bardstown, Matt manages a wealth management firm. He always buys bourbon to drink and believes nothing should come between friends except two rocks glasses and a three-finger pour.
  • Lee Stang
    Sr. Contributor
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Contributors At Large

(former regular contributors currently roaming the earth while drinking)

  • Ginny Tonic

    Although Ginny was a late bloomer to the world of drinking she likes to think she’s making up for lost time. She had my first manhattan at the age of 24 and fell in love. Finally, there was a drink she felt cool ordering and actually liked the taste of. Bourbon is her drink of choice and where she geeks out the most, but she honestly enjoys all aspects of drinking. The way it brings people together, the way it combines art, science, and culture, the way a nice drink at the end of the day can make the world seem so much better than it did a few minutes before. When she’s not writing for Bourbon & Banter, she writes for Queen City Drinks and co-hosts two podcasts: an hour long culture podcast called The Charlie Tonic Hour and a shorter all alcohol show called Bottoms Up. She is also the owner and lead guide for Tonic Tours, where they offer small group alcohol-based tours that focus on craft producers as well as hosting classes, tasting and other events.
  • Melissa Alexander

    Melissa is an aspiring bourbon historian who began her romance with bourbon the night of her 21st birthday. She is studying for her Master’s in History at the University of Cincinnati, and works at Historic Locust Grove in Louisville where she contributes to their hearth cooking, distilling, and dairying demonstrations. In her free time, she enjoys stitching reproduction historical garments for living history events, and, of course, spreading the bourbon gospel to anyone who will listen.
  • Lindsey Wehking

    “If a dive bar were a person it would be Lindsey ” – Mom

    Lindsey was raised on cheap bourbon and the Blues. Since peddling fine spirits in London and discovering the peatiest of whisky in Scotland, she has classed up her tastes a bit. But, you’ll still find her sipping on Old Crow Reserve and haunting dive bars on your periphery.

    She lives in St. Louis, Missouri where she is a strategic planner by day. If you’re ever passing through and would like to swap a good story, let her know, there is nothing she enjoys more.

  • Gerald Dlubala

    Born and raised in the beer town of St Louis, it wasn’t until later in life that Gerald came to appreciate the calm, relaxing feeling that only a great pour of bourbon can provide. A seeker of simpler things, he enjoys a sip or two of bourbon in combination with the rolling smoke and crackle of a nearby grill or campfire.

    Gerald has over twenty years of experience as a creative storyteller, fiction writer, and content provider for websites and blogs. He has been published in local, national and international publications, and also crafts stories related to the inherent connection between man, fire, and nature on his grilling and storytelling blog, www.inkandembers.com. He is honored to join the Bourbon & Banter team, helping to spread the bourbon cheer.

Want to contribute to Bourbon & Banter?

We’re always open to meeting talented writers and graphic designers who share our love of bourbon, whiskey, booze, and banter. If you have a passion for all these things and would like to contribute to Bourbon & Banter, please send a sample of your writing (bourbon related) or graphic design samples along with your social media credentials to [email protected] If we like what we see we’ll get back in touch with you to discuss potential opportunities for you to become part of the Bourbon & Banter contributor community.