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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brandi Lauck: Warden of Whiskey

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Born in Virginia and raised on a farm in North Carolina, co-owner of Lock and Key Whiskey Bar Brandi Lauck transplanted to Louisiana to be a part of Playmakers of Baton Rouge and to be close to family. The little girl who grew up showing horses discovered a passion for theater in her teen years.

After working in theater companies in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Baton Rouge, her focus shifted to teaching art classes to at-risk youth in the Capital City.

“I come from an art background, but I’ve always had a passion for whiskey," Brandi said. "My family is Irish, so it’s in our blood.”

Brandi eventually formed a one-woman show in the form of a small marketing and design company while raising her first child. She enjoyed running her own business so much that when she and her husband Arthur Lauck decided to open Lock and Key Whiskey Bar, she knew they made the right decision.

"It’s always been Arthur’s dream to own a bar, but what’s really cool is that it’s become an outlet for the creativity and the passion that I have for women and their understanding of whiskey," she said. "This has been a great opportunity to ‘be on stage’ and bring my knowledge of whiskey to other females that are interested.”

Brandi Lauck hanging out behind the bar while Arthur rambles on about whiskey
Brandi Lauck hanging out behind the bar while Arthur rambles on about whiskey

Brandi stressed that charity work has also always been an interest of hers and the venue has given them the opportunity to host events that benefit the community. They’ve already hosted some food drives and silent auction events, but Brandi has future plans to gather donations to support the Baton Rouge Crisis Center at her Women and Whiskey events. The Baton Rouge Crisis Center has helped Brandi through some tough times, and she’s hopeful the ladies who attend these free events will be willing to help her give back.

Brandi said Lock and Key is thriving and getting more attention every day. Brandi is as much a part of that as “Whiskey-pedia” Arthur. She’s a respected figure among women in the industry, and she knows her stuff, but it wasn’t always so easy. Like many women in the industry, Brandi had to earn the respect of investors and distributor reps overtime.

What’s unfortunate (I’ve also had the displeasure of experiencing this) is that male counterparts are trusted and respected immediately while women are required to build up trust over time.

“We run our business together, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve had my own ladder I’ve had to climb," Brandi said. "Arthur has been nothing but supportive, and we make a great team.”

Nevertheless, Brandi’s Women and Whiskey program has grown tremendously since its beginning. Now is a great time for women in the whiskey industry. There are more and more women being appointed to master distiller positions all over the world. It is a scientific fact that women have more taste buds and can therefore taste whiskey better than men. That being said, if you are a woman in the Baton Rouge area, head to Lock and Key the third Wednesday of every month and taste some delicious whiskey for free!

This post is part of a monthly series highlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include: