Once upon a time, Allison Parc had a professional dance career, performing in national ballet companies. Today, Allison is the founder and president of Brenne French Single Malt Whisky, recognized as one of the leading American entrepreneurs in the world-whisky segment. She created the world’s first single malt to be aged exclusively in both new French Limousin oak and cognac casks and her journey from the “barre” to the “bar” is as unique as her whisky.
After retiring her pointe shoes at the age of 23, Allison indulged in food and drink previously restricted by her ballet lifestyle. “I was enamored by the conversation surrounding terroir in wine and the experience of drinking whisky,” says Allison. “It made me wonder, how are people applying terroir to the whisky category?” She soon made it her mission to create a new whisky that reflected the region in which it was crafted, identifying France as the right place to build her brand.
While in France, Allison was introduced to a third-generation cognac producer who was distilling a single malt at his family-owned farm distillery in Cognac, France. Upon tasting the whisky, Allison knew that the spirit was special, handing over her own savings to form a partnership. After two years of collaboration, Allison suggested incorporating previously used cognac casks into the aging process, leading to a major breakthrough in the single malt’s flavor profile. Allison and the distiller worked to refine the spirit for two more years, laying down more barrels during harvest. By respecting tradition and adding a little innovation into the distilling method, Brenne was born.
Allison distributed the first bottles of Brenne in 2012 via Citi Bike, cycling around Manhattan to place the product on the shelves of the city’s top establishments and retailers. The first shipment of Brenne Estate Cask, the flagship expression known for its creamy, floral, and fruity profile, sold out within two months. Over the next few years, Allison expanded distribution to 35 states and throughout France. In 2015, Allison introduced her second expression, Brenne Ten, a limited-edition annual release that takes on a drier and spicier taste due to its age, higher proof, and barrel management. Only about 300 cases of this ten-year-old whisky are available each year.
In 2017 and 2018, Allison was named World Whisky Brand Ambassador, USA of the Year by Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky, becoming the only woman to receive the award. Additionally, Brenne received two World Whiskies awards in 2016 and 2017, furthering the global recognition of this new taste experience within the single malt category.
Another breakthrough occurred on March 8, 2017, International Women’s Day, when Allison signed an agreement to align the brand with select distributor groups across the country. Today, Brenne is sold in all major markets and notable bars throughout the United States, France, United Kingdom, Taiwan, India, and Holland.
Allison resides in New York City and spends most of her time in airports and hotels, traveling the world and sharing her love of terroir-driven whisky with enthusiasts far and wide.