UPDATE: 3/18/2023

It’s almost Spring and that means TOUR TIME!!

I am joining Derek Deboer, The Racers Group and Adobe Road Wines March 31-April 2 at Sonoma Raceway. We will explore avenues to support and promote each others efforts. They are offering their 40′ mobile bar trailer for our use, meanwhile I will assist them in marketing efforts for their wines at regional speedways. It will be my first opportunity to witness firsthand how other spirit brands are marketing at a big race event. No doubt, it will help shape our unique approach. I’m excited!

The tour will be broken into two phases: Research & Development + Brand Marketing & Tastings

  • I will spend the next few months touring stadiums in Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Bay Area, SoCal, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Meetings are being finalized with the Levy Restaurant teams at each stadium to begin the planning process for the Big Win launch.
  • In each region, I will make stops at raceways, casinos, PGA venues and to large event producers to drop marketing materials and collect points of contact.
  • An official launch event is in the works for Big Win locally (Oregon) and then a follow up tour will commence to revisit each venue/client.
  • I am working closely with my prior company in Las Vegas to partner on VIP and after parties for both the Las Vegas Grad Prix and The 2024 Super Bowl.
  • The touring of regions and their venues will be spread out over the next several months. I will return home regularly to process the information collected and make adjustments to plan as necessary.

*** In order to display a brand in any MGM Resorts International property (they own both stadiums and most properties in Vegas), you must be granted permission. It took months but I had finally reached the proper department head and was able to get a meeting with her, several Food and Beverage executives as well as the MGM marketing department this past Thursday. I requested that Dain from the distillery also participate in the call, should any manufacturing questions arise.

The meeting was lonnngggg but ultimately, MGM Resorts is thrilled to have Big Win Whiskey sponsor and/or participate at any of their events or on their properties.


I have not heard back from their F&B execs to discuss whether or not they have an interest in the minis. If I do not hear back in the next week, I will follow up. Fingers crossed!

The call motivated the distillery to create a more expedient way to manufacture Big Win. Currently, we receive the sourced whiskey from a wholesaler and they utilize extracts to create the flavor profile. After our conversation with MGM – and recognizing the massive scope – the distillery make the recommendation that we begin now to create large drums of simple syrups of the flavorings (orange, cardamom and clove) so that they can be dumped in the whiskey barrels upon arrival and bottled soon thereafter. This process requires more storage space but we agreed it is in both of our best interest. Fun stuff!

I have been chatting with two separate companies that create products that I feel our customers/spectators would embrace. If negotiations go well, we will promote the products on tour and on our website and receive a percentage of the sales via affiliate marketing links. One makes amazing watches out of reclaimed whiskey barrels and the other creates 3D stadium replicas in drink coasters. I am seeking passive income streams for us, in addition to spirits/accessories sales.

  • Do you have a suggestion for a unique product that would fit our branding and marketing? Shoot any ideas my way and I will look into it.
  • Should you meet any distillers or distributors in your adventures, maybe keep their contact info. I intend to bring on an Operations Manager soon so that we can grow faster and I can get to what I am most proficient at: marketing and events.
  • If you have any influencers in your back pocket (athletes, musicians, bloggers, etc.) that may want to align with our brand, shoot ’em my way please.
  • As you can see, the new website is coming along. It was a bummer to have lost the old one but am happy to be nearly complete with the revamp.

Hope you are all dandy. I look forward to seeing each of you soon, along the tour route. Inching our way…

CHEERS! – Tonya

UPDATE: 12/29/2022

Another year gone, gone, gone!

This has been a swift and educational year, to say the least. 2022 zoomed by and, on the surface, appears that little has moved forward. Nonetheless, it was a year that taught me more than many previous ones. Taking on a venture in a brand new industry is daunting at times and exhilarating at others. Zero complaints from me as it continues to be extremely promising.

For those of us that have been on this journey since inception, it has been bumpy. I want to assure you all that no day has gone by without focused effort, dedication and passion for a prosperous outcome. So much is out of my control and I am becoming a steward in patience.

So what did we do in 2022 and what is next?

2022 started with the immense flop campaign with BCSlots. That took months to work out with legal to dissolve our agreement. I took down all of the campaigns on social media, removed press releases and started from scratch.

We changed the name from Jackpot to Big Win, to better market to niche audiences outside of just casino. Big Win has now been embraced by sporting groups, speedways and horse tracks.

We lost our distillery in Bend, due to Covid, so researched a new manufacturing partner, shipped our product and restricted our NDA and contract twice, to best suit the interest forthcoming from sporting stadiums.

We partnered with Hard Rock on a slot tournament, where I had to continually pivot our participation and graphics due to slow moving manufacturing (supply chain and our government). Hard Rock will collaborate on an additional campaign once we are in full national distribution.

I retained an intellectual property attorney, Leah Herbert, and began the process to effectively research our trademark and risk factors that we may come across with a name like Big Win. The report listed on potential risk with a coffee but she feels we are safe enough to move forward as we are in a different article class. Onward!

I partnered with a branding company in Washington, Snack Plate Creative, to begin branding for our follow up gin, Good Fortune.

I have successfully received intent to purchase agreements from Levy Restaurants – concessions for stadiums/arenas – for five major markets: Seattle/Portland, Bay Area, SoCal, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Hard Rock has also submitted a request to purchase.

Our bottling, label design and packaging is ready and waiting for final government approval (heavy sigh). The TTB has openly admitted that approvals are lagging due to the implementation of new automated systems, in addition to the rapid growth of COLA (certificate of label approval) due to the sergeance of ready to serve cocktails and seltzers. Our label was kicked back once due to using the phrasing, “craft whiskey’. It was recommended to appeal and outline the sourcing as indeed craft, so we can get more prominent placement. However, should they send it back again for same issue, I am removing craft and moving forward.

The Big Win Tailgate/Stadium Tour will finally commence in the Spring. I kept pushing it back due to no distribution but have created a way to still go and promote, even if God forbid, the government is still an issue.

Our original cork tops were on long term backorder so I made a switch and carried on. I expanded our product quantities, to ensure we don’t run out too soon – as that could be a fatal move. We now have three batches and our distillery has found a better source for our wholesale whiskey blend so they can manufacture much quicker, in the future. Not knowing how well our brand will be received has proven challenging to be confident on how much inventory to carry, while also making sure that we can fulfill rapid orders, should they come in. It is a learning curve but we’ll get there.

Our distillery, Heritage, is taking their business public mid-2023. They have an interest in partnering with Spark! and ensuring we have the necessary capital to effectively market in those huge markets and venues. We are in the early stages of negotiating what that fully entails but is extremely exciting, as it would allow us to grow and bring on staff that are far more experienced in this industry.

Obviously, this is a new website. I was monitoring the company budget and decided to transfer our web hosting from GoDaddy to Site Ground. It was significantly less money per year. While doing the transfer, I failed at mitigating our existing site properly. I was spending hours trying to fix it and then realized that I built that site in less time than it was taking to transfer, so opted to start fresh and rebuild. As time permits, I will get it all done.

I just handed our year end data to our CPA and will begin tax prep and PNL distribution. I will mail all of your K1’s this year and will give you the heads up when they are on their way. I was told to expect them in February.

As always, I am here if you ever have suggestions, questions or concerns.

Wishing you all a healthy and joy-filled new year. Grateful to be on this adventure with you.