Black entrepreneurs take their flavored whiskey from Florida to international waters

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  • Published on March 17, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In News

Duke & Dame Whiskey started as a dinner conversation, now the brand is in restaurants and bars across the nation and on every Carnival Cruise ship.

South Florida is a melting pot of various cultures and flavors, but one more couldn’t hurt. Salted caramel, to be exact.

Duke & Dame whiskey began as a conversation over dinner in 2017. When a friend asked co-founder Chima Burey, “If you could create a new spirit, what would it be?,” he immediately knew the answer. That idea evolved into the brand he formed with long-time friend Amani Macaulay.

The two corporate finance professionals moved quickly, but kept it local. They worked with a distillery based in Jacksonville and had their label created in Miami Lakes; owners Burey and Macaulay pride themselves on a truly local spirit.

Although they didn’t travel far to make the whiskey, they didn’t skimp on the taste. The two “whiskey guys” knew what they liked and knew what they wanted.

“A lot of the [flavored whiskey] offerings were not something you would sit at home by the fireplace and sip,” Macaulay said in an interview with The Root. “They tend to be overly sweet, syrupy and have an artificial element to the taste.”

The duo knew that whiskey could be cringeworthy for some people, but they wanted to offer something new that was enjoyable for any palate.

“We’re guys who enjoy real whiskey, good whiskey. So we thought if we’re going to enter this category, let’s offer something that will be respected by hardcore whiskey enthusiasts for the quality and the complexity, but that also has amazing aroma and flavor that can bring in people who may not like whiskey,” Macaulay said.

Duke & Dame is a 100% corn whiskey-based spirit. Any flavoring added is entirely natural. The special attention to additives kept the whiskey at only 1 gram of sugar per serving. This makes the brand especially attractive to health-conscious drinkers.

Upon their first pour, consumers will enjoy hints of vanilla with warm butterscotch notes followed by light caramel. The sweet blend is balanced out at the end by the spicy bite synonymous with whiskey.

The first case of Duke & Dame was purchased in 2018 and was a hit. The brand went on to win the Consumers’ Choice Award at the 2018 SIP Awards international spirits competition.

Burey and Macaulay have expanded their brand from just Florida availability to placement in bars, restaurants and liquor stores in Michigan, NY, DC and the Caribbean. The whiskey is also available in international waters on every Carnival Cruise Line fleet ship.

To learn more about Duke & Dame and purchase, visit their website