Ray Boom Boom Mancini, Cleveland Whiskey

Boom Boom Bourbon Wins Bronze at World Competition

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini was used to winning titles and championships inside the boxing ring, but his latest honor was for a competition he didn’t realize he was in.

Mancini learned this week that his Boom Boom Bourbon was awarded a bronze medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition that took place March 22 -24. Nearly 3,000 spirits were judged overall in various categories.

Mancini said he receive a text earlier this week from Cleveland Whiskey, which makes his bourbon, about the award.

“Not only did I not know we were entered, I didn’t even know there was such as thing as the ‘Bourbon Olympics,’ ” he said. The medal is “validation that we have a good product,” he added.

“It’s probably the most renowned competition around the world,” said Tom Lix, founder and CEO of Cleveland Whiskey. “It’s hard to get a medal. Not everybody gets a medal. For a first-time entry it’s pretty amazing.”

As Lix explained, after being distilled, the whiskey is finished for 120 days in barrels originally used for bourbon that subsequently were loaned to a maple syrup company and returned.

During that time, temperature changes cause pressure changes in the barrel, so the alcohol moves through the pores of the maple-syrup-infused wood, which previously was infused with bourbon.

“It’s a bourbon-aged maple syrup that you’re then pouring into the bourbon itself. It adds a lot of complexity,” Lix said. “There is a little sweetness.”

Mancini discovered the bourbon during a tasting at the Cleveland distillery. He had sampled several but “wasn’t blown away by any of them” when he saw a barrel under a table marked “maple barrel bourbon,” he recalled. Told the distillers “basically made it for” themselves, he asked for a sample and was immediately taken with it.

Not only did it taste great – “I love maple,” he said – but the maple-barrel aging provided a good marketing hook, Mancini said. “You’ve got to have a selling point and to me that was a good one,” he said.

He also noted that bourbon and scotch are the beverages of choice in the age 24-to-34 demographic.

“I’m a wine guy but I don’t want to have wine at night,” he said. “When I’m sitting around at night, I want something that you sip, you nurse.”

Cleveland Whiskey launched its first batch of Boom Boom Bourbon Nov. 1 and 2,200 bottles have been produced to date, said Andrew Lix, Cleveland Whiskey national sales director.

The bourbon is now in limited production and distributed in 30 stores in Ohio, Tom Lix reported. “We’re planning on ramping up production,” he said.

Mancini would like to see distribution across the country, including to the West Coast and in cities where he has connections, such as Chicago, Boston, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. His boss at Fox Sports, where he is a boxing analyst, suggested doing a “Boom Boom Bourbon party,” the champion boxer said.

Pictured: Cleveland Whiskey founder and CEO Tom Lix, national sales director Andrew Lix and champion boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini celebrate a bronze medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.