A Bourbon is Born

The Big Stick Blend Without the Bite


Big Stick Bourbon

By Melissa Gautier


When it comes to lifelong friendships, there’s truth in the familiar phrase, “Great minds think alike.” When Katy native Mike Ryan collaborates with his friend, Joe D. Baker on a project, they “Go big or go home.” The two have created a business partnership and brand, crafting a super-premium, proprietary mash favored by both women and men. Years of research and determination were dedicated to developing their elite Semper Fi brand of Big Stick bourbon whiskey, honoring and supporting military members and their families.


An Untapped Market Discovered

If the word “whiskey” conjures images of saloon girls overlooking cowboys slinging back spirits, think again. Big Stick has turned that vision upside down, creating a sophisticated bourbon-whiskey blend that’s pleasantly palatable and worthy of its name. Mike and Joe have managed to attract an untapped market for their brand, targeting women imbibers. Women who have never before swigged spirits love the savory smoothness without the customary harsh bite. Each flavorful sip ends on a sweet note that women find appealing and enjoyable. “Bourbon connoisseurs want variety,” explains Mike, which makes Big Stick a popular choice among veteran and virgin whiskey drinkers alike.


big stick bourbon whiskey

Sticking Out in a Crowd

Inside the bottle is the “big stick” – a charred white oak stave mirroring the wood barrels the bourbon is aged and flavored in. Big Stick delivers its distinctive flavor profile with each pour. Smooth with a sweet ending note, it lacks the sting of other brands, garnering favor and loyalty from women and men alike.

Housed inside a meaningfully-shaped heavyweight glass bottle, the golden liquid’s flavor and color improves with time. Designed to resemble a U.S. Marine in uniform cinched at the waist, the bottle stands tall and proud, commanding respect. A convenient pouring cap is attached at the top, while the white label honors the colors, strength, and courage of the USMC, declaring their motto, “Go Big or Go Home.” Ninety-five percent proof holds special significance, highlighting the remaining five percent as the portion of profits donated to charities that support military families.

A skilled engineer, Mike’s former career required traveling the globe. He began collecting whiskey from his destinations, amassing a huge collection and bountiful bar. 

“Most whiskey tastes the same, each with subtle differences of flavor and aroma,” Mike explains. “I thought I could do even better.”

With an experienced palate and a drive for success, he set out to craft a top-shelf brand offered at a reasonable price. Joe joined Mike, and together they created a mutually advantageous partnership destined for victory. A retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, Joe handles the legalities and bottling while Mike markets the brand to distributors. Mike travels to their Houston-area stores, personally conducting tastings and educating consumers on what makes Big Stick unique. Big Stick Bourbon is available at Total Wine and More, Spec’s and other fine package stores in the Greater Houston area or ask for it from your favorite retailer. 

If trying a whiskey that women love has sparked your interest, get on the stick and head to an upcoming tasting. Visit Big Stick’s website for more information. Cheers!


big stick bourbon logo


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